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Bravery of the Writer


Recently, I surprised myself with the anxiety over submitting a manuscript excerpt to my writer's workshop. It all started rather normal but then took an odd twist into what I consider abnormal behavior. I always edit and revise. All writers do that. But this time was different. I edited the heck out of it. Maybe combing over it 15 times total and revising it each time, eventually nothing was left in my opinion accept for tweaking but tweak I did. This was to a work that had already been edited several times. I hope I haven't leached the life out of that excerpt. It is from my work-in-progress, "Out of the Blue."

I am still filled with dread when I think about the upcoming evening of my critique, which takes place about a week from now. You know I've posted before about Critique Anxiety. When I read over that post from last year, I see that the anxiety I blogged about arose because I was in a different workshop, about to present my work.

I'm not this stressed out about fine art critiques. Maybe I've been toughened during all my time in art school or maybe I am more confident with that medium. I'm not sure.


Anyway, this morning I was scooting around the internet, visiting some of my favorite blogs. You are probably aware of some of them from my Liebster Award post. So I go to this post by a blogger that I respect. She is a leader in our community and she gives out very useful advice to writers; posting just about every day. I was surprised to find that she had posted the above button and had joined the Insecure Writer's Support Group (IWSG).

I followed up by visiting the website for the group. I wanted to see what it was all about. Knowing my critique anxiety is very real, I thought it might especially be of interest. I was at first taken aback that my fellow blogger had joined this group but I took her lead and did it too. Believe it or not, I am number 302. There are a lot of us admitting to this affliction.

Being an artist of any type is a brave act. It takes courage and a deep belief in yourself, as well as, what you have to offer your audience. When you step out and into the unknown like changing genres, style or medium of expression, it's not surprising that insecurities arise.

The group is going to last for at least another year. We post the first Wednesday of the month, as I am doing today. I look forward to learning some de-stressing techniques there. The techniques I find useful, will be shared in this space. So stay tuned. Each month on the designated day, I will delve deeper into this uncomfortable topic.

Comments

  1. Well done, joining this group. We have all gone through what you are experiencing, and it will pass. Just be brave. Find people you can relate to and comment, they will often support you in return. And it would help to turn off word verification. You can always block the occasional spam. Good luck!

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    1. Thanks Carole Anne. I'll be sure to check out your blog on this topic as soon as I can.

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  2. Welcome to the group, Stephanie. Even after having multiple books published, I suffer critique anxiety. Though I know there's always something that can be made better or fixed in my writing, I cringe when I see my missteps. Hope you find some benefits from IWSG.

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  3. Same here, with the multiple books. Doesn't matter. With every new one the anxiety arises doesn't it? I'm looking forward to being a part of IWSG.

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  4. You know what, Stephanie, I feel exactly as you! But that all changed with my first published book. After I submitted it and it was accepted--of course I OCDed over it and read it after the deed was done and I thought YIKES! It is burdened with fluff and backstory and and and... Facepalm! Why didn't I do this or that... So I pled with the new publisher if I do a quick edit (and it has been beaten to death already) but now that my eyes had changed to being exposed to all the world, I found that I edited out 8k words. Yes, that many! I felt so light and ready once the delicate operation was done... Just tell yourself that those critiques will make it ready for public consumption, BUT also remember you are the BOSS and you get the last say!

    Good luck! <3

    ♥.•*¨Elizabeth¨*•.♥

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  5. Elizabeth my sixth book is about to be released but I'm just as nervous about that one as the first. Maybe I'm just a nervous Nelly. Have been that way all my life. Deep breaths. I'm just about to go through my new soon-to-be published one, just as you did. Hopefully removing the redundancies and making it flow more smoothly. 8k words? Wow, that is a lot. Love your last sentence! I'll be over to your site to check out your book. Thanks for stopping by and sharing.

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  6. I am glad you joined, Stephanie! This a great group. I've received so much support and met so many fabulous writers. I joined because I wanted to find other people I could relate to, who understand the process, what I go through and any problems or insecurities I may face. I'm not insecure all the time, but when I am it's nice to have like-minded people behind me. And I also love to offer other insecure writers inspiration and kind words. :)

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    1. Thanks Chrys! I think the group is a great idea too.

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  7. Artists and writers certainly do have to have a lot of courage. We stick our necks out to reveal our creations. I think we're all nervous to see how it is accepted.

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    1. Yes, I also think there is a whole other level to nervousness about fiction because it is a manifestation of your creativity.

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  8. Welcome to the group. Congrats on your publications. Try not to let your insecureties get you down. Just talking about them should help a bit. I'm still fairly new to this group and very happy to have made the move.

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    1. Thanks Toinette. Glad you stopped over here.

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  9. It's definitely intimidating sharing writing with other people. Just the other day I woke up from almost falling asleep worried at what people will think of the manuscript I just sent out. These are writers who are acquaintances and friends. Of course they'll still like me! But it can be hard to subject your art to criticism. On the other hand, it's almost impossible to grow as a writer if you don't.

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  10. I have major anxiety on the subject as well. It's always hard to open something you've thrown your heart and soul into to critique and criticism. Stay strong and good luck!
    Happy ISWG Wednesday!

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  11. It is a happy, peaceful Wednesday, for a change. Thank you S.L, and I will!

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  12. I hope the group continues to last for years to come! Going on three now and the website is coming up on one year. Glad you found us.
    It''s always nerve wracking, especially if you're not a hundred percent sure about those offering the critique. Maybe one on one wouldn't scare you as bad? Either way, deep breath and no worries. You'll get through it fine.
    Welcome to the IWSG!

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    1. Deep breaths are certainly be relaxing when anxiety strikes. That is an activity that should never be underestimated. Thanks for the reminder Alex.

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  13. It's great that you're delving into critique anxiety. I've yet to really make it to the stage where my writing is critique-able, but I've never been good at working with criticism, even the constructive kind, so I can see where you're coming from. For me, it always feels personal, because my writing comes from me. I know that I need to get to a more detached place, but I'm not there yet. I look forward to your future posts!

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  14. It's great that you're delving into critique anxiety. I've never been good at handling critique, so I can understand where you're coming from. I take it very personally because my writing comes from me. I do hope to become more detached as I gain more experience. I look forward to your future posts!

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  15. Detachment sounds like a great idea and useful technique. Thanks! I look forward to it.

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  16. Keep doing what you're doing.
    We have to take the good with the bad.
    It takes some practice.
    Keep moving forward.
    Heather

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  17. Heather, your comment reads like an affirmation. An affirmation I can use. Thank you and I will keep moving forward! Already joining this group has been incredibly helpful, just in one day.

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  18. I think we all face that anxiety whether it's before a critique meeting or sending the ms to an editor or agent. It can eat us up inside. Best panacea, work on something else. Good luck.

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    1. Diane, it's nice to share that we all go through these things because writing can seem like such an isolated activity and often it is. I currently have a full manuscript being reviewed by an agent and a publisher so I know just what you mean. I have been gardening as my 'something else' activity and it is serving well. Thanks!

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  19. Yay. Glad she inspired you! I think no matter what phase we are in as writers, we always have those insecurities and we'll always need that community support. I'd say even the bigwigs like Judy Blume and Nora Roberts have insecurities, but they end up being isolated from other writers because of the success factor...so there's a definite value in building that community when you're starting out.

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    1. Thanks Stephanie! So many people are insecure about one thing or another. Best to admit it, get on with it, and if possible get support to help change things for the better. I completely agree with you about being in community and out of isolation, speaking of which, glad to have met so many folks through A to Z and now IWSG!

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