Writing is amazing! There is nothing quite like piecing together details and stringing them into a successful story that draws readers in. Writing is such a wonderful way to hone creativity and add beauty and understanding to the world. I LOVE to write! And most of the time, I feel like I’m pretty good at it. It can be hard for me to get started, but I love the times when I get lost in my work.
Unfortunately, I am also very, VERY insecure, both about myself and my writing.
I often hear about people who have hundreds of ideas competing for the main focus of attention in their brains, or who have a handful or more of stories they’ve already finished. It’s easy for me to feel inadequate when comparing myself with these people because I’ve only had one idea for a story every year-and-a-half or so, and I haven’t finished a single one yet.
Then, there are the writers who write every day, and/or have impressive word counts whenever they sit down to write. Looking at them, it’s easy for me to feel discouraged by my sporadic writing habits, and how I still haven’t learned to stop focusing on each individual sentence in my work as I write it (I’m doing it right now) in order to see the bigger picture of my stories and make sure my characters and scenes are cohesive.
And THEN, there’s all the stuff I didn’t know I didn’t know, like what passive voice is. I honestly thought I knew what it was until we talked about it at writing group the other week. I thought there was zero passive voice in my work. You know what? I do it all the stinking time! And if I habitually do that kind of weak writing, what other awful stuff is in my manuscripts that I don’t even have the knowledge to know that it’s bad, or the tools to fix it?
To top it all off, there are probably thousands of writers who were already published at my age, who already learned how to harness their talents to work for them, and fought for their dreams of success so hard that it didn’t matter to them what got in the way—they made it happen. I… am not there yet.
I am in a wonderful writing group who supports me so well, especially by telling me where my writing needs to improve. Their honesty makes me better. But it also scares me sometimes. A lot of times, actually. I’m not as good at taking criticism without taking it personally as I want to be. I’m so glad my group doesn’t pull their punches. If they did, I would never learn to separate comments about my writing from comments about myself. But the stretching experience of gaining a thicker skin and greater perspective is hard for me.
More often than I’d like to admit, worrying about what my weaknesses are, worrying that I might discover even more of them, keeps me from writing. Sometimes I get thinking about just how much work becoming and being a published author takes, and I freeze. It feels so hard, and though I know I’ll regret it for the rest of my life if I don’t at least try my hardest, but that isn’t always enough to get me going.
But you know what? As scared as I am, I’m still trying. I’m still writing. I have limited knowledge and experience, but I know I won’t get anywhere by sitting on my hands and claiming that what I’ve already done is enough. I have to get out of my comfort zone, and once again, the ladies in my writing group have been the best support for me in this. They’ve gotten me to submit what I felt was my worst work, they’ve encouraged me to become more of a public voice through this blog, and they’ve even gotten me to agree to write a short story for our anthology, “Beyond Instinct.” These are things I never imagined I would do, and I probably wouldn’t have done them if I had been left to my own devices.
It often doesn’t seem like it, but I have come a long way in my writing journey. I keep sharing my work with my writing group, and I keep trying to learn all I can from those I know are ahead of me on the path to publication. I have only learned how to truly make my writing better by putting myself out there, by making mistakes that I can then learn from.
I have three kids and a dog that take up most of my time, but I’m still working to figure out what kind of writing schedule works best for me. I’m not much of an ideas person so far, but I already have a few great ideas I can keep working to finish. I am terrified of unknowns, and how the future of my writing career is full of them, but when you love to write, and want to be published, you just have to dive in!
The whole point of this post, and how it’s filled with so much stuff about me, has been to hopefully connect with some of you who feel some of the things I’ve shared, who spend so much time fretting and worrying about your deficiencies that it can be easy to forget how much you love writing. Our fears are not something we have to live with. We can conquer them and be truly amazing. We don’t know everything, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t keep writing, or that we aren’t capable of learning and growing and making beautiful stories.
YOU are capable. YOU can do it.
YOU are worthy of writing.
Let us know about how your writing journey is going by posting a comment!
This post was written by Rachel Virginia White
We're all writers, we're all moms, writing our way through the "brambles" of life and our stories.