InsecureWritersSupportGroup

While I’ve had this blog for several months, this is my official launch. Yay! Can you think of a better venue for a blog launch than Alex Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group?

Me, either!

There were two delays in getting this blog on the field. First, figuring out how WordPress works. Second, deciding what to blog about. I promised myself this time around I wouldn’t blog solely about writing. Been there, done that—twice.

Someone once said if a blogger has to solicit ideas for topics, he or she has nothing to say and has no business blogging. I agree. On the upside, I had more ideas than I knew what to do with. On the downside, those ideas shared no theme or cohesion. In short, adhering to the standard blogging formula—being tied to a single blog subject like writing—wouldn’t work for me.

Suddenly, I was facing the same crisis with blogging I’d recently confronted with my writing. I had plenty to say as long as I shunned formula and ignored rules. Therein lies the insecure message of this post.

After five years, two novels, half a dozen short stories, and thousands of hours spent in writing despair, trying to squeeze my non-formulaic tales into one of mystery’s not-to-be-screwed-with genre formulas, I learned that I am not a mystery writer—or a thriller writer, or a sci-fi writer, or a women’s fiction writer, or a horror writer, or… well, you get the picture.

I am simply a writer, trying to be the best I can be.

Great work is overlooked every day, for a million reasons. Business concerns outweigh artistic concerns.    ~Jane Friedman

I understand and respect that publishing is a business. However, I work the creative end, and the joy of writing comes from the heart not the pocketbook. It is about telling stories only I can tell, original tales that with luck, surprise, entertain, and prove the antithesis of formula.

If you don’t feel you are possibly on the edge of humiliating yourself, of losing control of the whole thing, then what you’re doing probably isn’t very vital. If you don’t have some doubt of your authority to tell the story, then you’re not trying to tell enough.       ~John Irving

Despite a number of successes over the past year, I recently made a commitment to write for myself, understanding at the outset the decision would likely cost me any chance at publication. It was like a switch had been flipped. Writing once again became a passion and a pleasure. Moreover, I began to produce work I was truly proud of.

I’ve always dreamed of publication and would love nothing more than to reconcile my need to create with the constraints of genre and market. But awards aside, unless I self-publish, the prospect of one of my novels seeing print is slim.

NOTE: Nearly all writers say they write for themselves. Few do. Convincing ourselves of this lie is how we soldier on. I did it for five years, so I know.

In this inaugural post, I officially declare myself every bit as insecure as the day I started on the writer’s path, except these days it’s a different kind of insecurity. I began as a shaky, uncertain people-pleaser, naive enough to believe writing was the trump card in the game of publication.

It is not. I offer Snooki’s last three books as proof, although there are plenty more examples out there.

Business will always trump art. Always. But keep in mind without business, there’d be no market.

Today I see my way clearly. I walk with head held high, proud not to have surrendered my chance (paraphrasing Neil Gaiman here) to use my art to impact the world in a way that only I can.

Insecure, yes, but happy. Maybe one day I can have it all, but for now this is enough.

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