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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Dear Insecure Writer, A Letter To You

It's that time again. 

Thanks Mr. Alex Cavanaugh
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I receive messages from Dan Blank and once in a while I actually read them. Here's one that was perfect for today's Insecure Writer Me post.


A Writer On The Way To The Top


You, Dear Writer, Are Going to Fail Miserably

You, dear writer, are going to fail. Miserably. Until you succeed.

You will be alone. Until you are embraced with open arms.

We are going to make fun of you (giddily.) Until we come to respect you.

We will find every tiny flaw in your otherwise decent story. Until it grabs our hearts and makes us fall in love.

We will do the worst thing possible for way longer than you expect: we will ignore you. Until we can't stop thinking about you, and talking about your work.

We will use you as a scapegoat for our own sense of inequity. Until we strive to become more like you.

We will take pot-shots at you. Making fun of things that are none of our business.

Until you stop caring about those things. We will grossly generalize what your work embodies, misconstruing it whenever possible.

Until you ensure we "get it." Dear author, we are not going to make this easy for you.

Which is why so many authors stop. They stop writing.

They give up. Too soon.

Sometimes moments before success and validation; other times, years before.

We win. Game over.

 If you want an excuse to stop, to give up, oh we will gladly provide them. It's a hobby of ours, really.

Go ahead, try to get us to stop. We won't.

There are too many of us, and this is simply too much fun.

We won't stop until you start caring less about what we say, and more about the power of your own work.

Until our words hold no power over you. And likely, until that mirror you look into everyday that speaks our words in your own voice holds no power over you as well.

Who's the WE in this letter?

41 comments:

  1. The we is the voices in our heads! And we will get past them.
    Excellent for today's post, Lee!

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  2. The WE are doubts and insecurities. Well said.

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  3. Sounds just like the inner critic to me. Great post, Lee. Thanks for sharing this.

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  4. Great post. I see the we as doubt.

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  5. My goodness, that is so brutally honest. I LOVE IT!

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  6. The WE, our own little inner gremlins. Good post!

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  7. Very true. And succeeding is usually overcoming small hurdles, until one day they add up to success.

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  8. Oh I love this, I see the WE as the gremlin who sits on my shoulder nit picking and laughing.

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  9. Wonderful post! The WE are ourselves. :)

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  10. We are the voices of doubt in our heads. We are our own worst enemy. Great post for today!
    Tina @ Life is Good

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  11. Darn those inner critics. They are so evil.

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  12. Very true. Sounds like the inner doubts that don't want to shut up.

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  13. WOW. I'm printing this off for my office.
    And welcome back Lee!! Hope you had a nice lil break. :D

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  14. My first reaction was wanting to unload a double barrel on "we." My second reaction is that I'm so proud of myself for only allowing helpful, kind, and supportive people into my life, so I never, ever hear things like that. Whew! My life rocks! Welcome back, Lee! :-)

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  15. I love this! The We is that little voice inside my head. It's also a few poets I know who think I've somehow disgraced my profession by writing thrillers. LOL. I'm sharing this post with as many writers as I can. Simply wonderful.

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  16. This may be one of my favorite posts of the day. "We" is someone I've known for a long, long time. It may be a long time yet before I learn to ignore them.

    -James

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  17. It's easy to give up if I stop long enough to think about all the reasons I shouldn't. Good think I like what I do too much to give in to negativity-from self or otherwise.

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  18. This is so, so true! Both in what we say/do to ourselves and what others - out of jealousy or what they perceive as their "duty" - say/do to us. Don't let the negativity win. It's something I have to repeat to myself as a mantra every day. I hope you and Michael Offutt cross paths today. He should read this as it's an extension of some of the seedier things writers groups can devolve into.
    River/Laura
    Seasoned With Words

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  19. Very true! Fantastic and inspiring post.

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  20. You're such a smart lady! My mother got so insulted when my hometown library was having a dedication and my mother wanted me to be a guest (got to love moms!). Seems mom was asked how many copies I've sold. Surprisingly, I wasn't insulted. I thought screw it. I am where I am right now in my career and I'm at the beginning. No one knows where I will be next year. And trust me, this passive aggressive chick will remember who all wanted a run down on my numbers before offering up respect.

    So, in my opinion...the we is everyone and anyone who measures and judges and they can be anyone...family, friends, fellow writers.

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  21. Welcome back C. Lee!
    I love Elizabeth's take on the "we" issue...

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  22. It so is not easy. Great article, Lee.

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  23. The we is our doubts- and the negative thoughts we have about ourselves. Great post! It is true that we need to put those negative thoughts to rest and write- but it isn't always easy. :)
    ~Jess

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  24. Love this! I'm in the midst of another confidence sucking rewrite so this is great timing!!

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  25. Lucky for me the voices in my head are easily distracted and can't focus on one insult too long.

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  26. Haha.....great stuff (casually looks around for "we") :)

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  27. Brilliant!!! And to me, the we are the voices in our heads (at least in mine, positive.)

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  28. Oh my gosh, this is US! We say this to ourselves!!! Awesome post. Tweeting now.

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  29. Completely awesome. I feel like we should make it a creed we repeat every month.

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  30. Hi, Lee,

    This is INCREDIBLE.... SO clever!!!!! SO TRUE!!!!!

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  31. This is strangely motivating. :) Wonderful post. Blast those voices in our heads!

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  32. Those voices of doubt have a way about them, don't they. Wonderful post! Perfect for the IWSG

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  33. I second Morgan...strangely motivating is right, =3 This is a great letter, and a great reminder to never let the "we" win!

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  34. Oh, so that was YOU in my noggin'.

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  35. Hi Lee - welcome back .. and getting that off your chest will help those little 'wes' go away ... you will succeed - and you are succeeding ... enjoy your journey - cheers Hilary

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  36. I loved this when I read it on Writer Unboxed. Thanks for sharing it with the group, Lee. And the "we" is everybody, self included. Publishers, editors, friends, family, negative thoughts...all the outside obstacles we have to overcome.

    M.L. Swift, Writer

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  37. Sorry, what did you just write?

    Personally, I never gave up because I never started. I just do what I want, when I want. Writing, that is. If nobody reads my stuff, so be it. It's just a bit of therapy and that's good enough for me.

    I need no validation and the voice I choose to hear, mostly, is the voice of my inner child who guides my writing.

    A most thoughtful posting, Lee. Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet superstar is also impressed...

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  38. H Lee - it is having faith in ourselves and what we're doing, while continuing to learn ...

    We're always experimenting .. some will work, some won't - but keep on writing ..

    Cheers - Hilary

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