It’s time again for Alex Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group!

PURPOSE OF IWSG: “To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!”



Most of us are plagued with insecurities. We agonize that we’re not good enough, worry we can’t make the grade and continually torture ourselves with negative self-talk.

The very existence of IWSG is a testament to our rampant self-doubt. I mean, honestly, if you were secure, would you be reading this?

Here’s what no one tells you: insecurity doesn’t have to be a bad thing. In fact, if you persevere, insecurity may very well prove one of the most powerful tools in your writer’s toolbox

Security often breeds self-satisfaction, complacency, and the writer’s kiss of death—false confidence. Insecurity, on the other hand, can motivate a willingness to learn and an openness to change. We become better at our craft because we’re sensitive to our shortcomings. Insecurity has the added advantage of weeding out the quitters—but that’s fodder another post.

Given there’s no cure, those of us susceptible will likely always feel insecure about our writing. When we hold our work up to that of other writers, we’ll be first in line to find our efforts lacking. For example, I can say with complete assurance, I will never be Michael Chabon, Neil Gaiman, or JK Rowling. But then, they can never be me, either.

And therein lies the kernel of the writer’s dream.

If you write character driven fiction, you already know there is no hero’s journey more noble than the quest for self-worth. So take pride in your self-doubt, revel in your timorous confidence, and make a vow never to become so secure that you quit striving to be better.