Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Insecure Writers Support Group - The Need to Roar

I've been thinking a lot about this month's IWSG post. This is a rather odd statement considering I've been AWOL since April. I'm making a slow comeback, but in the midst of the joy of returning to blogging on a regular basis, I've found an underlying issue. This issue is what has prevented me from plowing through; it has caused me to stop, start, pause, start again. I have a feeling that I'm not alone in this. This insecurity is quite simply named FEAR.

FEAR that I don't have anything of use to say.

Now I know I have a LOT to say. I've been told I am rather loquacious (only not in so polite of terms). I have ideas bubbling over in my brain, enough to fill at least three lifetimes of constant writing IF each of those lifetimes began with the writer writing feverishly from the age of seven to one hundred and thirty seven. So what do I mean?

You see, I am surrounded by an AMAZING galaxy of bloggers who always (and I mean ALWAYS) have something of worth to say. They are always there with words of wisdom, links and lists and references galore. And I've tried that. And I've failed.


This bothered me. You see, I'm in school studying English and Creative Writing. I plan on pursuing a graduate degree in Writing. I want to TEACH writing. The pressure is there to be brilliant. And yet...the brilliance seems to zip past me faster than a wildebeest being chased by a cheetah.

So I decided just to post at random. You know, the "I walked through my garden today and stepped on a nail" post. It mattered to you but, eh, not so much to everyone else.

Balance, please?

What to do? A little soul searching. Another break. A trip to Tibet to practice transcendental meditation with half starved Sherpas. Ok, so that last one is exaggerated...a lot.

.... hit me.

That age-old question that all writing students, writers, and prolific journal keepers get asked at least 457 times: WHY DO YOU WRITE?

I write to be heard. I write on the off chance that someone, somewhere needs a bit of encouragement to keep going. I write because I feel like my stories are needed. This is why we all write. We have a story inside us that is desperate to be heard. To dig further, why do I want to become a college professor? Not for the paycheck, that's for sure. No, it's because throughout the past seventeen years I've been in and out of colleges and only once -ONCE- did I have a professor who truly inspired me, who challenged me to do the best I could be, and who actually took the time to talk to me after classes about what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. He was a bear of a man; reminded me of Ernest Hemingway. His favorite expression was "Hell, no!" and when he said it, it scared you. He wasn't a writing instructor. He wasn't even an English professor. He was a history professor. And he terrified everyone in that class but me. He's the reason I want to teach.

To write, to teach to be heard.
To inspire someone else to take up the pen after you.
To encourage someone who feels like they have nothing to offer such a vast world already filled to over-flowing with ideas.
To tell tales that simultaneously move a reader to action, to tears, to laughter, to anger.

We write to roar. And it is our voices that will carry us through the times when we feel like we have nothing to post, nothing to say. When we have no word count to show for a month's worth of writing prompts.

Stop being so hard on yourself. Stop feeling like you have nothing of use to say. You DO!

So go on. Find your voice...

...and ROAR!

Wander on over to Alex Cavanaugh's blog. The Insecure Writers Support Group is his brainchild. Oh, and he's one of those fabulous bloggers who always (and I mean ALWAYS) has something to say!


  1. Oh my goodness, this post is beautiful. I want to write to roar! I absolutely love that--you've just inspired me so much, Jen.

  2. Hi Jen! I have been AWOL too. Sometimes it is just hard to do it all and I lost my writing mojo for a bit. Thank you for this post and you always inspire me! :-)

  3. What a fabulous post! It is so easy to lose the joy that comes with writing amidst all the pressure.

  4. Such a fantastic post! And I know what you mean about those type of teachers that scare most students. :)

  5. That's awesome, Jen! And someone needed to hear it today.
    While my books may never be a great inspiration to anyone, I blog to encourage.

  6. I'm visiting from the IWSG.
    Thanks for encouraging us bloggers/writers to "unleash the lion and roar..."
    This is an entertaining & inspiring post!

  7. I really needed this post! Thank you, Jen!

  8. I am afraid I would start to roar and end up yawning, like this precious cat.

  9. Yeah, I've been struggling with some of those fears too, as I reach toward my 2 year anniversary of blogging. That was a great manifesto for any writer. RAAWR!

    I'm looking for some ninja writers to interview for my Ninja spotlight series. If you're interested, go to to find out more!

  10. I tend to judge the quality and interest of my blogs by the number of responses I get. Not good. What? Me perform?

  11. "We write to roar. And it is our voices that will carry us through the times when we feel like we have nothing to post, nothing to say."

    And you say you don't write inspiring posts.

    This is beautiful, and I love hearing about teachers who want to make a difference. It's so hard, but so worth it.


Well, hello! I'm so glad you made it. Come inside and sit by the hearth. I'll take your coat and hat. The kettle is singing and there's cake and candles and good conversation. Settle in and make yourself at home. Don't mind the wolfhounds; they're friendly if you give them a bit of lemon curd.