My Insecure Writer's Support Group post is a couple days late, because I forgot it was this last Wednesday. Alex reminded me in a comment, and I had a very "Doh!" reaction. However, now that I'm past that reaction, this is what I'm doing about it (posting today). Is it better late than never?
When it comes to the Insecure Writer's Support Group, I don't know if I necessarily have insecurities left to express that haven't been aired in all their glory in previous months. But each time I think I've plumbed the depths of my self introspection, I find one more thing that I'd like to talk about. This month, it's about why we all write and then answering that question for me so that all of you know. Because what drives me changes over time, but it began in a fairly ignoble place. So to begin, I think I'm going to use a picture...a picture that sums up most of the reasons people may turn to writing as a form of self expression, and maybe at the end of this you'll leave a comment as to why you write.
One of the things that drove me into writing initially was a frustration of being invisible to an entire community, and I was in this kind of needy narcissistic state that grew from a place of very little attention to wanting to do something in which people paid attention to me. I still find that the most attractive trait in a person I meet is their ability to listen. For me, this trait has been more difficult to find than it seems to be with others (or maybe I'm just oblivious to how people get others to listen to them). It seems like every person that I get introduced to wants to dominate a conversation about themselves, so either I'm naturally attracted to people like this because I'm a good listener (and the whole world knows it), or the world at large is changing and more people every day are not upholding the conversational agreement which is: I will listen to you 50% of the time if you listen to me 50% of the time. It sounds like a reasonable request, but I know more than just a few examples of people that expect you to listen 90% of the time, and then pretty much tune you out whenever you open your mouth to speak. They may stay quiet for a minute, but soon find a way to talk over you or alternately end the conversation so that they can leave.
So why does this happen to me? Well it could be environmental factors, but I could also be to blame. I've come to grow a little wiser with time, and I feel that I can now say that I've had quite a few successes in life. But, I've also failed a ton. I think my writing originally grew from out of this failure, to get a notion of what it feels like to achieve all that I failed to achieve. It grew out of a natural condition for people to ignore those who fail, because our society is one that upholds the successes in life. Also, at the ripe old age of 43, I write so that I can experience all the things that I've failed to experience. I've never been to England or New York City, but it doesn't mean that I can't go there in a book. Life is expensive, and I'm not rich, and some things I want to do were kind of off the table for a long time. Finally, I think I'm comfortable saying that I continue to write so that I may be all that I failed to be.
Meeting and connecting with all of you successful authors out there who are selling tons of your books has been a wonderful experience for me. Not only has it been eye-opening in the deeper sense that I'm part of a community that is familiar with the concepts of struggle and failure. But it has also taught me that there are many others who share my experience of living in the shadows of some very tall trees.