Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!
HOW IT BEGAN:
Alex J. Cavanaugh, the founder, noticed a lot of blog posts from writers mentioning their doubts, concerns, and lack of confidence. He also saw the positive replies they received and realized that the writing community offered an abundance of support. Writers want to see other writers succeed, which is how he came up with the Insecure Writer’s Support Group.
We post on the first Wednesday of each month. Check out our membership.
Every month we have an optional question and they always make me put my thinking cap on and examine my writing life. This month IWSG is asking:
What’s the one thing about your writing career you regret the most? Were you able to overcome it?
The one thing I regret the most when it comes to my writing career is my lack of confidence, or maybe not taking myself seriously. Or maybe even taking myself too seriously. They all three might go hand in hand. Seems I’ve always doubted and denigrated my abilities in an effort to prepare myself for failure. For some reason, I have always expected to fail.
Looking back and analyzing my lack of confidence, I can identify spurts of bravery popping periodically out of the blue. Like when I learned that Southern Writers Magazine needed a writer, I had a spurt of confidence and applied. Only afterwards did I hit my forehead and ask, “What have I done? Am I crazy?” I wrote for them for almost seven years.
Another spurt of bravery was when the entire staff walked out on a local magazine editor; my daughter and I walked in as if we knew what we were doing. The bi-weekly folded a year later, but we had an entire year of creating a magazine, interviewing city and government officials and business owners. Such a wonderful but hectic experience. That spurt of confidence paid off.
My spurts of confidence are sparse. I’m truly a “NO” person. When I’m asked to do something I always say ‘no’ first, then analyze, visualize the situation like a play in my head. I suppose that’s my so-called dress rehearsal.
Once I was asked to replace a speaker at a conference. I immediately said no. Hubby reminded me that this was something I’d always wanted so I called them back and accepted. I’d spoken at small conferences before but this one was a one-room conference with almost 100 people. Fear and dread consumed me but it was one of the best experiences of my life.
Another “no” came about when the director of a continuing education department of a nearby university asked me to create a writing program. No, no, and double no! Why would he think I could do such a thing? When he asked again and again, I finally said yes. What fun creating classes for writers to take, even teaching one!
When the music director at my church asked me to write a Christmas play I said no, but then God gave me an idea and I sat down and wrote the first act. Of course, I had to call her back. I’ll never forget the thrill of watching my characters come to life on stage.
I don’t tell you this to brag but to share the torture I put myself through—needlessly. Lacking confidence and saying NO out of fear is one of the most miserable feelings one can have. It’s almost painful!
Think about it: If fear of failure keeps us safe then it also keeps us from success. If we protect ourselves by saying no, if we don’t value and use the talent God gave us or take advantage of opportunities He hands us, then where are we?
Some day we might be wrapping ourselves in regret because time has passed us by.
Let’s make 2022 work for us. Let’s make a point to accomplish something on a monthly basis. If you’ve never submitted anything for publication to anyone, promise yourself you’ll do it soon. Getting one thing published will boost your confidence so much, you’ll want to submit again and again and again.
And the second part of that question … was I able to overcome it? Nope! I’m no braver than I was five, ten or fifteen years ago. I just swallow my fear …