Confessions of a Secret Dork

OK, maybe it’s not really a secret!

I am a dork. I am also a dweeb and a little bit of a geek.

Of course, according to this Venn Diagram I found, I could possibly just be a Nerd.

Borrowed from Great White Snark. Click to read the post.

In addition, I have now discovered that I am a complete and utter chicken. Yes folks, just call me Dr. Jellyfish or Lily-Livered Lisa.

How did I come to this glorious conclusion? By searching for my mojo of course.

Let me try to explain. I have been taking an on-line course, of sorts, on self-publishing, all with the goal of finally getting my book for middle-grade readers published, as I had announced. This course is being taught by a much-published author and his partner, who have created a company to publish his back list and take the lead in self-publishing. They are really impressive. The other members of this class seem to range from those just beginning (I count myself as a beginner) to long-standing writers with a whole catalog of work. While I am thrilled to be interacting with all of these talented wordsmiths, in reality I have gotten a severe case of “imposter syndrome.”


At first, I found myself fully participating, contributing answers and even asking questions. But, the deeper into the course we get the more I become an observer, hiding behind my insecurities and the safety of being somewhat incognito in a course held only on-line.

Why am I insecure? What am I afraid of? Well, I think it began as they started discussing platform and emphasizing the importance of having several good books, not just one book.

I have ONE book.

It continued with the discussion about trying to say who you are as a writer. I couldn’t do it. I have a zillion projects I want to write, and none of them seem to put me in one single category.

My terror grew as I learned that self-publishing to platforms like Kindle or Nook (both of which I had in my plan) isn’t as simple as converting a word document to the proper format. You have to start worrying about code and all sorts of other technological mumbo-jumbo. (I may be a geek, but I’m not really a computer geek. I can handle a lot of technology and make my way through lots of different programs, but once you start talking code my head wants to explode).

I found myself curled up in a ball and surrendering all hopes of ever publishing my book or ever writing another.

However, after some pep talks from wonderful blogging buddies  I finally gave myself  a kick in the butt and decided to do something about my complete lack of self-confidence.

So what did I do? I did what I always do in moments of doubt, something which confirms my title of NERD Queen.

I studied. I  revisited notes from the course that resulted in my one book. Then I organized.

I decided that the best way to make me do something was to follow the rules again. So, lesson by lesson I am attempting to face my many projects exactly as I did them before. Today’s first step was to write out short descriptions of things I would like to write about, books I would like to do.  By doing that, I discovered  a few important things:

  • I may not fit only one category in terms of my writing goals, but I have a few broad categories that seem to tie all my projects together.
  • The fiction ideas all tend to include elements of fantasy, elements of reality, magic, and female characters who learn to claim their voices
  • These ideas seem to be geared mostly at young adult audiences (although I would hope to be able to cross genres and age groups somehow)
  • The non-fiction ideas all tend to also be about finding voices and creating community as well as justice.
  • I have a lot of ideas, and many of them are further along than I remembered. Several of them still excite me, and as I was organizing them into a binder it got my creative juices flowing.

After organizing my notes and ideas, I started a plan. It’s still tiny. I still have a long way to go. But I started setting short term, middle term, and long term goals.

Then, I went for a walk.

What is the end result of all this planning and organizing? I’m not sure yet. But at least my hidden dorkiness has come out of the closet and is beginning to think about creating again. That’s something, isn’t it?

Now, I think I’m going to sing at the top of my lungs and see where it takes me!

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32 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. nathan010
    Dec 01, 2011 @ 07:17:27

    I feel insecure when I do scene design.


  2. Kathryn McCullough
    Dec 01, 2011 @ 08:18:46

    I feel insecure most of the time–like an imposter. I think this may be important for you, as it allows you to identify with the under-dog, voice-seeking characters you create. It could also be the other way around–these kinds of characters exist inside of you and you over-identify with them–absorb them. Either way, I think these insecurities are an important part of who you are as a writer–how you find your own voice–and help your characters find theirs.

    Don’t know if this makes any sense, my friend, but I’m here cheering you on!



    • Lisa Wields Words
      Dec 01, 2011 @ 08:37:04

      The problem is balancing the insecurity with action. When the insecurity overwhelms the ability to act life sucks.


  3. bornstoryteller
    Dec 01, 2011 @ 08:42:54

    Always create…and forget about the labels. They hamper us. Categories for writing, whole nuther thing. :)

    and I’m glad you’re gonna sing out loudly….today is a good day for it.


    • Lisa Wields Words
      Dec 01, 2011 @ 08:49:48

      I long for the days of the Rennaisance manwoman, who was expected to have many talents and not defined within one small category. I long for the time that a writer didn’t need a specific platform and could cross genres on a whim. Perhaps today’s songs must all be about dreams and believing.


  4. TheIdiotSpeaketh
    Dec 01, 2011 @ 09:02:29

    You’re a wonderful dork Lisa….. Keep singing and writing and it will all come together. Christine M. Grote (on my blogroll) just self-published and she has a number of posts about the SP realities. She might have insight as to the issues with the Nook and Kindle…as I think her book is available in every format out there. Have a great day :)


    • Lisa Wields Words
      Dec 01, 2011 @ 09:12:07

      Mark, I believe Christine found you through me. :P One of the few I can claim. I wrote a review of her book a while back. She’s been helpful, but the problem is the reality of technology which is just getting me down right now. This too shall pass.


      • TheIdiotSpeaketh
        Dec 01, 2011 @ 09:17:39

        When you get to that point, let me know…. One thing about a large readership is that surely there is probably a technology wizard in the group that will be more than happy to help you out. Just give me the nod and I’ll put out a call in blogville for you. :)


        • Lisa Wields Words
          Dec 01, 2011 @ 09:21:24

          I’m still kind of waiting on the final cover art. Everything else is done as far as I know (in the wrong format). So we shall see . . .


  5. the domestic fringe
    Dec 01, 2011 @ 09:15:54

    I love the title of this post! Can’t you find someone to put your book in formats for Kindle & Nook? I don’t know anything about this, so that’s probably a stupid question. I do know that where there’s a will, there’s a way. You’ll get the job done. You’re an amazing writer, so don’t let the details get you down.


    • Lisa Wields Words
      Dec 01, 2011 @ 09:18:17

      I probably can for a price. I just don’t know how to find someone yet, and I was hoping to be able to do it myself. But, I won’t let it get me down, I will just continue to move at a snails pace.


  6. LittleMissVix
    Dec 01, 2011 @ 09:38:20

    I totally feel insecure too but you are inspiring me with this empowerment! I can’t wait to read the book too :)


  7. LittleMissVix
    Dec 01, 2011 @ 09:49:13

    Your MG that you’re goin to self publish!!


  8. thelifeofjamie
    Dec 01, 2011 @ 10:30:57

    I have heard singing at the top of your lungs keeps the blood pressure low. That must be why mine is so low when I drive.


  9. Arlee Bird
    Dec 01, 2011 @ 11:24:22

    I can relate to what you’re talking about. I often behave in a similar manner. Being organized and on top of a subject can certainly boost ones confidence, but don’t let yourself be shaken. We all have our time in the spotlight and we all screw up now and then with everyone seeing it. In the end it’s usually a bigger deal to us than to anyone else. When all is said and done, we remember our low points after others have forgotten, but a shining moment is the one that keeps us in the memory of others. You’ll do fine.

    Nicole from Madlab Post offers blogging tips at
    Tossing It Out


  10. Critters and crayons
    Dec 01, 2011 @ 11:57:25

    You’re doing it!!! And it all makes sense!!! Yay!!!


  11. thepetalpusher
    Dec 01, 2011 @ 18:59:35

    It’s a start, Lisa. You’re headed in the right direction and you have lots of support (us).


  12. ifiwerebraveblog
    Dec 04, 2011 @ 20:41:56

    Sing it, sister! The world needs your music.


  13. Dana
    Dec 05, 2011 @ 16:42:35

    Hi Lisa,
    I can completely relate to the Imposter Syndrome feeling, especially as somebody who hasn’t even written *one* book yet (but would like to!) At least you have your one book as a start– I admire (and, OK “envy”) you for that. ;)

    One of the problems with any course is that generalizations and simplistic categorizations NEED to be made with the students– no forward motion (or learning, or eventual action) could take place while acknowledging every single subtlety and nuance in the group. Just because you can’t neatly categorize yourself doesn’t mean that you are not a talented writer or worthy of publishing, though. Perhaps (through other dorky/dweeby/nerdy exercises) you can learn to claim and own your unique writing voice and use it to your advantage in the publishing scene?


    • Lisa Wields Words
      Dec 05, 2011 @ 16:59:59

      Dana. I often struggle with comparing myself to others and I’m my own harshest critic. I know that. I think I am also used to being the head of the class ;) so this is a somewhat humbling experience for me. Thank goodness its not for a grade or I’d be in an utter tailspin.

      I also have realized that I am somewhat lazy, in strange ways. I work hard, but I don’t want to do all the crap attached to marketing myself. Maybe its not laziness but fear. For a while I have been pondering (and have discusses with a few bloggers) and idea of some kind of circular publishing format where we help each other achieve goals an don’t have to do it all ourselves. (I’ll send you the details of what I’ve been thinking if you are interested). But, the problem is that you have to trust everyone in the group, and there is no way of guaranteeing that everyone has equal talents in areas that are needed.

      So meanwhile, I just have to keep writing, and maybe get another book or two out. I’ll see where that takes me, and just continue on my dorky way.


      • Dana
        Dec 05, 2011 @ 17:24:38

        Your feelings are only natural, Lisa, and so is the tendency to compare yourself to others! (I had a similar experience when I took a writing course at a local college as continuing ed– again, not for credit– and ended up dropping out because I couldn’t handle not being at the top of the class!! Such a geek!)

        It’s easy to say “believe in yourself!”, but much harder to execute this in practice on a daily basis. That said, I think that these feelings of insecurity and anxiety are all part of a larger process and will get you to where you need to be eventually. Good luck!


  14. Trackback: The Many Passions (and Confusions) of Lisa « Woman Wielding Words

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