I published a book, and now the time for self-doubt begins. When I first saw a video my brother made showing my father pointing to some photos in a very old album, I was shocked. I did not know of the video’s existence. When I watched it with my father and began questioning him about the various events he discussed with my brother, I was upset that he was unable to answer many of my questions. Why did I never sit down with him earlier to really delve into the details of his early life?
After he died, I began to try to learn his story on my own. I found many documents in his dresser and then began to learn the ins and outs of genealogy research. I turned my discoveries into a letter to my children. That was where I thought my project would end. I never realized I would uncover enough information to write a book.
I wrote, and rewrote over and over. I added more research and interviewed many people to help fill in the holes along the way. Then I struggled with what to do with this letter which had now become a book.
Once I decided to put the book out there on the Internet universe, my insecurities surfaced. I began to question the positive comments by the few friends and family who encouraged me to do this. Did they like it because, as my friends, they “had to?” Were they secretly thinking I was crazy to believe a stranger would enjoy reading a book about my family?
As many times as I beat myself up, I also cheered myself on because I knew the story was good. It was unique, and even if the writing is only mediocre, I believe in the tale.
How many times have I watched a television show where the villains are Russians? We are constantly seeing commercials encouraging us to learn about our ancestors and to follow their trail. Immigration is a hot topic in today’s political arena as are stories of the Great Depression as a comparison to our own Great Recession. We all enjoy rooting for the underdog and love stories of mystery and adventure. My book has it all, so why do I question myself?
I looked for answers with the help of my good buddy Google, who lead me to a Facebook group called “Insecure Writers Support Group.” I learned it is common for a writer to fluctuate between the belief that his book will be a runaway hit and the anxiety that it is useful for nothing more than kindle for a fire. I guess my feelings are normal.
So I put in a request to join the group and then worried I would not be accepted. Talk about feeling insecure! Fortunately I was accepted, so I can now enjoy the conversations of other neurotic writers like myself.