Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Insecure about self-made barriers

Don't forget to check out all the other Insecure Writer's Posts at Ninja Captain Alex's blog, hop on the Linky and thank this month's co-hosts: Julie Flanders, Shannon Lawrence, Fundy Blue, and Heather Gardner!

This has been a heck of a year for me professionally and personally. On the writing side, I’ve done more new things than ever before.

I joined SCBWI
I went to a writer’s retreat
I went to a writer’s conference
I went to a class visit

All of these were terrifying to me, but I went and did them anyways. And, I didn’t die. I’d even be willing to do repeats on all of them. But the funny thing about these items were these were all items on my list of markers that denoted a “real author.” These were all things I had seen other writers posting about and feeling jealous about. And, like most things viewed from the outside, they are different once you do them.

I’m a little suspicious of Moving Target Syndrome, the sensation that you long for a thing, but once you achieve the thing, you long for something else to feel gratification. I’ve experienced this before with writing, and well, it’s real. But somehow these markers were a litter different:

I was the one lurking in the shadows not joining SCBWI for more than a year after publishing—you can join at any time, by the way! I just hadn’t felt worth it, somehow. Going to a writer’s retreat was amazing because there were people at literally every stage. There were people with multiple books, people with agents and sales, people with agents and no sales, people with no agent, and people who had never written a book. It was awesome. And that was another barrier I had given to myself, thinking that I needed to be wildly successful to participate in that.

I could go on (the class visit was fun, and I’ve taught a lot, so I already knew how to handle a group). My point is, these markers of success that I had were all things I could have done years ago, but I felt too much like an imposter to do them. If you can learn one thing from my fail, please learn this: if you’re writing, wherever you are in the journey, don’t write yourself out.


Anyone else suffer from False Barrier Syndrome?

11 comments:

  1. Yes, I can totally relate to this! And Moving Target Syndrome as well. I am actually struggling with that a bit right now when it comes to writing.
    Glad you enjoyed these events so much. Congratulations!

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    1. Thank you, Julie. Moving Target Syndrome has been a big problem for me in my writing.

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  2. I joined SCBWI about three years ago and attend the local monthly meetings in my area. I've met a lot of other authors in this way, including one of my critique groups. Funnily enough, I have yet to write a middle grade or YA book, which is kind of the reason for joining.

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    1. That's funny! They're the only writing organization in my area, so we get a lot of people who joined and intended to write something for kids but then just didn't, so you're not alone.

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  3. Guilty. I didn't join the IWSG for years because I wasn't sure I qualified.

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    1. Oh, I feel this. I agonized over putting my name down back in the day.

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  4. I'd be nervous about all those things too, but I'm glad they helped you realise we're all in the same boat. You're definitely a real author.

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    1. Thanks, Nick! I always think it's funny how we expect a sort of surprise party where everyone jumps out of hiding with our books and confetti and yells "Now you're a real Writer, Harry!"

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  5. I did a lot this year that terrified me, too, but afterward I was so proud of myself, and realized it wasn't as bad as I thought it would've been. :)

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    1. It definitely opens things up to do them again, so that was good.

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  6. Writers' conferences are definitely fun; glad you got to go to one. I hear you on the different stages thing, though - the one that I went to, it felt like most people had done more than me, but still so many hadn't written much or were just working toward getting a first book done. So it's good to see.

    And I think my entire life has been Moving Target Syndrome. >_<

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