Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Insecure Writer's Support Group: A Short (Story) Apology

Please click here for a list to visit the other insecure writers. Yes, we need your love. Insecure Writer's Support Group was created by the awesome ninja Alex J. Cavanaugh.
As a writer, it's thrilling to be a published author. It really is. It seems like all the hard work and rejection is worth it when you finally sign that contract and see your name on the cover. Whether it is a short story in a magazine or anthology or to an ebook or print book, the thrill is there. You accomplished something.

Then, why do I feel so apologetic about it?

I don't make it secret that I'm a writer. If people ask what I do, I'll tell them, "I'm a library assistant, but I'm also a writer and an editor."

"Oh, what do you write?" They ask, snatching hold of the really cool part of what I do.

"Young adult, some fantasy, horror, mystery. This and that."

"Do you have anything published?" Of course, that's what everyone wants to know.

"Yes, I have some short stories in magazines and anthologies. Oh, and I have an ebook out," I say.

"An ebook. Cool. What's it about?"

So I proceed to tell them about Once Upon a December Nightmare. Then, my voice lowers, and I explain it's not a full-lenth novel, more a short story or a novelette. I'm not ashamed of my novelette. I worked hard on it. Once Upon a December Nightmare saw around twelve edits from start to finish with seven pairs of eyes looking over it. Yet because it isn't a novel, I feel bad. Like a novelette isn't worth as much as a full-length work. Like it is unworthy.

I am unworthy.

I have my new novelette Defying Gravity coming out this month. I worked hard on it too. I'm very proud of it. Yet, I worry I'll feel the same thing. It's just a novelette. Nothing special. It's not like it's a real novel or anything.

I'm trying not to go down that road. So what if I've just published shorter works? I have novels too. They need work, but they'll be out there one day. I'm certain of it.

As writers, we should celebrate every victory, large and small. Got a flash fiction piece published in a magazine or anthology, celebrate it. Novel coming out, yay! Novella, novelette, short story, it doesn't matter. They're all worth something. It took work, perseverance, creation.

So, if you see me saying, "Oh, it's just a novelette." Stop me. Please. Every writer accomplishment--even a nice note on a rejection letter--is worth it. 
Defying Gravity (Gravity, #1)
Also, Defying Gravity is now up on Goodreads. Click the picture to add it to your lists.


Lauren Alissa Hunter said...

I have saved sticky notes from my junior year creative writing teacher to look at for validation, so I totally feel ya on this one!

farawayeyes said...

Published is published. Celebrate yourself.

Terri Talley Venters said...

You are worthy! Pat yourself on your back. Don't forget about your successful blog=) btw, as a CPA, I know the feeling about focusing on the fun part of what you do. Lol. I can't wait to read your upcoming release=)

Amy Jarecki said...

I love novelettes! They're perfect for airline trips. I just added yours to my "to read" pile - and thanks for your comment on my blog! Sometimes the rules are meant to be broken :-)


Nicole Zoltack said...

You are worthy! Short stories and novelettes have their place too.

Tasha Seegmiller said...

If you think about it, that is what many of the greatest authors wrote too. You are published repeatedly. That's amazing.

Laura Barnes said...

I have a hard time telling people I write because I have gotten such lukewarm responses from people in the past. Do I say, "oh, um, that's nice" about their scrapbooking and purse shopping obsessions? No. But I have gotten that from people who are my friends when I've told them I write. This is before I even tell them I'm seeking an agent. Telling people that gets me even more of the pity tone. So yeah, some of it is my own insecurity that seeks the need for validation. But a lot of it is just needing to be rebuilt after always being knocked down by others.

Brinda said...

Yes, you should be very proud of every endeavor. What is length? It's the quality that matters.

Joanne said...

Interesting post.
It's the quality, not the quantity. Believe in yourself. Keep writing! :))

Pk Hrezo said...

Darn straight it is! Anything you can complete and put out there (that you worked hard on) is wortth being proud of!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I ever hear you say it, I'm going all Ninja on you! Be proud of your work, regardless of the length. One of my blogger buddies recently posted that she felt bad she couldn't write a story only poetry and I told her the same thing - it's a great accomplishment because people like me couldn't write a poem if I tried.

Hart Johnson said...

Never apologize for that! I think it's a very smart way to go--getting some smaller things published to establish yourself and start building a name. I think it smooths things for the long-haul.

M.J. Fifield said...

I usually don't tell people I'm a writer because they, like you said, always go with the "have you published anything" question and I always have to say no.

So yeah, you should definitely celebrate your accomplishments!!

Christine Rains said...

You've accomplished so much these past few years. You're a great writer. Be proud of it. I know exactly how you feel, though. I do the same thing. I tell people I'm a writer but since I don't have a novel published, I feel like I've failed. But just you wait. You'll have a novel published one day, and I bet it will be soon. :)

DeniseCovey_L_Aussie said...

Hi Cherie. I was at an ebook workshop recently and was told that ebook buyers like novelettes as often they just want a quick read. I wouldn't apologise for writing the shorter novel/short story. Be proud!


Cherie Reich said...

@Amy Jarecki - Ah, yes, sometimes the rules are meant to be broken. And thanks for adding my novelette to your "to read" pile.

@Joanne - Ah, very true. I need to remember that because I do believe the quality is good. Unless I'm delusional, but that's another Insecure Writer's Support Group post. :)

@Pk Hrezo - Very true. I must remember that.

@Christine Rains - Well, the sooner I can finish my edits on my novels, then I will be a step closer. And you'll get that novel too. I know you will.

Tara Tyler said...

totally get the "oh its just this little thing"
because you know they will think that unless you have a #1 best seller they've heard of, you're nothing! (talk about being insecure, never mind that i'm not even published!)

thats why writers need writers. we get it!
yay you & your publishness!

KarenG said...

I think novelettes work great as ebooks! Who even notices? Mostly you just think it was a fast read.

Tania. F. Walsh said...

Congrats on your published works, and length does not matter, it's the story you're telling. But I also know the feeling I get inside when I tell people I write and they hit with the same questions, especially the 'oh might be as big as J K Rowling' or 'You're still writing your novel'. Stay strong... All stories no matter the length take a lot of work... you should be very proud.

Ciara said...

All writing length is created equal. What about Edgar Allen Poe? There are so many great poets and short story writers that everyone remembers. Be proud, be bold, and know you rock.

Rusty Webb said...

Novelettes are terrific length for a story. They're short enough to read in a single sitting, but long enough that you can still develop a world and explore it. You should be proud... and besides, who's heard of an enovelette? They're called ebooks no matter how long they are.

Callie Leuck said...

Nothing wrong with a shorter novel! Drop the "-ette"! You went through the whole damn process. Anyway, there's lots of great novels out there that are pretty short. Great Gatsby. Of Mice and Men. That's just off the top of my head. You rock for getting your story out there!!

Cher Green said...


We are worthy! And remember, not every writer can write short. So, in a way, this gives us an extra advantage.

Also, some readers read short, but won't sit through a whole novel - so here we have an audience just for us. :)

Keep writing, and good luck to us all in our journey.

Anonymous said...

You are worthy! I just ran across an Efficiency Report from my 11th grade art teacher a couple weeks ago. Those words of encouragement are still keeping me going!

Misha Gericke said...

So true. Every piece of writing comes from our hearts and souls and deserves to be appreciated as such. :-)

Cherie Reich said...

@Tara Tyler - Yeah, that's the best thing about writers. They really get us. :)

@Tania F. Walsh - Thank you! And it's very true that all stories take a lot of work, no matter the length.

@Ciara - Dude, I forgot about Poe. :O There are some awesome short story writers out there. I should focus on that. :)

@Callie Leuck - Ah, so true. I think I forgot that there are so many great writers that wrote shorter works.

Deniz Bevan said...

So true - we should definitely abandon the word 'just'. There's no 'just', ever! I think you've got an impressive list of accomplishments.

Donna Hole said...

A story takes as long or short a time as it takes to develop. I like a variety of story lengths. I never know what I'll be in the mood for.

I write short stories, have a couple novelettes in the works, and also have three novels completed. They were all hard work to create; and all have a boat load of emotional investment.

Word count isn't what makes a good story. sometimes, knowing when to end makes the story an excellent read.

Let me just say Cherie, that I'm glad there are shorter stories available for times when I only have a limited attention span, but really want to read. You're doing a solid favor for those like me who don't always want to read a full lentgh novel :)


Esther Spurrill-Jones said...

You are a writer; it is what you are, not what you do. Therefore, even if you have nothing published at all, you are still a writer.