One of my insecurities about writing (I have many) is that people know I’m insecure about my writing! There is a fine line between modesty—knowing your work has shortcomings—and wimpy lack of confidence. I have vacillated between the two, which is likely apparent to those who have read my blog for a while or read my comments on others' blogs.
Here’s the problem it presents: Since the blog-o-sphere has proved to be my pool of potential beta-readers and critique partners who likely sense my insecurity, I tend to wonder if they sugar-coat their responses to my writing. Intellectually, I know I have chosen them because they have integrity and will be honest—and when they offer suggestions on how to improve, I absolutely believe them. But when they say something nice, I always wonder if it’s just to make the criticism more palatable. Which is stupid, because I know some of my writing is pretty good and commendation is often an effective way to motivate further improvement. Even worse, if most of what they say is positive, I wonder if they think I can't handle the truth, and so hold back on pointing out the negative! (For the record: Yes, I can handle the truth!)
Fortunately, I have found a remedy to this! Time! It takes time to build up a trusting relationship with a crit partner or beta reader. True confidence in someone can only come through experience. It’s very difficult starting out with little or no writerly support—especially if you live somewhere remote and don’t have access to a live writing group (even then, it takes time to build trust). I feel very fortunate after several years of this blogging/writing gig, to have found some real gems! It has bolstered my confidence exponentially! You know who you are..THANKS!
This post is part of a series The Insecure Writers Support Group—yes, a blogfest—sponsored by Alex J. Cavanaugh, to lend support to fellow insecure writers (and that's most of us!). A list of fellow Supporters can be found at the above link--go visit their blogs for more encouragement...