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!
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!
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.
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
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