Category Archives: Writing Life

Reflections on the craft of writing, samples of my writing — a very broad category.

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.



Insecure Writer’s Support Group: Not Insecure!


Insecure Writers Support Group Badge

It’s strange to be writing a post about insecurity as a writer when I haven’t been writing.

I’m still trying to get back to it, reclaim my drive and get writing – it’s taking its own sweet time but lately I’ve been being hit by a strange feeling.

Although I haven’t written fiction in MONTHS, and my non-fiction has remained in the stage of theoretical thoughts, I am NOT feeling Insecure about claiming the title of “writer.”  Though the words are not flowing from me to the page like they sometimes have — there are ideas gathering in my head.  I am finding myself people watching, imagining story-points, crafting images in my head that might end up translated to a story.

There are a lot of pieces that go into being a writer, and we all go through different phases at different times — it’s nice to, for once, be comfortable in the stage of writing I’m currently in. To not be worried that I am, somehow, doing it wrong.

Where are you in your writing this month?


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: Fresh Starts Aren’t Just for January

I’m pleased to be a Co-Host of this months Insecure Writer’s Support Group Posting Day!  It’s actually a really good month for me to be doing this, because if I weren’t co-hosting I would have been seriously tempted not to post at all.


Well, Confession time.

I set out in January with a goal to write 15 minutes of fiction everyday.  Free-writing, it could be anything – just writing fiction in hopes of “getting back to basics.”

Who can guess how successful I was at that?

Yeah… January had ups and downs, bits and pieces of projects old and new got completed.  A lot of organizing happened, but… very minimal fiction writing.

The longer I allow myself to stay away from fiction the more frightening the idea of going back.  When your writing is already something you’re unsure about it doesn’t take much to tip it over the edge.

I think the trick is to have clear goals and accountability.  Yes, there is a level of forgiveness to myself for not always meeting goals, but it can reach the point of excuses.

I spent a number of years not writing — always half working on a project, but never putting in real energy. It was easy to let go of that drive I once had, to allow it to fade to the background and bury myself in other projects.  If it was so easy, I ask myself, then does it mean I’m not actually driven to write the same way that those people who say they must write are?

No… it just means I write differently.  We all move at our own pace, and I need to allow myself to keep to the pace that is reasonable for me. It’s okay to give myself a break from writing if I am not feeling particularly motivated to write (particularly if I am feeling motivated to do things like read, or otherwise fill my creativity-coffers).

But I have spent a few months now letting myself refill those coffers (and binge-watch a few TV series as well).  I’ve stumbled a few times, made a few false starts on new fiction projects, and keep falling back to not-writing.  It’s reached the point where it’s painfully clear to me that I’m really just trying to procrastinate.  I’m holding myself back from making progress on the novel project I had been working on all summer and spring.

See, I hit this point in revisions where I realized there were some serious changes that I needed to make. Revisions and rewrites (again.. more…). It was important to take a break, but now I really do need to focus back in, put the real energy and effort into it that it deserves. It’s frightening to do so – what if I can’t get it right? What if it’s a terrible story? What if it’s just ALL wrong?

What if?  Well, yes, it might be terrible, it might be all wrong and I might fail at it… but I certainly will fail if I don’t put in the effort to do the rewrite, now won’t I?



Insecure Writers Support Group BadgeThis 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.

Think Ink: by Rose B. Fischer!

Hey guys! This is Rose B. Fischer. You might know me from over on my blog of the same name. If not, it’s nice to meet you!

Last year, I blogged through an experiment in designing a drafting and revision process that works better for me than what I have been doing for. The blog series was known as Think Ink. This year, I’m doing another round of Think Ink focused on getting all my notes and research into a working order!  Alli invited me to share my posts here with you, so here I am.

I do a fair amount of pre-writing before I start a story. Most of it is actually in prose form rather than outlining and planning, though I do have an outlining system. I operate best when I work with both pantser and plotter methods.

The system I’ve been been using goes like this:

  • Get an idea.  Usually my ideas start as a bunch of random scenes that pop into my head about characters I’ve never met, or they start as a dream.  On rare occasions, I’ll just get an idea for a character, ponder for a few minutes, and have random scenes and imagery pop into my head.
  • Write Random scenes until I get a feel for the characters and situations, or alternately, roleplay my characters with a small group of friends.
  • Do a brain dump of everything I know, then analyze characters and world to see what I want to keep, change, or throw out.
  • Come up with a plot, then cycle back and forth between writing, plotting, and brain dumping out everything I’ve learned about the world.
  • Start having a meltdown because I have too many brain dumps and not enough organization of all my ideas, create a structured worldbuilding document in Word, then get frustrated because it’s too hard to keep updated.

So, clearly I need to find a better method of tracking and updating my notes.  I’ve tried lots and lots of things, including The Brain, keeping separate tabbed binders, notecards, keeping collections of documents on a private blog so everything can have hyperlinks to relevant stuff, and Trello.  None really do what I need them to do.

This time I’m experimenting with Scrivener, and this blog series will document the process. I’ll be here On the first and third Thursdays of every month.  The off-weeks I’ll actually be posting my worldbuilding notes on my blog for reference, so if this interests you, take a look.

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Insecure Writer’s Support Group: Back to “Basics”


This is the month when a lot of us spend some time looking back on the previous year and figuring out what we want to set as goals (or plans) for the coming year.

I’ve been doing this, certainly, and when it comes to my writing the year didn’t go as I planned (it never really does). I will admit, I spent some time in the end of 2015 feeling a bit uncertain about myself as a writer.

I did complete a draft of a novel – and one round of revision notes on it — but I know that it’s going to require a fair amount of rewriting and reworking before it’s ready to go anywhere and had to put it aside for a little while while I figure that out.

The Middle-Grade novel that I had drafted out and planned to draft in November is sitting, waiting, while I find my way into the head of the MC, and figure out some details that I want to have a grasp on before I start writing.

These two things have made it hard for me to feel very confident about my fiction writing.  At the same time, though, I’ve been feeling pretty good about my blogging… although I don’t like how often I get down-to-the-wire with it.

Taking this all into account has brought me to a conclusion about my fiction writing – for a while I need to “Get Back To Basics.”

What does this mean? Well, it means a few things to me. I feel like part of the problem I encountered this past year and a half was that, for a long time, my fiction writing had been sitting on the sidelines, largely ignored. When I jumped back in it was kind of like… well, like riding a bike after not being on one for many, many, many years. I know how to do it, but the muscles aren’t used to it and a bit (or more than a bit) rusty.

So I’m putting the novel-projects aside for now.  At least for the start of the year I’m going to not worry about writing stories that have plots, or even about completing a story. I’ll push myself to write for at least 15-minutes every day, a fiction free-write on whatever comes to my mind.  Through the week this is all I’ll worry about when it comes to fiction, opening up my little free time to focus on other things.  On the weekends I’ll try doing some of the various writing exercises that are buried in the pages of the many writing-books that I’ve collected through the years – and a few I remember from creative writing classes of the past.

Basically I’m giving myself a year to play and learn, to explore the craft without putting the pressures of “complete a novel” over my head — getting more comfortable with my fiction-writing self, my own voice and style, before I return to the challenge of crafting a novel (or editing one).



IWSG badge

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.

Blogging Plans for 2016!

I have come to a point in my life where I readily admit that I have no clue what the future might bring. However, that doesn’t mean that I can’t step forward with plans and expectations — I just need to be prepared for life to throw curves and be flexible enough to throw those plans out the window if needed.

It’s with this mindset that I’ve been setting out to plan my 2016 blogging (and reading!)  I’ve decided to undertake a few reading challenges, and set up a structure for the blog that I am hoping will help me be more on top of things (we’ll see what ends up ACTUALLY happening with that….)

Here’s what I’m hoping 2016 will have in store:

20150727_122701Reading Challenges:

I’m participating in Book Riot’s “Read Harder” challenge! For some of the books I’ll be reading along with a handful of fellow bloggers – including Corina, Sabina, Hannah, Robin, and Diana.

I’m also doing the “Back to The Classics” Challenge, hosted by Books and Chocolate. The hope is that this will help me to knock more books off the reading list I’m working on as part of the Classics Club.

I’m aiming to read at least 20 Diverse Books (and really hoping I can manage more than that) as part of the 2016 Diverse Reads Book Challenge hosted by Chasing FaeryTales and Read.Sleep.Repeat.

Overall I’m trying to read a minimum of 80 books (for the Goodreads challenge), with a big push to read books that I already own. I’ve realized that there are a fair number of books I own that I haven’t read yet, so buying new (to me) books is going to be largely limited to a handful of new releases I’m anxious to read and a few that I may need to get my hands on to meet the challenges (though I will also try to make use of the library for those).


I’m going to talk a bit more about my writing goals this year in my Insecure Writers Support Group post on Wednesday, but I definitely have some thoughts and plans for my writing this year, with a clear focus in mind. More on that Wednesday.

Eclectic Alli:

I’m excited about this year on Eclectic Alli!  I’ll continue putting the First Wednesday of the month towards Insecure Writers Support Group posts, and the Second Wednesday of the month will be Passionate Geeks.

Some weeks I’ll do Three Things Thursday, and some I’ll do Celebrate the Small Things — since the two of these can be quite similar I may not be doing them both every week. I also might be occasionally revisiting the Broke and Bookish’s Top Ten Tuesdays, if the topic particularly calls to me.  I’ll continue participating in Weekend Coffee Share, of course!

This year I am also adding a super-awesome regular guest post (starting January 14th) from Rose B Fischer.

I’m also partnering up with Nerd In The Brain to help host the Go Play; Go Learn Challenges – about once a month I’ll be hosting the challenges here on Eclectic Alli!

Outside of those features and series I have a few other plans and goals. I hope to participate in the A to Z challenge again in April, and want to start doing some more writing about my reading – reviews or short write-ups about what I’ve read (and what I get out of it). I may also write some about some of what I’ve been watching, since there have been a few episodes of a few shows that have stood out to me lately.  Additionally, at least once a month, I’m going to do a writing check-in (on a Wednesday towards the end of each month); with my writing focus this year I think a monthly check-in will be very useful.

I’m also hoping to do a few more guest posts in the coming year — they’re all just rough sketches in my head at the moment, with the offer of a place to post them if I want. So some more time and energy needs to be put towards that all first.

Happy 2016 to you all – what are some of your goals and plans this year?

Insecure Writers Support Group: Finding The Right Name

I’ve been struggling with names for some of the characters and locations in my novel. This isn’t a new struggle, naming things has always been hard for me — in part I think because I know that names can hold great importance.

I want to get the names just right because it is important. I don’t want a Kalina to be stuck on the page as a Marta for all eternity… it just won’t do.

Names are a piece of our identity, they are often one of the early things that we know about someone, and we certainly do make assumptions based on someone’s names.  People say things like, “He doesn’t look like a Edmund” as though that name somehow embodies something about how that individual should look. Or be.

I know some fairly quiet and easy-going people who will be very assertive when it comes to their name.  I have friends who have changed their names — some legally, some unofficially — because their names did not fit them.  Some of these name changes accompany life events, some happen when the person was very young, and some happen later in life.  Sometimes it’s just the spelling of a name that needs to be tweaked in order to make it fit.

Some I know, including my mom, have changed how much of their name they use.  Known for years by a shortened version of her name, she started to use the full name at one point to mark a shift in her life and in how she viewed herself. It can be empowering to claim a name for yourself, or to reclaim your name.

The power of names is certainly nothing new.  A number of religions put importance in names, and there is a lot out there around the idea of the power that comes with knowing ones “True Name.” Magic and power held within the simple combination of letters that form a name.

Yes, maybe this is just an extended excuse for why I’m struggling with picking the right names for some characters and places, but I think it’s also a concept that merits more exploration and reflection.  Sometimes the correct names come to you in an instant, but sometimes they are harder to find and I think that people’s connections with their names is intriguing.

What have your name experiences been?


This is my monthly post as part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, a IWSG badgegreat 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. 

We also put out a book, available for free, with great articles on topics from writing to publishing, everything in-between and beyond