writers resources / writing

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

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). Once a month we all post our thoughts, fears or words of encouragement for fellow writers.

My insecurity this month: Am I good enough? Does it matter? By whose measure? At what point in time? Charity inspired my thinking back in October–and I’m still insecure about it!

Becoming a writer should carry a warning label: Beware–dangerous terrain ahead. As writers, we’re always breaking new ground. We write stories no one’s ever read about people who don’t exist. We have no idea if they are intriguing enough for Joe Reader, but we have to put them out there. It’s like wearing a red hat because it feels good (in my case, a black Ugg hat). You have to be ready to stand out, ignore the people who whisper behind hands that you don’t fit in. You must NOT care while you paint a positive face no matter that everyone sports suits and ties–or evening gowns.

I have had mixed success with my writing, making me wonder–am I good enough? The story I wrote years ago from my soul–about early man’s struggle to survive a world where s/he wasn’t king, based on the infamous Lucy–was of no interest to anyone. Agents rejected it. A preview on Scribd got few readers. Serializing it on my science blog (Sizzling Science) went nowhere. I should give up, shouldn’t I? Any sane person would. It’s clear the biography in my head resonates with no one.

But I can’t. It doesn’t matter that no one feels about Lucy as I do. I’m writing her story because I must. Though she lived 1.8 million years ago, she’s me. In fact, her experiences, emotions, thought processes, are so autobiographical, I’m going to rewrite the book in first person. When it’s done, I’ll self-pub.

By any measure, I should not waste the time. I should move on, leave Lucy to be remembered solely by a few ancient bones and artifacts, but my muse won’t allow it. I’ve been writing Lucy for 15 years and I’m not done. I’ve written two other fiction books and over a hundred non-fic, and I still can’t let her go.

In this one effort: I am good enough. No one cares as much as I do to eulogize Lucy’s long-lost life so she is not forgotten. I can do it. I hope when I’m done, I can rest.

Here are some pictures from Lucy’s life. Tell me she doesn’t pull you in (click picture for caption):

Do you have a story like that you can’t let go? That speaks to your soul, your essence?


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, a freelance journalist on tech ed topics, and monthly contributor to Today’s Author. In her free time, she is the editor of a K-8 technology curriculumK-8 keyboard curriculumK-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum, and creator of technology training books for how to integrate technology in education. Currently, she’s editing a thriller that should be out to publishers next summer.

Follow me.


49 thoughts on “Am I good enough? Does it matter?–#IWSG

  1. Pingback: When do you use first or last names in novels? | WordDreams...

  2. Pingback: #IWSG-When do writer’s write? | WordDreams...

  3. Pingback: #IWSG–Where Should I Live Now That I’m All Grown Up? | WordDreams...

  4. Pingback: #IWSG–Am I getting too old? | WordDreams...

  5. Pingback: #IWSG–When does technical become boring | WordDreams...

  6. Pingback: #IWSG–Am I a Storyteller? | WordDreams...

  7. Pingback: #IWSG–My Plot Has Been Co-opted | WordDreams...

  8. Pingback: #IWSG–How Stupid am I When My Body Gives in to Pain? | WordDreams...

  9. Pingback: #IWSG–I’m not balanced–Is that a big problem? | WordDreams...

  10. A belated comment : Lucy’s story taught me more about you, the bloody-minded writer in you and ‘why’ you want to tell it to the world. I’ve been failing-ly trying to write about the injustices suffered by an eight year old girl for a long time. Readers don’t like it for very many different reasons. Did it discourage me to stop writing? You can bet your bootom dollar. Have I stopped it? You can bet your double winner. Your bloody-mindedness on Lucy’s story inspires me to the top of the tree. Thank you. Arun


    • Oh, yes–some things must be said, regardless of the comments. Believe me, no one wants my Lucy story. I listen, make changes where required, but not in the core story. That’s getting out there. Someday.


  11. Pingback: #IWSG–Am I Brave Enough? | WordDreams...

  12. Pingback: #IWSG–My Writing Style Doesn’t Work | WordDreams...

  13. Pingback: #IWSG–Why do people ‘Shoot the messenger’? « Jacqui Murray

  14. Pingback: #IWSG–Why do people ‘Shoot the messenger’? | WordDreams...

  15. –That you’re a prolific writer, and you’ve accomplished a lot, and I think that’s amazing… and yes, the Thailand elephant trip was a must-write, and ,y writing was dormant for years, so that trip was sooo life-changing for me. Well I hope you write Lucy’s story.


  16. Great post. A few thoughts. First… Yes, I think the key phrase is “because I must”… really that’s it for a writer in my opinion, that’s everything. Second… this story looks interesting to me! And third… you’re written over 102 books??? Wow…


    • I figured you’d relate to that. The ‘because I must’ probably inspired some of your fascinating activities (spotlight on the picture of you with your elephant friend). I’m glad the story looks interesting. Therein lies my challenge, at least the challenge to my writing skills: Can I get that fascinating idea onto paper? Hmmm…. Juries still out on that.

      I have written 102 and counting–non-fic, tech ed, and usually as compelling to me as fiction. I’m not sure what that says about me.


  17. I love that you feel so compelled by Lucy’s story, and I think I know exactly how you feel. I’m plagued by feelings of being inadequate as a writer, and yet, here I have these stories that need to be told, with no one else but me to care enough to tell them properly.

    The pictures are great, and really draw me in! What must it have been like to compete with a sabre tooth tiger for one’s dinner? I’m intrigued. 🙂


  18. Putting in first person puts the story under the skin and into the soul. That may have been the spark that it lacked in the past. I can understand needing to write something because if you don’t it very nearly haunts you. Are you good enough for this? I think so. Anyone as passionate about writing as you is good enough. Good luck. I’ll keep an eye out. I’d be interested in reading about Lucy.


  19. I’ve had a story that I started around 15 years ago as well. It was based on a dream. Then I wrote it because it nagged me, but I didn’t know what I was doing. Eventually I put it on the shelf, sure that I would never take it back down. Another dream reminded me that it wasn’t finished with me. When I took it up again I was a better reader, and so a better writer….and it became a better story. Maybe Lucy is getting better with age too!

    Leanne ( http://readfaced.wordpress.com/ )


  20. This is very touching. I almost don’t know what o say here. I think all writers and, even, artists can relate to what you’ve written here. I’m rooting for you and lucy.
    Thanks for sharing.


  21. A hundred people might write about the same subject but their stories, approach, passion will show differently. If it wants to come out, you must let it. I`m always surprised when someone asks, “Am I good enough,“ because I always think I am the only one who thinks that way.

    Go, go, Jacqui. You c.a.n. accomplish what you wish. 😀


      • Right! But forget AGE. Writing has nothing to do with that. What you bring to the table is in a different voice then your neighbor or another writer in a class you took whenever. Go for it. Need a Get-out-of-Jail-CardÉ (my keyboard is screwed up), I`m willing to support a fellow writer in any way I can. 😀 Of course I do not feel I am in your calibre. Next week, you`ll help me, rightÉ (ahhh)


  22. I think every writer goes thru that stage of am I good enough, but if that person is a true writer – they write it because they HAVE TO, regardless of grammar standards and other person’s opinions.


  23. What a fantastic inspiration she is.
    I do have a character that I can’t let go of. She’s a little bit of the past and she whispers to me if I’ve been away from the keyboard for too long.


  24. The best advice for any writer to live by is “write the story you want to read.” You wanted to read more and know more about Lucy, so you wrote that story. Regardless of what success you’ve found up to date with the Lucy story, the fact that you want to continue writing that story says so much about who you are as a writer, and that you’re good enough. More than good enough.

    Best of luck to you!


  25. I understand wondering if you’re good enough. Sometimes I feel that way too. When a storg demands you write it, thought, I think you really have little choice. Maybe no one else will love it the way we do, maybe they will. And maybe the right readers will find your work. Good luck to you.


  26. I posted on your other blog and said something to the effect of…

    Good for you! The stories that resonate with us and hold on to our attention are the ones that will bring us the most joy in writing. Perhaps rewriting in first person will be just the thing to reach other people too. Good luck!


  27. There is no “not good enough” in this world. We are what we are, and our thoughts are unique, important and worthy. Our inspiration is real, and our stories must be told. Funny thing about writing – it sometimes sits with the reader, long after the reader knows where it came from. Stories never land on deaf ears, and they often have the power to melt hearts that never see them coming.


  28. “I’m writing her story because I must” says it all.
    Write because you want to and like to. Not because you want to sell so much.
    Like a famous mountaineer also said when asked why he climbed a particular one, “Because it is there”.
    I do want to be good.
    I do want to be appreciated.
    I do want to sell.
    But that is not why I should write.


    • When I first saw Lucy (first row, first picture), all I saw was an animal–more great ape than human. But as I peeled away at her life, I found a person with soul, with dreams, passion, will to live, need to thrive. Pretty much like me.


What do you think? Leave a comment and I'll reply.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.