Wednesday 7 September 2011

Insecure Writers Support Group Post

On a day when I was feeling particularly insecure, I discovered this, The Insecure Writer's Support Group, which I found mentioned on Sarah Pearson's blog. Perfect timing, Sarah, because today I am feeling particularly insecure. The idea of the group is to post - on the first Wednesday of the month - about my insecurities as a writer, and to help other people battle theirs.

Today's insecurity is the one I usually have, and have probably mentioned before. I don't think I fit today's writing. I'm not a genre writer, which leaves those odd groupings such as literary, experimental. I consider myself to be mainstream when confronted with other genres, but mainstream publications don't. I fall between the cracks. I even fall between the cracks of magazines that claim to publish people who fall between the gaps!

I've been searching new markets, and found editors who wanted dangerous writing, who wanted daring and surprising, who wanted to be challenged. I don't do that: I write stories about ordinary people doing - on the whole - ordinary things. And then - then! - when I read the stories that are all of these things, sometimes - sometimes - I don't understand them.... ssshh... don't repeat that too loudly, will you?

Therefore, today's insecurity is that I'm a fake and a fraud.

My other insecurity is that I've totally misunderstood what I should be doing for this support group. One thing I think I understood correctly, is that I should include the list of other people who have signed up. So, here it is - at least I'll have lots of new blogs to look at while I'm wallowing in self-pity:


  1. Let's get the easy stuff out of the way first. Whilst I don't think there's a 'right' or 'wrong' thing to do for this group, I think this post is perfect, and is exactly what Alex envisaged. Well done for posting the list - which I forgot to do :-)

    Now for the good stuff. You can obviously write. Your blog posts are well written and engaging, and I see you've won and placed in competitions, and had short stories published.

    Writing something that doesn't 'fit' a mainstream genre does NOT mean you are a fake or a fraud, (of which you are neither),it means you write outside the mainstream. There's a huge difference.

    By the way, you're not the only one who doesn't always understand the 'edgy' 'dangerous' fiction out there. I used to think I was dumb. Now I just thank the Lord there are millions of other stories I can enjoy instead :-)

    I don't have any practical advice for you. I would mention self-publishing, (I follow the blogs of a few people who are doing this at the moment), but I'm guessing that's something that's already crossed your mind. I just wanted you to know that you aren't alone. You're a writer. You're one of us.

  2. Oh Sarah, thank you so much for your lovely comments about my blog and my writing.

    Sometimes I do feel alone - very few followers, forgetting to check other blogs and 'show my face' - which is why I signed up to this immediately. I love what you wrote on your own blog, even though I didn't comment on the content, and you are one person I can count on for encouraging and kind words. So, thank you again!

  3. Yeah, it feels like agents and publishers want to stick everything into a neat little, well defined box---no imagination. BUT w/ self publishing and indie publishers becoming more important, big publishing houses and agents don't get to tell readers what to read any more.

  4. You are not alone; be proud of your accomplishments!
    I love unique voices; brave souls who do something else! I admire your styling...BE YOU is always the best way to live it!

  5. I think you did a great post! Thanks for joining my support group.
    Genre classifications are tough. Mine's science fiction, but I've found half of my fan base doesn't even read science fiction. I wonder how many others have skipped my book because they don't read that genre?

  6. Thanks for finding Life by Chocolate and commenting. I'm just starting to visit these posts, and yours was the first. What a great start!

    There are so many times when I can't comprehend pieces of writing that are supposed to be exceptional. I don't get it and feel like such an idiot in those moments. That's why it's so important you keep going. We need folks like you who write "ordinary things" for the "ordinary" person. (Have you seen the movie Ordinary People? It's my all time favorite.)

    Keep faith.

  7. Hi there!
    I write plays, so we're not in the same boat or whatever, but we both write, so we're almost like family.
    But I often get pegged as "experimental" because my writing is "different". It makes me crazy because it seems that nobody wants to take a risk on experiment until they know it's going to "work" or benefit them in some way.
    But what I've learned is I'm not happy unless I'm writing what my soul speaks to me. If I'm trying to alter it to fit a standard, then I'm bored. Or just discontent.
    Be true to yourself. You clearly have a voice. Just keep speaking with that voice. I'll listen.

  8. I think your post speaks to many writers. Falling into genre writing seems to be the thing and I find it constraining at times. Great post.

  9. I think the hardest thing to do as a writer is finding that box in which you have to place yourself and your writing. I think it is awesome that you are thinking outside of the box, so don't be afraid to be original and different.

    Thank you so much for stopping by my blog and commenting.

  10. Thanks for that post Annalisa - very honest and the group seems a great idea! I reckon many of us feel like a fake and a fraud at times - I know I do, but it's just gremlins talking! You always give me words of wisdom and comfort which I really appreciate. Keep writing - I'm sure you'll get where you want to be when the time is right! x

  11. Nicki - yes, that's obvious when all the wizard books are published in quick succession, followed by vampires etc... and they have the gall to tell us writers they're on the look out for something 'new and original'!

    Ella - thank you. Great advice, hard to follow sometimes though :-)

    Alex - thanks for organising this great way of meeting new writers. I know I tend to stay away from science fiction in bookshops, but always read it and enjoy it if someone lends it to me.

    Robyn - I'm so glad I'm not the only one!

    Regectedriter - so true! You have to write what you feel compelled to write, the rest will take care of itself.

    Pam - thank you!

    Murees - thank you too!

    Linda - I'm starting to feel less alone with these feelings. This post has helped a lot. I followed your name link but it was broken - have you moved your blog, or did I do something wrong?

  12. I hear you on the insecurity. I write erotica, erotic romance, historical and a few other genres, but have only ever been published in erotica.My biggest worry is because my stories are so diverse, how will I ever market myself as a brand.

    Every writer has a place and while you may not be right for some of these places, you're right on for your stories. Sounds corny, but I believe it. I'm hooked on what you've been saying about your writing and now I want to read it.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving such a great comment. :) I look forward to coming back here more often.

  13. I love your blog posts Annalisa, I find them very honest and inciteful, that's why I've signed up to received them by email as soon as you write them! I read this post at work yesterday. I can't reply straight away, but I'm always reading.

    I can't say I understand how you feel, becaue I think I fall pretty neatly into a genre. It wasn't a choice exactly, it was just what I wanted to write and you are doing just that. Writing what you want to.

    I imagine there are many books out there that at the point of writing didn't fit into a genre but have sold well. Look how the genre list grows. It grows as people keep writing outside the genre. Writing what you feel passionate about is important and it's that passion that will shine through. Finding your match with an Agent/Publisher may be a slow process, but don't give up on what you believe in. Enjoy what you do and see where it takes you.

  14. Melissa - perhaps pen names would suit you, then you can be as diverse as you want under each different name?

    Rebecca - thank you so much for your support. I enjoy your blog too, although commenting is sometimes a bit hit and miss. I forget which posts I've read - my aim is to be more organised soon! Every time I start a new story, it chooses the genre/non-genre. Sometimes I hit crime, romance etc dead on... but I know the next one will probably be something entirely different.

  15. Hi from another insecure writer! I loved your post. I often wonder if my story is too ordinary, too quiet for MG. But I'm determined to finish it even if I never end up querying it.

    Nice to meet you and thanks for visiting my blog!

  16. Hi Suzie, thanks for stopping by here too. Having faith to finish a story can be hard, but it's essential or we'd never write anything! Then we have to have faith that other people will like it too... harder, but also essential!


Please comment - I love a good chat!

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.