If you've ever sat down to write anything before, you've probably met allllllllllll your insecurities.
Here's what I think I can guess about them:
- They are loud
- They seem to have good points (they remember your past with staggering clarity)
- There are about two thousand more of them than you remembered, and they keep inviting friends
They might have plenty of reasons why you should delay your writing, why you shouldn't write about that topic that's so close to your heart, or why you should maybe just not write at all.
But since they're ragged little liars (and you can tell them I said that), I'd like to offer the counter-view.
Here's what your insecurities aren't telling you.
1) You're a learner.
Did you know that's one of the most powerful things you can be? If you're open to learning, then you're pretty well unstoppable.
Insecurities pretend that you can't learn, that your flaws (which they magnify enormously) are the definition of you and shall be so forever.
Totally not true. You can learn, you can practice, and you can practice even more.
You can learn to minimize your weaknesses. And you can learn to maximize your strengths.
2) You already know SO DANG MUCH about life.
I say that with total confidence. No matter who you are, wherever you're from, and whatever has happened (or hasn't) to you: You already know so much stuff about the world. Especially about the corner of it where you are.
Insecurities hold up blinders to everything that you already have access to. They make you think that you're too unobservant, or too dull to have anything interesting or valuable to say.
Pfft!! That is so much crap.
One of my favorite quotes about the writing life comes from Eudora Welty, who wrote:
As you have seen, I am a writer who came of a sheltered life.
A sheltered life can be a daring life as well.
For all serious daring starts from within.
Let that soak in a bit, especially if this has been a concern for you. She said that, and she was Eudora Freaking Welty!!
Don't let the jabbering insecurities fool you into thinking that you have nothing to say. You already have plenty of material, no matter how sheltered your life: all you need is the daring to say it.
3) You can help someone. No matter where you're at in life.
You have something to offer. Yes, you.
You're full of insight, awareness, an alternate point of view. If you feel the pull to write, then it means that there's something in you that would be valuable to someone else.
You might not know how that shows up in a project yet. And you might not know what form it will take.
That's okay. You don't need to know all the answers yet.
But what you do need to know and trust is this: Whatever your project is, it has the power to make a difference for someone else. (Even if it's "just" a silly book.)
When I started to write in earnest, a very wise writer told me, "Your biggest struggle is going to be believing that your words are worthwhile."
Dang. She was so right.
Because all the other stuff—the figuring out how to structure a novel, or learning how to be productive, or improving vocabulary, or figuring out the whole publishing game—all that depends on actually writing in the first place.
On actually writing at all.
I've met so many people who would like to write, but whose insecurities stop them. And I'd just love to say: Insecurities, you're off the boat. Off the island. Off the whole dang world.
Because what you have to say—you, lionheart—is worth saying.
Keep learning, keep using what you've been given, and trust that it will be valuable for someone.
Drown those insecurities in a flood of written words.