A to Z Challenge 2013

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Insecure Writers - Overcoming Insecurity Through Critiques

I joined the Insecure Writers Support Group recently and today is our scheduled post.  Insecurity is something I'm facing big time lately, though I don't have a really good reason why.  It started as an indescribeable funk and spiraled down from there.  I've tried reading blogs by all my fav authors and aspiring authors, but although I love reading it all, I don't feel less insecure.

Not too long ago I declared my intention to find crit partners.  Surprisingly, this has had an affect on my mental state.  Despite the fact that critiques can be hard to swallow sometimes, I'm actually more positive and optimistic.  I have two people so far who have offered to help critique my WiP and I'm looking forward to their perspectives.  I guess the reason why is because after I read their critiques (and take a deep breath acknowledging that the world is not ending), I hope to have some solutions.  I am hoping I'll find some good stuff to take away from the critiques and push through that last wall, finishing my story.

I guess my point is that for me, critiques provide answers as opposed to the vague questions of "what if" floating around so often in my head.  Like "what if my writing really does suck" or "what if all this editing isn't really helping improve things".  I don't mind difficulty but I hate being in a vague state where I have no idea whats wrong or what to do about it.  So while I remain insecure, I'm slowly becoming less so (maybe).

Feeling insecure today?  Maybe you just need a good critique to discover what you're doing right and how to fix what's wrong?


Marta Szemik said...

The insecurity you're describing never leaves me. You're right: no matter how many times we read, edit, go through our work there's always the doubt. But, there comes a time we have to let it go. I have some control issues :), so letting something less than perfect go was a problem. And I say less than perfect, because no matter how many times I read through, I know I will find something (although it's been professionally edited). Critique: great idea to have a good partner who can help you polish your work. I find it difficult to critique someone, because I feel bad if I have to be negative. Keep at it, write from your heart, and it will all work out!

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I think this is excellent advice. And with the critiquing you also get to network and that helps keep the lonely writing funks at bay.

Chemist Ken said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chemist Ken said...

I haven't gotten to the point yet where I'm ready to find a critique partner. I still haven't finished my first manuscript. Part of the reason I'm putting it off is because my first story - the one I'm using to hone my writing skills - is fan fiction, and I'm not sure how seriously anyone will take that.

BTW, How did you find your CPs?

Eric said...

Marta - I understand and completely agree with everything you're saying. It's tough to get past, this insecurity thing. As far as critiques though, even if you're saying something didn't work, it's not necessarily negative. It's really up to the person being critiqued to understand that nothing is personal and there's always something good you can learn if you take the right stance.

Susan - Thank you. It's surprising that it has helped, but I'm glad something has helped spur me into writing more.

Ken - First off, if you're asking for critique partners and do so in a serious way, I'm assuming whoever steps up will take it seriously (no matter what it is you're writing). For the most part, writers are invested in the process and making things better. I found one CP by putting up a post on QueryTracker.net, on the advise of a number of my fellow writers here in the blogosphere. The other CP is a writer friend that offered to help out. I actually have shied away from asking friends because I always feel it's such an obligation to put the burden of a critique on somebody. I guess it's easier to ask a "stranger" to do it than somebody you consider a friend? I don't know if that makes any sense at all, but there you have it.

Travis Erwin said...

In small doses insecurity can be good. it reins in the overzealous urge to send things out before it's too early but if it stops you from writing or submitting at all it can be deadly.

Abby Annis said...

I saw your post over on QT. Are you still looking for readers? You can email me: abbyannisblog(@)earthlink(dot)net

Eric said...

Travis - I guess I'm too far towards the deadly side of the equation than the overzealous urges side. But that's okay. I'll get there.

Abby - I'll send you an email so we can chat about it :)