The truth is that most writers are needy.
~Stephen King, On Writing, p. 220~
As I write this month’s entry for The Insecure Writer’s Support Group, I imagine opening the door to a quaint coffee shop. The heavy aroma of roasting beans welcomes me. I walk in and take a seat in a luxuriously large and inviting sofa. Its cushiony softness envelops me.
Settling in, I look around and see a lot of people, some are familiar, but many are not. Everyone has a friendly smile as they murmur softly, warming their hands around oversized earthenware mugs steaming with hot cocoa, coffee or tea.
Just as I start to feel comfortable a spotlight falls on me. Suddenly the murmurs fade and the coffee shop hustle and bustle stills. Everyone is waiting for me to speak. The atmosphere is saturated with camaraderie, understanding and encouragement, which gives me the strength to confess my latest insecurity as a writer:
I worry when I think I’m clever. Chances are that I’m never as clever as I think I am. Take for instance my Halloween post where I ‘dressed up’ my blog as the blog of Edgar Allan Poe. The idea of blogging as Edgar struck me over a month ago. I thought it was a great way to make my Halloween post special and unique. Excited by the prospect, I wrote Poe’s ‘profile’ and blog excerpt confidently.
But as I hovered my mouse over the ‘publish’ button, I suddenly wondered if I was the only one who thought it would be fun to blog as a long-dead, world-renowned author?’ Sure the concept made me smile. But would my writing do it justice? Could I make readers smile too? I steeled myself for a barrage of criticism (How derivative!), a pelting of rotten tomatoes, or worse, no comments at all. The fear that my attempt at creativity would go completely unnoticed almost kept me from ‘publishing’, but I took the risk and received a small but positive response.
More importantly, I enjoyed researching Poe and learning about his critical theory. I don’t remember studying his theory of composition in college. Whether others enjoyed The Tell-Tale Blog or not, the post was worth writing and the risk was worth taking.
The lesson in all of this: Stop second-guessing myself and allowing doubt to erode my confidence.
Before sinking back into the welcoming arms of this over-stuffed coffee-house chair, I must also admit my insecurity about NaNoWriMo. I’ve known about NaNoWriMo for four years, but this is the year I’ve signed up. November is such a busy and chaotic month. But I figured participating in a group challenge would motivate me to make time to write no matter what else is going on. I’d love to be as disciplined in my writing as I am in my running. The first step is to make writing a priority; the next is to make it a habit. NaNoWriMo should help me do both.
I’ll be sure and let you know how it goes when we ‘meet’ again next month. Until then –a round of hot cocoa for everyone!