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  • Writer's pictureToby

The Insecurity Pit


I keep telling myself I should be over this by now. This is long work number three on submission. It's a novel I began writing 18 years ago, walked away from it, and then completely started over about four years ago. It became a totally different story with characters I feel like I've met in real life. I think the story arc is the best I've done. And I'm just as petrified as when I started submitting Dark Roux.

Imposter phenomenon is real. I talk about it regularly in my "day job" as a therapist. I know what it's made of and how to push back on it. Even though I am armed with all of this clinical knowledge, those feelings of not being enough, not doing enough, and not trying enough are still there. And what makes me feel even more silly is the fact that I know this is especially true for all writers, even ones who are incredibly skilled and accomplished. Still I quiver looking at the "In-Progress" of this picture. Because what I read is "I'm reading and judging you," and "What made you think you could write like that/about that?" At least "Received" is in a limbo where I can say I tried but they haven't smirked at my nearly 300 pages of verbal vomit.

Let's be clear about something: If you are reading this I am not fishing for compliments about this or anything else in my life. I'm sorry to say they wouldn't work anyway. I've learned that once this insecure voice gets loud in my head there is nothing that will drown it out. Dark Roux has been in the world for over a year now and several of you have told me how much the book means to you (the dopamine surge when this happens is unimaginable). In spite of this, I still keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. I keep waiting for that bad review of "it's not worth the paper it's printed on."

But if I'm honest, the real reason I don't give into the insecurity is what I I just mentioned. I've had some amazing conversations with people who have read my writing and it impacted them. They shared beautiful and tragic parts of their lives because of it. The book was really just the beginning to a bigger conversation, and in some cases, really meaningful relationships. So even as I look at these four instances of possible rejection I have to keep reminding myself they are four doors. If they don't work out they will have to be the doors to growth. If they do they could be the doors to more great conversations. And the thought of having to choose between growing myself or growing my connections leaves me feeling much less insecure (for now).

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