We writers all do it, let our insecurity get in the way of what we’re trying to accomplish. We let it hold us back. Something I’m finding as I take a very personal book and shop it to agents. After 9 query letters, I’ve received 9 No’s. It makes me want to stop, hide the book under my pillow and cry.
After spending the last 7 weeks healing from shoulder surgery, I’ve had a lot of time to think, a lot of time to re-assess and a lot of time to feel sorry for myself. I’m not where I want to be physically or professionally, I’m not this, I’m not where I should be. I started thinking about the Writer’s Deadly Sins.
The Insecurity of Fear –
The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. Franklin D. Roosevelt
I’m terrified to send the next letter, put myself out there, expose myself and a book that became something so personal it feels like each rejection is a rejection of myself and my person. It’s ridiculous, I know. And yet, I promised myself I’d sent out three query letters a night. After the 9th rejection, I haven’t sent out another. I will tonight, I swear it!
The Insecurity of Comparing Yourself to Other Writers –
Try not to get lost in comparing yourself to others. Discover your gifts and let them shine! Jennie Finch
This is my biggest fault as a writer. More so because I see others succeeding where all I feel I’m doing is spinning my wheels. I try this, I try that, and all I’m looking for is a simple boost, a simple jump from nothing to one, just to show I’m making progress. Sometimes I stop reading other’s posts on Facebook because I just can’t deal my own lack of confidence.
I’m me, however, once in a while the comparison might lead to something amazing. Like when I walked into my 20th class reunion. I’ve talked about speaking with a former classmate, Joy Meredith who I found out was a published author. The jealous, the anger at myself grew and pulsed until I finally sat down to write my first book.
Still, don’t compare yourself to other writers. It’s not apples to apples, it different genres, different stories. Just be you.
Not Giving Yourself a Break –
Women need to hear the words, ‘It’s okay if things don’t go exactly the way you want them to.’ Give yourself a break! Brooke Burke
To sell books you need to market them. That means social media, blogging, book fairs. There’s so many pieces in the overall scheme I get overwhelmed when I realize I’m not doing everything there is to do. I read The 30 Book Marketing Challenge, by Rachel Thompson, which was set up to be doing something everyday for a 30 day period. And I did. I was crazy with carving out the time to look at a new website, change-up a Facebook page, tweet something important. It made me nutty, depressed, jealous. Yes, I recognize I need to be doing most of the things she wrote about but realistically, I was not getting graded on my work, it will not make me a best seller after 30 days. What it will do is help. Rather than making myself nutty, I should have given myself a break, taken one action when I could and realize that it wasn’t going to change over night. I can only do what I can do; after all, I work full-time, write in my free time, raise two children and care for a house.
Insecurity makes you Forget to be Proud of Your Accomplishments –
You have to remember that the hard days are what make you stronger. The bad days make you realize what a good day is. If you never had any bad days, you would never have that sense of accomplishment! Aly Raisman
I might not be where I want to be but I can’t forget that I’ve published three books and have written another three. That’s six books that I have fretted and stressed over, that I have passionately crafted. Not everyone can say they’ve written a book. I’ve written six and I need to remember that I have accomplished something. And if I want more, I will grab hold of the accomplishment and carry it around proudly.
Insecurity and Forgetting Your Passion –
My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style. Maya Angelou
Writing makes me happy. I find confidence when I craft a story and when the story works with the series. Sometimes I forget what I really need to do is write passionately.
My last writer’s sin…
…is to forgetting the seven-year old I was so many years ago. She’s the one who fell in love with Nancy Drew and the detective story and she’s the one who decided definitively that she wanted to be a writer. I need to remember myself when I was her and honor the dream I came up with so long ago. I know what I want to do, now all I need is to take another step in that direction.