FREE PSYCHOTHERAPY THURSDAY: Insecurity and the Writing Profession

Posted: November 18, 2010 in FREE PSYCHOTHERAPY THURSDAY, Wednesday's Writing Tip
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I spent the weekend as the co-emcee of the mystery convention “Murder and Mayhem in Muskego.” It’s really cool because Penny Halle, the world’s hottest librarian, and Jon and Ruth Jordan do an amazing job setting the thing up.

The best part of it is getting to hang with writers. A couple of conversational themes came up.

One of the very best in the business said something to me that really resonated. I was talking about how I feel insecure about my writing and he wouldn’t let me finish.

“Everyone single person in this room feels that all the time,” he said. “Awards, sales–it doesn’t matter.”

Another conversation I had was about people-pleasing–specifically that authors constantly seek approval. I mean, think about it, if you didn’t it would be a little weird wouldn’t it? You write to entertain, inspire, scare–whatever–other people. if it doesn’t work on others then you haven’t done your job.

That means writers are by definition almost always neurotic and irrational, seeking the approval of something outside of themselves–exactly what people get into therapy for.

Hmmm…I’m glad I’m not the only one that is nuts.

  1. Ginny says:

    My insecurity used to keep me from writing til I co-authored an ABC Basset Hound Bestseller with some other insecure guy – arrooooooooooooooo!

  2. michael rivest says:

    Gee, I never feel that way (he said sheepishly, as his nose grew). Yeah, can I ever relate. With everything – the insecurity, the inability to be reassured, and the desire for approval. But I’m not only a writer, I’m a recovering Catholic – which means I had eight years of nuns, four years of priests, and fifteen years of therapy.

    But there has been growth. I used to write about Catholicism. Imagine what THAT was like. I had to stop because I was having nightmares about rulers and flying erasers.

    By the way, Tom, you’re real good. No worries. – M

  3. Jen Forbus says:

    I don’t write, so this is coming from the peanut gallery. Quite a few of the very successful authors I know say that first and foremost you must write the book YOU want to read. Which I think makes good sense. You’ll never be able to please everyone, so the most important person to please is yourself.

    I think when you write “to please others” or write “to sell books” that comes through loud and clear. It’s obvious the author didn’t feel passionate about it, so how can the reader?

  4. tybes says:

    Tom, sounds like something Woody Allen would say in a blog.

  5. D. B. Dean says:

    Thank god I am normal!

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