Insecure Writer’s Support Group

Today is my first ever post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, which is aimed to air insecurities and to support other neurotic writers.

It’s actually really fitting that today is my first foray into Insecure Writing territory, because something happened to me this morning that actually falls neatly with the purposes of this group.

I was happily going along, minding my business, opening my MS to edit when it hit me.

Right over the noise in my head. Over the clamor between my characters, my muse and my internal editor. My inner critic woke up from her hibernation and spoke.

“What are you doing?”

And all went silent.

Then she really got started.

“What are you doing? Sitting day in and day out, working on perfecting your WiP. You can fix everything you see now and your CPs will still find more things that are wrong. You could spend the rest of your life writing stories that will go unappreciated because they might not even sell.” and on and on and on. Every little statement felt like a whip to my back, drawing blood and draining my courage to face my long line of mistakes.

I sat there, staring blankly at my document, trying to find my balance when one of my Doorways characters, Darrion, spoke up:

“Don’t be an idiot. Of course my story is full of errors. That’s why you’re editing. And of course your CPs will find problems. It’s the reason you have them read your work. Now stop whining and get going. The story isn’t going to edit itself. Now… if you’ll excuse me.”

Then he kindly beat my inner critic up before gagging her, chaining her and hanging her upside-down in a very obscure corner of my mind.

Obviously, his bedside manner leaves a lot to be desired, but he has a valid point. There’s nothing wrong with having something wrong in your writing. At least you found it and can fix it. Same with getting a long list of suggested edits back. It means that there are still ways to improve. We should only panic when our writing sucks and we don’t know how to fix it. And even then, it only takes a bit of elbow grease. 

Do you have one character who takes care of your inner critic for you? How do you handle doubts when they appear?


24 thoughts on “Insecure Writer’s Support Group

  1. I think I need to create a character just for the purpose of keeping the critic behind the ropeline until such time as they are needed. That might help. Excuse me whole I introvert for a while.

  2. Yay for Darrion for beating up your inner critic.

    And you're completely right about panicking when you don't know how to fix something.

    Personally, I give things time when the doubts appear because I know my emotions about any given project swing way high to “this is the best thing ever” to “this is total crap.” If I'm having a latter day, then I know I need time from the project to figure out why I'm having that feeling, then I can usually fix it and move on.

  3. I'm the same way when it comes to critiquing my own work, it never feels perfect enough. Darrion is right to beat up your inner critic though. I find that it's better to try to push the worries to the back of your mind until later; it helps me to try to focus on the task at hand. Try being the operative word! Thank you for sharing Misha! 🙂

  4. Oh, yeah, it's when I'm editing that my inner critic hunts me down. It's usually in between editing passes. I've finished the first edit and was fearful of starting edit two. But a friend recommended Beyond the Words, which has a section on editing–it reminded me what a blessing it is to edit–the opportunity to turn my lump of clay WIP into a novel. I always forget that part.

  5. I have been going about this all wrong! I have been beating up my inner critic – I need to create someone to take care of that for me and let me get back to work! Brilliant. New follower 🙂

  6. My character will often make an observation that something illogical or otherwise, lame, has happened. Usually my inner critic crawling out of that deep pot I've buried it to tell me my story is on shaky ground. I'm glad you can work it all out.

  7. You're right. There is nothing wrong with having problems in your writing. That's why we edit, but how do you know when it's ready? Because we could spend a lifetime editing. Most published books aren't perfect. Some aren't even close. (Oh–and be “we” i basically mean me).

  8. Welcome to the IWSG! Glad you have Darrion to beat up your critic for you. I usually have to tell her to take a hike myself. Nothing is ever perfect for everyone, that's life. I think that's what makes writing succinctly ours.

  9. I too am a first time IWSG participant and my post was pitiful compared to yours. Great – another insecurity to add to my insecurities! (just kidding, I think). Great post, I really enjoyed reading it. I think my characters are sleeping . . .

  10. My muse got offended by my inner critic and my hero is sulking in his spaceship and refuses to listen to my transmissions…the villain has gone in search of her as he needs to make his grand entry.
    Please can I borrow Darrion, he seems to have done an admirable job for you.
    Don't sit on it for too long lest someone come up with something similar before you.

  11. Hi, I'm just dropping in. I'm making an effort to follow new people on the blog hop today – no easy task!

    My inner critic has been known to take all my notes and throw them around the room – I've learnt how to control her now, because THAT'S not a good thing to do to unnumbered pages!

  12. Why am I not surprised that Darrion took care of that little nag for you? haha. Such a good boy. Just ignore that inner critic of yours. They've got more issues than we do.

  13. I edit with this nagging voice all the time and have no Darrion to shut her up. I will have to consider all my characters and find one who is up to that job. Its full time and often out of hours. Its thankless too. I wouldn't do 🙂 X

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