10 things that make writers insecure (that we don’t talk about)

Yeah, yeah. I know. It’s Sunday and I’m supposed to be resting.

NOT! Day of rest? WTF? Clearly somebody who wasn’t a writer started that meme.

So here’s my tongue-in-cheek list of things that might make writers insecure. I mean, beyond the usual “OMG I TOTALLY SUCK AT THIS WHY AM I WRITING THIS IS POO” angst. As we all know, many creative-types (whether you write, paint, sculpt, do music or whatever it is) are a bit on the sensitive side. Which is actually contradictory, because we’re putting things out into the public world for people to look at, which invariably will draw critics who will smash our sensitive sides into quivering piles of angst, whether they have valid points or not. So on the one hand, here we are all sensitive about what we’re doing and yet we put it out there for lambasting. I haven’t figured out that contradiction, yet. Maybe it’s a type of sickness. Regardless, there are things that just make people who work in creative fields get their insecurities all up in a twist. These are some of them, but most of us won’t tell you that. So here I am, gossip-mongering. šŸ˜€

1. Getting ready to release a book just a few weeks after a fellow writer releases a book and that fellow writer’s book is getting gajillions of accolades and everybody’s talking about how awesome it is. This makes some writers want to just quietly gather their things and go home, put on the TV and lament that they could’ve been a contender, maybe, had that other writer not been so much more awesome.

2. Blurbs on other writers’ sites that say how awesome their books are and your life is a meaningless desert of ennui if you don’t read that author’s work. Meanwhile, the blurb on your site says: “fun read, good to kill some time” or “doesn’t suck.”

3. Parties where it comes up that you’re a writer and someone invariably asks what you write and then says “never heard of it” and adds “should I read it?” To which the writer is stuck. If she says “yes, you must read my work. You’re deprived otherwise.” then she looks kind of like a douchecanoe. But if she says, “oh, I don’t know. If you’d like to, I guess so.” which then makes her look like a sad and shipwrecked douchecanoe. Although, to be fair, there are many, many writers who are brilliant shining lights in literary-land who have never been heard of at some party in a state far away. Hold on to that.

4. As a follow-up, people who say something like, “If you’re published, how come I haven’t heard of you?” Um. Maybe because there are almost 1,000,000 books published in this country every year? Nevertheless, this makes some authors start twitching about not doing enough promo work.

5. As another follow-up, somebody saying something like “how come you can’t make much money if you’ve published that many books?” At this point, you’re better off taking your sad, shipwrecked douchecanoe right into the rapids rather than attempting to explain the vagaries of the publishing world.

6. Reading “how to write” blogs and realizing that you have engaged in every single one of those DON’T DO THIS in terms of craft. At which point the writer feels cold and clammy because the book she’s just about to release has several writing no-nos in it.

7. Bad reviews that somebody forwards to you with the subject line “FYI.” (here is a pep talk blog)

8. A really super-cool cover on another writer’s book. Especially if everybody is talking about how super-cool it is. This causes some writers to immediately scrap all forthcoming covers, go home, turn the TV on, and think how they could’ve been a contender, if only they had awesome covers, too.

9. A really cool promo thing that an author does and it gets everybody talking about that author and that book while you’re still trying to figure out how to get something like “sparkle pony” into your title because you’re sure that’ll sell.

10. Hammering away on a book and you’re about halfway through when you go onto Goodreads and see another book whose plot is pretty similar to yours and you wonder if writing Godzilla into your romance will thus distinguish you from the pack.49075106

Other than that, WRITING IS FUN, people!

Hope your day of rest is filled with happy reading, happy writing, happy happy joy joy!

16 thoughts on “10 things that make writers insecure (that we don’t talk about)

  1. With about a million books published a year in this country, it’s really not that big a deal for someone to say that he or she had never heard of you. šŸ™‚ Especially someone who does not read in the genre in which you work. For lesfic, it’s an even SMALLER demographic, and there are quite a few LGBT people out there who do not even realize that there is, in fact, a lesfic writing world. I haven’t heard of tons of writers and I read quite a bit. I think it’s all in how someone says that to a writer. I generally engage because I’m interested in reading new authors. But I have been pretty dissed by some who just laughed when I said I write. Ah, well. All part of the fun. Heh.

    Thanks for stopping by.

  2. 1. I would so read a romance novel with Godzilla in it.

    2. I’ve decided to rename my latest project “Sparkle Ponies of Madison County” for some extra marketing pizzazz.

  3. well, that sure didn’t help the pre-publish angst…but pretty darn accurate. Of course, I can’t imagine ANYONE who hasn’t read Andi Marquette!!

  4. Should I read your book? No, you asshole, you should stick to Archie comics and the Cheerios box. So says the voice in my head. What my audible voice says is something like, “I write murder mysteries and black comedies. If you like those, then yes, read them.” Sadly, this is usually someone’s cue to ask me for a free copy.

  5. This is awesome, Andi. I’ve hit every single one of your ten, many more than once. The only thing that helps is knowing that many, many other authors go through the exact same thing. Thanks for shining a light. Solidarity, my friend!

  6. For what it’s worth – two women came to book club today, that I hadn’t met before. They mentioned that they are currently reading and ENJOYING your NM series. Previously, I’d given the NM series to a friend, here in Abq. She told me today that she finished and she can’t wait for the next book. That’s three happy readers in one day šŸ˜‰

  7. Andi, I find your work very unique, so I don’t think you have much to worry about there. But I’m with Joan, fed up with all the folks who suppose a free copy is their birthright. Thanks for the reminder we’re all wading through the literary angst-pond together. Peace šŸ™‚

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