Category Archives: Insecure Writer’s Support Group

Insecure Writer’s Support Group: Reflecting on 2017

wp-1462383471325.jpgThis is my monthly post as part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, a great group of supportive writers, helping one another through our writing ups-and-downs.

There is also a great Facebook Community for more daily connection!  More posts from the group are tagged on Twitter at #IWSG.

 

IWSG Day Question: As you look back on 2017, with all its successes and failures, if you could backtrack, what would you do differently?

Well, now… what a question.

2017 was a rough one for me in the writing world. I struggled to write — my fiction took a serious hit, and even my blog suffered a bit. Heck, there were even three months where I didn’t even manage to get my IWSG post written! Thankfully I didn’t get vetted in those months, because I would have been dropped (that happens when you don’t post for a few months – you can always sign up again – but I quite like my mid-100’s location on the current list).

And most of the ones I did write tended to be about how to get my writing started again….

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At the same time, I worked with some awesome ladies to put together a short story collection and we published it!

It’s pretty exciting to have something out there, but it is certainly bringing anxiety up in me. At the same time as I’m working on promotion, I’m having to glare-down the part of me that keeps wondering if the story is any good. Does it deserve to be in this collection?  

It’s kind of strange.  

On the one hand I’m doing the internet-equivalent of shouting from the rooftops. I’m so excited about it, I’ve promoting it where I can, asking people to read it and review it for me.

On the other hand I’m scared to read what I wrote. I’m constantly silencing that voice which tells me that I am an imposter.  That this story really doesn’t deserve to be out there.  That it will be mocked and torn to shreds.

I keep trying to silence that voice.  I try as much as I can. And I’ll keep working on silencing it until it learns to shut itself up.

 

Honestly, if I could backtrack I’m not sure I would do anything differently in the writing world. While I wasn’t very productive, I feel like it was a break I needed — there were other things that claimed my time and attention, and those are just as important.

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Insecure Writers Support Group: NaNo Is Upon Us!

wp-1462383471325.jpgThis is my monthly post as part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, a great group of supportive writers, helping one another through our writing ups-and-downs.

There is also a great Facebook Community for more daily connection!  More posts from the group are tagged on Twitter at #IWSG.

 

 

Whelp.  It’s here.  Today is the start of NaNoWriMo!  And, I actually have taken the day off of work!!  Some of that’s for the purpose of writing, some of it because I wanted to attend the Midnight Kick-Off Write-In in my area (and there is no way I can do such things and get up at 5:30 to get ready for work), and some of it is so I could get some errands done.

I’m mostly just excited about NaNo this year.  My local region is pretty active – with a number of write-ins planned each week, and a few larger events scattered about. Added bonus that they’re all happening at places I can actually get to! Since I only have occasional use of a car, being able to get to things via public transit is a HUGE bonus.

This is my attempt to jump back into fiction writing, after a years hiatus.  I’m hoping that I’ll be able to get some good (and, sure, some bad) writing done and will get my creative juices flowing again.  Because, there’s a part of me that does want to step back into editing and rewriting the WIP that I had to put on the shelf last year.

That WIP actually started as a NaNo project.  And then got worked on again for NaNo another year. It’s the only NaNo (so far) that’s turned into a completed story (well, so far as being a full story with an ending and all).  But I fully expect that others will eventually get there. NaNo, for me, is usually much more about getting ideas on the page – a free-flow of story that often ends up being pulled apart and turned into multiple story seeds.

I’ve participated in NaNo 9 years, starting in 2006. I’ve “won” 4 of those. This year I’m hoping to win again, but know that I’ll win just by getting words on the page.  I am going to try to write every day (but know that there will probably be days where my writing consists of a few sentences). But that doesn’t matter.  What matters is that I’m writing.  That my words are finding their way onto a page at some point or another, and I’m opening up those windows and doors in my mind to let the ideas find their way in.

Are you NaNo’ing this year?  If you are, what is the thing you hope to get out of it?

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Preparing for the Month To Come: Insecure Writer’s Support Group

It’s that time of year when a lot of writers are starting to think about November. Because November brings National Novel Writing Month… and for some of us that’s a month of writing madness. I have my hesitations this year. I mean, it’s been probably a year (at least) since I’ve done any consistent writing. Like a great many, I’ve found it hard to pull myself into my stories – or to even find the stories that I need in order to write. It’s been a year of feeling adrift and lost in a lot of ways. But I am determined to change that. Because, let’s be honest, I can’t have another year like this last one. I just can’t. So I am going to prepare to approach NaNo in a way that has worked for me before. Which means, not really preparing at all. I mean, aside from figuring out how I want to write (typing it? Or do I want to handwrite and guestimate my words? Some combination of the two?), and where I want to write (google-docs? Scrivener? Word? Which notebook? Multiple locations? Do I keep a spreadsheet of my word count?), I’m going to dive in blind. No pre-plotting, no expectations. The only requirement is that it’s an open enough story that I can make anything happen and go off on ridiculous tangents if I need to (hello Victor Hugo, Les Miserables inspiration… we do all need an extended treatise on the Paris sewer system for one scene… right?). I’ve had success with this approach in the past – even managed to get seeds for stories that were actually viable (and that I have gone on to complete full, coherent, drafts of). The big question looms, will I have success in it again? Or will I stutter and fall apart, and lose any sense of drive to keep going? I’m hoping that it will be successful, and am trying to stamp away that niggling thought that I might not manage it. The real thing I’m going to do in October to try to prepare for November is to read. It’s also been a pretty long drought for me when it comes to reading (sad, but I was struggling to keep myself engaged with anything much – and books were one of the casualties), and I need to re-fill myself with inspiration. Last week I devoured through a few books for Banned Books Week, and in a few weekends I’ll be participating in Dewey’s 24-hour-readathon (even if I’m not managing to participate in the 30-days-of-readathon). So hopefully I can start plowing through these books I’ve accumulated, fill my mind with all sorts of random inspiration, which will somehow translate itself to semi-cohesion when I pour it to the page. Are you going to participate in NaNo next month? If so, how are you preparing? And how could I forget swag day?! Here’s me with my awesome IWSG notebook! wp-1462383471325.jpg This is my monthly post as part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, a great group of supportive writers, helping one another through our writing ups-and-downs. There is also a great Facebook Community for more daily connection! More posts from the group are tagged on Twitter at #IWSG.

Insecure Writer’s Support Group – Finding Motivation

The thing I’ve been struggling with most recently in my writing has been finding motivation. I’ve actually had more ideas running around – not a plethora of them, but some at least. Certainly nothing I’d share – they are fragmented enough that they wouldn’t be more than a scene here and there – but still, it’s been ideas.

However, I struggle to find the motivation to actually write them. To carve time (even fifteen minutes) out of my day to write. It isn’t that I don’t have that time, I have binge-watched my way through Stargate Atlantis in the past few weeks, so clearly I have at least a little time to spare (not all of that has been just watching, there is plenty of time when I’ve also been doing other projects at the same time which don’t take as much of my focused attention).

Lacking motivation doesn’t always mean I lack desire. I do want to write. I miss the feeling I used to have when I could let a story flow through me, from the world around me onto the page. I even miss the struggle that comes with trying to wrangle an uncooperative character, the challenge of finding links within the story and creating a plot that makes sense. Hell, I even miss the tediousness of working through a draft, realizing the places where the story needs work and finding the way through rewrited.

It clearly isn’t desire to write I lack. But the motivation.

To be honest, I do know why I lack the motivation. At least, parts of it. In my instance it has to do with some medical issues which have caused my energy to be seriously low, and a shuffling of antidepressants that has left me, at the moment, in a space of having to fight to find the motivation to do anything. I know that, as I continue to push myself, as I continue to find answers to my health questions, I will continue to find this motivation challenge to be less and less of an insurmountable mountain.

But, looking beyond the current issues, I want to find ways to help push myself when the motivation is lacking and I don’t have as clear an idea as to why. Because I know there are times when I have to push myself to write. It’s just a natural part of being a writer (as far as I have seen).

I don’t want advice, per se. But I am curious what others have found works for them when they find themselves in a place where motivation is lacking. How do you pull yourself to do that thing you know you ultimately want to do, when you aren’t wanting to do it in the moment? Or do you let it rest? Step away for however long it takes until you want to do it again? I’m curious your experience.

Insecure Writer’s Support Group

Insecure Writer’s Support Group: Fear

I’m dipping my toes back into the writing world.  I’ve had to take a break, for a number of reasons (I talked a little about it in my Coffee Share this past weekend), but I know it’s time to start easing myself back into writing, of any form.

I’ve been thinking some about the kind of writing I do.  I have a deep interest in writing fiction, but the stories aren’t flowing as strongly as they once were. It’s probably a combination of things – my depression and anxiety have been running pretty rampant this year, and I’ve had a pretty full schedule between Jamberry work, my day-job, figuring out some health issues and social things. So my energy has been pretty drained, making it hard to muster up what I need to do my writing. There also is a distinct lack of “free time.” Not to mention I haven’t been reading as much (damn you, depression, making it so I am not able to really become engrossed in a book), which has traditionally been one of my fiction-writing-inspiration-points.

More and more, probably because of many of those same factors, I’ve been finding myself drawn to the idea of writing non-fiction. I have moments where I think that things I’m going through, things I have knowledge of, might be of interest to others.  But that instantly gets knocked down by fear (thanks anxiety). What if I don’t actually have something worth saying?  What if what I have to say isn’t of interest to anyone else?  What if… what if… what if…. And my writing ambitions get swallowed up by the fear that those things I have to say – some of them quite important to me and my life-journey -will be discredited and torn apart.  That someone will say that I’m wrong, and therefore, somehow, invalidate all that I think and feel on a topic.

It’s ridiculous, I know, but it’s a fear nonetheless.

When I’m writing fiction it’s easy (well, easier) to shrug things off if someone else doesn’t like what I’ve written.  “Not the target audience,” can be a wonderfully comforting phrase.  It’s also easier to separate from myself. While my fiction is certainly infused with my reality, drawing from what I ‘know,’ it is still something separate from myself. Non-fiction is much closer, at least the sort I’ve been thinking about writing, and so the risk factor becomes so much higher.

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Insecure Writer’s Support Group: Describing Characters

Ah, the wonders of camp. The sun has been shining, the birds have been singing, and I’ve been learning about caring for an impaired animal (more about that this weekend). Unfortunately, since it’s not a real camp, but Camp NaNo, these things have been happening around my normal work schedule. And the “camp” thing I’m supposed to be doing is writing – or, in my case, editing.

Spoiler Alert – it hasn’t been happening. Editing has been at a standstill.

Some of it has been lack of time and energy, but some of it has been because I keep catching up on an issue I know I need to address.

I don’t know what me characters look like.

Okay, that’s not entirely true. I have clear pictures of a number of the characters, it’s just the main character, her immediate family and her significant other that I lack descriptions for. I have some theories as to why this is the case, but I know I have to just buckle down and figure out what they look like – otherwise it will be strange when I start describing other people. I’m just… really bad at describing people. Beyond skin color, hair color, eye color and some sort of distinguishing feature (like, if they walk with a limp, or have antlers growing out of their head or something). Describing the details of someone’s face, or things about them in a way that allows the reader to paint a picture of them is hard for me. Especially to do so in a subtle way.

I know I have to try it – just because I don’t pay much attention to character descriptions when I’m reading a story doesn’t mean it can’t be included (and, yes, I’m planning to spend some time in the next few days digging up books that I have and finding the character descriptions to read in order to see how other authors do it).

How do you go about describing characters?

 

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This is my monthly post as part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, a great group of supportive writers, helping one another through our writing ups-and-downs.

There is also a great Facebook Community for more daily connection!  More posts from the group are tagged on Twitter at #IWSG.

Insecure Writer’s Support Group: Picking up old work.

This is my monthly post as part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, a great group of supportive writers, helping one another through our writing ups-and-downs.

There is also a great Facebook Community for more daily connection!  More posts from the group are tagged on Twitter at #IWSG.

March: Have you ever pulled out a really old story and reworked it? Did it work out?

March’s question prompt once again fits perfectly with what I’ve been reflecting on lately.  You see, the story I’m working on right now is just that, a really old story that I pulled out and began to rework. Through all the revisions and writing over the past few years I haven’t actually done the truly hard work of reworking things that need to be fixed.  For instance, the beginning.

When I originally wrote this story it was a NaNo novel – so the first three pages are a story being told. When I first wrote this it had been the story, but I reached a point where I decided that I wanted to turn into a piece of the story and thus it became a moment of storytelling within the novel.

However, that meant that you spent the first three pages getting into one story, only to be yanked out and dropped into something else. And, while the story being told is relevant to the larger story, the relevance isn’t immediately apparent. Basically, I knew in the back of my head that I had to change that beginning, but I never could quite bring myself to do so.  I just loved the way it was written too much to cut it.

Not to mention the ongoing question that kept nibbling away at me. What if it really is the best piece of writing in the novel? What if it’s really important to show this whole story – if I cut it will it destroy what I’m setting up?  This concern expanded beyond the initial storytelling segment. The whole first chapter bounced between point-of-view without a care in the world. From one person’s thoughts to another — it’s told in third person so it’s pretty easy for me to slip and bounce about. Some of the things that came from that were beautiful, they made me smile and I really loved them… but it was awkward to read and hard to follow.

So, finally, I’ve revised. I’ve had enough distance (and heaven knows enough anxiety and uncertainty) about what I was going to do with those segments that I was able to look at them more objectively, take into account those things that I’d written and changed as the story progressed, and take the steps to make the changes that need to be made.

I don’t know if the changes are really the right ones. And I continue to face stalls as I let life derail me from my editing. But, slowly, I am taking steps to another draft.