Thursday, January 26, 2012

Writing and Insecurity

Writers are notoriously insecure about their writing. I suppose everyone knows Stephen King threw Carrie in the trash. His wife rescued the manuscript.

People wonder why writers cannot recognize their own good writing. I have a theory.

Writers are like the creators of the Nazca Lines. The ancient Nazca, in what is now Peru, created these lines only visible in their entirety from a hill or from the sky. Here’s one example: 800PX-~1

The people who made these lines could not see the entire picture. They were too close to the ground.

The makers of these lines trudged along pulling away the red-colored rocks to reveal the white lime beneath.

And writers do much the same. Many people believe writing a book is easy. Those are the ones who have never written one. It’s tedious work to edit the book, to pull away the rocky soil to reveal the clean lines beneath.

Someone said something to me the other day about me rereading Thundersnow. Perhaps I will one day. For now, I am still too close to the ground, too cognizant of the backbreaking work that went into creating the book.

Whether the book is good or bad, others will have to judge. Most writers want the people on the hills or in the planes to holler down at us—“Wow. That looks great!” “Wonderful job!” “How in the world did you do this?” or even—“Wait. You got out of line over there.” “Were you trying to make a spider? Looks more like a bird.”

For we are still covered with sweat and dust, staring down at the white lines and wondering if any way in this world these lines make sense. Only those looking from afar are objective enough to tell us how we fared.

Ways to help a writer:

1. Of course, the obvious is to simply tell them you liked his/her book (or that you didn’t) and why.

2. Visit the Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or other product page and click on “Like” and/or write a review. Be honest in the review and tell what you liked or didn’t like. Writers need to know which lines are crooked in order to fix it next time.

3. Visit the Author page on Facebook and click “Like” at the top of the page.

4. Share the book with others on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, or other social media sites.

5. Tell your friends and family about the book and why you enjoyed it. Encourage others to support the author.

There are lots of other ways. Hugs are always good!


  1. Good points, Sheila. By the way, I know I've told you before, but I want to repeat it. I really do love your Eternal Springs, and never miss a day of reading it. It is part of my morning devotions. I love your stories, and the interesting subjects you unearthed and shared.

  2. Marie, I appreciate you so much! I'm glad you're enjoying the book and hearing you do never gets old. Thanks!


Thanks for sharing your thoughts.