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Insecure Writers Support Group

Insecure Writer's Support Group (Session # 2)

It's That Time Of The Month Again  

        In the unlikely event you have not heard of or already joined The Insecure Writer's Support Group, it is a place for writers to share and encourage. The founder and blogfest host, Alex J. Cavanaugh has given us a forum where we can express our doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. A Brilliant idea if you ask me or any of the hundreds of other writers who are participating.  

        This is my first post and I admit that the thought of sharing my insecurities scares the hell out of me. At first I did not think I would be able to do it, but as I thought about this post throughout the day I actually found myself looking forward to it and my internal list of insecurities grew and grew and grew...

         I fear failure. I am afraid that I became serious about being a writer much too late in life. Up until a few years ago I referred to my writing as simply a hobby. Why? Because I was afraid of the reaction I would get.

         I fear that the two things that I know I am good at, where I have already achieved success, will suffer as a result of neglect. I am afraid that I want too much and that I am spreading myself far too thin.

        Why, when I already have a successful career as a lawyer and a wonderful family with children who love, adore and need me, would I take on something as challenging as writing a novel and having it published? My heart can tell you why. Because I have thought of it and aspired to it most of my life.  My brain disagrees with my heart.

      My brain and every logical part of my being is competing with my soul.  I am a writer. I am a storyteller. It is as much a part of me as my gender. Why then, if I feel so passionately about writing and becoming a published author, do I often feel so selfish?

      I would be incomplete if I had to quit writing, but sometimes I cannot quash the anxious feeling that gnaws a hole in my stomach. I know the cause of my anxiety. It is the mother in me that is telling me that my children who will not be children much longer did not ask to be born. I chose to have them so shouldn't I also choose to spend whatever minuscule amount of free time I have creating memories with them. Memories that can become stories passed down for generations

      So my selfish side solves this dilemma. I will spend their waking moments with them and work on my book when they are sleeping. Problem solved? Sure, if you are like me and you are determined to justify your need to write.

      But wait, what about sleep? I will manage on a few less hours a night. I will wake up an hour earlier I will write while sitting in carpool line; waiting in the orthodontist office; sitting in the bleachers while my son plays soccer and my girls cheer. Am I a genius or what?

       It is now a win-win for all of us. But, what about work? Can I possibly be an effective (much less great) attorney when I seldom sleep, my mind eventually, always wonders back to my characters and last, but certainly not least, I am habitually cranky?  Oh and habitually tardy.

      Why am I so insecure about my ability and skill as a writer that I don't announce to others with pride that I am a writer. I have no problem proudly telling others that I am a lawyer or speaking of my day in court with confidence.

      Is it because I do not really think I am good enough? I have never before doubted my talent. Or is it because I am ashamed? People don't have to ask me if I have tried any high profile cases that they may have heard of, because (locally at least) they have heard of me or read of me or have seen me in the news

      When I tell others I am a writer, I get something like this.

      " Oh, really. What have you written? Where can I purchase your book? Oh you aren't published? I see, but you must have articles or short stories published somewhere. No. Oh okay...."  You get the idea.

     Or this is one of my favorite lines. It usually comes from someone I haven't seen in a while.

       " So you're still trying to be a writer." or " No way, I thought that phase was over."

          Yes I am insecure. I want to continue writing because I know I have what it takes to make it, but at what cost? My family? My career? The respect of those who count on me daily to be alert and not a cranky overtired bitch.

         Wow, it felt good to vent. Maybe this group therapy thing ain't such a bad idea.

         Have you joined group therapy?




Jolene Perry said...

Well. I hope you just keep writing. The beautiful part about writing is that you can do it on your own schedule, in your own time, and at your own pace.
Well, until you have edits due . . .

Melissa Sugar said...

Thank you, Jolene. You make a very valid point

Jessica Bell said...

Every single one of us has been in every situation you talk about here. Even the disapproval from peers when they realize you 'still' don't have anything published. Ignore it. Sometimes it takes YEARS. I have a friend who wrote 9 novels in 20 years before any of them got published. It takes love and passion and determination. Anyone who doesn't understand that isn't worth trying to explain it to. Plus It totally understand this: "I fear that the two things that I know I am good at, where I have already achieved success, will suffer as a result of neglect". As you know I'm in a similar situation myself. I guess we just have to take each day as it comes :o) Thanks for dropping by my blog. You have a new follower :o)

Sarah Tokeley said...

I don't have the career to worry about (unless you count job hunting!), but apart from that we're singing from the same hymn sheet. Why do non-writers feel that what we do isn't valid unless they can see it for themselves - and why do we let them?

J.L. Campbell said...

Nah, haven't joined group therapy yet. I keep thinking I don't have time.

To tell you the truth, I had the same fears telling people I'm a writer and I believe I feared the reaction you got, which I why I never told people 'I'm a writer.' Now that I have several books under by belt, I still don't readily tell people that I write.

Unfortunately, I was warped in my thinking. Now I know better. I believe that as long as someone gets what writing is all about and the dedication and sacrifice that go with it - whether paid or unpaid - they're a writer. It's too bad we look outside of ourselves for validation much of the time.

Congratulations for finding a way to make space for writing, considering all that goes with a regular day. If we want something badly enough, we can find ways to get it done. Keep on moving!

Toyin O. said...

Very enlightening post, thanks for sharing.

Jeremy Bates said...

just stopping by from Alex Cavanaugh's blog... on the Insecure Writer's Support Tour!
concerning ur post, yeah, i think all writers are afraid of failure.... but trying and not succeeding is not failing... just keep doing it and success will come (so they say! lol)

"Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do"

-Steve Jobs

Murees Dupè said...

I think the tough part is the whole juggling thing. I don't think you should stop writing if you love it and you are talented.

It has been very nice meeting you.

DEZMOND said...

"So you're still trying to be a writer"

ouch, that's a killer one :) Such people deserve some wicked arrow in return :) Like, "you're still trying to lose all those pounds" :PP

Donna Shields said...

Hey Melissa. Glad I found your blog. Some people like that aren't worth your time. There's a reason why they are old acquaintances. Keep plugging away ;)

Ann said...

Ohhh Melissa I hear you! Why are so many of us afraid to pronounce in a loud confident voice, "I am a Writer!" I am also having the problem of trying to figure out how to fit it all in. I have been writing all my life. When my children were young I wrote stories that occurred day by day. The funny, the sad and the just too cute to pass over. It was only after my youngest child left home for university I decided to take this writing thing seriously and set on the road to attempt to get something....anything published. So take a breathe and relax. There is someone out here who has started much later than you!!! Oh by the way nice to meet you.

Melissa Sugar said...

Thanks to all of you who have visited my blog. I am incredibly grateful to Alex for starting this blogfest as it has allowed me to get to know so many people who share my passion for writing. It is amazing how many of us are trying to juggle careers (other than writing) or family obligations a long with writing. I had no idea that even published authors share some of my same fears. It helps to have blogging friends to share with and to turn to when we are frustrated. I am honored to meet all of you and you will have a loyal follower in me.

Melissa Sugar said...

Thank you Donna, for pointing out what should have been obvious to me, " There's a reason why they are old acquaintances". That is such a good point.

Melissa Sugar said...

Thank you Ann. It is nice to meet you as well. I can really relate to what you said about writing stories about your children, " The funny, the sad and the just too cute to pass over"

I often find myself jotting things down that my kids do or say. Children are so innocent and when they make a profound statement or the words they use to comment on describe what they are observing is priceless. My kids will say things that would have taken me hours to try and create.

Luna said...

Fear of failure and feeling selfish are things that bother me often. It sounds like you have a great plan for balancing it all. I really admire your drive and passion, Melissa!

Thank you for inspiring me today. So happy you are a part of this group and blogging community!

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