Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Insecure Much?




                                                                                
This is my first IWSG post! Thank you, Alex, for finding a way to unite so many writers together, because the truth is, no matter how strong a façade you put on, we are all linked… because we all have insecurities in one way or another...


For me, I feel pretty “put together” as a writer.  I’m not starry-eyed about the whole process. I know its work. And I enjoy everything from the fresh spark of a new idea, to furiously typing out words seeing where a story goes, to piecing scenes together, to finishing a manuscript, to polishing and sending to betas, to applying beta notes and tightening up, to querying, to subs, to… yeah, not a fan of the rejection part, but the whole process is magic.

My biggest insecurity? Or fear?

Is that I’m delusional. I’m afraid any compliment I get is a lie. That people are just being nice.

I really am dedicated to mastering this craft to the best of my ability, and I want to celebrate each small success, but what if the successes aren’t successes at all? What if they’re just lies?

***Now keep in mind, rhetorical questions coming up***

Is my work too far gone for help? Is that why my betas say nice things? Are my mom and family members giving me a pat on the back just because they’re required to? Even agents, when I get a personalized rejection letter full of compliments, are they just being nice?

I choose to look at writing like I have potential, that I am having small victories, but heh, this is an IWSG post—and I’m supposed to tell you what I really feel. But I suppose it’s good to have some doubt, otherwise we’d all be walking around like we own the world.

But like EJ Wesley said in a post I read today, “At some point, my faith was stronger than my doubts. Eventually, I trusted what I knew, and quit focusing on what I didn’t. There’s a place where fear gives way to confidence. Very much like riding a bicycle with training wheels, I came to a point when that extra support wasn’t necessary, maybe still appreciated, but not needed.”

Loved that, EJ! All of his posts are great. Anyone else share my fear? Thoughts? (Just don’t tell me I’m delusional) ;) And now I’m off to go check out the other IWSG posts. They’re always fun to read.

Red. Head. Out. :D 

67 comments:

  1. I feel delusional half the time I write and in different ways. I swing from "everyone's just being nice" to "this is the most awesome thing ever written." LOL!

    I love that quote from EJ's post. That's very true. At a point, you have to believe in your work and just do the best you can. :)

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  2. If you're getting a lot of good feedback, you aren't delusional.
    Welcome to the IWSG! Really glad you joined us, Morgan.

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  3. How funny.... (no not you :) just that I thought you were always doing the IWSG posts... I must be delusional :)

    Me thinks that all *your* fears are whayyy normal and I wouldn't even prescribe an aspirin...

    I would start worrying if you thought everything you scribed was the "bee's knees."

    So. You're. Fine. :)

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  4. Everyone has moments of self doubt, hell, I know I did, but never allow that self doubt in to cloud your self belief.

    In fact I am thinking of starting a self belief club!

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  5. ...self doubt tends to run rampant with us storytellers. It's all about believing in one's talent, and rolling with it ;)

    El

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  6. I know just what you mean. It seems like every wonderful writing day where I feel like things are going well and coming together, is followed by a day where I wonder if I'm completely delusional. Glad I'm not the only one ;)

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  7. "I’m afraid any compliment I get is a lie. That people are just being nice."

    Yes! I'm glad I'm not the only one. :) Great post, Morgan! (Not a lie. LOL)

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  8. Morgan.. welcome to my world. Jump right on in.. the water is frigid and eternally uncomfortable.

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  9. That is a fantastic quote. I do wonder if sometimes people just tell me my stuff is good, or that I'm good at this, just to be nice.

    But I don't want to send bad work out there, so though it might hurt both of us a little, I'd really prefer for them to tell me the truth. Perhaps sugar coat it a wee bit ;)

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  10. Oh, I feel this way too, Morgan! You are not alone. :)

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  11. You quoted me... for real?! You're lucky I can't hug through the Web-O-Sphere lady, because you'd be squished. That's alls I gots to say. :-)

    You rock. Believe that.

    Seriously though, Alex's Insecure group is something I must get around to joining. It's like he made it just for me. :-) I'll say this: If you aren't a little freaked out, scared, etc., I'm not sure you're doing this writing thing the right way. Those vulnerabilities bring the words to life, they keep us pushing for perfection--even when we know there is no such thing.

    Looking forward to more of your insecure posts, because they give me a lot of confidence. (Don't expect you to quote me all of them, btw. :-)

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  12. I know what you mean. The relevation is nice.

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  13. Oh, I hear you on this! It's something I worry about every single day. I don't know how to combat the fear, but I do know that you are amazing, and in no way delusional! <3

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  14. Morgan you're not delusional. You're a good writer and you're getting good feedback, that's awesome. Have faith in yourself and your beta readers and especially in your work. Head up red head! (:

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  15. Anytime we care so passionately about something there are stronger doubts. Trusting the good comments is hard, but it's a choice. Choose to believe the agents when they say it's great. Choose to believe that people are telling the truth when they say they like it. Believing these things is hard because we open ourselves up to greater hurt but we will never get anywhere if we can't see the good along with the bad.

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  16. Ooooh, I just posted my second IWSG. We're both newbies together :D GOOD feedback is GOOD feedback! Your betas don't get anything out of lying to you. Remember that... I'm guessing you're probably an awesome writer! (Which is pretty hypocritical to be coming from me because I have the exact same worry!)

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  17. You nailed one of my most frequent fears - is my writing really bad and no one's telling me. It's a fear that grabs you at the strangest times and sucks the air right out of your lungs. Especially if you've been living and breathing your WIPs for a long time.

    "You're not really a writer," it whispers. "This just another one of your sold-out-for-a-season hobbies. A passing fad you'll soon discard." And then visions of Cathy Bates in Fried Green Tomatoes come to mind.

    Great post, Morgan! :D
    IWSG #177 (until Alex culls the list again. :P )

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  18. I'm very familiar with those questions of yours! No matter how many people compliment my work, there's still that tiny little voice that questions everything. I'm primarily a short story writer (for now), and my confidence didn't start to build until I started making sales and getting good personal feedback with my rejections. But even then, I get those same old doubts every time I start a new project. So you're not alone!

    But it sounds like you have the right idea. The fact that you're honest about the industry and are looking at those questions from an analytical angle is a good thing. Recognizing that fear is a part of the process is the first step to overcoming it!

    Good luck!

    J.W. Alden

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  19. Hey Morgan, first off welcome to IWSG, as this is your first time! I really cannot believe that you haven't posted anything with this group before!

    So you think your delusional? Why on earth could you even contemplate that! You are a dynamic writer, who always has an exceptional way of getting your thoughts down in word.

    The brain is a twisted appendage indeed, using paranoia, insecurities and delusions to gradually undermine your determination and courage, don't let it manipulate your reasoning, don't let it win! Be strong and persevere! I am sure you will achieve what you desire in the end, just don't give up!

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  20. Because writing is an art, it's very hard to judge it subjectively. I'm sure no one is "lying" to you, and what one person doesn't like, another will. But I think it's great if you're getting personal rejections from agents. I get many full and partial requests and still get "I enjoyed it but didn't connect..." Depressing. But in my heart of hearts, I know I have a great book even if no one buys it...

    Welcome to IWSG! :-)

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  21. I have read that even Neil Gaiman himself feels insecure at times. Apparently, every time he gets about 3/4 of the way through a new manuscript he calls up his agent and/or editor to say how much what he is writing sucks. The editor/agent (can't remember which one exactly) then tells him to shut up and continue writing. He finishes and bam! A masterpiece is created. (I don't suffer from Gaiman worship like so many others, but he does put out some pretty good stuff.)

    I feel just as insecure, as do most of us. However, I usually trust when someone is telling me my writing is good--as long as it isn't my wife, my mom, or my dad--that it really is.

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  22. Oh my goodness, Morgy, I have thought the same thing many many times. That everyone was lying their butts off when it came to my books, because if what they were saying were true, I'd be on the shelves now! LOL. But seriously, girl, they are being honest. And just because your cps and your betas aren't agents, doesn't mean their opinion isn't valid. They've been through all this with you. I'm sure they've seen things that aren't up to par yet. And they are writers and readers. Their opinions matter! And they are the truth! And trust me, an agent or a publisher will see it too.

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  23. i feel the same way...
    family, prob being nice & dont know what to say to help improve
    friends say nice stuff or nothing, maybe didnt finish or didnt like
    betas & cps i depend on, if they like with no suggestions, they arent being helpful - we all need improvement, even a little!

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  24. My first review by a total stranger made me happy...it meant they liked the work, not me, right? Right Morgan? Tell me I'm right!!!!!

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  25. I totally have that problem, especially when I post stuff on my blog. I'm glad people are nice, but I also wonder how much truth is out there. Great post!

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  26. I'm delusional, too, but...in a different way.

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  27. EJ's quote is fabulous. And yes, I do the same thing. I figure about 50% of the time I am being patronized, but I'm okay with that because I'm going to keep working so that percentage rises a little every day. I hope to achieve 85% sincerity in other people's compliments on my writing before I die. :) 100% is unattainable.

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  28. My fear is becoming dry of ideas. Sometimes it's just a gigantic famine. Blank. Vacant Expression. Nada.

    You get the idea.

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  29. Good point about the whole just being nice thing. That's why I almost prefer my friends not to tell me what they think.

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  30. I definitely feel all those insecurities when someone says something nice about my writing. So glad to know I'm not alone!

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  31. Wait you mean I'm not the only one that feels that way? I am completely afraid that everyone is just being nice or pacifying me because they feel sorry for me. that I am so hopelessly pathetic that everyone is lying so I feel better. it's a crazy lie but one that I fight on an almost daily basis.

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  32. My biggest thing is that telling people I'm writing a book. They know I write but I don't like seeing their faces and 'encouragement '. I like keeping it to myself. I'm all right with people that write to crit my work but I don't like non writers to read it. Because writers understand everything, you know? I feel so insecure when they ask to read my work and I'm like, "No it's not ready yet! That's why I let crit partners read it because they understand. I love them :) (My iPad is not letting me add the last quotation mark. Grr.)

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  33. I probably have the opposite problem, since I've been writing since I was 4 years old and grew up with everyone, both adults and peers, telling me how good I was and advanced for my age. That kind of got me in trouble sometimes when I was younger and didn't have the greatest self-awareness or brain-mouth filter! I didn't realize how it would sound to other classmates, particularly at my new junior high where half the kids didn't know me, when they heard someone saying she was so much more advanced and smarter than they were. Even if it was said without malice or trying to be a snob, I now know why it rubbed them the wrong way.

    Welcome to IWSG! This is also my first month participating, though I thought I'd seen you posting in this group before.

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  34. I guess writers tend to be a bit cautious about those compliments. I definitely do. Welcome to IWG Great to meet you!

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  35. Couldn't! Agree! More! Every good review I get goes in one ear and out the other. The bad ones, however, I have memorized! I could quote them right now, but I won't.

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  36. I feel insecure ALL THE TIME. *Especially* now that I have a contract. I keep asking myself, "Was it all a first-timer's fluke?" And I keep telling myself that there's no way that I'll be able to polish this jumble of first draft words into anything that's decent. Sigh. Maybe those particular insecurities go away after something like 10 books, but for now, not so much.

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  37. If everyone is telling you you are awesome, they can't all be lying :) And you are awesome!

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  38. Welcome to the group.

    I feel just like you about this. I'm never sure, especially when it comes to what I write on my blog since that's where I've been getting the most feedback. Truth can hurt for a minute, but in the long term it helps us grow to become better. Kind words without honesty behind them will only lead to a bigger hurt on down the road.


    Lee
    Wrote By Rote

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  39. I SO feel this way all the time. Haha. But one thing, agents don't give you great feedback in a rejection to be nice. ;0) They just reject you. So, you have to hold onto that. You are an amazing writer. I've read what you've put on your blog. And I am not being nice. LOL.

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  40. It depends on who you ask in my family! Enjoy all of the positive feedback and work hard to continue to earn it. Julie

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  41. I totally understand. Doubt can be crippling. Don't let it set in! Welcome to IWSG :)

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  42. Awesome post, Morgan, and bravo for being brave enough to join the group (I still need to do that - but I fear the basket case I'll make of myself)! :)

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  43. I get those same fears all the time. It can be overwhelming. Then I remind myself that being a little paranoid is a good thing because it keeps my writing on its toes.

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  44. Doubts can mature into better things. Fear of compliments is just nervous energy, redirect it and you'll find a lot of other things to do. Glad you're working on your writing. Keep going.

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  45. I do the same thing too. Not just about writing, but other stuff too. Gotta remember to accept the compliment sometimes. It's hard though.

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  46. I worry about that sometimes... I've especially noticed that people here on the blogsophere are so super nice (not complaining, btw), and sometimes they compliment writing that really is not all that good,in my opinion. So I wonder if my writing really is good too. But I keep doing it anyway, because I love it.

    Allison (Geek Banter)

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  47. You're not alone. I do that, too. We just need to learn to accept those amazing compliments! :D

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  48. Great post babe! This reminds me of those moments when we are watching American Idol and a crappy singer gets up and they sing like they think they are Pavarotti or something. Then, train wreck … they get the truth, we can all hear how awful they are, but then they protest the judges rejection by saying that they have been told by everyone they know how amazing they sing … they are delusional, and all their friends and family just added to some serious humiliation.

    Remember, those cases are extreme; they have to search through half of America to find those few delusional people. We only see a few auditions compared to the hundreds of thousands that actually tryout. I am sure a majority of them have great voices, but remember it’s the entertainment industry and ultimately it comes down to one thing: CASTING. While I am no writer nor do I pretend to fully understand this whole process … I do find a parallel to the entertainment industry in the sense that as an author you are the talent and agents are the casting directors. Your query letter is your headshot; your manuscript shows your range of abilities. They are looking for all the right things to come together for a person to play the part they need given the current market climate, personality match with the agent, and skills that all come together at the right time. An agent would never sign a country singer if they hated country music. It’s all got to fit. But it sure seems like it boils down to being discovered … this is not a goal – it’s a wish. A certain amount of it is out of your control. So now what? … I really don’t know … I think that’s personal for each writer, do you find joy in the journey? Are you writing because you love you it? Do you mind paying your dues?(singers sometimes perform in dive bars and amusement parks for years before they are discovered – unless they got their start on the Mickey Mouse Club House … what!?! they have auditions this week?! totally going for it!)

    Just the ramblings of someone who loves a writer; my recommendation is that you take anything I say with a grain of sand … or is it salt? Whatever it is my hat is off to you for trying, the greater tragedy would be to let this adventure pass you by … for even the delusional AI singers; they will have a story to tell, character realized, and courage to boot!

    LOVE YOU,
    Hubs
    PS. You are a freaking amazing writer and I love that it makes you so happy! (Totally bias, but didn’t have to say so :))

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  49. You have nothing to be insecure about. I think you will be a great success and you'll see that come true very soon. Just keep it up, finish that writing, and get it out there into the world.

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  50. The trick is not to listen to your brain during those times you're feeling insecure. Just know that the feeling will eventually go away and you can pick up where you left off.

    Glad you joined the IWSG.

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  51. I often think of those auditions on American Idol, where the contestants are just miserably awful, and think, "Am I like that?" I mean, I think my writing is okay, but am I just terribly out of touch with reality?
    But like you said, there comes a point where you just have to trust yourself (and all the wonderful feedback you get) ;)
    Thanks for sharing...

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    1. Ha ha! Okay, I just read the comment a few above me. Seriously, I did not copy !!! Too funny....

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  52. Now you're one of us! Haha. :) I'm also not good at taking compliments. I'm always skeptical of how genuine the compliments are instead of just being thankful to get them.

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  53. Yes, people are being nice. They are, period. Just not all of them, so you only need to figure out who's that one or two that mean it.
    I guess yours shouldn't be called fear, just prudence, which is very good!
    Think of blogging itself! Any crap you - I mean to be impersonal here, so it's not directed at anybody - write, all your followers and people will act as if you've just created a masterpiece! Really, you've noticed that too, haven't you? Come on, you must have!

    I think it's all about creating the right balance: don't trust, but sometimes, when you're feelings advise you to, trust.
    Well, that's how I take it.

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  54. Oops, I meant to say "your feelings".

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  55. Hi, Morg,

    NO, I don't think ANY AGENT would blow smoke your you-know-what, just to be nice! THEY are NOT that NICE. Funny I was feeling a little of this about an hour ago when I didn't make it into yet-another-agentp-blog-based-contest.

    How often have I heard "Your writing is brilliant, magical, lyrical, poetic. No one writes description better!" Okay, fine, and thanks. BUT, why do I not make blog contests? Why do I only get one vote out of a fifty? If I am so"brilliant," WHY?

    So you see, sweets, you're so not alone thinking this way.

    Let us consider one thing.WE are what they say we are.... BUT, then again, SO are MANY others. Competition is stiff and there is so MAJOR talent out there ... especially when we all willingly help one another to improve. It's our destiny. It's part of who WE are: a sensitive and caring bunch.

    SO looking forward to reading your ms.

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  56. Morgan,
    This has nothing to do with your post, but you mentioned that your hubs speaks fluent Italian, and you'd love to move there one day.
    He might be interested in watching this video then: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bnqmr4usdr0&feature=related

    Cheers!

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  57. Your husband's comment brought a wee tear to my eye, that was beautiful!

    I think one of the most common attributes of a writer is the ability to feel delusional one day and awesome the next. Lets just tell ourselves we have to keep abreast of the wide range of emotions (character research and all that) and that it will pass. In the meantime, just keep doing what you're doing :)

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  58. MORGAN! I tagged you for The Next Big Thing! Check out my blog post on it. :O)

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  59. Ah, dearest Morgan, you are not alone at all! I, too, have these same 'delusions'. I want to trust the feedback, b/c sometimes it seems too good to be true, but I'm afraid to.

    Head up! Your writer friends won't let you live under such delusions long, I assure you.

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  60. I do think people are sometimes nice just because it is easier...guess the publishers do not have that luxury.

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  61. Cool first post here. Sometimes I believe rejection letters do make polite comments but only because they don't want to be the next ones to reject a future #1 bestseller.

    As far as family goes, they'll always lie to you because they love you. Lol

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  62. It can be hard to trust feedback--especially from friends and family. That's why I keep on telling them to not go easy on me, to call it as they see it :)

    Nutschell
    www.thewritingnut.com

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  63. i agree with u about being delusional! truthfully, u never know until i think you're selling tons like dean koontz and peaople really speak their mind, for good or bad
    but once you've reached that level, u probably have a tough enough skin to take anything!

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  64. You are the coolest, Morgan. Keep on doing great work. I've got to be more confident. You've inspired me to do so. :D

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