Tag Archives: Insecurity

Feeling inadequate? Here’s why….

Of all the things I’ve ever done, that required learning new skills, I think that writing is the most neurotic. Whatever you do, it’s not good enough, but if you just read this article or attend this course or pay this editor to knock your manuscript into shape, then you’ll be a better writer.

As examples of what I mean, here are the titles of emails on writing sent to me today:

*Authors You Need To Follow On Social Media

*What’s the point of Blogging?

*Secrets to help your Content go Viral

*Ten Reasons You Book Is Not Ready To Publish

*Beginners Guide: 26 Most Common WordPress Mistakes To Avoid

The stance of the writers of these helpful articles is that I’m making mistakes that need rectifying, that they know things I don’t. Of course, some of these experts are selling their services in direct ways, while others earn funds through the ads on their websites and blogs. That’s fair enough, and they’re doing nothing different to what anyone advertising a product or service does—trading on buyer’s insecurities—they’ll be better people if they only buy this.

It’s worth remembering, that the stores selling food and equipment to gold rush prospectors made more loot that the miners digging for gold.

The thing is, creativity is dependent on free thought, the spark of originality that attracts the interest of the writer first of all and then the reader. Literary agents say things like:We are always on the lookout for new writing talent who see things in a different way, producing great stories to share with the world.What they don’t say is: “We’re looking for adequate authors who produce stories we know will sell, because they’re the sort of humdrum thing that’s sold before.”

I sometimes wonder about the worth of following advice designed to make me feel inadequate. Certainly, there are useful tips and tricks to learn to create an appealing manuscript which seduces the reader, but following advice too closely may produce cookie-cutter writing that is technically correct, but which reads just like everything else churned out by authors who subscribed to that course.

It’s hard enough to get noticed from writing the mountain that is a book, but if you’re following the same route to the summit, you’re joining a queue, as shown by this tragic story about the deaths of mountaineers attempting to scale Mount Everest:


Writing a book should be hard work, but it should be enjoyable, a journey of discovery in which you’re surprised. If that happens to you, it may well happen to the reader.

Remember Sturgeon’s Law which advises that 90% of anything is crap—and that includes advice about how to write.

I think I need to unsubscribe from many of my newsletters. It’s not that I think I know it all, but I do know enough to get through without having so-called experts tell me I’m going the wrong way. It makes for a lousy start to the day.

What drives you mad about writing gurus?

Have you ever paid for training or editing which was beneficial…or, which was a waste of money?

(Happy Birthday, Bob, who is 78 today)

Masochism & the Writer

Any novice writer starting out, soon realises that there’s so much commitment needed to create a story that it’s going to mean self-denial, humiliation and pain. More experienced writers accept that they’ve grown a thick skin to withstand rejection and that tremendous willpower is required to complete the tidying up of a manuscript after The End is typed.

The term ‘masochism’ comes from a writer—Leopold von Sacher-Masoch— whose sexual proclivities included submission to powerful women.

BDSM has become mainstream in recent years, but masochism includes more than painful sexual activity. The Cambridge English Dictionary gives a definition of masochism as:

‘The enjoyment of an activity or situation that most people would find very unpleasant.’

It’s arguable, that to achieve success in any endeavour, an ability to power through pain and denial is essential. Patience and perseverance are needed to get published.

http:// http://fiveyearstofinancialfreedom.com/the-masochism-and-sacrifice-of-success/

I feel unlike a writer this year, for although I started a novella as therapy while I became a self-publicising blogger and social media poster, I’ve been ploughed under by the repetitive mechanics of promoting myself and my novels.

I started the year by transferring 44 titles from Smashwords and Amazon to a new digital publisher called Draft2Digital.

It took longer than I anticipated, as I had to take my ebooks off Smashwords and Amazon, then reformat the manuscripts to suit D2D’s requirements. It was tedious—the opposite of being creative—I disliked doing it but soldiered on.

In reactivating my Paul Pens blog, which I started in 2014, then neglected ignored in favour of writing, I’m using many of the threads I started on The Colony. Although I’m glad to have them as a resource, editing and updating what I wrote, including checking if hyperlinks still work, has taken me a month of 8-10 hour days. I’ve ended up with 400 posts, which sounds impressive, but I have no idea if anyone will read them or how it will contribute to my author platform. Like anything in writing, what I’ve done is speculative.

I was relieved to complete this nit-picking task, which didn’t feel like much of an achievement—more like I’d finally stopped scourging my back with a cat o’ nine tails!

Once my blog goes live, I’ll begin to tweet, post on Instagram, update the pins I’ve already made on Pinterest, post fresh material on my Facebook business page and offer to do guest posts for other bloggers. I’m going to try to enjoy these activities, and I reckon I will get something positive out of interacting with people who make comments, but I feel more like a business agent than an author. I’m having to force myself to do it—my Cornish Detective novels require publicising if they’re going to sell—it’s a form of advertising. Not only am I a part of show business, but I’m also a manufacturer and self-promoter and performer. Ta dah!

I’m brainwashing myself into staying positive—but not go so over the top, that my blogging and social media activity becomes sadistic—as if I’m inflicting myself on potential readers!

Actually, I’m also concerned that I’m getting off on the masochistic side of writing and publishing…will I forget how to enjoy creating new stories? I know that Rome wasn’t built in a day, but I had no idea how many bricks were involved to build a writing career.

All of us, at some time or other, say to ourselves “Why am I doing this?”

How do you cope with the insecurity and disappointment of writing?

Do friends and family worry about your dedication?

Psychoanalyst Edmund Bergler