Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Insecure Writers Unite!

I stumbled across this blog today by Alex J. Cavenaugh. He put together a group of bloggy types who also happen to be neurotic writers. Sounds like my kind of people, right?

He calls this list The Insecure Writer's Support Group. If you write in some form or another, you should check it out. Fun group of people. I'm supposed to list off things I worry about or things I've overcome.

What I've overcome: Knowing my writing is good enough.

Writers have issues with confidence. I know this makes us sound a little pathetic, like we sit around and worry while we type.

We do. I used to worry about my writing, if it was good enough. I'm past that stage. I know it's good. I've written long enough and read so many books that I can safely say my novel is a polished piece of art. I'm excited to release it. I know people will love it, be astonished at the twists, cry a little when someone dies, and get a rush of adrenaline when the characters overcome an obstacle. This took years of practice and research, but I'm positive I'm an excellent writer.

This doesn't mean I've stopped worrying.

Now I worry about money and marketing. Will it pay the bills? Can I sell enough to make this indie publishing thing worthwhile? How do I market to many many people? Do I start looking for a real job now...or next week? If I hide in the pantry and cry, will I feel better? Don't worry. I don't actually cry in the pantry. It's too small.

Writing is hard and scary. Think about it. Language is so ethereal. We take sounds and stick them to letters. Clump a few letters together and you have a word. Throw some words together and you have a sentence. Line up enough sentences and a story forms out of those small representations of sounds. Crazy isn't it? Can you get more abstract? Language is the most fragile and powerful of constructions. I am grateful to be a part of that, even if I feel lost sometimes.

Writing takes practice, work, luck, and time. Being good isn't always enough, but we all hope it will be when we set our little creations free for everyone to read and judge. Hope, just four little representatives for random sounds, is all we have.


Matthew MacNish said...

You totally just spoiled your book. Now we know someone dies.

Charlie Pulsipher said...

I'm like Joss Whedon that way. If it's scifi or fantasy, someone's going to die.

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

I don't mind spoilers. And Joss Whedon is a genius.

I'm glad you've decided that you're writing is good enough. Truthfully, I think that nearly everyone that I read has writing good enough to be published traditionally. Agents of course would argue that point with me.

Marketing is a strange animal. I read a post yesterday about this on Locus and the author said that even the Big Six do not get behind everyone. They pick and choose who to do a huge marketing campaign for and the other authors suffer that don't get this treatment. It makes me wonder what the point of being Big Six published is if there is no guarantee of a million dollar marketing campaign.

Publishing is such a strange animal.

Charlie Pulsipher said...

It pretty much comes down to what they offer you for the advance. If they offer 2k, don't expect to get heavy duty marketing. If they offer 60k, you can expect a decent compaign to recoup their money plus some.

Publishing is strange and getting stranger.

Joss Whedon and JJ Abrams should colaborate on something. That would be epic.

DB Stewart said...

I think insecurity makes me more secure. Or not.

Brent Wescott said...

I think you should sit down when you type on your computer. It should help ease the stress at least a little.

Denise Covey said...

Ah,spoilers, who cares? I'm just so spiffed at your confidence or bravado.Go! My IWSG post is all about crying into my wine, but it was catharic and now I'm getting into my edits like there's a tomorrow.

Thanks for your post. My next one will be a lot more like this one.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Publishing yourself or going with a publisher doesn't matter, because yeah, you have to do most of your own marketing. That word terrified me at first. But I still managed to set up a blog tour for my first book and continue to do guest posts even though the book's been out almost a year. Funny, I rarely talk about either book on my blog, yet people keep buying the first one. I'll credit my publisher because I really doubt it's from my efforts!
Glad you joined the support group!

Charlie Pulsipher said...

@Brent- I knew someone would catch that. I didn't feel like drawing a chair...too many legs with me and the table. I was afraid it would look crazy.

@L'Aussie- Thanks. Be confident. Writers need to be confident and keep writing. Just like anything else, the rest comes after.

@Alex- Thank you for starting the group. It is fun to read what other writers feel and share in the success and hope as well as the fear and doubt.

Charlie Pulsipher said...

@dbs- Exactly!

Kev D. said...

Thanks for the pep talk. I'll try and remember it later when I write, erase and re-write the same thing ten times before deciding that it DEFINITELY sucks, and then abandoning it altogether.

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

I bought and read your book. The illustration of which area to drink from on a toilet is too funny. Great job.

Charlie Pulsipher said...

@kev- I just went and looked at your blogs. You are hilarious and do not suck. Don't abandon it. Sometimes you have to suck to get with Halls.

@Michael- Thanks! I'm glad you liked it. Though, now that I think about it, zombies may like you less if you drink from the bottom. My novel should be done soon too. I am super excited.

Angela Ackerman said...

If your pantry was bigger, would you cry in it then? Cause I totally would. That's where people keep the Oreos.

I think that once you are on the publishing track, all writers enter the same mode: Fake it until you make it.

We're all insecure, we all worry and have a truckload of doubt. Getting an agent or having editors take our book to acquisitions--these things don't change things. The negative emotions don't go away even after these stepping stones.

All we can do is paste on the bright face and keep moving. In the end, that is what leads to success...not talent or being supr-smert at writing...just plain old perseverance. :)

I think the support idea is great. We're all in this together, and if we stay on track, we'll succeed together, too. :)

Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

Hannah said...

I REALLY hope no one punches me in the face after reading my book...unless, it's because my book is so awesome and they wish they wrote it. Or I created realistic hateable characters. But then I'm drawing the line.

Charlie Pulsipher said...

@Angela- As a kid I always had some hidden place to go just to get away. Eight siblings. A pantry isn't really a good one. People would be in and out. My favorite was in a hedge that had a hollow inside. I could watch the sky through the leaves, cry, just hide out, whatever. I miss that hedge.

@Hannah- Yeah. I'd take a punch in the face for those reasons. But any other reason and I'm ducking.

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