iwsg

Another Insecure Writer’s Support Group post. I think this month for iwsg I’m just going to go with a full tilt insecurity meltdown. Apologies in advance.

InsecureWritersSupportGroupI know that a lot of writers get insecure, and discouraged, and consider quitting. I also know that I am fairly lucky, having had some small success with writing and gaining a tiny group of readers. I am grateful for all that, truly.

But (here comes the insecurity)… have I come as far as I can? Have I finally reached the limits of my talents and my confidence?

I think there is a ratio of criticism to encouragement that must be maintained in order for creative people to go on making art as a job. Thanks to my shitty marketing skills and my horrible personality, I’ve lost the balance of that ratio. Lately I have had almost no encouragement and quite a bit more criticism than is comfortable. I realize I probably deserve it all, but still, it’s not fun.

And it makes me second guess my usual “I can take anything” attitude re: feedback. Maybe I can’t take “anything.” Maybe even my thick skin has a limit. I guess a stronger person would use the criticism to become a better writer? To produce more marketable stuff and learn to effectively self-promote? I am not that strong of a person, unfortunately.

I’m not willing to stop writing, but I think I have to stop “being a writer.” I have to let go of the idea that people should enjoy my work. I need to stop hoping for financial success. Maybe if I release those expectations, I will find some happiness in writing again. I hope so.

11 thoughts on “iwsg

  1. There’s no one who can take anything. It’s stupid that artists should have to take every piece of criticism with a smile. It’s not easy to hear and it’s not always productive.
    Anyway, I love the book you’re working on! Thought I’d remind you. It’s pretty great. I hope you feel better!!!

    • I’m usually really good at it, but I suppose lately it just has been so overwhelmingly bad that I’m having trouble. There is a certain amount of nervousness that is always present at this stage of production for me anyway, and that isn’t helping! It’s like, the natural thing at this point is for me to say “omg this is the worst book ever what was I even thinking??” and then when my beta feedback echoes that, it is a pretty big downer. Even for me.

  2. Marketing should be a four letter word. It’s a whole different skill set than writing and even though it’s required, I don’t think we should beat ourselves up for having trouble with it. I definitely need to do more as well.

    • I agree! Marketing is the worst. But without the reward of popularity and/or financial success, writing gets harder. At least for me.
      So I’ll keep trying, I guess.
      thanks for stopping by!

      • I have struggled with this in other areas of my life. “But without the reward of popularity and/or financial success, writing gets harder,” resonated with me! That’s how I felt about being present on social media as a photographer. Why post my work on Twitter and Facebook or even on my blogs when few people share those posts and my following isn’t growing by leaps and bounds every day?

        Right now this moment I am in a place where that isn’t the case. The shift happened when I realized the artists I admire use social media to connect with the public, but their commercial success came from the connections they were able to forge outside of social media with industry insiders. They networked as best as they knew how, kept putting themselves out there as artists, and at some point someone in the industry took an interest in them and helped get them before other industry insiders. That, not social media, is what increased interest in their art in the form of a paying audience and wider public popularity.

        When I keep that in mind it doesn’t hurt as much when my friends and acquaintances on social media don’t share my work en masse and cause my popularity and commercial success to explode. They are not the vehicle through which popularity and commercial success come, I just didn’t realize it. Plus something inside of me withers when I don’t share my art. Posting my photos makes me very happy, so I keep doing it.

      • Good words and great attitude, Wanda 🙂
        I feel the same about writing: sharing it makes me happy, almost as happy as doing it. I think I just need to reconnect to that internal motivation and stop worrying so much about the external stuff.
        Thanks for commenting and for the re-blog 🙂
        Hope you are doing well! (also I love your photography and I am so glad you share it!!)

  3. Totally feel you here. Yesterday I received my first 1 star EVER on Goodreads, from someone who doesn’t generally give one star ratings. (By the way, this same reader gave you 4 stars on one of your books, lol So take heart in that!!). All I can take from that is that either I hit a button they didn’t like, or we just have very different tastes. But yeah, it’s hard to put your hard work out there and have it criticized, even if you’ve been doing it for a while.

    Also hope you feel better!

  4. I know what you mean, Amelia! I spent over a year learning how to market my books. Just when I thought I had it down, KU hit and it reset everything. Stuff that used to work doesn’t anymore. The competition is just too fierce and without a substantial marketing budget, getting reader attention feels impossible. I have 1 or 2 tricks left to try and if those fail I’m officially out of ideas. A couple of weeks ago, I reached the same conclusion you did. I either need to focus more on the joy of writing and forget the financial/sales aspect or stop writing. My hobby that blossomed into a second career is about to be downgraded back to a hobby.

    • yeah, it’s a sad and hard realization. I still have hope that I can make this work, at least a little, but I’ve given up on the dream of paying my mortgage on book sales. 😦

      It’s such a different skill set: marketing vs. writing, and I think that most of us can’t do both equally well. I know I can’t!
      But more than that, I’m not willing to pour tons of time and money into marketing/promotion, nor am I interested in changing my stories to reflect current trends or popular themes. So right there I sort of have doomed myself a bit.

      Yet I keep writing, for some reason…

  5. Reblogged this on A Flowering Progressive and commented:
    I have struggled with this in other areas of my life. “But without the reward of popularity and/or financial success, writing gets harder,” resonated with me! That’s how I felt about being present on social media as a photographer. Why post my work on Twitter and Facebook or even on my blogs when few people share those posts and my following isn’t growing by leaps and bounds every day?

    Right now this moment I am in a place where that isn’t the case. The shift happened when I realized the artists I admire use social media to connect with the public, but their commercial success came from the connections they were able to forge outside of social media with industry insiders. They networked as best as they knew how, kept putting themselves out there as artists, and at some point someone in the industry took an interest in them and helped get them before other industry insiders. That, not social media, is what increased interest in their art in the form of a paying audience and wider public popularity.

    When I keep that in mind it doesn’t hurt as much when my friends and acquaintances on social media don’t share my work en masse and cause my popularity and commercial success to explode. They are not the vehicle through which popularity and commercial success come, I just didn’t realize it. Plus something inside of me withers when I don’t share my art. Posting my photos makes me very happy, so I keep doing it as a way to interact with those who already follow and appreciate my art, no matter how many/few they may be.

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