decision making / problem-solving / writing

#IWSG–Am I Brave Enough?

writers groupThis post is for Alex Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writers Support Group (click the link for details on what that means and how to join. You will also find a list of bloggers signed up to the challenge that are worth checking out). The first Wednesday of every month, we all post our thoughts, fears or words of encouragement for fellow writers.

This month’s insecurity:  Am I brave enough to be a good writer? (inspired by Kirsten over at A Scenic Route, in a comment she left on my February IWSG article).

I’ll start by saying I’m not brave. What might be characterized to others around me as ‘brave’ is actually forced. I know what must be done and I do it. Or, often–this is how I became a writer–I don’t know how to stop. It’s easier to keep moving forward than come up with a plan for a new direction. On the outside, that might be mistaken for brave, gutsy, or confident, but those genes were left out of my genome.

The problem is that adage–all you have to do to write is cut a vein and bleed onto the page. Meaning: Open your soul to complete strangers. Share your inner-most secrets. Stand at the front of the room to be judged by people you don’t know. I can’t do that. Just can’t. I try, fail, try again, fail again. Repeat.

So I imitate bleeding passion onto a page, but I doubt that anyone’s fooled.

What do I do?

More IWSG articles:

Am I good enough? Does it matter?–#IWSG

Fear of Saying Dumb Things Scares Me to Death

#IWSG–The World is Changing–Can I keep up

Will I Find Employment if I’m an Older Job Hunter?


Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for Examiner.com and TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. In her free time, she is  editor of technology training books for how to integrate technology in education. Currently, she’s editing a techno-thriller that should be out to publishers next summer.

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29 thoughts on “#IWSG–Am I Brave Enough?

  1. I think the fact that you do keep putting words on the page means you are brave. Many a writer becomes too scared to even do that. When you become insecure about your writing, stopping your output is the easy option. Keeping the words flowing is the brave way. So you’re brave and once words are out, you know you can do it. :)

    • Thanks, Rebecca. I had a writer’s workshop group review a sample of my current mss Monday night–that just about did me in. It almost made me sick! I am so bad at this.

    • One of my formative characteristics is I don’t know how to give up. How does one quit? My poor dear children had to live with that until they moved out (because I never let them quit either).

  2. Being bold enough to do what needs done IS being brave. It’s the ability to make those choices that defines bravity in my opinion. Go you!

    • Completely unrelated to this post–love your word–‘bravity’. I just wrote an article on 8 things writers can do no one else can, and one of them is ‘create new words’. Like you did!

  3. You won’t fail until you stop trying. I’m lucky in that I have a child-like mindset that lets me assume that things will work out eventually tomorrow, no matter how I feel about it today.

  4. I just dive in head-first, Jacqui, and this can be a good and bad thing. Writing is like unzipping your chest and showing the world your beating heart and bare bones (I actually had a dream like this many years ago) but people will either like what you do or they won’t and you have no control over that. The only control you have is how you deal with it :D

      • LOL! It depends on what you’re hiding from – if it’s a grizzly bear, yes! I’m just reassured by the fact that there is no such thing as a book which has been liked by everyone who ever read it (no matter how good it is) :D

  5. Aww, thanks for the shout out, Jacqui! :)
    Courage is acknowledging your fear and moving ahead anyway. And you’re doing that!
    Even though I’m honest on my pages, I always sort through what I’ve written and decide what parts I want to share, and which are just too painful to let out. The important thing to me is that I learn to write from my heart. What I end up using those pure words for is secondary to me.
    The thing is though, the times I’ve taken a chance and let something really close to me out into the world are the times I’ve gotten some of my most heartfelt responses.
    So, although it can be scary to write what moves us, I think it can also be the most gratifying thing we’ve ever done. :)

  6. I think each writer ‘bleeds’ differently. This past 6 days I’ve been trying to paste my draft together again after slicing, dicing and adding to it when I finally saw that my story was going in the wrong direction. I do believe I’ve been ‘bleeding’.

  7. It’s brave to put everything on the pages and then have them published, where people judge us. Sometimes I worried that I wasn’t brave enough. I got to the point where I felt brave and even braver from that initial point.

  8. I think Jacqui it is easier for me to share words on my blog, but when I read a piece of work out to my fellow writers in my writing group my insides turn to jelly, the more I believe in the piece the more nervous I am reading it, so crazy, but finding the more I do it the easier it has become to share.

    • I wish that were the case with me, Kath. It never gets easier. I had to share with my workshop last Monday and it made me physically ill–headaches. I want to whine and defend and explain–not good reactions.

  9. This explains a lot about your participation in the writing crit group. And now I have more insight into why you are so adamant about saying something nice as well as the critical stuff.
    It’s been noted that many artists are alcoholics or exhibit other addictions. Maybe it’s the fence we build around our sensitivities.
    And by the way, you really put yourself out there with the Lucy book. So much passion. I know that’s you. It’s why I love that book.

    • I’m getting more comfortable with my abject fear of being reviewed. I got through last Monday with my workshop without losing it. We’ll see when I start submitting to the rascals at SOCC again.

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