Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Insecure Writer's Support Group: Just Write

If you've never heard of Insecure Writer's Support Group, you're in for a treat! Head on over to the IWSG website, created by the awesome Alex Cavanaugh, and sign up to be part of this amazing network of writers. Then on the first Wednesday of every month, post your insecurities on your blog. It seems counter-intuitive, I know. But instead of being tarred and feathered for being insecure, you'll find you're uplifted and encouraged by others who are in the same boat as you, or who have been there before and can show you the treasure map so you can make your way through to the other side.

This month's post is my submission for the IWSG Guide to Publishing and Beyond, for the category "Writing".

You know, I've been working on this insecurity for a while now, this idea that there are no set "rules" for how to be a writer. You just...write. But that doesn't mean you write every day, always, although maybe you do...It means just what it says: You just write. It doesn't mean that you have books published, or an agent, or that you're in the process of querying everyone in the publishing industry. You just write.

So much of our insecure writers’ lives are spent seeking validation from other people, people we deem to know more about the business of writing than we do. We give them the power to tell us whether our ideas are any good, whether our plots are properly executed, whether we’re allowed to take up space at the next writer’s conference if we don’t know what a query is…when really, what we want them to do is tell us that we belong to this magical group: Writers! And, sadly, there will always be someone who wants to keep other people out, because they’re just as insecure as we are that there won’t be room for them in that group if they let us in.

The truth is, though, that we are the ones with the power to tell our stories. We decide what is good. And by the very act of writing we declare to the world that we belong.


Do you have an outline? Just write. Do you have a first draft? Just write. Do you have five published novels and a contract on a new series? Just write. Do you have the tiniest baby of an idea percolating in your mind? Just write! Write it down. Then guess what? You're a writer!

Elisabeth Kauffman is a freelance editor of fiction and you can find her on the web at www.writingrefinery.com.

(I give the IWSG Anthology permission to reprint this blog post for their publication "The Insecure Writer's Support Group Guide to Publishing and Beyond)

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

IWSG: Brainstorming my novel

It's time for Insecure Writer's Support Group, the most amazing bloghop you'll ever participate in as a writer. If you need to air your insecurities and find others who share them with you or have amazing, encouraging advice, then you NEED this group. So hop on over to Alex Cavanaugh's blog to learn more and sign up.
I got stuck. I was working on a project for Camp NaNo in July...one that I had half an outline for...and when I got through to the place where my outline ended, I sputtered to a stop. I'm usually a pantster, so this road-block was unprecedented. I spent a few bewildered days trying to get started again, worrying that I wasn't writing anything...

Then I had an idea. What if I spent a few nights brainstorming my novel? So I grabbed my colored sharpies and some blank paper and started scribbling. I wrote down things I already knew, things I'd already written about, and then found a few of the things I didn't know yet. And those led to things I hadn't written yet, but that I knew I wanted to. It was a GREAT experience...and a good reminder that not all Writing is about word count.

I haven't added any more recently to my manuscript, and probably another brainstorming session is due. But I'm looking forward to that now.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Insecure Writer's Support Group: Spending time on something you love

It's time again! Time for Insecure Writer's Support Group, the most awesome group out there on the interwebs, if I must say. You can find the linky list to sign up for IWSG here, and if you're a writer you should DEFINITELY sign up. Giving and receiving monthly encouragement from others in the trenches of writing, creating, publishing, rejection, acceptance--the entire roller coaster that is the life of a writer--you don't want to miss out!

My insecurity this month comes from the list of "shoulds" that hovers around me whenever I sit down to do something like writing (or painting, which I also enjoy). I find myself blocking up and not being able to access my creative muse because all I can see is the pile of dishes in the sink, or the giant tumbleweeds of dust bunnies chasing my cats around the house, or the dwindling bank account sending out an S.O.S. for more freelance editing clients.

Some days it doesn't matter. Some days the muse is prodding me so hard that I have no choice but to write (or paint). And I have a few different lines I use to combat the list of "shoulds", but mostly I just want to go hide under my desk, and then I don't get ANYTHING done, not even anything from the list of "shoulds"!

What do you use to fight back and claim your writing/creative time?

Sunday, July 6, 2014

No Day But Today

I got the creative bug this weekend...Friday morning actually.

I was listening to the Rent soundtrack...well, just one song that I owned really...it's the Finale B (lyrics below), so it's a mash-up of the best parts of the rest of the musical...and I just had to get up and paint! So I did, thinking I'd do one painting and put the lyric that inspired me in it. (Yes I paint, but I'm a writer first, so words can feature large in any form of art I do).

Well, there are no words and there are four paintings and I bought the entire soundtrack. It was a crazy, beautiful, inspired morning.



Lyrics:
There is no future
There is no past
Thank God this
Moment's not the last

There's only us
There's only this
Forget, regret or
Life is yours to miss
No other road, no other way
No day but today

I can't control
(Will I lose my dignity)
My destiny
(Will someone care)
I trust my soul
(Will I wake tomorrow)
My only goal
(From this nightmare)

There's only now
There's only here
Give in to love
Or live in fear
No other path, no other way
'Cause I die without you

I die without you
(No day but today)
I die without you
(No day but today)
I die without you
(No day but today)

I die without you
(No day but today)
I die without you
(No day but today)
No day but today

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

IWSG: Camp NaNo edition


Hi everyone! It's time for Insecure Writer's Support Group, hosted by Alex Cavanaugh. Anyone can join, so hop on over to the IWSG page for more information and sign up! You won't regret it. Support, encouragement, we all need that, right?

So I don't really have any complaints this week. Which... is huge... usually there's something nagging at me. But I'm letting it all slide off my back right now because it's July, which means it's time for Camp NaNo!


I've been participating in NaNoWriMo for a few years now, and I have to say I always thought those "Camp" kids were kinda crazy. Why in the world would you need/want to do it again in the middle of the year?

Well, I've been bitten by the Camp NaNoWriMo bug, y'all. I had a good idea and a challenge from my podcasting co-host Merianna, and here I am getting ready for Day 2! (Oh, there's an insecurity... have I ever mentioned on here that I podcast weekly about publishing and writing? Check us out: ThinkingOutLoud)

But I'm no newbie, not anymore. I have an outline, a character sheet, and WriteOrDie to get me to my MODEST goal of 30,000 for the month. Not pushing it, just enjoying it... taking the story from start to finish and leaving the rest for revisions.

And we'll leave the insecurities to the revision process.
How is everyone else this month? Did anyone else even consider Camp NaNo this year, or was that just me?

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Summer Solstice Party

I love California. It's been 9 months now and I still love being back in Cali. One reason why is this lovely group of women that I can share magic moments with... moments like these.






I threw a Summer Solstice Party tonight, and we had a blast! I'm so blessed to be able to share magic, food, and fun with these wonderful ladies.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Insecure Writer's Support Group: Only you can know

Hi! It's time for the Insecure Writer's Support Group, created by Alex Cavanaugh. Seems to be the only blog post I can be reliably certain of writing. Well, that's ok. If you're an insecure writer, like me, and you're dying to find a group that will boost your spirits, this is your lucky day! Hop on over to Alex's blog and sign up, then start posting! We're happy to include you.

Feedback. Reassurance. That's what this group is all about.

Positive feedback is awesome. So is the reassurance that you're good at this... that someone wants to hear your story. That someone else cares the way you do about your characters.

But a lot of times you don't get that kind of encouragement until you're near the end of the project. So what do you do while you're in the middle? In the throes of stress and anxiety, wondering whether you're just a hack who can't even cobble together a basic paragraph...?

Me, I do a lot of avoiding, of hiding from my work and finding anything else to do to make me feel successful, confident, better about myself. On the one hand, that works, because I don't have to feel those horrible crushing feelings that the fear of failure causes in me. But on the other hand... there's still this novel sitting there... waiting to be written. Waiting for me to return to it.

At some point you have to make a decision. You can do this. It's your story. You have to tell it. Is it worth it in the end to go through the pain of self-doubt, to struggle with the fear of inadequacy? Only you can know. Only you can say. Your characters, your story... it's yours. And even if you find that the feedback is less than positive and the reassurance is thin at best, you're the only one who can tell it.