I have a confession. The Menagerie is not my first foray into group blogging. There, I said it. I have baggage. What The Menagerie is though, is my first experience of contributing to something where I feel like a fraud!
Other Menageriers (Menagerists?) are Proper Writers. They have agents, and books, and finished drafts. They have published and earnt actual money from it. In short, they are experienced. I am not experienced. I am exactly 33980 words into the first draft of the first ever thing which might end up novel length that I have ever written.
This leads to a whole host of insecurities. For example, in my last post, I wanted to use the phrase “Myself and a colleague…” for stylistic reasons, even though I know technically “My colleague and I…” is more grammatically correct. On the Other Blog I contribute to, I would have written this, reread it, decided I was happy with it being “wrong” and moved on. Because The Menagerie is populated by Proper Writers, and is aimed at people like you, i.e. Proper Readers, what I actually did was this:
Me: [After reading, deleting, and rewriting the same sentence 5 times] So guys, I have a question.
Fellow Menageriers (FMs): Ask us! Ask us!
Me: I have a sentence which I know is wrong but it reads better to me wrong, please advise.
FMs: Yes, it’s wrong, look, you could write it all these ways [long discussion about other ways of writing it ensues].
Me: Thanks! I knew it was wrong, and I don’t like it as much when it’s right, but I bow before your superior wisdom, and I’m going off to change it. Wheee!
FMs: STOP!! We’ve read it in context, and actually, it’s fine. Because you are being wrong for stylistic reasons.
Me: Oh. Well, this is confusing. But it’s wrong. . .
FMs: Leave it alone and do not be a perfectionist.
So I left it alone, and did what I would have done without anyone’s input in the Other Blog. Which was trusted myself. But there’s a little part of me which still feels like a fraud, and like I shouldn’t really be here on this blog which is full of Proper Writers.
The best way I know to overcome this, is to find people you trust to give you advice and support in a positive way. People who want to see you do well. I totally recommend
forcing people to help you by muscling in on their online conversations and refusing to leave finding an amazing group of people who will help you with kindness and gentle kicks in the right direction. And, you know, trusting yourself. Paralysis by analysis will never help you improve. Sometimes you just have to put it out there and see what happens.
- At the point of this post going live, this was totally accurate. One day I might add to the word count. Maybe.↵