ISWG: No Regrets

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Here it is, the first Wednesday in December. That means that it is 1) IWSG Day and 2) December. IWSG Day is the day when us members of the Insecure Writers Support Group get together and share updates and support and praise along the writers journey. And December means that 2017 will soon be over. When did that happen?

The optional question of the month is: As you look back on 2017, with all its successes and failures, if you could backtrack, what would you do differently?

I don’t really do regrets. Maybe it’s a sign that I’m getting older, but regrets seem like a waste of time. Who has time for regrets? Lessons learned, maybe, and even then let’s not dwell on it for too long.

That said, as I’m writing this I’m literally doing so in between “ghost-writing” / ghost-copywriting for a content mill, one of several I’m using to actually make money, because fiction doesn’t pay, not well, not yet. Also, having finally finished my NaNo novel yesterday, I have set myself a goal to edit and self-publish a nearly-finished quick and steamy romance novella which has been nearly-finished for a year now. But I’m terrified. I am seriously terrified. Like, irrational fear and panic attack territory.

Last night, I forced myself to go to a social event for library volunteers in large part because I knew being around strangers would be 1) terrifying (social anxiety disorder here) and 2) if I could do that, I can do anything. As I type this, it sounds crazy, but in my mind it makes total sense. Not avoiding strange and unknown people leads to fun, and it trains my brain to say, look, good things often happen when you reach out. I received a Toblerone and butter cookies for knowing famous book quotes – and a yummy meal – and not-scary conversation. It was a great night.

I think I’ve made the right decision, to still write fiction but also do more attainable goals like writing product descriptions for people I know will pay me – and pay me enough to let me pay my bills. This kind of writing still leads to the occasional panic attack, but without the long, drawn-out wait times of writing long fiction. I’m starting to think I need that regular feedback to keep me going. Wish I’d done more of this sooner. But I also need to respect my own inner boundaries and timing.

I guess that’s what I mean by no regrets. My fears can be crippling, but there’s no use saying to myself – you coward. That just leads to the whole cycle of shame thing, and who needs that. The past is behind, the present is here, and only the future lies ahead.

What do you think? Do you have any lessons learned? Are there things you regret?