Skip to content

#IWSG Do You Have a Soft Shell Crab Phase?

I’m baaaaaack!

Hey, #IWSG peeps! I didn’t mean to fall off the monthly posting wagon, but… sometimes my life feels like a blender on frappe and I end up going in so many directions that the only way to deal with things is to pull back from everything except for what I absolutely have to do. So that’s what I did!

My writing life is good, but…

Though hectic, life’s been great for me, writing-wise! In January, I was contacted by a publisher and after a flurry of negotiations, research, and writing, my first book with Reedy Press will be released on September 15, 2018. Whoo hoo!

I'm all smiles until the Inner Critic attacks!
I’m all smiles until the Inner Critic attacks!

Insecurity rears its ugly head!

My first 7 books were self-published, so this particular book writing journey has been quite different. For one thing, I have a whole team behind me this time. It’s weird! I even have a specific person who is my Author Coordinator. She’s great! I can fire off questions and comments to her anytime. I’m so appreciative for their help with editing, formatting, and marketing, and I’m learning a lot from the experience.

Despite all this, shortly after I sent the publisher my manuscript, my Inner Critic reared its ugly head. It started with a nasty dream and was followed by a yucky feeling in the pit of my stomach and a barrage of negative thoughts about my upcoming book as well as my past ones. I just wanted to crawl under a rock!

Why now?

But why? My book is doing great in the pre-order phase. It even earned a coveted orange banner on Amazon as a “#1 New Release,” which prompted my publisher to call and ask how on earth I made that happen.

So my feelings did not make any sense!

I finally called my dear friend, Teal Gray. When I told her my woes, she laughed and said, “You do this with every book!” I was totally shocked. I do? As we continued to chat, the pattern suddenly seemed obvious, and by the end of our phone call I was laughing. She was right. I go through this with every. single. book.

My hubby doesn't let his Inner Critic get him down!
My hubby doesn’t let his Inner Critic get him down!

A pattern emerges

We finally concluded that this great big bout of insecurity is just part of my writing process. While deep in a project, my Inner Critic leaves me alone. I’m too busy with research and daily word counts to think about anything else. My Inner Critic simply can’t keep up!

However, once the manuscript is sent to the editor, my Inner Critic pounces. It’s the perfect time to rip my confidence to shreds because everything is still so fresh. I call it the “Soft Shell Crab Phase” and it doesn’t just apply to my writing.

The “Soft Shell Crab Phase”

When I first started giving presentations, I told my husband that I was open to critique, but not until the day after the talk. I appreciate his input, but I need a little distance between me and the event before I can handle even the tiniest bit of criticism. “I’m like a soft shell crab,” I told him. “Just give me a little time for my shell to harden.” Now I realize that the Soft Shell Crab Phase applies to my writing projects, too.

What’s your pattern?

Understanding that this bout of insecurity is part of my creative process has been super helpful. I wish I could avoid this stage entirely and I still feel twinges here and there, but I’m sure it will eventually pass.

Can you relate? When are you most vulnerable to your Inner Critic? Is there a specific stage of the writing process when it’s more likely to strike?

What is IWSG?

IWSG stands for “Insecure Writers Support Group.” It’s a monthly check-in for writers of all stripes. Its creator, Alex J. Cavanaugh, describes ISWG like this:

“Purpose of IWSG: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!” – Alex J. Cavanaugh

1-Insecure Writers Support Group Badge

Hey, you! Want to keep up with me?

No matter where you live in the galaxy, Tui's books can take you on a FUN adventure!
No matter where you live in the galaxy, Tui Snider’s books & presentations take you on a FUN adventure!

PRIVATE NEWSLETTER: If you’d like to keep up with me, you might like my newsletter, which comes out every Sunday. Use the form below to sign up if you’d like to know:

  • What I’m up to
  • Where I’m speaking next
  • When my next book comes out
  • What’s going on behind the scenes
  • Any other fun news!

As a thank you for signing up to my newsletter, you’ll receive a historic cemetery symbols guide I created called “A Quick Guide to The Many Meanings of Hands.” 

Sign up for my newsletter below:

We respect your email privacy

Tui Snider
Follow me:
Published inBlog on Writing & LifeBlog PostsMy BooksTravel Photo Essays


  1. Hi Tui! I can relate to your insecurities. It’s hard trying to find the right balance of thick/soft exterior. But I do believe at some point all writers reach a point where we just know that are stories are good, and our characters are authentic. Everyone will have opinions, but those are opinions based on their own personal worldview. As authors, our stories are based on OUR personal worldview, and that can never be wrong.

    Anyway, congrats on your new release! Best of luck with it. After trying indie myself I’d like to see how the other half live and get some help with publication. Looking forward to hearing more about it.

  2. Congrats on the new book! I bet that’s very exciting to have a team of people to work with. And I completely relate on the inner critic. Mine is so mean it’s kept me from finishing anything….so far! Good luck, I’m sure your book will do great!

  3. Congratulation on your upcoming book release. Enjoyed the post and its phases. Happy IWSG!

    • Thank you for dropping by, Juneta! It’s funny how emotional the whole writing process can be, isn’t it? :)

    • Inner Critics are sneaky critters, that’s for sure!!! Hope yours doesn’t strike again any time soon. :D

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.