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Psst…There’s A Story On My Hard Drive

February 1, 2012

Hello. My name is Kirsten, and I’m an insecure writer.

Though, I confess, insecurity seems a mild word for my symptoms. Any presentation of my writing affects me physically. I can’t eat. I can’t sleep. My hands shake. My voice cracks. And that’s saying a lot, because I used to sing in a rock band. I’m used to people looking at me. But every time I send one of my stories out into the world, I feel like my heart will stop beating until I know for sure the world won’t hate it.

In fact, I’m probably not even a very good candidate for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, since I don’t really consider myself a writer at all. Everyone else is putting up work, sending out stories, getting beta readers, blogging…I just write. Quite a lot, actually. But all of it sits on my hard drive, awaiting some miracle that will transform it into a book that is good enough to compete with the ones I read at Barnes and Noble.

People sometimes ask me, why write, if not to share your work?

This conundrum is what kept me from writing for far too long. I feared that if my audience didn’t see what I saw, that the story would disappear from my imagination as well, as if it never existed. Or even worse, that my writing would become the subject of ridicule.

Then, a few years ago, I decided to start writing anyway, with the caveat that I would show my work to no one. I wrote the book I wanted to read, for myself, my private journal filled with the characters that dared me to write them down, living in a world that was a respite from the mundane one I inhabit.

Words poured out. Five novels of them, in fact.

Half a million words don’t lie. I have a lot of things I need to say and I’m afraid this might be what I was meant to do.

I can see that the wall between my fragile ego and making writing my life is built from bricks of insecurity, held together with mortar made of dread. I fear that my words will be incomprehensible, that my plots are ridiculous, and my characters insipid. I fear that I will not find a way to make them palatable to my readers, while staying true to myself.

Which, of course, begs the question of why? Why try to share what I am afraid to share? Why not just leave the whole mess on my hard drive, and keep writing only to please myself?

And, as much as I try to restrain my cynicism, I can see that the whole writing gig is fraught with hardship—the pay is lousy, the hours are whenever I can fit it in between a day job to pay the bills, there are no paid vacations, and the critics are merciless.

The answer wasn’t hard to find.

The inside of my head is dark and lonely, but now that I’ve populated it with worlds and characters, I want to invite other people to the party. If even a few people love my books and live in them, even for only a short while, I will have done something few can. I will have shared my dreams.

I’ve decided this is something worth pursuing. Next month, I’ll share the steps I’ve taken to slay the terrible dragon that is my fear.

Thank you, Alex J. Cavanaugh, for creating a place where those of us who acknowledge that the whole idea of letting our writing out its comfy hideout on our hard drives scares us silly.

For the Insecure Writer’s Group blog hop, follow this link.

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(Image courtesy of Mario Alberto Magallanes Trejo @ stock.xchng)
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16 Comments
  1. tashaseegmiller permalink
    February 1, 2012 9:27 am

    Great post. I think we all feel this way at times. Can’t wait to see where your journey takes you! New follower 🙂

  2. February 1, 2012 9:49 am

    Hi Tasha,
    Isn’t it great how the internet can help us build this great community of writers, where we can share our progress?

    Thanks for stopping by!

  3. February 1, 2012 4:48 pm

    Yeah, the fear of other people hating your stuff, I know what that’s like. And good for you for deciding to let people in to see your worlds. Simply put, that ain’t easy, and bravo to you for putting it out there.

    • February 1, 2012 6:59 pm

      Acknowledging how hard it is to face this had been important for me, and seeing that it is just as scary for others has been really enlightening!

      I’m glad you stopped by!

  4. February 1, 2012 5:58 pm

    Hi Kirsten, Love your website! And slay that fear like a dragon. Grrr, fear, go away!

    • February 1, 2012 7:02 pm

      Hi Karen,
      🙂 Glad you like the website! The Insecure Writers will prevail, even in the darkest hour…

  5. February 1, 2012 7:16 pm

    Hi, Kirsten! I’m a new follower via IWSG:) Loved your post. Kuddos to you for putting yourself out there . . . I’m sure most of us know exactly where you’re coming from. Keep on keepin’ on:):)

    • February 1, 2012 7:26 pm

      Hi Jamie!
      This was hard for me to do, but it’s getting easier with all the support I’m receiving here!

      Thanks for the follow. 🙂

  6. February 1, 2012 8:11 pm

    Your not the first writer to have these fears. They are universal. The whole process of putting your words out there should come slow. Dip your toe into the pool of other writers. And know that we were all at the same place you are now at one point. We share and understand your fears and insecurities. And we are also here to help you. Find other writers you click with, especially those in your genre. Get to know them and their work then start sharing a few lines, paragraphs, or even chapters at a time. I guarantee you will not regret it. Even the worst experience I had with a critique partner taught me so many valuable lessons. So don’t be afraid to share.

    • February 2, 2012 7:00 am

      Hi Nancy,
      Thank you so much for your comments. I have to say, that even starting this blog has been a small step in the process of letting my words out into the world.
      I really enjoy giving other writers feedback and encouragement. Maybe I just have to realize that they feel the same way about my work.

      I’m really glad you took the time to stop by!

  7. February 2, 2012 8:43 am

    This year is the Chinese year of the dragon. Harness him and see where it takes you! Who knows, the possibilities are endless. 🙂

    I agree with Tasha, we all feel this way.

    Someone once said to me, if you never put your work out there, nobody will have the pleasure of reading it.

    • February 2, 2012 8:31 pm

      Hi Candy,
      What a great way to look at this. I will harness that dragon this year!
      I’m thrilled with all the support I’m getting. It’s so good to know I’m not alone, and that it doesn’t make me any less of a writer to feel this way.

      Thanks for swinging by. 🙂

  8. February 3, 2012 8:42 am

    No, dearie, you’re definitely not alone!!

    Btw, the dragon will take you on many adventures! It can be a rough ride, and be sure to watch out for his fire breath. It can burn! But, what a thrill you’ll have!

  9. July 2, 2012 6:02 am

    Having an idea is one thing but putting that idea into a book form is such hard work. Don’t give up and remember to just keep writing!

    • July 3, 2012 6:06 am

      Thank you for your encouragement! I’m still at it. 🙂

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