The Insecure Writer’s Group: A Tale of Two Stories

The Insecure Writers’ Group is an organization of writers offering support and encouragement to all those taking on the challenges of writing. Every month they sponsor a blog hop where writers can blog about a topic related to overcoming obstacles and exploring various aspects of the writing journey. If you’d like to participate in a future hop you can join here.

This month the question is as follows:


May 5 question – Has any of your readers ever responded to your writing in a way that you didn’t expect? If so, did it surprise you?

I find this question really really interesting and it was actually an eye opening experience writing on this topic. The answer is definitely yes, it has happened to me many times. There are two times that stand out to me though, and for very different reasons. This post is called the tale of two stories because, well it is an account of two separate occasions where my writing received very different receptions and what that meant for me in the bigger picture.

The first thing that I allowed someone (besides a teacher) to read was a scene I wrote that was deeply personal to me. It was sad and it was painful, and I thought at the time there would be really no other way to interpret that. Well I was wrong. This individual thought it was funny. And not like a nervous funny, like they actually laughed as though they had just heard a hilarious joke and then dismissed me without any more feedback. Umm. Ok. Wow. Not what I expected and yep, I was pretty surprised. I understand that everyone has their own opinion and I respect that, but this individual knew me well, and knew that this subject was something difficult for me to write about. This reader laughed and then refused to give me any more feedback. That was the end of that. I’m sad to say that after this I put my writing away for a couple of years, it really stuck with me in a bad way. I shouldn’t have let it derail me, but I did.

The next story has a happier ending. Totally different person a few years later. I finally allowed them to read the first draft of my book, not only because I really needed the feedback, but because I genuinely wanted to share it with them. And I was really surprised by the parts of the book and the characters that they enjoyed the most. They wanted to hear more, but not about the characters or the storylines that I found the most interesting. They had their own perspective on what was riveting, and it was constructive to see my writing through a different lens, realizing that everyone gravitates towards something different about a story based on their own personal experiences and interests. I really responded well to this, not because they thought everything about the book was great (they didn’t) but because they took the time to read and interpret my writing thoughtfully and constructively. I appreciated it.

As far as the implications of all of this, I guess it’s fairly simple. The first person ended up being overall not a very nice person or friend. We no longer speak, and it has been a relief. The negativity towards my writing extended to every other aspect of life, and at the end of the day became very toxic. The second person is very much still around, still offering me feedback (and no, it’s not all positive) but it is all constructive. And probably not surprisingly, this person’s respect of my work extends to every other facet of life. That one is definitely a keeper 🙂

I’m not saying that everyone close to you who you allow to read your work has to love it. Heck they don’t even have to like it and they’re even allowed to dislike it and to tell you that they dislike it. What I am saying though is that mocking and ripping out an idea at the roots just to tear down the self-esteem of someone you’re supposed to care for is not allowed. Honestly with friends like that, who needs an enemy?

I appreciate how writing gave me an insight into the relationships in my life. It’s a deeply personal endeavor, and it’s hard enough without cruelty from those close to you. Be kind, and surround yourself with those who will treat you and the work you put your soul into with respect and kindness as well. Even if they don’t love everything you write.

11 thoughts on “The Insecure Writer’s Group: A Tale of Two Stories

Add yours

  1. Welcome to the IWSG!
    That first person certainly wasn’t a friend. Glad you reached out again and got some positive feedback.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You’re right about reviews. I don’t understand people who rate something poorly when it’s mostly subjective. That’s not what readers are looking for. Glad you survived both of yours!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Jacqui! I totally agree, I don’t understand people like that either. People can really be strange sometimes!

      Like

  3. Wow. People can be weird. Miserable people just want to spread misery, and positive people always want to spread positivity. So, if I must be around negative miserable people because they happen to be family or married to someone important to me, then it’s always at arms length, and I give little weight on their words.

    And after all these years writing, I’ve learned that not everyone is suitable for giving constructive criticism. A LOT of people think you want them to tell you what’s “wrong” with the story, and therefore they go harpooning for errors and mistakes. There is value in that, but only if it’s constructive. Being vile and destructive… well, again, people are weird.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for reading Tanya! That is so true, people can really be strange. I think limiting time with negative people is definitely the way to go, especially when it comes to something deeply personal like writing. Because you’re right, some people just can’t be and don’t want to be constructive!

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  4. I am so sorry that happened to you. It reminded me of an experience I had in high school with a teacher, something I’ve tried to forget, so that is really healing to read. Glad to know you kept writing through it. Writing is so hard sometimes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for reading and sharing. I’m so sad to hear that you had a negative experience with a teacher, that is so uncalled for that anyone would be unkind to a student. Good for you rising above that negativity and continuing to write!

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  5. What a peculiar and mean spirited reaction! I’m glad you’ve removed that person from your life as you’re right: how one reviews and gives feedback on your work does reflect how they are as a person. Having had that experience and grown from it, I hope, if it happens again, that you will push them away instead of your pen.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s terrible that people have told you not to write, people can be so negative and frustrating. Don’t listen to them, keep writing and sharing your story!

      Like

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