Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Have I ever mentioned the insecurities that go along with being a writer? In the first stages of writing a manuscript you believe that your every word is your legacy to the world. Beautiful. Perfect. Witty. Insightful.

And then you wake up.

The problem with writing for a living is that you have to get used to something we don't usually seek out. Criticism. When others critique your work you become defensive and insecurities are stirred. Getting to the point where they don’t destroy you takes time. But with time you come to realize too that the insights and tips from other writers are growing your writing, making it stronger and smoother, more appealing.

Other things stir our insecurities. Last week, for example, when I exchanged crits with someone else who also works here at Borrowed Book and is the creative genius behind this site—I won't mention her name--I experienced about three minutes of panic. You see, we’re both working on a compilation project, which made it much too easy to compare my work to hers. For that three minutes I traveled the road of mine-stinks-this-is-really-good-why-can't-I-write-like-this. In other words, a total freak-out. And then I began critiquing the story and got lost in the rhythm and flow of the words and stopped playing the comparison game. My insecurity passed.

At some point we all have to face our insecurities, whether on a personal level or professionally. Tough crits don’t bother me anymore because I recognize their value. Comparing myself with other authors is not something I allow myself to dabble in for long, understanding that we each have different styles and approaches and that’s what makes our writing unique. The worst thing you can do is coddle your insecurities. They will derail the train of your career before it ever has a chance to puff away from the station.


  1. I LIKE being called a creative genius. LOL!! Now, if I could just convince my family...

    Sandra, thank-you, thank-you, thank-you for your kind words. (I assume you meant me when you referred to a crit partner. If you didn't mean me, don't tell me, please) :-)

    I have been suffering with SUCH insecurity the past few weeks, so this post is so timely. I know we all have times when we doubt ourselves, but thankfully, we can encourage one another to keep on.

  2. Aw, your family knows, they just don't tell you so you won't get a big head.

    And you are most welcome, my friend.

  3. This is a great post, Sandra!

    I confess that I have a very hard time when it comes to criticism--I do get defensive and depressed, as you say. I hope it won't take TOO long to reach the point where I am at least a little less sensitive and a lot more open to learning. :)

    This morning I am hoping to dive into my WIP and actually get some writing done!



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