A Writer’s Worry

Photo Copyright: Shailaja V
Photo Copyright: Shailaja V


Do you worry? Well, that seems rather like a foolish question, considering we all worry at some point or another. But, as a writer, do you worry that you are not doing the best you can?

Writing fiction and creative non-fiction is a relatively new realm for  me. Yes, I have been blogging for nearly eight years now but getting down to serious writing only began about two years ago. My Twitter bio has ‘writer’ in the description and there are days that I doubt the veracity of that statement.

What exactly is it that causes me to doubt myself? The fact that I may not be good enough for people to read is something that overwhelms me every alternate day. I am not discounting the numerous bloggers who read my posts and who genuinely appreciate what I have to say. Without them, I may not have taken up writing the way I did. In fact, I feel downright guilty about not returning the favour on most days.

Then, there’s always the niggling feeling that my best work is not out there. There are days that I dash off a post in under thirty minutes and when I go back to read it, the sheer lunacy of having put it up there for public viewing strikes me in the gut.

This jostles for worrying space along with my third problem which doesn’t happen very often, but does strike on occasion: Not knowing how to say what I want to say. The number of posts lying in my draft folder- well, let’s not go there right now. Instead, let’s talk about how you have something bursting out of you, but you don’t get the right words to express it well enough. Those days a wave of emotions surges within me, urging to break free of the dam of conscience and propriety, but is held back by a nameless power.

And for all of that, I have the same excuse: I don’t get enough time in a day. The truth is, I don’t make time in a day. Not nearly enough. There is always that laundry to fold or the dishes to wash or that last-minute dash to the store for a school assignment that comes in the way. Then, there are those pointless things such as Facebook’s news feed or the instantly-updated Twitter timeline and that ridiculous article on why  Kim Kardashian broke the Internet or whether that dress was really white and gold! The excuses are, frankly, endless and it sickens me right to the gut of my writing soul.

Should I even be calling myself a writer at this point? I am far more content to churn out blog posts, live in a comfortable cocoon of predictable outcomes and not do anything drastic to upset the apple-cart of expectations. But where is the joy in that?

Where is the beauty of a piece that has characters jump off the page and challenge you with their dilemmas and worries? Where is that spark that ignites all writing, firing it up at the hearth and shooting off glorious displays of ravishing beauty to reel the reader in?

I know it’s in there and I know I just need to sit down and write it all out.

I know this.

Yet, I don’t do it. Not all the time.

And that, unfortunately, is my biggest worry of all.


44 thoughts on “A Writer’s Worry

  1. But I’d ask, isn’t it good to think that your best is yet to come? I think it keeps you motivated and helps in challenging yourself. Do it in moderation and don’t get too harsh on yourself 🙂

  2. it’s good to question oneself from time to time. To sit back and analyse at what point one is. I feel that helps us to come up with more solutions. Don’t worry much, you are already an excellent story teller and so committed to all the initiatives you have taken up. 🙂

  3. Well said. I can relate to calling myself a writer and not always feeling like I’m a writer. I can relate to getting distracted with laundry and dishes and Facebook. It is so easy to do. Even when we know better, we writers have to jump these hurdles everyday.

  4. This is a common fear and one a lot of us grapple with. On your part, my dear exceptional writer, I believe the fear may be rather unfounded. 🙂
    Keep writing, keep doing what your heart tells you to. Good luck.

  5. We all feel like that…. are we doing our best and we could do better. But we just have to keep on writing. The more we do, the better we’ll get. And if we love what we’re doing, then there’s nothing to worry about. 🙂

  6. You know sometimes we think a lot and worry for nothing…All we need to do is write…but I agree that can be difficult! Really difficult because the mind has it’s ways to confuse us, the heart as well actually

  7. Shailaja, just write from your heart. You don’t need to write a best seller to be a writer. If you write with a passion (which you do) then the Universe will take care of the rest.

  8. I think you are a worry wart Shailja! You ARE a writer, and a natural one at that it seems, at least to me (though I doubt I am not the only one!) 😉 All you can do is write your best given your already full life. 🙂 I truly understand about having a “number of posts lying in my draft folder” – I have quite a few! 😉 – and also “how you have something bursting out of you, but you don’t get the right words to express it well enough.” That happens to me often enough and I think that is natural for a writer to experience. Sometimes words actually get in the way! I mean HOW do you describe a spiritual experience for example? It’s not easy…. Keep on writing ’cause I so enjoy it and especially your fiction which I think you are brilliant at; however, I also love your honest and vulnerable posts such as this one. Still awesome writing and I wouldn’t say it if I didn’t mean it! <3

  9. I think that is one of the best things I have read today: the idea that my words talk to you directly. I must admit I feel that way about some writers and blessed to think that you feel this way 🙂 Thank you!

  10. I appreciate the praise you shower on me, Cat , most of it unwarranted, I assure you 😉 I enjoy blogging and writing in equal measure and I enjoy self-exploration. I think in that lies our true potential for growth. So, as you says, write because you love it as the main motivator. Lovely to be connected with you, Cat.

  11. I typically do not rewrite my older posts, Beloo,because they are a reminder of the way I used to write and probably a good yardstick to measure how I have grown as a writer since then 🙂 But I agree with you on the need to constantly work towards improvement, because I think we need to always be learners first. Thank you for such a detailed comment. Much appreciated!

  12. I totally relate, and have dealt with (and will probably continue to deal with!) many of these same worries and insecurities. So I hear you.

  13. I guess, we are all plagued with such self doubting thoughts in every sphere of life… am I a good mother, did I do the presentation well…
    I think you are doing great! So, relax and dont worry at all 🙂

  14. You are awesome and you write amazingly well! I’m always in awe at how you express yourself in such short number of words. never doubt yourself!!! Keep going, keep writing well. 🙂

  15. I am not a quarter good as you are and I feel the same. So, I can imagine 3/4 more than I do. Cos I admire you so much, know that you are a wonderful writer and just keep on going. You will not even know what;s your best piece cos it’s up to readers to tell you through their love in form of comments and share! 🙂

  16. The drafts folder – check.
    The Facebook feed – check.
    The writing and posting under 30 mins – check.
    Almost like you jumped inside my head, gave structure to my thoughts and put it here!
    When do you become a writer anyway??

  17. Before I say anything else, let me tell you this, which you probably know anyway– you are awesome! 🙂 Don’t ever doubt that.

    You have a way with words. Whenever I have read your posts, it almost always feels like you are talking to the me/reader directly. Now, THAT is something which is relatively rare and I wish that I can achieve that someday. 🙂


  18. I love how you express yourself so well and aren’t afraid to voice insecurities that we all have, Shailaja. I appreciate that about your writing. You know how to speak to all of us and connect so well.

    I have those feelings often when I write my blog posts or fiction. Often I dash off my little rhymes thinking I should have tried writing something more serious and not so silly. I feel like a charlatan, a fake at times.

    Still, silly rhymes are part of my writing and part of me. Guess I’m stuck with them. Heck, I even put a silly rhyme as a Facebook status as it popped into my head and wouldn’t leave til I wrote it down. Maybe my rhymes aren’t serious writing but at least I’m writing and getting down my feelings and that’s good enough for me.

    If others like it, great. If I get published, great, but I write because I love it and that has to be the main motivator or I’d have given up by now.

  19. I always worry.. check the phone every 2 minutes to see any WP notification. Maybe, its the instant gratification we are getting used to. I have also seen so many well-written blog posts with hardly any comment or like. Personally, I feel that as long as I am worrying about something is because I care about it. This shows your love for writing and the striving for perfection due to it.

  20. I feel the exact same thing. I also feel that everyone out there is better than me! But I have made my peace with it because someone wise once told me that the biggest asset of a creative person is knowing that there is lots to learn. Otherwise we would be so full of ourselves, right?

  21. It happens to us all the time Shailaja and I feel the best way to deal with it is to just face it and get writing what we can and how we can. Surely, there are a certain improvements along the way. Today I am not able to express what I want but a few weeks down, suddenly I am able to hit that publish button on the long awaiting draft. What does this show? That we take in something in the meantime, some gears get aligned and some rampant wires are fixed in our brains and we get it going again.

    I love these posts where you try to analyze a writer’s soul. They make me ponder a lot.

  22. Darling. Just. Go. Write. You know that’s the only way it works :). So maybe tomorrow you’ll decide that today’s writing wasn’t inspired enough, but still you never know what you’ll find until you start writing!
    Self-doubt may keep rearing its head, but you have us adoring fans to tell you otherwise ;).

  23. Dear Shailaja,

    Yes, I’m writing this as a letter. Why? Just because I can!

    It’s a phase that we all go through. And even if we turn out to be really successful writers with millions of readers, we will always have a little voice asking us if that is the best piece you’ve written. Or is that the best you could have done. You know the reason for that? No, it’s not self-doubt or lack of confidence or any of those things.

    It’s because every time people like us write, be it a short post for a campaign or one that we pour our hearts out and spreads across multiple posts, we give it our all. We are worried about everything on it from the smallest typos to the misbehaving apostrophe. And that’s how people who are in love with writing are. And you know what, that’s how it should be.

    More power to all of us.


    There – I wanted to write a letter. Here it is 😛

  24. Well Shailaja, you have certainly expressed this writer’s worry very well. I think at some point or the other we all (who call or would like to call ourselves as writers) worry about this – am I doing my best? How can I improve? What could I have done differently? Not to offer this as a solution, but just sharing between friends. One think I have tried to do sometimes is go back to my old blogposts and rewrite them, revise them considerably to make them into some small article or some such thing. Even if I never send it out for publication anywhere else, I just know that I have tried a bit more to improve upon something which I had churned out a while back. This is also a humbling thing in a way because it helps me remember that there is always room for improvement in one’s own work 🙂

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