Insecure Writer’s Support Group

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Recently, I’ve read two writers in my critique group who made me yearn to be a better writer. Perhaps that’s not a full-blown insecurity, but it certainly is a reminder that the literary road I have to travel remains long and winding.

Both stories center on tragedies (an easy target, and maybe overdone). But in both cases, the events leading to the big reveal (what weighs heavily on the characters’ hearts) are described slowly. The pain, deeply internalized, does not overwhelm, giving the reader layers of emotion and psychological depth. 

The beautiful language many times comes at the reader in metaphors that stir the thoughts in many directions. I kept waiting for the writing to falter (those aren’t final works) but it never did. I was never pulled out of the settings, never unable to visualize the character’s emotions.

The writers did something wonderful not only for themselves, but for me, the reader. They inspired me. They gave me ideas. And that’s what reading is meant to do, isn’t it?

… literature is about the obsession with ideas.”~ Ryan McGinty of the Gustavus A. College.

After a month of daily blogging, when ideas are in short supply and energy even lower, reading great literature, or just reading, does two things: replenishes the overtapped creative well, and makes me want to get better. 

The latter is definitely in the realm of insecurities, and it can be treated only with reading and more reading, hopefully followed by writing and better writing.

Thank you.

~~~ If you’d like to share, encourage, or read other Insecure Writer’s Support Group participants, please visit this site.


20 responses to “Insecure Writer’s Support Group

  1. It’s good when other writers can inspire us to better our own craft :)

  2. Silvia, I’m curious… at the moment I strictly write memoir, family, short stories as you have read on my blog. I’m always looking for advice comments, suggestions, ideas… would the Insecure Writer’s Support Group be a good place for me? Or would they think my writing is too pathetic? Do you have any suggestions here? I would love to hear your thoughts.

    • Gwynn, first your is wonderful and very funny. I love reading your blog.

      This is only my second post for IWSG but judging by the first one, a couple of months back, the response and support is great, and it really is nice to belong to a group of folks who understand better than anyone what it takes to put a story into words, or what a success or a rejection feels like. Not a lot a pressure either; there’s only one post required per month.

      Also, if you ever want to be part of a critique group (and I’m talking very diverse membership from newbies to highly accomplished professional writers) let me know. I love mine.

      Btw, short stories are one of my most favorite (next to novels) forms of writing and reading. And my crit group has a special list for non-fiction (which I don’t write, but enjoy reading) so that’d be great for memoir.
      One thing I learned early on is that no writer can do it alone. :) Thanks so much for commenting and sorry about the long response. :)

  3. Oh, it will be. I also feel like reading a real, paper book, out on the deck with the sun shining and a cool drink beside me. The screen tires me, and yet, I am drawn to the blogging world.

    • I read okay on my Kindle, but you’re right, Mary, reading a real book is so fulfilling, plus it reminds me that out thoughts too are real and not just a bunch of data. Thank you.

  4. Reading good work always inspires me to write, much in the same way looking at beautiful scenery inspires me to paint.
    By the way, the college you mentioned is located in my home town. :-)

  5. Silvia, I was interested to hear you talk about needing to delve into a literary work or reading after the “short bursts” of the A to Z Challenge. I notice that about myself. Reading on a screen is harder for me than printed page, and my concentration works differently when reading blogs vs a book. So I need a balance between them.

    You are so right about the way quality writing can grab a reader. I hope you aren’t discouraged by thinking others have an ability you don’t. Your abilities or style might differ, but still grab readers in a way you can’t predict. I have notebooks full of passages I’ve copied from books – and every author’s style differs immeasurably. You have to trust yourself.

    • Thanks so much, Sammy. I really appreciate your thoughtful comment and always good to see you here. Yes, our poor eyes are punishing us for making them read on screen so much. Balance is key.

      I’m not discourage, even if we writers are generally speaking pretty insecure. But I think that goes for all creative types. Thank you.

  6. Another very thoughtful post, Sylvia, one of your outstanding characteristics as a writer. You are not an insecure writer. I was taken with your thought of delving into great literature to rev your writing energy. Not sure how I would define great literature (I am currently truly stuck in reading Little Dorrit) but there are authors whose prose I find awesome, Pat Conroy for example.

    • Noelle, I’m reading a collection of short stories titled PRAYING DRUNK by Kyle Minor, if you’re interesting. Great stuff. Also, still reading The Goldfinch (latest winner of the Pulitzer prize), which many say it’s a bit too much on the rambling side, but I love it. Pat Conroy is great. Thank you.

  7. Dear Silvia:

    I would love to get the name of your writer’s group. I fall into the non-fiction category, as one commenter above does. I’m not sure if your group would accept non-fiction writers. I’ll check out the link you provided as well. Thanks. Nice post.


  8. The fact that you see what they did right is what will make you a better writer.

  9. As has been said, you can’t be a writer if you aren’t a reader. I believe this is true, for the inspiration books give us and for teaching us to be better writers.

  10. striving to get better is never a bad thing! we have to keep challenging ourselves. Thanks for your comment and great meeting you too !

  11. strokesurvivoreva

    Great post today Silvia. Once I’ve got my work through at least one edit stage, I’d like to get it out to a critique group. You’re gonna love IWSG. I’ve only missed one month since I signed up. Eva

  12. Silvia, I WOULD love to learn more about your critique group for non-fiction. Plus, I really would LOVE to find someone to help me develop my humor. Does anyone do that in your group? Also, you can reach me at: Thanks!!

  13. I am not involved in a critique group, since there is no project in the works. Why? Stage of life, active with extended family, etc. It thrills me to read of writers who have such wonderful goals.

I welcome your thoughts.

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