Insecure Writer’s Support Group

Welcome to another IWSG post. For those who don’t know, it’s a bloghop hosted once a month by Alex J. Cavanaugh. Here we can share our insecurities and encourage others who are feeling insecure. So if you want to join, go here to check out the details. 

As for me, I’m filled with insecurities. I could practically pick a new insecurity every day. But hey, to give us a bit of variation, I’ll move away from Doorways related fears and focus on something different. 
Well… somewhat unrelated. Or… uhm… not directly related? Oh screw it. It’s still Doorways related. But in a different way from normal. 
See, I handed Doorways over to my editor again. She might be a while on these edits, so it left me with what I think will be a few weeks before I need to edit again. 
Lo and behold, I got invited to Camp NaNoWriMo. It made me think. “Oh hey perfect! I can get some writing done. See how much I can add to my poor neglected rough drafts. Wonderful.”
But on 29 June, insecurity struck with the force of a bullet train. 
You see… I’ve taken to flying into my rough drafts with wild abandon. Often, I only know a tiny bit about the characters, and the climax of the story, or the end. Sometimes I only know the climax and that’s okay, because I still have something to write towards. 
But my insecurity lies with… You guessed it. 
Doorways. 

I spent six months just thinking about it and the world before I started writing it. After that, I spent a bit more than six painstaking years changing it into the story I sold to Etopia Press. I went through heaven and hell with that story. With the characters in it. 
And now… I finish rough drafts like… Well… I’ve gotten four into the shape I call “ready to rewrite” in the past three years. Doorways took four (or something similar). 
Thing is, I never feel as connected to the other stories. Doorways always lives in my head. The others… well… I think they do too, but I can’t hear it through all the Doorways noise. 
So on 29 June (most inconvenient timing EVER!) I suddenly wondered if I’m writing the other stories wrong. Obviously Doorways worked. But I basically ignored that method and flew into story after story. Possibly before they’re even ready to be written. 
The horror! 
It was like building a huge block tower, working on it for years, only to watch it topple because I removed the last block I’d placed. 
What did I do? Well. I melted down on twitter, only to have three awesome writers console me. Because of their messages, I realized two things I want to share now. 
1) You’re not the only one to ever feel this way. 
2) It really might not be as bad as you think. 
After spending a few hours calming down on the 30th, I grabbed one of those WiPs I “rushed into” and read it. 
And… it was good. Not brilliant, but not remotely close to the disaster I’d imagined it to be. 
I’m working on it now. Bits at a time, because it’s a fun book to write. 
Have you ever had a melt down because you thought you worked on an idea before it was ready? 

Before you go!

Sarah’s Reviews is giving away each of C. Lee McKenzie’s books here, here and here. Go check it out!

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36 thoughts on “Insecure Writer’s Support Group

  1. H Hi Hi I missed it,when i typed there was none, but now i see i am only the 4th in line
    hey hey. I too just aired my first installement in this series, i just joined in the other day.
    Best
    Phil

  2. I feel this way all the time. But that's what revision is for. You can always make a first draft better no matter how quickly you wrote it. Best of luck!

  3. All writers are different. Some will write every book the same way. Some won't. I know each one I've worked on has been finished differently. With my last one I even wrote scenes out of order! *gasp* I got all weird about it, too, before I realized it doesn't really matter. As long as it all gets done eventually. 😉

  4. I love this idea of there being a right time to tackle a particular project. I was that way, too until I started my JuNoWriMo novel. I wasn't obsessed with it until I got about 30,000 words in. Now, I can't think of anything else. If you let yourself let go of other stuff and get into the project, it can turn into your focus.

  5. It's funny how once we achieve a goal we stress over it. LOL Well, at least I do. I don't let myself bask for even a minute. I'm thinking that's perfectionism. Yup. I've been working on peeling that onion. And yes, I've played in that meltdown arena. You are not alone. Hope that makes you feel better. 🙂

  6. Glad you found the courage to jump into an old project again. You spent so long working on Doorways that something new is going to feel a little strange to start with but I'm sure once you get going you will feel that connection again. You can do it 🙂

  7. Oh do I relate to this post! I had my insecurity attack around the same time as you did but mine was after I just put 50k into my new WIP. Instead of feeling accomplished I sat down and worried that I did it wrong, that it was terrible, that I should have plotted it first (I tend to be a panster). I took a day off and that helped it look worthwhile again. My first book… It is a mess but I still am in love with it so I guess it will be worth the work I need to put into it.

    I'm glad that you had friends to help pull you through and good luck with your writing!

  8. I write differently now than I did with my first book. I had newbie passion then and dove in and wrote. Then I learned more about fiction writing. I wrote the sequel (not quite the same as a new ms, because it was a continuation of the story.) The experience changed a little, but not that much. Once again, I learned more and honed my craft some more.

    Now I'm writing a stand-alone. I still have passion with book 3 and I'm bonding with the characters after thinking I would never feel that strongly about a story and its MCs as I did the first, but it's different. Yet it's not a *bad* different.

    Another thing I've noticed is that I write more quickly now, because my fiction skills are so much more automatic. The internal self-editing voice slows me down sometimes, but overall, I'm faster.

    I say plunge ahead. 😉

    Great post! 🙂
    IWSG #118 until Alex culls the list again.

  9. I've had a writer's meltdown before. And I've gone “editing crazy” and made a disaster of my work. But now I've learned to recognize the meltdown–usually I'm a bit burned out when it happens–and I shut down the computer and read a good book until the crisis passes and I can think clearly again.

  10. People always seem to compare their rough drafts to their completed works, which isn't really comparing like with like. After all, the completed ones have had far more layers of fixing and rewriting to help them.

  11. I get seriously frustrated when I start working on something that my mind just isn't ready to focus on. I'm so wrapped up in my world for 'Adversarius', that sometimes I think I can't write anything unless it is directly related to that story. And I've started a couple of projects, I just put them aside because, well, I want to get THIS set of stories out first. It's clamoring in my mind and yes, I can't focus on something else through all the background noise. But I am getting there, I'm learning to tune 'Adversarius' stuff out, for the most part. I even have a couple projects in the works when I shift away from my big fantasy baby.

  12. I'm usually at the other end of the spectrum. I have my insecurity meltdown during final edits where I'm convinced nothing works and I need to start over from scratch. Thank goodness for beta readers and crit partners.

  13. I haven't had a meltdown, but I have had to shelve projects. I have one with a note a the top that says: JUST DON'T GO HERE. Some ideas don't bloom. Some take time to bloom. I'm cool with that. I think of it like farming. Crop is coming. Wait.

  14. Meltdown? Yes. If you'd talked to me four hours ago, you'd have heard the lingering remnants of a rejection meltdown. So yeah, I'm worried all the time that my work is a disaster and I'm the only person who doesn't know. Every writer goes down that road. Every writer questions their process. I've tried five different processes, and I've found one that “works” for me but it is PAINFULLY slow. And worse, as soon as something needs to be revised, it holds up everything else. I can't recommend it.
    And yet. It's how I do things. I rush in with little more than a query letter for an outline. I write a first draft, and then I put it away. I come back to it after I've written another first draft, and then I rewrite it from scratch. Yup. Every word.
    And sometimes even that isn't enough.
    Your process is whatever takes you from a blank page to a book. Each book is different (I'm struggling with some uppity pirates at the moment!), and all the paths are totally legitimate. Good luck!

  15. I've not worked on something before it was ready, but I have put off something because I thought I wasn't ready. (Like my last book. I really shouldn't have waited so long to write it.)

  16. Everything I've ever written (with the exception of two short stories) I wrote before it was ready. I either had no idea where I was going or I had no idea how I was going to get there. Sometimes it works out just fine. Sometimes it requires a major overhaul–especially for longer pieces. I think DOORWAYS is going to be quite fine. 🙂

  17. Hi Misha,

    Oh my, yet another person involved with “IWSG” aka “I Was Seeking Gary”. Thank you for the mention 🙂

    You know me, never have a meltdown over such things. I just go with the flow and never get anxious over my writing. You will be fine.

    Gary

  18. I do this all the time… and then I freak out and don't write anything for ages. It's good you didn't give up and went back to it. Sometimes the hardest part is getting over our own doubts and fears:)

  19. No meltdowns yet… LOL… but I'm sure they are coming. Once I am in your position I am sure I will FREAK too!

    But the good thing is we all have each other to help calm and inspire us. Take a deep breath Misha and ENJOY writing. Don't worry about who will love or hate it. That will/should come much later in the process.

  20. oh yes. we all have those freak out moments and can all relate. always rant or talk about it and we listen to each other.

    and you're right. its usually not as bad as we first think =)

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