Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Insecure Writer's Support Group (May)


Thanks to Alex and this month's fab co-hosts
Eva Solar, Melanie Schulz, Lisa-Buie Collard, and Stephen Tremp

The first Wednesday of the month can mean only one thing - time for another posting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group.  The place where writers can express their doubts or concerns without fear of ridicule. It is the 'one stop shop' for a confidence boast, and who doesn't need that from time to time!

Recently I've been thinking about how my writing life co-exists with my non-writing life. Some days I feel like two separate people. In my head and heart I am a writer, yet that is not how I earn a living, so do I have the right to call myself a writer?

Sometimes it feels like having a dirty secret, something to be embarrassed about even. I mean, who am I to think I can write something good enough to be published? So I keep my writing hidden from most people. Quite honestly I don't want the extra pressure or to field the avalanche of inevitable questions that would arise from voicing my dreams to all around me, so I keep it locked away. And that can be hard, because it feels like I am stifling my true self.

If I ran marathons, played in a sports team or was a member of the local amateur dramatics society, would I feel as reserved about talking about my interests and aspirations?

If  When (I'm being positive here!) I realise my publishing ambitions, I know I will feel differently. It will be affirmation and I will feel worthy of the title of author. Then I will have to be taken more seriously. I expect they won't be able to shut me up! But until that day I keep my secret.

Maybe it is just fear holding me back, a form of self preservation. I wonder if it is just me who experiences this limbo state, or is it more common? I suspect the latter, but would be interested to hear how others cope.




26 comments:

  1. Oh, the questions people ask when you tell them you're a writer!! I love watching their reactions:) Even if you're not published, you're a writer.

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  2. I realised recently how unvocal I am about my writing when two separate people told me they never realised I was a writer. I don't do it on purpose, but I've got to the stage where I assume people know.

    I was lucky enough to be published when I was 19, so before that no one would have taken much notice of my ambitions anyway, apart from my parents.

    Don't forget, you ARE a writer, even without the publishing creditials yet. Just like you'd be a knitter, even if your jumpers weren't sold in the Edinburgh Woollen Mill :-)

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    1. And to be fair that's not very likely .... have you seen my attempts at knitting? Thanks, Annalisa for the encouragement :)

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  3. I read somewhere a long time ago that if you write, you are a writer. So voila, you are. Why do we get so hung up on what others think? Oy!

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    1. I should shout it from the roof tops .... I am a writer! Thanks for the encouraging words, Karen.

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  4. Write away and a writer you will be, or a rhyming nut if you are me lol

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  5. I never told anyone outside my family I wanted to be a writer until I started applying to study creative writing at university. I did tell my family and close friends when I started querying for the first time (in 2010), but it wasn't until I started my English Lit/Creative Writing course that I started telling people my ambition was to be published when they asked about my career plans. (Things might have been different if I hadn't been around so many other writers, of course!)

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    1. Maybe that's part of my anxiety ... I'm not around other writers other than you great guys online.

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  6. I have recently thought these same things. I was doing to A to Z Challenge all morning and then I went to the store and it made me think how I'm recognized (at least a little bit) in the blogosphere but no one in the real world knows who I am. They don't know I'm a writer or a good blogger. I'm a nobody to them, but online I'm not a nobody. It was pretty depressing to think about.

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    1. You definitely are a somebody Chrys. Your are a great blogging buddy.

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  7. I think I must have been lucky when I first started as no one made fun of my writing or belittled me for not instantly becoming a best selling author. Friends and family took it as seriously as their own various hobbies and interests.

    Writers are people who write. Whether or not they've been published yet doesn't have anything to do with it.

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    1. Thank you, Patsy. Writers write I agree wholeheartedly.

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  8. I don't think of my writing as a dirty little secret, but I admit I kind of run off and disappear from the family when I'm ready to write.

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    1. Oh yes, I like a bit of peace and quiet!

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  9. I understand. The fact that I'm published hasn't made it much easier. But it doesn't need to be a secret. It's part of who you are.

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    1. It's definitely part of who I am. Thanks, Alex.

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  10. Even now, I don't tell many people that I write. It's something many of us experience. Feeling as if we can't say were writers until we're published.

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    1. I'm not sure why we find it so hard, but it seems to be! Thanks so much for stopping by.

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  11. I think you should absolutely call yourself a writer, but I understand the desire not to be questioned. "Outsiders" don't understand how hard it is or our struggles. But to me, you're absolutely a writer! :)

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    1. Thank you, Lexa. Non-writers don't seem to get how long everything takes. Actually writing a book is only the first step on the journey!

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  12. It is the fact they don't get it, or understand the ins & outs, ups & downs of writing that I don't volunteer the info, but I've been told the more you say it, it will train your mind to accept it. I am a writer and so are you.
    Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

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  13. The way I see it is that you write, and therefore you are a writer.

    Sometimes when I feel like holding back, I remember that saying..."dance like no one's watching...sing like no one is listening..." and I write like I've never received negative criticism of my work. (And of course I've dealt with negativity, but when I'm trying to put myself in the zone, the positive self-talk helps.

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  14. Writing is definitely a marathon! When others know you are a writer, you get deluged with unrealistic expectations. "When's your book coming out?" I want to scream, but, instead, explain editing. That's makes their eyes cross. LOL!

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  15. I feel exactly the same way. It was so hard for me to tell even my closest family that I write - it's such a huge personal part of who I am, that I feel unbelievably exposed whenever I talk about it. I saw something on social media the other day (sorry, can't remember who/where it was!) about how we shouldn't need others to affirm or validate our dreams - we're the ones in control. You are most definitely a writer, and don't let anyone else tell you differently :)

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