Are you an insecure writer?
Join the club. I think it goes with the territory of writing and I think there are three very good reasons why.
- You read books – you know what they’re supposed to look like. You’ve just scrawled your masterpiece and the mess you just created doesn’t resemble any book you’ve ever read.
- You get stuck when you’re writing. Blocked. The story just isn’t going anywhere. You believe you’re a failure.
- You read what you wrote this morning and this evening, your head tells you it is rubbish.
All that sound familiar? So what can you do about it?
To take the last one first, that’s your Inner Critic talking. And she is great. She is the voice that keeps you wanting to make everything perfect. Better than perfect. And if you aspire to be a good writer, then you need her to be critical. But not yet. When you are writing, she is a nuisance and you need to turn her off. Especially when you are writing that first draft. Keep her and everyone else away and let your creative juices flow, let the muse work, whatever other metaphor you like, but just write. Worry about what it looks like later.
And so you get stuck at times. Writer’s block. You’ve heard of it, lots of people get it, so now you know what it feels like. It isn’t the end of the world. Write something else, edit something, write some nonsense poetry or go for a long walk and tell yourself it will be better tomorrow. Give yourself a well-earned break.
So the books, those beautiful published, bound books adorning your bedside table that you desire to emulate. Do you know how many drafts it took to get to that stage? No, nor do I, but you can bet your favourite pen that they didn’t land on the editor’s desk after their first draft, whispering ‘publish me’. They were written and re-written, revised, edited and changed more often than the British weather.
Be critical at the end, when you have a finished product. In the meantime, be kind to yourself. Give yourself the space and the time to write. And just acknowledge that as an insecure writer, you belong to a very special club.