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Insecurity, Not Good Enough and Other Sucky Things Writers Do to Themselves

Opened notebook, pen, books and glassesIf you are a writer, you’ve probably asked yourself why. Writing is serious business. It’s solitary. It’s demanding. And no matter how much you study and how much you practice, it is a craft that you never master.

On the one hand, you have to be a little bit crazy to want to lock yourself into a room several hours each day to create worlds with the written word. On the other hand, story telling is sacred art. Stories can teach us, provoke us and make us feel and think in ways that we might not have otherwise. And the writer is always looking for this–what is it that I am writing which touches a universal place in the human condition?

Even with a lofty vision of what writing is to you, it will always be an unforgiving taskmaster.  I write and perfect to the best of my ability only to discover the one flaw in the work that will unravel it all, baring my insecurities. I laugh at the rookies who when confronted with cutting 6,000 words thinks that they will be able to use it somewhere else, as through you can just cut and paste one world into another. But I digress. . . In spite of a daily discipline, in spite of focus and unending practice, I have moments where I wonder if I am good enough? Can what I’ve written cut muster? Why do I do this?

That answer ebbs and flows, and it sucks to wrestle with the demons of insecurity and not good enough. So why then, put myself through it? Why does anyone, in any craft where excellence is held in high regard, put themselves through it? It would be so much easier to be a lady who lunches.

I don’t know about other writer’s reasons for creating in this way. For me, I think it comes down to how it informs my unsettledness and gnawing discontent. It feeds something in me that wants to look down from on high and move the pieces around the board to make it mean something. Writing is born of a dark, chaotic place in my psyche that is engaged in the perpetual activity of examining the what if’s in life. The meat of grief, falling from grace, love, betrayal, revenge and how those things can push us toward transformation is my grist. It makes me lick my lips.

Still on a day like today, when I am filled with doubt and I sit down to write anyway, I feel as though I am doing the right thing. And I suppose that counts for something, that and a fervent prayer that I will get to the “good enough.”

Most people who read my blog are writers too. So the question of the day is: why do you write?


Novelist, essayist, blogger, wife, dog-mommy, dancer, dreamer, grateful.

16 thoughts on “Insecurity, Not Good Enough and Other Sucky Things Writers Do to Themselves

  1. I write because I have stories to share about amazing people I’ve met in my dreams. I write because I have a beautiful scene in my head usually of another planet in another galaxy and I want to share it with someone. I write to escape and connect.

  2. I write because that’s the way I express myself. I love to share my thoughts and my stories. I somehow have a special connection with words. I think it’s an amazing way to connect with people.

  3. I appreciate this post!! i have recently published a book and i really struggled about how much of my personal life to share!! Although it is more about my fears after being diagnosed, i decided i needed to be honest and forthright because someone might need to hear my experiences.

  4. We all have our moments of insecurity… which is hard for me to believe of you , you write so beautifully!! Your words do resonate with a deeper part, that universal human condition.
    I especially like ” The meat of grief, falling from grace, love, betrayal, revenge and how those things can push us toward transformation is my grist. It makes me lick my lips.”… I can relate. Pain is a road sign to something new and fresh, in my perspective. When I suffer I see the preparation for something better taking place.
    I write because I hope to fill people with wonder by sharing those things that fill me with wonder. I wish to connect and cause a fiery glow in the brains of others.

    1. So beautifully stated. I love what you wrote here: “sharing those things that fill me with wonder.” That says it all, kindred spirt. Thank you for stopping by and for taking the time to comment.

  5. I write to answer other people’s questions on Quora. I write to answer my questions about life. And I write to solve my directors problems because he can’t type.

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