Hi everyone – it’s the first Wednesday of the month and time for another IWSG day. What am I feeling insecure about today? Well, generally things are going fairly well, but you know what it’s like when you step outside your comfort zone …

Last week I started studying for a masters in creative writing. I’m feeling insecure about it for two reasons: One, asΒ a mature student I’m out of practice analysing texts and commenting on other people’s writing in an academic way. Scratch that – I’m not out of practice, I just plain don’t know how to do it! And two, I don’t much like the second book on the reading list, and as this book is by Nabokov – widely considered one of the greatest writers of all time – I figure I might in trouble here!

So how am I feeling this morning, after last night’s lecture discussing the literary merits of the novel, Pnin? Very, very insecure. During the lecture in the ‘virtual’ classroom, I felt like everyone else’s comments were more intelligent than mine, more insightful, and definitely more praised by the teacher. I’m the class dunce, throwing observations out there that were either glossed over or – worse – completely ignored.

You know what I wanted to say? We’re not here merely to discuss authors like Nabokov, however useful it is to read classic literature and learn from the masters of fiction. We’re here, in 2012, to learn how to be novelists – to apply this knowledge to today’s reading population, and to ask questions like: Yes, it’s very cleverly written and all, but is it a good read?

Today’s readers are very demanding. It’s not enough that a book use a clever literary device, or comment on aspects of fiction that are visible only to literary critics. There are many who love Pnin, who think it is a good read, but I ask you: Would its contemporary equivalent be a bestseller today?

But I couldn’t ask any of these questions during the lecture, because I’m too insecure to raise my head above the parapet and be seen as some kind of philistine, who’s only interested in learning how to write great books that people want to read. I feel my aspirations should be more lofty than that, and I’m worried.

Visit the official IWSG page here, and offer your support to some more insecure writers today. And thanks for listening πŸ™‚

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