Wednesday, September 2, 2009
This week we've been talking about our insecurities as a writer. I started searching my heart when the subject came up, and once I realized what mine is, I wanted to skip this post! lol
My biggest insecurity as a writer is never being enough. Of being weighed and found wanting.
When I read the above line, I immediately know all the things to say to myself. "Don't be ridiculous." "That's silly." "Writers should never compare their works." "It doesn't matter what someone else does, do what you do". I've even said those same things to others! But deep down, sometimes, the insecurity flares.
I think it started when I published a suspense novel, Midnight Angel, with The Wild Rose Press. I knew they were a new small press, I knew it wasn't the same as publishing with a mainstream publisher, but they were legit. They had editors. They payed royalities if not advances. I thought it'd be a great stepping stone to my dreams. I researched them, developed a great relatioship with my editor, and did my best at the time.
But for many around me, that wasn't enough. People, acclaimed writers I admired, warned me not to. Told me it was settling. Told me to wait until a big wig publisher picked me up. Told me I would regret it, etc.
I stuck with it anyway, and published two short story e books with The Wild Rose Press after that. But the whole time, my bubble was somewhat burst. I kept doubting, thinking "what if the voices are right?" For some awful reason, it didn't matter that my family was thrilled for me and took me to dinner to celebrate. It didn't matter that I had a real book contract in my hands from my publisher or that my friends couldn't wait to read the book. I only heard the negative.
I attended a writer's conference that year after my release and didn't sign up to put my book in the conference bookstore. I was embarassed. Even though my church family raved over it. Even though readers seemed to love the story - I knew writers would see the flaws. I knew readers might love the suspense but writers would see the mistakes and holes. I kept my head down about my book.
After that, I continued writing and learning and attending conferences, growing in craft. I realized that I could have done a lot better with Midnight Angel but everyone has a "first book" and from what I hear, most authors would love to shove their first book in a drawer and hide from public view.
And that's the way its supposed to be! We're supposed to keep learning and growing. If we never got better than our first book, something is WRONG. You know what I mean?
There's no need for shame or embarassment in the process - a lesson I am still learning.
Later, I got an agent, who I admire and have a wonderful relationship with, and who has sold several Love Inspired stories for me with hope sfor more. My career with Steeple Hill is off to a wonderful start, and I am so thankful - but I also am thankful for my stepping step beginning with The Wild Rose Press.
Anyone out there relate? Am I alone in this insecurity? =)
If I am, it's okay. Because over the years since Midnight Angel, I've learned - and am still learning - that the only One I need to seek to please is God. My Heavenly Father. When the insecurities arise, all I need to do is stop and ask myself "who am I doing this for?" "whose opinion truly matters"?
Then the answer is clear. And I have the courage to keep writing. =)