Category Archives: Insecure Writer’s Support Group

Insecure Writer’s Support Group: May? Already!?

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, and be sure to check out the Twitter account and the new Instagram as well!

 

 

Yikes! It’s already May!?

April kind of vanished in a mess of surgeries and recovery for me. I had intended to do some work on that infamous CHAPTER 4, which keeps hovering over me growing more and more imposing by the moment. But I honestly haven’t been in any sort of shape to tackle it this past month, so it’s just sat there.  Waiting.

And I am recognizing that it’s taken on this image of an insurmountable task in my mind – simply because I have procrastinated on it for so long. It really isn’t THAT frightening, I just need to DO it.

So this week I plan to do that. Since I’m still out of work until Monday the 7th, but I’m off of pain killers (aside from Tylenol and Advil) and able to actually sit up and work on my laptop, I might as well start the work that needs to be done. It’ll be good to start making strides into this revision again – it’s fallen way behind the schedule I originally set for myself.

But I also know that it’s unlikely to see much work over the next few weeks during the week itself. Because I’ll be jumping back into work, but my body is still healing, I anticipate that I’ll be pretty much coming home, eating dinner, and going to sleep during the week.  This means that I’ll have to make sure I set aside time each weekend to do some serious work.

I have to hold myself accountable to this work – no one else will.

Have you ever put something off so long that it starts to look like a giant monster — only to tackle it and realize it really isn’t so bad after all (because that’s what I’m hoping is going to happen here!!)

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Insecure Writer’s Support Group: February was a Bust

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.

 

February was a bust.

I had intended to complete another chapter of my novel – but it seemed that my health was conspiring against me in that regard.

I struggled over Chapter 4 as it was. And the weekends, normally my best shot at getting sustained work done, ended up going quite differently than I planned. There was one weekend in the month where I was fighting something, and slept the entire weekend. But I did manage some work during lunch-breaks I stared down the chapter, trying to find my way to a proper rewrite.

It wasn’t until I was on the train on my way up to visit my sister over President’s Day Weekend that I realized one of the reasons I was having such a struggle. The chapter needs to be completely restructured. It has all the information I need to get across, the conversations are great, but it’s in the wrong order.

I need to pull apart the chapter, map it out, outline things, and put it back together.

But over that weekend I suffered from some severe Gallstone pain and was out of commission for a week. No story outlining happened

So now I approach March with the intention, again, to get Chapter Four revised. It isn’t as though this month is any less busy, but I know that if I allow myself to put it off another month it’ll be even harder for me to jump back in.

I love the question for this month – “How do you celebrate when you achieve a writing goal/finish a short?” – because it is something good to reflect on just now. As I plod my way through to this goal of having a complete revision of my novel by the end of the year I need to have ways to celebrate the smaller milestones (like completed chapters).  But, what? Due to the health stuff I’m trying to move away from food-based celebratory things, but what else can I do that I enjoy, that doesn’t cost a lot of money?
It’s a tough thing to figure out.

#IWSG – February Check-In

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.

Monthly Optional Prompt: What do you love about the genre you write in most often?

 

Time for the monthly writing check-in. I’ve been working on my editing, and it’s coming along. I have a few people reading the chapters as I complete my first revisions on them, and the feedback they’re providing is really helping. It was scary at first, letting other people read this thing I’ve been working on for so long, but I’m glad that they are. The feedback is helping inform the edits I made as I continue along, and will help my next rewrite immensely. Now I just have to keep going – get myself to spend the time working on the edits rather than other things.

This story is fantasy, as most of the stories I write are (to answer the IWSG question of the month). I think what really draws me in about writing fantasy is the freedom it gives me. I can draw from historical elements, but also come up with my own way for things to run. I can create creatures that fit the needs of what I require. And I can make statements, analyse things that are happening in our world, or explore some universal themes without getting bogged down in questions of historical or modern-day reality. Because I tend to be over-critical of my own work I know I would spend a lot of my time looking at realistic stories I’ve written and picking apart if it is “real enough.”  By throwing that expectation out the window I have the freedom to focus instead on creating my characters, the world they’re in, and the story they have to tell.

Which doesn’t mean I can’t still get things wrong. I’ve already proven to myself that just because it’s a world of my creation doesn’t mean I can’t worry that I’ve done it WRONG.

What? Me? Anxiety? Nah…..

But I am trying to push through that. When I feel like I’ve done something WRONG, I step back and figure out why I think that. What can I do to fix that – is it a matter of continuity in the world? Does something just not make sense? Why?  What can I do to change that? Because when I’m writing fantasy I have the power to change the world so that I can say what I’m trying to say, and write the story the way it’s meant to be told.

Insecure Writer’s Support Group: Hello 2018!

img_20170917_091348_6841544375496.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.

Hello 2018!

Wow. 2018.

Even though I’m a little shocked that we’ve somehow reached 2018 already, I’m excited for it. This year my goals are similar to previous years: more writing, more reading, working on my health. Unlike previous years, though, I am approaching my goals with set-out plans and strategies to help make them achievable.

Since this is Insecure Writer’s Support Group day – I’ll start with looking at my writing goals (reading and health goals I’ll write about later this month).  That, right there, is one of my strategies to help attain my goals.  I am going to commit to writing about them. Each month I’ll make myself do a goals check in (aiming for the the third Wednesday of the month) on how I’m doing on these goals. For me that low level of accountability can be the extra little nudge I need to keep moving, without feeling like it’s an overwhelming obligation.

For writing my goal is very specific: I want to revise at least one chapter of my WIP each month. Ideally I’d do more, but I know that some of these chapters are going to require complete rewrites, and I need to create an attainable goal. Since I have a tendency to overbook myself and set impossible goals I’m trying to be more realistic.

I also have a few friends who are willing to read what I’m writing, one chapter at a time, and give me some feedback. I’m hopeful that this will give me that little extra push when I just am not feeling like writing, and it will give me an as-I-go sounding board to keep me in check on things.  If there’s a glaring issue that shows up in Chapter 2, I’d rather know about it before I get to the place it matters in Chapter 10 than after I’ve completed this entire revision!

Additionally, I got a calendar specifically for keeping track of where I should be in edits – with a lot of space to notes that I need to remember later on or things I need to figure out. Each week I’ll sit down and assign myself minimum times for writing, as well as creating benchmarks to aim for.

The final piece of my plan is to keep reminding myself how awesome it felt when I did NaNo this year. After over a year of not writing I suddenly was writing again. Every day I got a few words – but the days I really set aside dedicated writing time I got a lot done. It wasn’t easy, certainly not, but I stayed well ahead of my goals and really felt overall better because I was dedicating that time to writing.  So when I find myself being dragged down in revisions, feeling tired of sitting down at my computer at night instead of just curling up in bed with a book or movie, I will remind myself of November.

This story has been in the works for over a decade. It spent the last year completely ignored, sitting – literally – on a shelf gathering dust. This is the year to finally get it into a form where other people can start looking at it. I don’t want to sit around with no one else reading it for much longer — it’s time for me to start getting ready to really put the story out in the world.

And it’s time to make the space to start working on other stories as well! I did some free-writing the other day during my lunch-break, and the idea held onto me so strongly that I found myself dealing with the challenge of typing on my phone to continue working on it during my evening commute.  So I’m going to make an effort to spend some time during a few of my lunch-breaks each week doing free-writes just to keep those creative juices flowing and to keep working those writing muscles.

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….

Campfire Stories Cover

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.

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?

NaNo-2017-Participant-Facebook-Cover

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.