Recently, a young member of LERA (Land of Enchantment Romance Authors) commented that her writing stunk. She was appalled at the drivel that came out of her head and doubted sheâ€™d ever make it as a writer. Since I was at that time going through an epic battle with my muse, I commiserated, pointing out that I hadnâ€™t produced much but bilge for quite a while.
Then the rest of these very talented writers chimed in. One, a NYT Best Seller, admitted she was afraid of the day readers would realize she really wasnâ€™t all that terrific. Doubts and anxieties spewed forth like a lanced boil. Yeah, pretty ugly imagery but appropriate for those ugly thoughts we all have.
On the whole, artists are a mass of insecurities. For the most part they work alone, with only their own strength of will keeping them at task. Their work goes out to an ambivalent public, and they wait for validation, generally through sales.
Those artists known as writers do not have to suffer the pain of standing with their artwork and watching the world walk by without stopping. Well, unless theyâ€™re at a book signing! On the whole, a writerâ€™s validation is through positive reviews, or well thought out not so positive reviews, and book sales. When sales are good, writers can take a breath but being for the most part not always so secure, we wait for those numbers to drop after the first flurry of sales. When sales are not so terrific, we start scanning continuing education courses for a fall back to our writing non-careers.
Having revealed the disease Iâ€™m not sure I can come up with a cure. Itâ€™s not like we can tell ourselves not to be insecure. Certainly sharing with other writers helps. Getting away from my writing nook out into the real world sometimes helps. Accomplishing something, whether itâ€™s managing to write a full page on a new manuscript or finally nailing in the fencing thatâ€™s been held up with baling twine has made a difference for me.