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Insecurities Of The Writing Life

In the dark of the night, snuggled under a pile of blankets, I shiver. My husband reaches out and combs his fingers through my hair. "What's wrong?" he whispers.

I take a deep breath and try to expel the panic pushing against my chest--but it's stuck. I whisper a prayer and attempt to still the whirls of never-ending thoughts--but they won't rest.

"What if I can't do this?" I finally whisper back.

Without saying what this is, he knows. This is the life of a contracted writer--the new deadlines, the pressure of rewrites, the stresses of the "what if's" . . .

What if I turn in my rewrites and my editors don't like the way I've reshaped the ending? Or what if I didn't change my hero's arc enough or clarify the political situation to their satisfaction? What if I have to do more rewriting?

What if it's not good enough? Will I disappoint the people who read it? Will my friends roll their eyes and silently question how I ever got a contract?

How will I be able to keep up with the marketing and platform building? How should I develop my web site, book trailer, and other things to promote my book?

In the end, what if I let down my agent and the editors who are investing so much into me?

The insecurities won't leave me, especially in the silent hours of the night. The doubts haunt me and shove sleep to the far reaches of my mind.

My husband quietly listens to my out-pouring of fear, tenderly stroking my hair. He offers no platitudes or reassurances. This is new to both of us. But somehow in the telling, in the sharing, I know I'm not alone in the venture.

I'm not alone. . . We all face insecurities in this writing life. Is our writing good enough? Will we ever get an agent? Will our book make it through pub committee? The insecurities never end. I imagine that even when we're published, the doubts will continue to stalk us. Will we earn out our advance? Will readers like our next book? Will we get another contract?

I have no easy answer for how to dispel the insecurities. Perhaps that's the topic of a future blog post after I've traversed the writing path a while longer. For today, all I can do is remind myself I'm not alone. And let those insecurities push me to work harder and strive to do the best I possibly can.

What about you? What insecurities are haunting you lately? And how do you overcome them?


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