Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Insecure Writers' Support Group

First of all, I want to say hi to all my lovely new followers since Karen's BBQ. I've visited so many great blogs in the last few days and I have a growing list of great things to read, and in return I . . . missed my usual Monday post.

I'm usually more diligent than that.

Anyway, today is the first day of the Insecure Writers' Support Group, brainchild of the fantastic Alex J. Cavanaugh.

Now, I am an insecure writer, so I've blogged about insecurities before - how tough it can be to share your writing and being scared of success, for example.

My main fear as a writer is quite simple. 'Is it rubbish?' I get halfway through a sentence and think 'Is this rubbish?' I get ready to email a draft to my beta readers and I think 'Is this rubbish? Am I wasting their time?' I read anything that an agent has ever posted and I think 'Will they think what I've written is rubbish??'

I've only ever found one trick for getting around that terror, and still managing to get words on the page.

I tell myself 'No one but me ever has to see this. I'm writing this for me.' And off I go.

Stephen King says we should write with the door closed, and rewrite with the door open. In other words, the initial draft is for us, for our eyes only. When we get to the rewriting stage, that's when we let people in.

It works for me. I hope it works for some of you guys!


  1. I love Stephen King's advice. Now, if I could jut let people in...

  2. Yep, insecure writer over here.

    In my current writing endeavour I just stop myself from thinking about the quality and tell myself right now it's all about the word count. Once I have words on a page then I can get to making them good.

    That little Stephen King nugget from 'On Writing'? I found that book massively helpful.

  3. That's really a good approach. Write the book you want to read, and others will want to read it too!

  4. It's always good to start writing for yourself and no-one else cos when someone else likes your story - the feeling is just lovely! Take care

  5. I write everything for me and the only way I can do that is telling myself no one ever has to see it. This is wonderful advice, Ellen.

  6. That is great advice especially for me. Thinking it's not good enough is what keeps me from writing. I like your advice now if only I could just follow it.

  7. That's some great advice from Stephen King! (One of my favourite writers by the way.) I'll definitely try it!

  8. I tell myself 'No one but me ever has to see this. I'm writing this for me.' And off I go.


  9. Good advice! Though it's awfully hard to open that door . . .

  10. I do the same, Ellen. I'm always certain everything I've written is so much crap that if I put it away and come back to it I'm *astounded* when it's not as bad as I thought. (Note: Still couldn't say good, just... Not As Bad ...)

    Great advice. The kind of advice you hope one day to be able to put into practice.

  11. I wrote, revised, edited and submitted my first book with the door closed. It was a really bad book. :(
    Since then the door has been wide open. My skin is getting thicker and I now hate critiques that say nothing but "I liked it!"

  12. That's the attitude! I just plow through that first draft for me, enjoying what I'm doing.

  13. Sarah, it is so hard, isn't it!

    Zoe - yep, that was from On Writing. One of my own favourites :)

    Karen, great advice!

    Kitty - when you write for yourself first and someone else likes it, it's so unexpected! It's a nice surprise :)

    Karen, glad you liked the post.

    Good luck, Dafeenah, I really hope it helps.

    Sabrina, he's one of my favourites too, what's your favourite book? Mine is probably Misery.

    Cheers, Donna!

    Golden Eagle - I agree, it is hard. That's when you need a trusted loved one!

    Amalie, when I did NaNoWriMo last year, I thought the book I wrote was utter drivel. When I re-read it in February, the plot was terrible and disjointed and it was full of filler, but the characters were likeable so I decided to keep going with it, and now I'm working on the third draft and hoping to query by the end of the year :) Finding out it's not as bad as you thought is great!

    Avadonja, I think you're right, keeping the door closed for the whole journey can end badly. Personally I can't open it until at least the first draft is done but I admire people who can get feedback as they go :)

    Alex, glad to know the method works for you too!

  14. I usually find I'm a little different. I find I start to crave feedback early on in my writing. Having you as a crit partner has been such a huge help in keeping my motivation up and getting stuff finished.

  15. Aw, thanks Paul!

    I find critique as I go along absolutely crippling, I need to just write for myself and then let people in when I'm finished. Funny to see how differently people work!

  16. Ellen, That quote of Stephen King's is excellent. I love it. I think I work the same way. My first draft has to be for my eyes only. Later on I can start thinking about what the rest of the world might think of it. :)



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