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Celebrating One Year of Insecurity

February 6, 2013

InsecureWritersSupportGroupSometimes it’s good to look back and acknowledge progress.

Take the case of my insecurity. I’ve been a member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group for one year now, and I have made so much progress bigstock_first_birthday_cupcake_7328690that I can hardly believe it!

A year ago I was terrified of sharing my writing. In my first post ever for the IWSG, I wrote:

… 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  … 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.

It’s been a whole year, but honestly I never thought I’d reach a point where I could let people, and especially other writers, read my words. Check out these ten, (count ’em ten!) chapters up for critique at Critique Circle:Screen shot 2013-02-03 at 10.44.36 AM

And thanks to this blog, and my classmates at HTRYN, I’ve begun exchanging manuscripts. What a great feeling it is to get feedback on my story, and to know that someone out there likes it!

Image courtesy of Lucy Clark @ Big StockI also discovered a cool side effect to sharing my work. I had reached a point where, though I know there are problems in my story, I didn’t know where to go with it anymore. My writer readers help push me towards a better solutions. They ask the hard questions, but ask in the nicest way possible. They make me think. My story grew, and is growing still.

It feels like I planted a tiny seed and ended up with a beanstalk that grew to the clouds.

To what do I attribute this achievement? Persistence. Determination. And the wonderful support of all the writers who came by to comment and encourage. It really does help to know that I am not alone in my fears. If I screw up I have this great cheering section to come back to.

So, now that I’m beginning to make progress in the area of sharing my stories, what’s my next challenge, hmmm?

For guidance I looked back to the rest of last year’s post:

Why not just leave the whole mess on my hard drive, and keep writing only to please myself?

… 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.

There is a lot of weird stuff on my hard drive that doesn’t fit into stories but that I stumble upon in the course of my journey. Odds and ends of scenes. More character interviews. Strange ideas. Cool quotes.

I’m afraid to share it. Maybe I need to start. This blog would be a great place to do that!

Thank you, all of you who come by every month to cheer me on! You have no idea how much that means to me.

If you want to check out the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, click on this link to join the indefatigable Alex J. Cavanaugh in his quest to free writers from insecurity and self-doubt. Thank you, Alex, for starting up this fantastic group!

What writing challenges have you overcome? What kind of weird stuff lurks on your hard drive?

Related posts: Psst … There’s A Story on My Hard Drive

Images courtesy of Lucy Clark and Ruth Black @ Big Stock

  1. scribblesfromjenn permalink
    February 6, 2013 2:28 am

    Congratulations! A year goes by much, much too fast. However, it’s nice to know we are in a new, better, place than before. Whoo hoo!

    • February 6, 2013 6:47 am

      Hi Jenn,
      Welcome to A Scenic Route!
      It does seem that the year flew by, but it was great to realize that I’ve overcome some obstacles along the way. 🙂

  2. February 6, 2013 5:15 am

    Hey 🙂

    Happy first anniversary of being insecure 🙂

    I love my blog for throwing weird stuff out there, so I’d say just do it – it’s not going to do any harm and what doesn’t bad-review you only makes you stronger, or something like that 🙂

    Congrats again and continued good luck for year 2 and beyond 🙂

    • February 6, 2013 6:51 am

      Thanks, Mark! 🙂
      So far my weird stuff has been well received, and I’m pretty excited to put more of it up there. But like you say, lukewarm responses will teach me something about my writing as well!
      Having the support of awesome writers like you has made this journey so much more fun!

      And, don’t worry, I’ve got plenty of insecurity for years to come.

  3. February 6, 2013 7:51 am

    Good for you! And yes, your blog would be a great place to share those tidbits that don’t really have a home. 🙂

    • February 7, 2013 6:51 pm

      Hey Melissa,
      Look out, weird stuff ahead! Okay, maybe not that weird, but it should be fun. 🙂

  4. February 6, 2013 8:39 am

    Very cool. A year can go by so fast and it seems like you learned a heck of a lot! Go, Kirsten go!

    • February 7, 2013 6:53 pm

      I think that’s one of the great things about keeping a blog: I can look back on where I was and surprise myself by what I’ve accomplished. Day to day progress feels so slow sometimes!

  5. February 6, 2013 10:43 am

    Congrats for making it a year! And you’ve made so much personal growth (not to mention writerly growth), you should really be proud of yourself. It is sooo hard to share writing with other people. So hard in fact, that I didn’t send my first ms out to beta readers before pouring it into agent inboxes (grade A dumb there).

    You can guess how well that went for me when the agents didn’t declare me a self-trained genius.

    • February 7, 2013 6:58 pm

      I’m super critical of everything I write, so I was honestly shocked when readers found things to like about my stories! That made it a whole lot easier the next time around. 🙂
      Not that it will ever be easy, just easier …

      Agents inboxes will be quite the hurdle when the time comes! (gulp)

  6. February 6, 2013 10:58 am

    Putting chapters up on a critique loop is a BIG step. It is probably one of the hardest in a writers journey. Congratulations on a productive year!

    • February 7, 2013 6:59 pm

      I admit it’s just a tiny loop right now–what is called a ‘private queue’, but it’s still words for people to see. I’m all about the baby steps. 🙂
      Who knows what the next year will bring?!

      • February 8, 2013 5:55 am

        Doesn’t matter how small, you’ve shared your work. That is awesome!

  7. February 6, 2013 2:11 pm

    It’s my 1 year anniversary next month (I think lol).

    Good for you Kirsten 🙂 I too feel that I’ve really progressed in this past year 🙂


    • February 7, 2013 7:02 pm

      You definitely have progressed a lot! I’m devouring all the stuff you share about your Faber classes, as well as the cake pictures. 😉

  8. February 6, 2013 7:45 pm

    Yay, you have made such amazing progress. Seriously. I do hope you share some of your strange hard drive stories now and then. I bet they are awesome.

    • February 7, 2013 7:04 pm

      Prepare for weirdness and fun! Thanks for the encouragement. 🙂

  9. February 6, 2013 10:30 pm

    Congrats on the anniversary. It is great to look back and see how far we have come. I know it was a huge step forward for me to share my work, but once I did, I felt more like a writer and that I was heading in the right direction with my writing. I need to look into critique circle. Looks interesting. Thanks for sharing.

    • February 7, 2013 7:09 pm

      Critique Circle is great and free to join. What’s cool is that you never know who might grab your story and make comments. For me that took some getting used to, but if you think about it, that’s really what it’s like when you publish, isn’t it?
      (If you decide to join, look me up and buddy me! My handle is ‘kirstenb’. 🙂 )

  10. February 7, 2013 6:45 am

    Well met, Kirsten 🙂

    It’s awesome to read about how far you’ve come in a year, it’s inspiring 🙂

    Jamie @ Mithril Wisdom

    • February 7, 2013 7:11 pm

      Hi Jamie,
      IWSG has made such a difference in how I view my insecurities. Gotta give credit where credit is due!

  11. February 7, 2013 10:10 am

    Congrats on your anniversary. I’ve found that a critique group is the best thing you can do for yourself as a writer. And, your blog is one of the most creative, humorous, and inspirational out there. Thank you!!

    And, as for what is lurking on my hard drive, oh, you don’t want to know. Just kidding.
    There is a lot on the HD, but I’m sticking to my rule – never delete anything. It might be just the thing you are looking for sometime down the road.

    • February 7, 2013 7:18 pm

      Wow, thanks!!
      I really enjoy working on this blog (aside from the time it takes me away from my WIP 😉 ) and it thrills me no end that you enjoy reading it. 😀
      Much of what is on my hard drive is so painfully honest it will never leave there. However, learning to be honest is what seems to give me my best story material. Learning how to share it might make me into a stronger writer.

  12. February 7, 2013 7:03 pm

    I really loved this post, and the cupcake! I never even thought about it . . . but last month was my one year in the IWSG:-) It’s been awesome! It looks like you’re reading a pretty good dream now;-) hahahaha–thanks for your support!!! I can’t wait to read your book one day!

    • February 7, 2013 7:23 pm

      I hope someday you like my book as much as I love yours!
      I was surprised and happy when I realized it has been a whole year of IWSG posts already, and that I’ve actually taken steps to overcome my insecurity.
      I thought a virtual cupcake was an appropriate way to celebrate. 🙂

  13. February 7, 2013 8:37 pm

    It’s always scary putting one’s work out there, but it gets better when you know you can put it into trustworthy hands. People who get what you’re doing. People you can rely on to be tough but gentle. People who *care* about making your work better and stronger.

    We may have to go through many beta readers to find those, but when we do–well, those people are pure gold. Hang on to the good ones you find. 😀

    • February 7, 2013 10:38 pm

      I’ve been incredibly lucky so far–maybe because I’m so reticent about sharing, and because I’m always happy to read others’ stories–my beta readers have done so much to help me understand my own work! I’ve got some keepers. 🙂

  14. February 8, 2013 4:18 am

    What a brilliantly positive post! I love this. To look back and see the evidence of how far you have come is great. You’ve given me a push to keep going and continue with my dream. Thank you! And I’m so pleased to see yours is going so positively. I look forward to seeing where this post is next year! 🙂

    • February 8, 2013 7:20 pm

      Since I never seem to run out of insecurities, I thought I’d change it up a bit, and post something upbeat! I’m glad I was able to send some good vibes your way. 🙂

  15. February 8, 2013 8:53 am

    Oh, gosh! I’d be afraid to dig into the dusty cobwebs of my hard drive! But you’re right. Your blog is your space to do whatever you please. It was so good to see you popped in yesterday. It’s so difficult to keep up with everyone around our community! I wish I had more time to do so. Yay to a year of IWSG!!

    • February 8, 2013 7:25 pm

      Hi Candilynn,
      I remember you were one of the first to visit when this blog was very new and scary to me. Blogging does take more time than I thought it would to keep up, but I enjoy doing it, and that’s what is most important in the end, isn’t it? 🙂
      IWSG has played a huge part in the growth of this blog, as well as helping me understand that being insecure doesn’t mean that I can’t be a writer!

  16. February 8, 2013 12:29 pm

    Excellent post…you did come a long way on the security front!

    • February 8, 2013 7:27 pm

      Hi Elizabeth!
      Welcome to A Scenic Route. 🙂
      I know I still have a long way to go, but knowing that I’ve made progress has been encouraging.
      Thanks for stopping by!

  17. February 9, 2013 5:44 pm

    Congratulations 🙂 I’m going to have to look into a group like this one of these days. Currently I’m pretty secretive about my writing until I feel like I’m ready to “reveal” some of it, but it makes for a tough slog sometimes.

    • February 11, 2013 6:52 am

      Hi Mike,
      I did a lot of the story finding work on my own as well before I felt I was ready to have someone see it. I’ve found there are different kinds of writers in that respect. Some feel they need input right away at the first draft stage, others–like me–have to let everything grow in the darkness of solitude before bringing it out into the world.
      Gosh, I’m making writing sound like a mushroom farm! 😉

  18. T.F.Walsh permalink
    February 11, 2013 12:23 am

    Well done on such a full year. You learned so much, and that makes it an even better year:)

    • February 11, 2013 6:54 am

      Thanks, Tania!
      Sometimes my little steps seem so trivial. Once in a while it’s nice to take the long view and see how they add up!

  19. Prue permalink
    February 11, 2013 11:03 am

    Congratulations on the 1 year anniversary! It’s not easy putting your work out there. You’ve done incredibly well and inspired me to post some of my work.
    Here’s to the next year. Go You! 😀

    • February 11, 2013 6:44 pm

      Thanks, Prue!
      I was certain that I was the shyest writer in the entire world when I started, so the thought that I inspire you makes me smile. I know I will always struggle with sharing work, but knowing I’m not alone with that has been a huge help.

  20. February 12, 2013 1:43 pm

    It’s interesting, I’ve never been afraid to share my writing. I’m shy in real life, but when it came to my words I was always eager to share them…I’m glad you’ve gotten better on that front! It would be a shame if you were to hide some of your writing gems!

    • February 15, 2013 6:50 am

      Funny, I’m the opposite in real life … not that shy, but when it comes to sharing something I’ve created, I’m terrified of rejection.
      Having the most awesome critique partners ever 😉 has helped me so much with this. Getting feedback and discovering that I can take the story even further than I ever imagined has opened a whole new world of possibility for my writing!

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