I think all writers are insecure.
Or maybe it’s just that all people are insecure.
None of us feel like we have it all together. Or live up to our own billing. We worry that someday we will be found out.
And to prevent that happening we hustle and talk and DO STUFF so that no one is ever able to see behind the curtain.
I just finished (really I need to say FINISHED because this one seemed to take FOREVER) my latest women’s fiction manuscript. I’d tell you the name, but it’s really a dumb name and I need to think of something better.
I sent it off to three beta readers and now I plan to just keep busy until I hear from them. I’ll distract myself with end-of-year-kid stuff like art shows and concerts and counties and GRADUATION (omg, I have a child-man who is graduating from college! How in the heck did that happen and does that make me officially ‘old’?)
Like every book before this one, I’m feeling a mixture of embarrassment and pride because I finished it (dang it) but it is also akin to walking out to get the paper in your underwear – the potential for looking ridiculous is huge.
But I trust these three readers. I trust their opinions and I trust their belief in me as a writer. Even if this one is totally stupid, they will find a kernel of something to appreciate and while they will point out all that is not working (because I’ve asked them to), they will also say – but you can do this (and mean it). They’ve seen behind the curtain and still believe in the power of Oz.
Every new story, blog post, essay, or article is always a risk. For every writer. At least, the writers I know. You can’t share your insides without eventually getting them stomped on. It happens. Thankfully, not as much as you think.
But it is the two-star review on Goodreads that haunts me, not the dozens of positive ones. Why do we (at least me) give so much credence to the negative? Are we looking for some validation that yes, yes, we are a fluke/fake? Where does all our early-childhood invincibility slink off to and why?
I’ve made it one of my goals for this year to shush those voices. I’m owning my abilities, such as they are (see?). I really do wish I could write like Ann Patchett or Wally Lamb, but I’m not them and I can’t be and there’s no sense comparing myself.
I work hard at my writing. It will speak to some people but not to everyone. Which is fine because, really, I don’t want my writing to speak to the haters or naysayers or the people who give two-star reviews and never listened to their mothers when they said, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”
I figure there’s plenty of mean in our world. And plenty of people who find entertainment value in that mean.
I’m not writing for them. And frankly, I don’t have time for them.
I’m writing for you – the dreamers and believers and people-who-look-for-good. The brave spirits who aren’t afraid to plumb their hearts, but value a happy ending; the ones who have a knack for love in all its forms. Most especially, for the people who believe in the power of a good story to change hearts and minds.
But I’m also writing for me—for the escape, the wonder, the magic, and all that I learn about the inner workings of my own heart when I spill a story on the page.
I hope you are writing.
And believing in the story only you can tell.
Hey, thanks for reading. I know you’ve got lots of options, so thanks for sharing a few of your minutes with me.
If you’re curious about what I’m up to, check out my website, CaraWrites.com.
If you’d like to subscribe to my (sometimes) monthly e-newsletter, click here.
And If you’re a dog lover, check out my other blog, Another Good Dog.
Released Aug 2018 from Pegasus books:
Find out more about the book, how YOU can help shelter dogs and everything you wanted to know about fostering dogs at AnotherGoodDog.org!