How to stop insecurity from killing your writing
I love to write. To put it more precisely, I love to express ideas and writing is my preferred means of doing this; however, I, like so many writers, harbor lots of anxiety about my writing and that insecurity can negatively influence your writing. Here are a couple of ways insecurity can kill your writing.
- Insecurity can change your voice. Part of the anxiety we feel, as writers, has to do with the human desire to belong. If we allow that desire to overwhelm us, we may write in a way that we think will be cater to a particular audience to rather than cultivating a tribe of readers who are drawn to our unique messages and voices.
- Insecurity can change your focus. Another response to the anxiety writers experience is for us to find anything else in the world to do besides write. We procrastinate over other projects, our kids’ activities, our families’ needs, and our day jobs. We lose our focus writing outlines and note cards. We do research and take photos for inspiration. We take classes and try to learn more about writing. We turn our attention to everything but our writing, leaving only a little time to scribble notes or a few lines here and there.
- Insecurity can stop you from writing altogether. This is the most insidious way that insecurity kills writing. We involve ourselves in careers or hobbies that are close to writing but do not require us to write. We create new projects that may include tasks related to writing, but we don’t write. We help other people with their writing but don’t do any writing ourselves. We convince ourselves that our calling was not to write but to help others live their dreams as writers.
If insecurity has hit you in any of these ways, you are not alone. And, yes, there is something you can do about it. I just don’t think you’re going to like it.
The solution is to write.
Yeah, it sucks that the cure for what ails you is the very thing you don’t want to do. I hate the idea of it myself, but it seems to be true.
Don’t write and edit at the same time. Just write.
Write for a few minutes each day, maybe while you’re commuting if you rideshare or use public transportation. Write for the fifteen minutes you’re waiting for your kid to finish soccer practice or the time you’re sitting in a waiting room. If you have trouble sleeping, instead of going to the fridge for a treat or a glass of milk, grab your notebook or your tablet and explore why you’re not sleeping. The time exists, you just have to commit yourself to using it to write instead of doing something else or nothing else, as the case may be.
If you get stuck, look for support from people who won’t judge you for not writing because they’ve been there, but who will hold you to your desire to write. Enlist some friends as a support system to hold you accountable or join a community of writers. You’ll probably still feel the insecurity, but you’ll feel less alone, and you’ll be able to move forward in spite of it.