Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Insecure Writers: Outlines Are My Binky

NOTE: It's the first Wednesday of the month, so it's time for The Insecure Writers! For those who don't remember from last month, it's an online group for writers. Most of whom are insecure. So we support each other from the safety and comfort of our desks. It's perfect.

Happy Wednesday and IWSG, everyone! In honor of the two-year anniversary of IWSG, I'm taking a brave, massive step outside of my comfort zone, and writing about feeling neurotic and insecure as a writer today. Because, you know, I never do that here. Ever.

I'm taking a numbered, outline-ish approach to today's post, because yes, I'm a plodder plotter through-and-through, and numbered lists make me feel safe and warm and happy and reassure me that all is right with the world. Just like a binky. Also, I just can't help myself. So, without further ado, here's my List of Current Worries While Attempting to Write (Note: this list will probably change by tomorrow. Or later today. I make no promises that I will not have an entirely different list of worries in about ten minutes):


  1. New Ideas: Yes, I'm still wading through piles of slain paragraphs as I edit Cloudland, but I'm also working on a new idea (more on that later). Every time I come up with a new seed for a book, I wrestle with the same thought process. It goes something like this: Oh... oh WOW. This is fantastic. This is genius. I'M a genius! Wait til this gets out into the world!! Oh god, wait. People - real, live people - will see this? WILL people see this? Will anyone WANT to read this??? Is this actually a good idea, or is it instead a truly STUPID INSANE ASININE IDEA THAT EVERYONE WILL HATE? Ok. Deep breaths, deep breaths. Yes, this IS smart. I'm smart! Wait. Am I too smart?? Am I even CAPABLE of writing this? Oh god... And so on and so forth. 
  2. Actual WRITING: I spend a lot of time talking about process, but not a whole lot about the actual act of writing. Which is really - note to self - an entire other blog post or ten. But for the purposes of this list, let's just say that on the good days, generating text is FUN. I feel like a superhero streaming words from my awesome Spidey wrist web-shooters. On the bad days, every single word is up for intense, microscopic examination. You know: Is this really the word I want to use? Why isn't this sentence FLOWING correctly? NOTHING SOUNDS RIGHT KEEP GOING DON'T BE A SISSY. Fun stuff like that.
  3. Time: Oh yes, this is a huge one. I'm always juggling life demands with writing, and always worrying that I'll never actually manage to finish anything. Now, I do have a finished third draft (HALLELUJAH!!!) of Cloudland, so this concern might be slightly overblown and unrealistic, but really, since when does insecurity rely on reality? However, I do have a day job. Blessedly, I am busy at my day job, and therefore am making money and eating and paying my mortgage and buying too many books. But that damn job keeps interfering with writing. Strangely, people don't want to pay for a massage unless I actually show up and give them one. Weird, right?
  4. Agents and the Long-Feared Query Letter: I am fast approaching the point where I'll be sending query letters to agents and trying to convince them to a) open the email, b) actually read it, c) ask me to read some pages of my novel, and d) represent me. This is making me very, very nervous. People often ask me why I don't just try to get a publisher, and the quick answer is that even if I'm lucky enough to find one who wants to publish my book, I'm going to need an agent to help me negotiate a contract. So, that means I have to try to sell myself. Which I am so, so, SO very good it. Or not.


I know, only four items today! Not so bad, right?

Well, truthfully, #3 is giving me a headache and lighting a fire under my butt, which hurts, so my brain decided to stop coming up with worries and start telling me to get the hell to work. Which is my plan. As long as I can get over #s 1 and 2.

You know what, though? I feel a little better now that I've gotten all of that out. Huh.

So, IWSG folks, as well as non-writers, what are your worries today? Writing related or not - all are welcome. Leave 'em here on this blog, and walk away a little lighter and less insecure for the day. See? IWSG For All.

20 comments:

  1. It always makes me feel better to get those feelings out in the open and out of me. I so relate

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    1. I love that about your blog - it's always so honest!

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  2. I generally hit a blank wall around the middle of the first draft. It can takes weeks, months to get over that hurdle. Thank God for editing. It's so nice to meet you, Liz. I'm guest hosting from IWSG.

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    1. Thanks for coming by, and for hosting!! And yes, I know that blank wall. Sometimes it helps to just write SOMETHING. I've skipped past the middle of my WIP and written chunks of the end, just to avoid it!

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  3. I worry all the time, too and it's always about my novel. My latest worry is that when my novel is released the reviews will be horrid or I will get laughed out of the city, and I deal with that by telling myself to just write (and then I worry about the WIP). I guess the worrying never ends but the good news is that we're not alone! Or are we? Hmmm... another thing to worry about...

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    1. Hahaha, yes! The worry is cyclical and while you might manage to move on from one worry for a while, it always comes back around. Or, there always seems to be another one to take its place.

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  4. Well that was a very organized post!

    And at least you have a completed third draft. I'm finally, FINALLY, closing in on my ending chapters on this current WIP. And then I get to go back and revisit it all again to see how my pantsing effort panned out.

    And good luck with that querying. I just spent the last week putting together a query letter for when I'm ready again. Blah. Hate that part. :P

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    1. I sort of like organization, can you tell? )

      CONGRATS on being so close - it's such a good feeling when the end is at last in sight! I hope your pantsing brought you safely back to shore, as it always seems to - and I look forward to reafing the result.

      Oh no, the querying doesn't get easier? Sigh. I suppose I should have known...

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  5. I applaud you being a plotter. I like plotting. It makes for good storytelling. *hugs

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  6. You may have to send out a lot of queries, but you will find someone!
    I can only work from a detailed outline as well, so don't feel bad.

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    1. Thanks for the encouragement! Querying is a lovely combination of excitement and holy terror, so I appreciate the positive words. AND the plotting sympathy (and it does make me feel better!). AND most of all, IWSG! What an amazing success. Happy Birthday!

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  7. Ha! I think you did those four points justice.
    Great post! :)

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  8. Great post, Liz! We all have those insecurities (Morgan Shamy wrote something very similar...flashes of brilliance and waves of insecurity). I too, have the same thoughts. Then regrets that I put my writing out there for the world to see. "That was stupid. I shouldn't have written that." Those are the tapes that play.

    I'm beginning to become brave enough to say, "Screw it. I'll write what I want, how I want, 'cause that's my voice. Unique. Tell stories as only I can. SOMEBODY will like it."

    It'a a joy to follow your blog.

    M.L. Swift, Writer

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    1. Thank you as always for the sincere, beautiful encouragement! You SHOULD write what you want, how you want, because it's fantastic. And clearly, people want to read it )

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  9. Hahaha. Your worry #1 is so where I'm at right now. Querying is scary, but it's fun and hopeful (until you get rejected, which you won't of course). And the day job...yes, it really should be outlawed.

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    1. Haha, thanks for the hope, but I have a feeling I'll be just like every other writer and have nice big piles of rejections to sort through. But, fingers crossed, right?? Good luck with your new idea!

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  10. Oh boy can I relate to how you feel when you come up with a new idea, lol.

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    1. I know, right? It's good to know I'm not alone!

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