Wednesday, 3 September 2014

IWSG and the curse of 'What if?'


It's time once again for the monthly posting of the IWSG. The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanugh. Head over to find out all the information and to join our ever increasing group. This month is an extra special posting for the group as it marks their three year Anniversary. Happy Anniversary Insecure Writers everywhere!

A big thank you to this month's co-hosts  - Laura at My Baffling Brain, mark Koopmans, Shah Wharton, and Sheena-Kay Graham. 



I have had a productive summer writing wise. I feel happy that I achieved (most) of what I set out to do and started something new, which was actually unplanned and took me rather by surprise! I feel I am moving forward again, I have a plan, and that is brilliant. Happy writer face.

I have sent my work to readers and am awaiting feedback. Anyone who has ever put their writing 'out there' knows how stressful that wait can be. Obviously, I am hopeful for positive feedback, something that will help me perfect the MS ready for submission. But what if it's not so good? What if it needs loads of work or worse, what if they think it sucks big time!


You see, and then the insecurity sets in ... 

What if I never get it right? What if I never get where I want to be as a writer? I know in my heart I am a writer, but what if no one else ever thinks of me as a writer? Can I live with that or will it leave me unfulfilled and continually questioning whether I could have tried harder, done more?


I will leave you with the words of poet, Robert Browning. I have them written in the notebook I keep at the side of my computer. When in doubt I re-read them, and take strength in their fortitude.   (Robert Browning quotes on BrainyQuote)

"But what if I fail of my purpose here? It is but to keep 
the nerves at strain,to dry one's eyes and laugh at a fall,
 and baffled, get up and begin again."


Taken from the poem, Life in Love by Robert Browning



66 comments:

  1. The writer's curse, "What If?" I think. We all have it and wage the battle to keep the doubt and worry at bay. Thanks for the quote! Perfect armor for this war...

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    1. I think it is quite inspirational, thanks, Lisa :)

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  2. Suzanne--YOU ARE A WRITER!! Those words were written to me when I was ready to throw in the towel. And as a writer, we are somewhat neurotic and doubtful regarding our writing projects. Guess what, those doubts will stick with you even after your book is published. Glad to hear you're making progress! Keep it up!!!

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    1. Thank you, Cathrina, I intend to keep on going!

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  3. Have to push past the what if, as they just cause unneeded stress and one can always fix the mistakes, if any.

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    1. I can do without stress, I need to chill I guess!

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  4. What's important is that you are doing something and being consistent over time. That's the first line of success. We get better over time. Even JK Rowlings had to pay her dues.

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    1. I think I bounce back quicker now, Stephen. Thanks for the visit.

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  5. Good for you for setting goals and sticking to them. I struggle greatly in this area and making time to set down and just write has been such a struggle lately. I hope to rectify that this Fall however.

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    1. Hope you get some writing done soon, Jaybird. Thank you for the support.

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  6. (IWSG Co-Host) Never giving up is essential to accomplishing your goals and dreams. Remember some artists weren't even recognized for their work until after their death. Don't let other people's judgment put doubt on your work. But at the same time always do your best and get your manuscript in tip top shape. Thanks for your kind words on my blog and I wish you all the best.

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    1. Thank you, I wish you well too, Sheena-Kay. Thanks for co-hosting this month.

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  7. You know those people who say never say never? Well, I say to them, Never give up and never surrender. Seems our insecurities are as important to us as breathing. I, for one, know you are going to succeed, Suzanne! Always.

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    1. Thank you for your support and encouragement, Joylene. Never give up, that's the answer!

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  8. Here's to getting up and going at it again! And again! And again!

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    1. Yep, like the non-stop record! Thanks, Lee :)

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  9. He's right. Every time we doubt or get knocked down, we have to get back up again and keep trying.

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    1. There's a song in there somewhere, Alex!

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  10. That quote is perfect. And yes, giving our work to betas is so nerve-whacking! My heart pounds crazily until I get an email back and then I start to hyperventilate. haha Best of luck to you, Suzanne! :)

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    1. Thanks, Chrys, I wish you every success with your upcoming release.

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  11. Reminds me of a song 'I get knocked down but I get up again!' That could be my mantra! Glad the writing went well over the summer, I must admit I love writing in the summer months :) x

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    1. Yes I was thinking of that one myself, Suzanne! Happy writing to you :)

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  12. Waiting for feedback is the WORST. We're all insecure during those moments. Try to keep yourself busy with another project to help get your mind off of the waiting.

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    1. Yes, too much time to think about it all I guess. A distraction project is a good idea. Thanks, Ilima. Good luck with the release next month.

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  13. It's hard because we always have so much faith in our work until we actually try to put it out there, then the fear of rejection can be a lot to handle. You just have to try to believe in yourself.

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    1. It is a question of belief, Sarah. Swinging from, this is great to this sucks is the usual! Thanks for the visit.

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  14. Waiting for feedback can be quite a torture. I have been there. Its full of insecurities and doubts. You just have to believe in yourself and your story.

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    1. I do believe in my story, so I am part way there, thanks, Rachna.

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  15. It would be so great if we could just see the future. No more uncertainty. sigh....

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    1. Hehe, what if we don't like what we see! Thanks for the visit, Ken.

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  16. The only true failure is when we quit trying. I totally get the nerves. Been there so many times... But after a while and so many years of putting your stuff out there, it definitely gets easier. Perhaps you develop thicker skin...but that can't happen without the earlier stages of callousing.

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    1. I think I get over rejection quicker, I guess it never stops stinging completely! So pleased to hear your 'news' Crystal. Congratulations!

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    2. I think Ray Bradbury said "you only fail if you stop writing." Right on, Crystal!

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  17. Ah yes, but 'what if' you strike literary gold? :)

    Keep at it and best of luck. Glad you had a productive summer!

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  18. You will get there one day, just like we all will. We all have moments of self-doubt, so at least you know you're not alone :)

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    1. Self doubt is the companion of writers! Thanks for co-hosting this month, Laura.

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  19. What a beautiful quote. I'd never read that one but now I'm going to keep it for re-reading too.
    Congrats on your productive summer - that is a great accomplishment! Love Mark's "what if?" :D

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    1. Yes nice one Mark! Thanks for the visit, Julie, glad you enjoyed the quote too.

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  20. We can only control our own work. It's so hard to let go and realize that! But the feedback will only make it stronger, especially if you get it BEFORE it's published.

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  21. I have the same worry every single time I send my writing out for feedback - even after publication, it never seems like "enough". But as hard as it is, we have to let go at some point. :) You'll get there!

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    1. Thanks, Emma, I suspect it is something all writers find hard.

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  22. I need to make a t-shirt when "what if" gets punched in the face. Then again, it sure is a great lead in to a strategist's suggestion. Turn down the what ifs that turn you down, I say. :)

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    1. Great way to view it, David. Thanks for visiting today.

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  23. Gah. Love Robert Browning. Such a great post, I really needed this today. Thank you!

    Sarah Allen
    (From Sarah, With Joy)

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  24. I'd call your "what if" insecurity another step along the road to progress. You're doing pretty well from the sound of the situation.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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    1. 'Another step along the road,' another great way to see the positive, Arlee, thank you.

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  25. Congrats for finishing your book and getting to beta readers. You can fix anything that is needed, so I wouldn't worry about that.

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    1. You are right, deep breaths and don't stress it! Thanks, Cherie.

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  26. Yeah, 'what if' is no fun at all. Though daydreaming of 'what if' is always fun when it comes to seeing your book in your hands for the first time, a book launch party, signings, etc. I daydream those 'what ifs' all the time! =)

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    1. Oh yeah - those 'what ifs' are pretty fun!

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  27. That quote certainly has the right attitude. Good luck on sending out your work.

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  28. Wonderful quote Suzanne... it's so true....

    Writing is in our blood. We all have our own unique spin on it. And even if one reader is affected by your words, you are a writer! Never forget that.

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  29. I diagnose a serious case of waiting for feedback insecurity. It is indeed a stressful situation.

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  30. I wonder if this insecurity will ever go away. I read somewhere that it's actually a good sign - means we care about what we write.

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  31. Hi Suzanne - you seem to have touched everyone's heart with your quote - life can have its ups and downs .. but thankfully we usually bounce back .. great news you've achieved so much over the summer months .. here's to a good Autumn .. cheers Hilary

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  32. I could not count the number of suggestions and errors that were pointed out to me the first time I sent out work to critique partners. (Sorry if that puts you off!) But I learned from their feedback and that was how I was able to get better. It's very unlikely that you suck... and I find reading work for others is good learning and a good distraction too!

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  33. Oh the pain and fear that comes when you hit send. Hope you get really helpful feedback... and yes.. just keep getting back up again :D

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  34. Nice quote. I hear the "What ifs" all the time. I try to ignore them and think positively, but it's not easy. Congrats on having a productive summer and especially for having a plan. That's half the battle. The other half is being able to stick to it. :) Good luck!

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  35. I can relate to this insecurity so well. I don't think it's the kind of fear that ever goes away, no matter how much we're able to perfect our work. Hope all the stress you're feeling about this feedback ends up being unwarranted!

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