Writer Anxiety

I feel like insecurity is inherent when one is a writer. Writing is a communal art. We rely on the imaginations and attentions of others. That's the dream, right? To land an agent, to sell a book, to land on some sort of list that validates the years spent making up stories in black and white. For that, we need an audience. We need people to read our words, to see our books in color. We experience rejection and heartache in the process, often question our abilities, wondering if we've wasted our time trying to cross the bridge into author territory.

We over think. But then, that's part of what makes us storytellers. We examine, we analyze. We are word scientists, adjusting and experimenting with world combinations, trying to make people fall in love with characters and worlds separate from their own. It's a beautiful and wonderful thing. It's also terrifying.

I feel it every time I press "publish" on a blog post, "send" on a story, "submit" on an assignment. I feel it every time I read chapters of my work in progress out loud to my husband, or in my writer's group, or even when I talk about my story to my mom. The weird thing is, this anxiety comes in between waves of overbearing self confidence. BEADS OF GLASS is the book I'm going to sell. It's going to be the one to start my career. I feel it. I know it. And yet I feel sick when I think of someone I love reading it and hating it. I get so bloody insecure I want to shake myself.

This is what I want to do with my life. This is the person I want to be: the writer, the author. I dream about it at night. I fantasize about it during the day. I spend my free time click-clacking away at my keyboard bringing characters to life. I'm working so hard to please my seven year old self, my thirteen year old self, my twenty-four year old self.

Earlier this week I had what I call an "existential crisis." While working on a paper analyzing the works of others, I was hit with a wave of unavoidable repetition in stories, in formulaic expectations of the genre I so hope to be a part of. It was awful. I felt like I was wasting my time in grad school, in writing, in existence. But I came out of it. I'm still here. I'm still writing.  I guess that's what I'm trying to say. It's okay to have dark moments, it's okay to feel insecure-- just as long as you keep writing.

So keep writing, okay?

Photo: My writing buddy. #dogsofinstagram
I recommend snuggles to help with self doubt.


  1. *hugs* Thanks for the reminder.

  2. Ah, you can DO it! It's not easy when self-doubt lurks around every corner and grabs your ankles and tries to trip you up. Give it a kick and keep on typing. God gives us dreams for a reason :).

  3. I love reading your letters to your son. It both inspires and uplifts me to see/be a part of the relationship you have with your kid(s) and I hope I can be the same sort of mother to my own kids someday!

  4. Love this. Thanks for writing this and all the other stuff you write. Because I heart you and your face, the one I've never seen in real life. MAYBE ONE DAY. (While we're on our respective book tours.)

  5. Oh I so relate to this. Been struggling with this very thing lately, getting rejections, wondering what's the point. Thanks for the encouragement!