Just Too Insecure

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.


About kjw616

I am a genealogy detective. I have already written one book about my Irish family's journey from 19th century Ireland to the United States- a family history sprinkled with personal anecdotes. My second book was intended to be a similar story about my Russian ancestors. Instead, it turned into a tale of just my father's immediate family. It is the tale of what happens when 6 children from New Jersey are moved to the Soviet Union by their Russian-born parents during the Great Depression. It details who lives, who dies, and who is able to return to NJ during a time when leaving the USSR was not an easy endeavor, particularly during World War II and the Cold War. It is my hope that those interested in history during this time period will find this story fascinating as well as those fellow amateur family historians who will learn some of the tools such as ancestry.com, visits to the National Archives, and local libraries I used to uncover this story.
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5 Responses to Just Too Insecure

  1. Rhonda Strong Gilmour says:

    Here in Tacoma, WA, there are many immigrant families from Russia and the Ukraine. I was talking to a teenager the other day who identified very strongly with his family roots. I bet you’ll find lots of interested readers for your family’s story, because they’ll see parallels to their own family histories.

  2. kjw616 says:

    The problem is I have no idea how to guidethese potential readers to my book. There are also letters to my father sprinkled throughout the book, which I am thinking would appeal to those interested in genealogy research. Hopefully, the Insecure Writer’s Group will help me find my way in exposing my book to the right people— if it deserves the attention. (there goes the insecurity!)

  3. Diane Burton says:

    What a terrific legacy you’ve left your descendants. Family stories need to be told. On one of my blog posts, I talked about my mom and how my grandchildren would never know her. A kind commentor mentioned I was making sure they did by telling them stories. If you’d like a little promotion, contact me: dmburton72@gmail.com I love blog visitors.

  4. kjw616 says:

    That was the purpose of the blog and th letter-turned-book. I wanted my children and grandchildren to know about the grandfather they (and apparently me as well) knew so little about. While writing his story in this blog, I was surprised to discover that strangers also were interested. That’s when I thought that maybe I should make the book public and see where it leads.

  5. emaginette says:

    I’ve got some Russian in my blood and it never stopped me. Sorry you lost your dad.

    Anna from elements of emaginette

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