Oops, I’ve done it again.
I’ve double-booked myself.
I’ve been sitting here all day, racking my brain, wondering how on earth I was ever going to combine an “Insecure Writers Support Group” post with an “October Frights Blog Hop.” The self-doubt was enough to make me very insecure! (And frightened, I assure you.)
And then it occurred to me. The most frightening question I’ve ever been asked is also, as it so conveniently happens, the one that makes me the most insecure.
Here it is (and I hope some of you will be able to relate):
“What else have you written?”
When someone asks this, they’re really asking something else. What they’re actually asking is…
“What else have you gotten published?”
That question never fails to make me feel like an inadequate slug. I recently saw part of a blog post that described me as being “new to fiction, but with a lot of journalism experience.”
Ugh. I’ve written nine full-length (80,000-100,000) word novels, countless short stories, and hundreds of poems. I am not new to fiction. I wrote novels and stories way before I wrote a single piece of journalism (I’m not counting all the books I wrote before college in the tally above…not even the one I wrote in college.)
Why haven’t I been published before now? Because I got distracted by my journalism career. And my public relations career. Because an issue with an agent completely derailed me and shook my self-confidence for years. Because I wasn’t focused enough to market my work consistently (write, yes–market, no). Because training to fight in the ring took up another year of my life. Because perfectionism. There are tons of reasons, or, as I like to call them, excuses.
And whenever someone asks me what else I’ve written (i.e. published) during the launch of my first published novel, all the guilt and shame and self-hatred just about bowls me over. I’m saddened that I’ve been writing since I was five years old, and so far, this novella is all the public will ever see of my fiction.
It’s frightening. It’s terrifying. And it’s the most insecurity-inducing question you can ask me. What question makes you feel insecure? Or frightens you, for that matter?
ICYMI: I stalked a bunch of bestselling writers to find out what terrifies them. Please check out the post, if you haven’t already.