Hello writers! It’s the first Wednesday of the month and we know what that means: It‘s time for another meeting of the Insecure Writers Support Group – #IWSG!
My hero, the amazing Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh founded this amazing group and this month is the IWSG’s FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF THEIR WEBSITE!! How awesome is that?
Title: How to be a Better Writer: For the Fearful
Permission Granted to include post in IWSG Guide to Publishing and Beyond.
Even though I’ve written since the age of seven, the only people who ever read my work were my parents and my teachers. The teachers were a requirement! It didn’t matter I was an A student in English and Writing. I always felt I could’ve done better. I waited until the last-minute to hand in any writing assignments so I could continue working out any kinks. A tweak here. A word there. I was always afraid my work was never good enough. Sound familiar?
Then you’re like how I used to be – one of the fearful ones. No, it’s OK. There’s no shame in it as long as you can admit it to yourself, accept it, and find ways to defeat the fear that chokes you, imprisons you, like I did. It’s not about our work not being good. It’s about letting fear take over our lives to the point where we hoard our stories so that they never see the light of day. We may not be great writers when we start but we sure can get better as we continue our journey!!
I had folders full of stories that had gone unnoticed for years, until recently. A major life event had to happen to put the fire under me to finally pursue my dream with vengeance. I’m working on a lot of them now. I submitted my first flash fiction story for an online Halloween meme contest in 2013. 2013!! This is someone who’s been writing since the age of seven; I’ll be 50 next year, God willing. I was petrified, but I entered. I didn’t win, but I placed. Please don’t let that be you. Don’t let fear steal your dreams from you like it almost did mine. Below is a short but simple list of things that can help you on your journey to becoming a better writer, especially made for the fearful.
- Practice, practice, practice
- Take a writing class (Coursera and Open U offer free classes every so often from basic grammar and sentence structure to fiction writing). Worth the look. You can have them alert you when classes will be upcoming.
- Start a Blog. This will be your personal space to write, meet other bloggers with similar interests. It’s a wonderful opportunity to find other new writers who are just starting out on their journey. It was through my blog that I was fortunate enough to find the Insecure Writers Support Group.
- Join a writer’s group that you’re comfortable with. If you’re like me and have trouble with transportation, find a good online group. They’re out there. You just need to look.
- Read, read, and read. Yes. In order to be a better writer, you have to read books by various authors. It will show you different styles of writing, points of view, scenes and settings, etc. Plus you’ll open your mind to all sorts of new genres and sub-genres, and niches. Since reading outside my norm, I’ve never looked back.
- Even when you’re afraid, submit work. It’s ridiculously difficult for someone who is fearful, I get it. Start small if that’s what makes you comfortable. When my piece placed in that Halloween meme contest, I was so stoked, I entered NaNoWriMo that November, and won. Need I say more?
- Expect rejections. It’s going to happen; that’s just life. Don’t let it dampen your spirit or bring you down. Some of the best known authors could wallpaper rooms of their homes with the rejection letters they received the years before becoming well-known. Growing a thick skin is a MUST. It will take time. I haven’t fully grown mine yet, but it’s getting there.
- Believe in yourself and in your talent, but remember success is not going to be handed to you. Be ready to work for it. You will get out of your writing what you have put in to it.
Best of luck in your writing journey.