Tuesday, March 6, 2012


As we all know the first Wednesday of the month is The Insecure Writer's Group hosted by our Ninja leader Alex J. Cavanaugh.

My post today came to me as I was sitting in a karaoke bar last night. With only a handful of performers I had the opportunity to study each and every one.

"What does this have to do with writing?" you ask.

A lot.

Human nature runs the gamut in all walks of life and in every situation. Insecurity is insecurity whether it be in writing or in other aspects of life.

As writers we should study human nature in order to write about it. Don't we want our prose to be believable? Of course we do. So we have to study life, and in doing so record it accurately in our prose.

One performer stood out more than any other and I chose her to be the focus of this post. Shockingly this unbelievably talented singer was completely insecure.

It was an easy observation. The glass of alcohol never left her hand. As she poured her heart out in one of two songs I was fortunate to hear, she hid behind her 60's Barbara Streisand precision bob. The resemblance was unnerving. Picture Babs at twenty-one again a sensation right from the start. Elle has the same star quality.

BUT, unlike Babs, her insecurity was worn on her sleeve like an iron-on patch. Why would such a lovely and talented young woman with a voice to seduce the birds from the trees be insecure?

One can only guess. Which leads me to my next question. Why would talented writer's like ourselves be insecure? Why hide our amazing prose and keep it for our own eyes, terrified of the thought that someone, anyone, won't like what we've written?

It's time to stop relying on crutches to make our work SING. Elle needed alcohol to get through her song. What crutch are you relying on? It's time to throw them away and stand tall. You have honed your story, yes. it may not be perfect, BUT LET US BE THE JUDGE.

It terrifies me how many writers won't share their work with their extended writing family. We are here for you, WE NEVER JUDGE ... WE LISTEN to your words. WE MAKE suggestions to polish your story. So don't be afraid to trust us.

I hope Elle will trust in her piers and in her incredible talent. Talent is what makes artists of ALL kinds special and unique.

My passion for people and writing was rekindled in the past few weekends I had spent in Key West. I know I owe you pics and a post, but they had to be delayed for this very special edition of The Insecure Writer's Group.

I hope you will all drop by Alex's blog for more of these posts. They ARE truly inspirational. We all have our moments of insecurity, but please don't let them CRIPPLE your writing.

Have a wonderful day everyone. I promise, on Friday I will have an amazing Key West post.


  1. Nice post Bro!It is not an easy thing to make yourself vulnerable and stand naked before a crowd. I still can not sing Karaoke, they are so brave just to get up there and try :)Same thing with writing!

  2. Great post. Sometimes it's easier to dream about your book getting published rather than putting the story out there and having that dream maybe squashed. But like you say, we've got to put it out there.

  3. I think the truly talented hide and are insecure because they are humble. Just look at the best singer on Idol. They are usually humble.

  4. Spot. On.


  5. If you've never tried to get up and sing in front of others, you probably can't understand how terrifying it can be. When I first started singing, I could only look down at my toes, because if I saw someone looking at me, I froze and couldn't sing on pitch. The same with our writing, if we put words on a page and no one sees them, it's a whole different thing putting them out for all the world to see. We need to just let go and be ourselves, no matter what creative outlet we are pursuing.

  6. Aww! Wonderful post! And that's great she was brave enough (even with alcohol) to get up there and sing despite her insecurities.

  7. That's such a great question. I think so many of us fear judgment! Nice that she did get up to sing, isn't it!

  8. I really think sharing takes practice. And it maybe takes some intentional steps. I will never be sorry I started sharing in the fan fic forums because the people there just wanted to gobble up more Harry Potter stuff. They were so encouraging and BEGGED for more. It gave me confidence. But each step up... sharing completely original stuff, sharing with people I don't know as well... every notch is hard.

  9. A lovely and thought provoking post. Like Hart says, sharing takes practice. Blogging was a huge step for me - I can't tell you how nauseous I felt when I posted for the first time and I could hardly sleep when I posted my first flash fiction for a blogfest!

    My insecurities help me write to the best of ability whilst imagining someone curled up reading a book of mine.

  10. You're so right. We must take a step to move forward. Then just keep putting one foot in front of the other.

  11. Great post, Michael. I had never thought to compare the two sets of insecurities, though I have been a long time sufferer of both - the singing fear and the writing fear.
    Now all I have to do is figure out what my crutches are so I can bin them :)

  12. Fantastic post. It's so true that talent is so often wasted when we allow our insecurities to smother it.

  13. Hi Michael. So that's what you were doing last night, lol. Writers need to be observers, so true. People watching is fascinating! Love your imagery - her insecurity was worn on her sleeve like an iron-on patch. I'm a sucker for description such as this.

    I'm currently working on my mojo, attending creative writing classes for a refresher and yesterday the message was - keep that notebook happening, fill up boxes with found objects for stimulus - keep those senses on alert. Much as you say.

    As for sharing your writing, you know I'm into that. I know there is an attitude that we should never even post stories on our blogs, but I fail to see the reasoning.


  14. Oh man, I need LOTS of cocktails to sing in front of anyone. (strangely, I have no problem public speaking, though) But, hey, at least she was brave enough to go up there...twice. That's badass in my book. :)

    As for writing, we all go through insecure moments. Even the award winning, multi-best selling authors. But, yes, we need to be kinder to ourselves.

    I can;t wait to see the Key West pictures. I'm longing for some tropical weather right now. :)


  15. That was so inspiring! And I love the imagery you used in this post ... the iron-on patch of insecurity ... a voice to seduce the birds from the trees.
    Thank you for the support you give to your fellow writers :)

  16. Oh I wish I could hear this woman sing. I love Barbara Streisand's voice...such amazing talent. You should have included a YouTube of her singing.

  17. I feel like you wrote this just for me :-)

  18. It's funny but I think some of the most talented are the most insecure. I think they are so amazing because they put their heart and soul into their writing and they feel vulnerable sharing it with others.

  19. Once I threw the crutches away and put my work out there, a massive weight lifted off me. I've never been happier. :) Wonderful post!

  20. Showing my work to other people is something I've always been scared of--thanks for the post. :)

  21. I'm with you. We need more confidence and a lot of friends to trust. I'm happy to have found you. =)

    From Diary of a Writer in Progress.

  22. Great post.

    I can't wait to see your pictures!

  23. Michael! I've missed you! I hope you're having a fab time in Key West.

    I love this post and the example. Sometimes talent has no bearing on confidence, and vice versa. It's quite sad.

  24. Great thought provoking post, Michael! I adore karaoke. I worked at a karaoke bar on the island of Okinowa over 20 years ago, so much fun. :))

  25. Beautiful sentiments Michael. We all have our insecurities, that's sure. thankfully there are people like you in this world to recognise and support us.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this.