Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Insecurity - Insecure Writer's Support Group post for April 2013 #IWSG

I almost missed the IWSG post for April. It had to be written today and it's now late evening and I only just remembered due to some terrific people who are also part of the IWSG group leaving me comments on the last post today, wondering where this month's post is. (Yes, I know that's a run-on sentence, but this is a blog post, not a book, so deal with it.)

Today, writing about insecurity seemed appropriate. I just completed the Chapter Book Challenge. I run the challenge, so I had a lot of stuff to deal with over on the ChaBooCha blog, on the ChaBooCha Facebook group and organizing prizes to send out. And I did all of this while also writing a complete first draft of a chapter book. I am not very confident about the story though.

Most of the Chapter Book Challenge members are at the stage where they are exchanging their stories for critiques, and I am not confident enough in my own story to be willing to share it yet. I'm not confident enough in any of my stories yet to share them. I know they all need revision, and I know that, through critiques from others, I will be able to get some perspective on where the revisions are most needed.

But there is that awful niggling voice in my head that tells me my friends and critique partners will lose respect for me when they see how awful those manuscripts are. Once they read what I have written, they'll think to themselves that I shouldn't even be bothering. Part of this insecure feeling comes because, well, on these first drafts, maybe those thoughts would be partly right. They need a lot of work. But my stories aren't meant to be perfect on the first write. The first draft is meant to get the story down and then revision and editing and re-revision have to take part in making the story stronger. Beta readers and critique partners and eventually an editor all will take a hand in making my stories shine. I shouldn't feel this worry about what my friends will think of me if they read my first drafts; instead I should be hoping they will come up with some great insight as to how I can make my stories stronger.

The other part of this worry comes from the fact that I have read some really wonderful books out there, books I can not even hope to write to the level of, but I have also read some really poorly written self-published books out there. Most self-published books are terrific, but a few writers are so eager to be published that they publish before their writing is ready for it. They have the basis of what could be a good story but instead it lacks the necessary element to draw the reader in to the story. They have some brilliant writing, but it's mixed in with a lot of tedious writing. They could be so much more, but they jumped the gun and published too soon, without enough revision and practice. I worry that I will do the same, or that I will never be able to make my stories shine enough to be published.

But I have to stop letting those niggling thoughts bother me and get back to the writing, to the editing and to the revising. I am a little bit in love with each of my stories and it is my job to shine them up enough so that when others read them, they will fall in love with them too.

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