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IWSG: Not Good Enough

InsecureWritersSupportGroup It’s time again for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. Read and support writers by clicking here, and if you’re a writer you can also join!

Lately I’m having that bit of insecurity many of us have in life whether we’re writers or not: the fear of not being good enough. Sometimes it seems, no matter what I do or how hard I try, it just isn’t enough. That leads to wondering why I’m wasting all this time and energy on writing. It can be a terrible, depressing spiral.

When you’ve given something your all—and I’m talking about not just doing something but having done your very best, put blood and sweat and tears into it—the last thing you want to hear is that you still fell short of the mark. But the truth is, sometimes your best at that time won’t be quite enough. Sometimes a story (or other project) exceeds your abilities. That doesn’t mean you won’t ever be able to get it right. It just means you need to hone your craft a bit more first.

Think of it as reaching for something that’s just beyond your fingertips. Sometimes you just barely swipe it, but then it falls and crashes. What you need is a stepping stool. In this example, that stool is the hours you put into writing and getting better. You can reach farther and farther the more you write because writing = adding steps to your stool.

Not good enough is a fact of life. But it doesn’t ever mean you can’t get better. You just have to be willing to put in the work. And when you’ve put in a ton of work and it’s still not good enough? That’s hard. But know that the work you’ve put in is adding to your stepping stool—even if it’s not high enough yet, it will be eventually.

IWSG Question of the Month: In terms of your writing career, where do you see yourself five years from now, and what’s your plan to get there?

Ahahahaha! What’s the saying? “Man makes plans and God laughs”?

I think it’s important to have goals, but it’s also important to remain flexible. In five years I expect to have put out at least five more books, and hopefully they will be selling steadily. I plan to continue attending conferences, ideally as a guest author and presenter, but sometimes just as an attendee. I’d also like to be doing more signings and events. I’m currently trying to figure out that side of things by making connections with independent bookstores and event planners. (Anyone want to split a table at BookCon with me?) And I’m planning to explore the possibility of audiobooks, too.

Being a writer these days also means being a small business. You have to invest in yourself and your career, which sometimes means spending money to make money. I struggle with that, and I think a lot of other writers do, too. We don’t have a lot of money, so we have to figure out how best to use our dollars. That’s where the planning comes in. Because you do need to plan. You can’t sit and hope to be stumbled upon by readers. You need to leave a trail of breadcrumbs for them so they can find you—and with all these other writers leaving goodies, too, you’d better have the best bread in order to entice readers to your door. So I plan to get out there where people can see me, hopefully in places where readers can be found. It’s not easy. Not only because I’m shy but because I have to sell myself, and that doesn’t come naturally at all. But I’ve discovered a great community of writers at these events, people willing to help one another. If nothing else, at the end of the day I’ll have that much.

Aim high, but count every little blessing.

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M

Writer/Screenwriter

Comments (7) for post “IWSG: Not Good Enough”

  • I can so relate to a lot of your struggles! I recently remortgaged my house to give myself three full years to focus on fiction (starting in March 2017), and after days of agonizing and hours of consideration, decided to hire a publicist. Good publicists are scary expensive.

    It’s terrifying to sink money into something that may or may not pay off, but this is how I look at it–it’s actually scarier NOT to. When you think about all the things people spend money on that aren’t necessities, investing in yourself and your career is one of the best things you can do with that cash. Or, at least, that’s what keeps me from total panic!

    Good luck. 🙂

  • Geez, it’s like you’ve opened my head and peered inside. That whole not being good enough thing – it’s a struggle for me, sometimes daily. I wish I had the cure, or some wise words, but I don’t. All I can offer is empathy and the fact that you’re not alone.

    And hey – at least you have a plan to get where you want to go. I have no idea how to get where I want to go. I just decide to keep writing and hopefully I’ll find my way.

    If I had money I’d share a table with you at Bookcon!

  • Trying to find the best way to leave those breadcrumbs for your readers sounds like a real dilemma. I don’t know many writers who enjoy being in the spotlight. I still tend to avoid social media most of the time.

    Keep working on your craft and enjoy the journey. that’s my advice.

  • “But know that the work you’ve put in is adding to your stepping stool—even if it’s not high enough yet, it will be eventually.” Remember your own advice and don’t give up!

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