Tag Archives: Insecure Writer’s Support Group

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.

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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: Not Insecure!

 

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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.

Why?

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.

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

January.

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).


 

 

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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 Writers Support Group: Help from the Grocery Story — Managing Editor’s Block.

“How are you doing today” asks the lady who stopped by the register to help bag my groceries.

“Okay,” I’ve long since passed the days where I feel the need to claim I’m going “great” or even “good” when I’m really not.

“Just okay? Well, hopefully the weekend will get better.” She puts the couple bags in my cart and asks if I need help out with them.  I decline and she continues on.

Meanwhile, the guy still ringing up the rest of my groceries looks at me, “Have anything fun planned for the rest of the weekend?”

“Mostly writing.”

“I wish I could write….”

The conversation continued for just a little longer, but it was a bright spot in what’s been a kind of a challenging week for me. I learned that he’s a reader, but never been much of a writer — which is why he’s going for a degree in the sciences.

I thanked him for being a reader (because we writers need readers!) and encouraged him to keep writing if he enjoys it, it takes practice but I think if someone enjoys it and wants to do it then they’ve got the ability in them to write.

Then I said how I was deep into edits on a novel right now, and that’s when he asked a question that made the conversation stand out to me.

“Is there such a thing as Editors block?”

“Yes,” I responded without a seconds hesitation.  “I mean, I haven’t actually heard anyone refer to it but, yes…”

I forget what he actually responded to that, but he smiled a genuine smile and said something that helped to reinforce the reality of such a thing, something like “You’re feeling it, so it must be so?”

Sometimes being able to put a name to the thing that is causing us problems can be so helpful. I know I have to keep pushing, work through these revisions and edits to get the manuscript to the point I want and need it to be. It’s hard though. I know I have to be gentle with myself through the process, but I also need to remember that editing block is a real thing.  Just like writer’s block, there are things I can do to help make my way through it.  I’m not quite sure what those things are, but probably similar to what helps me get through writer’s block: reading, seeking out story-relevant inspiration, and allowing myself to put the manuscript on the shelf for just a little longer to work on other projects for a bit.

Have you ever run into Editor’s block? What do you do to cope with it?


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

“I Should….” The Way to Write?

Some lessons appear in so many different parts of your life that it’s hard to ignore them. Over the past few years I have been downright hit over the head with the message, “We all travel our own paths, at our own paces.” If my life were a novel I would accuse the author of being a bit to obvious and heavy-handed with that point.

Today I see it in writing.  I’ve been having a lot of conversations with other writers about the act of writing. I see people who can push out thousands of words a day (and not just by chaining themselves to their computers). I talk to people who write multiple novels a year, and people who can juggle novels, short stories, blogs and freelance writing all at the same time. Then there are the different ways that everyone writes, from the medium we use for our first drafts, to our methods of planning (or not), the order in which we write the story, and how the editing process occurs. So many different ways to go about things.

It can be hard to not fall into the trap of “I should…” I should be able to write x-many words a day.  I should be able to work on the novel, the blog AND this other project.  I should be outlining this or that.  I should… I should… I should…

However, I have learned some very important things about my writing, and now shuffle those I should…’s aside.

I have a tendency to immerse myself in what I am writing. When I was younger I would spend hours playing out scenes in my mind, creating different versions of the story I was writing, exploring the lives of side-characters.  I would imagine dialogue, and sometimes even find myself wandering the story in my dreams. I was all in.

I was reminded of this a few months ago. I’ve talked about it some, around my decision to stop working on Disparate Threads.  For a year I had been trying to work on both Bria Lana (a novel that still needs a proper title) and Disparate Threads.  In Disparate Threads I had four different characters telling the story, and Bria Lana has a decently extensive cast-of-characters. Trying to get into all of their heads was too much for me, they were all starting to sound alike and none were getting the attention they needed.

Since I stopped working on Disparate Threads it’s been amazing. I’ve been able to focus on Bria Lana’s story, really digging into her mindset (and the mindset of some of the major supporting characters). I can sit and imagine the conversations she’d have, think about why she is doing things the way she is, and explore the deeper motivations of those she is encountering. Bria Lana’s story is so much richer for it.

I’m learning a lot in the process of working on this novel, and I know I will be sharing more about what I’m learning with you all, but this is a hugely important insight for me.  While other people may be able to have many stories in the works at one time, I am a one-story-at-a-time gal.  At least if it’s a story with any real depth to it (I can still have fun with shorts, it seems).

There are plenty of “I should…”s, but most of them aren’t true.

The only thing I SHOULD be doing is telling the story, however quickly or slowly that may come, in whatever manner that may take. I should be true to the story I am trying to tell, true to the characters who are involved. I should write in a way that makes sense, and works, for me.


I’m excited to be co-hosting this month’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group!

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group, a IWSG badgegreat group of supportive writers, helping one another through our writing ups-and-downs.
There is a great Facebook Community for more daily connection!  More posts from the group are tagged on Twitter at #IWSG. 

We’ve also put out a book, available for free, full of great articles on topics from writing to publishing, everything in-between and beyond! And, now, there is a T-shirt available!