Ah . . . insecurities. The bane of a writer's existence!
I'm convinced writers are wired differently than ordinary folks. Because of our tendency to feel deeply, we're able to create characters and feel their emotions. Not all writers are like this, but many are. And it's this same tendency toward strong emotional pulls that can create unhealthy attitudes in our psyches towards ourselves. Because let's face it. Our writing is an extension of us. Like a child, or a much-loved pet. Talk bad about our children/pets and you're talking bad about us.
This isn't limited to unpublished writers either. I used to think once I got a contract all of these doubts would fade away. Because someone saw merit in my work to publish it, that would be the confirmation I needed, right? Um, not so fast. We're always going to face doubts and insecurities. Knowing that kinda helps. Then we don't feel so weird when we constantly questions ourselves!
I remember one time a couple years ago feeling incredibly discouraged in my writing. I’d just read a novel that was everything I wanted my novels to be. The plot moved me, the characters became incredibly real, and the message was powerful. Every time I sat down to write my own fiction I would think about this other author. There was no way I was ever gonna write like that!
I asked for advice from author James Scott Bell. He’s been a writing mentor to me, and what he said hit home. He told me first of all I wasn’t alone in feeling the way I was feeling. All serious writers and artists have been there before, he said. Then he encouraged me with this bottom line: I needed to realize that no two writers are the same. I had MY story that no one could ever write like me.
Then he said something else I’ve never forgotten. He compared writing to what God does with spiritual gifts. Not everyone has the same gift, but when we develop our own gifts it contributes to the whole tapestry. I needed to be the best C.J. I could be. And if I gave my full attention to my own writing, not comparing myself to anyone but just digging deeper into my story, the concerns would go away. Jim said, “Writing itself is always the best antidote to the writing blues.”
So today if you're feeling like I did, know that you're not alone. All of us Scribble Chicks have totally been there (and might even be there as we speak!). I'd encourage you to try to disregard the doubts whenever you can. It's kinda what I wrote about last week, turning off your inner critic so you can actually get the words down.
God hasn't given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind. When God speaks to you He's going to be the positive voice in your life. If he needs to convict you of something, He'll remind you quietly and gently---He's not going to condemn you. So you can know right now that all those insecurities aren't from Him.
What insecurities are you feeling this week about your writing? Do you think they're legit or are they just pulling you down? How could you take those insecure thoughts and turn them around for your good?