I joined up with the Insecure Writers Support Group back in October. It’s exactly what it sounds like – if you need inspiration or support, if you need to rant and vent about how slow (or quick!) your writing career is going, or if you just want to connect with other writers out there in the world who might be having the same insecurities you’re having, I suggest you check it out. Even if you’re doing amazing, oozing confidence and pumping out novels left and right, and just want to lend an ear or a few words of support, this group is for you. It is a network of bloggers who are also writers that post to their personal blogs on the first Wednesday of every month to share any current problems or doubts they may have involving their writing. I’ve also seen blog posts filled with words of advice and encouragement from writers whose careers are going swell.
My post for the IWSG is a little late, but I didn’t want to miss it this month. And boy, do I have some insecurities for you.
At the beginning of the month I was on top of the world. I usually am when I start a new project and jump into it with everything I’ve got. I signed up for Nano and got a huge head start, was excited about my new idea and looking forward to working on something different since my main novel had been a bit slow going.
Then, I hit the dreaded Week 2. I distinctly remember Week 2 last year. That was the first time since deciding to strive for a career in writing that I almost gave up completely. I spent so long outlining and planning that when my main character defied me and my plot I shut down. It worked itself out in the end and I got the thing done. Though the story line and characters in their present state aren’t what I want them to be, I finished the draft. Getting through that draft set off a chain reaction of new ideas and insights into those characters that told me where the story needed to go. That first Nano year taught me that I was trying to force myself to use methods that didn’t work for me as a writer. I can’t adhere to predetermined plots. Some of my best ideas come during the writing/typing process, while my fingers are channeling my story straight from my heart before my mind even gets involved. Incredible stuff. Tons more work in rewrites and edits, that discovery writing… but infinitely more fun.
So what’s going on this Week 2? Surprisingly, I’m not worried about my plot or where my characters are going. I’m not stressing over the story itself, as I decided from the beginning to discovery write the novel. “Pants it,” if you will. No, my insecurities don’t involve my Nano novel.
One of the worst doubts I’ve been struggling with this year is the fact that I hadn’t buckled down to achieve my writing dreams until much later than I expected to. Throughout school, I wanted to be a writer and I knew it. That’s what I told people, and I scoffed at anyone who told me I needed to get a “real job.” But after a while, the constant barrage of “you need something to fall back on,” “writing isn’t a valid career choice,” “you won’t amount to anything if you don’t go to college,” etc., started to wear at me. I might have still pushed on and followed that dream if I hadn’t attached myself to someone the moment I got out of high school. Many of my current anxieties and self doubt issues stem from that first relationship.
But that’s a different story altogether. The point is, I lost my way over the years and settled into a bland, miserable life of cashiering and the like, coming home to a spouse I refused to admit wasn’t right for me. My desire to write – do much of anything else, for that matter – faded and disappeared.
I was re-introduced to it in my late 20s, and vowed to chase that dream once and for all after I discovered Writing.Com. This time, it’s gonna happen. But when? I am turning 31 this year. While I realize that’s not “old,” it’s not exactly young, either. I worry about being over 30, knowing how far I still have to go and how much work there is to do before this writing thing becomes my life. It’s tough to maintain the motivation to write in the face of being stuck full time doing a job that depresses the hell out of me. When I think about getting away from this job and immersing myself full time into writing, I can often get that fire lit and start working my ass off again. It won’t be easy transitioning into full time writing, I fully understand that and am willing to work at it… but I think the impatience gets to me sometimes. How long will it take? Or, more accurately, how long will I have to trudge through this miserable career to get to the one I actually want?
Though writing is my passion, the dream that drives me, I have to fight tooth and nail against the mental exhaustion that clouds my mind at the end of a work day just to get myself to write. I worry about hanging on and doing what I have to do to achieve my dream. A little evil part of me is terrified about the possibility that it will never happen.
That, dear readers, is what I’m insecure about this month. All I can do is keep moving forward, whether I’m sprinting or crawling, because to stop would be the worst thing I could ever do to myself.
Don’t give up.