The Gift of Insecurity
I frequently field phone calls from clients who are going through a rough patch in their frame of mind. It turns out being a contracted and published author doesn’t automatically fill you with self-confidence and unending affection for your own work. Who knew?
The reality is that the publishing journey is fraught with emotional land mines—dealing with the editorial process, reading your reviews, settling on just the right idea for that next book—that can make you feel insecure and like a fraud.
I can’t write! I have everyone fooled. I am an imposter. What made me think I could call myself a writer?
This, of course, is a normal part of being a writer. If all goes well, you will have some moments of loving your WIP and you’ll appreciate your newly published books when they land on your front porch in that UPS box. You’ll even continue to enjoy the process of writing. But you’ll probably also have moments when you’re sure that everything you’ve written is garbage and you’re terrified you’re going to be found out.
And it’s a good thing too. Because it’s that very insecurity that will drive you to keep growing, keep learning, be the best you can be. Lately I’ve been quoting the famous yoga teacher BKS Iyengar to my clients. He said, “The moment you say ‘I have got it,’ you have lost everything you had…The moment you say ‘I am satisfied with that,’ stagnation has come. That is the end of your learning; you have closed the windows of your intellect.”
If you believe that, then you see that we really need to look at writing and publishing as a journey, and take from it what we can while we are in the middle of it. It’s part of our larger process of growing and developing as people; it is not a question of “arriving” but more a discipline of figuring out how to keep going.
Don’t worry about yourself when you’re feeling insecure or even hateful toward your writing. Accept it as part of your journey; ask yourself what it means, how it can spur you on, what it drives you toward.
Let yourself feel satisfied for brief moments, then go back to the natural state of the writer: insecure, frustrated, driven.
It’s a great life, isn’t it?