IWSG: New Improved Resolutions

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Happy New Year and Happy IWSG Day!

Hard to believe 2018 is here. Not sure about everyone else but here in the Northeast U.S. it’s been super cold and now they’re throwing out scary words like “bomb” to describe the weather. Fortunately, I’m not on the coast but the cold has made getting out of bed and working more difficult.

Not that I really need an excuse.

My main resolution this year is to treat writing like a real job with real hours. I got this idea from a Great Courses lecture I listened to called How to Read and Write About Any Subject. I feel like I’ve made a habit of setting unreasonable goals in terms of deadlines I know I can’t possibly meet, so – for now – more attainable goals in terms of hours a day seem better. That way I force myself to do something while (hopefully) setting up a pattern of success.

Another resolution I’m making now is to more regularly blog. I’m going to say once a week and not just on IWSG Day. Maybe one flash fiction a week. I’ll have to think about that – but I will resolve to do it. Because I have so been neglecting this blog. Okay and true confession I had to take a long break away from social media following a certain presidential election. Because there’s still a part of me that feels like – if not for Facebook and Twitter…. But I need to bounce back. The Internet needs positive voices more now than ever. If not mine, then definitely others. Fight the power and all that.

For now, I’ve been doing a lot of ghost copywriting and also writing romance under Not My Real Name. The idea of putting myself out there is scary. I guess, because I am an Insecure Writer!

How is 2018 going so far? Any resolutions? Any assessment and re-assessment of prior resolutions?

HAPPY 2018!!!

 

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?

IWSG: To Nano or Not Nano

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It’s November again and that means NaNoWriMo, the event where thousands of people across the world try to write 50,000 words in a month. It’s also the first Wednesday of the month which means IWSG day!

The optional question of the month: Win or not, do you usually finish your NaNo project? Have any of them gone on to be published?

Answer, I always finish something, but it’s never been anything I’ve considered publishable. This month, I’m writing “experimental fiction” – usually what I do in November, the kind of story I want to write even if no one else will want to read it.

I’m having a bit of a downer this week apart from NaNoWriMo insecurities. Other writing I’ve been doing for paying clients has not been going well and I am questioning my abilities as a writer. I keep hoping I’ll magically break out of this funk I’ve been in – but there’s a part of me that is saying, but what if I lack the talent to do this? Maybe I’m just seriously not good at this. I feel like it needs to be said. Maybe I love to write, because I do, but that’s where it ends – and that’s okay. I just need to look at other ways to make a living / make my mark on the world.

That’s where I am right now – and man this sounds horrible when I say it like that, but there’s a peace in entertaining the possibility, in saying maybe I can’t actually do this. I need to stop trying to force myself to be able to do something I’m not going to be able to do. I overthink things way too much, run down side trails way too easily – and that’s just who I am. Only by accepting that, maybe, I can start seeing a path that will actually work.

I really hope so.

 

IWSG: October Already?

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Yes, it’s October already and it’s Wednesday and that means it’s time for the monthly Insecure Writer’s Support Group post.

I am having a really hard time believing it’s October, a month with two digits, because that means 2017 will be over soon. What a year it has been.

This past month, I’ve changed my game a bit and been working with an online gamification site called habitica. It’s helping me to keep on top of my writing and other daily tasks, but unfortunately it does NOT remind me of IWSG Day, because I didn’t tell it too. I’m in a rut where I feel like my writing sucks but little things like this help me to keep plowing on anyway so I can check the boxes.

Do you have any aids and motivations you use to sneakily encourage yourself to keep going? Can you believe it’s October already?

IWSG: Total Eclipse of the Heart

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This is my monthly post for the Insecure Writers Support Group, where once a month we get together and share our hopes, dreams, successes, and (yes) insecurities with regard to writing.

I’m in a strange place right now, a real strange place.  I recently denied to renew WordPress and this domain name for one more year. My pen name is my mother’s maiden name, not my legal name, and do I want to keep that as my pen name? Also, am I even still trying to write fiction? I’ve kind of – okay – given up. But not really. But it feels that way – if that makes sense. I am doing some heavy editing of one my favorite WIP’s after giving up on the WIP I was working on, because frankly I think it sucks. And I might need a while.

So I’m not sure. Like, about anything right now.

On a not entirely unrelated note, I (very last minute) made a trip to Fort Louden, Tennessee for my first ever total eclipse. Over two minutes of “totality.” It’s one of those experiences they say changes you – and I feel changed. It reminded me of a song I wrote  about the divine feminine and strength revealed in weakness.

The optional question of the month is whether we’ve ever been surprised by our writing. And those are the surprises that always stick out to me, those moments when I said more than I intended, when later (years later) I think back or re-read and think, wow, I had no idea how meaningful that would be to me personally years later. If only I could also write things which are meaningful to others. If only I had any clue whatsoever what to do next. That would be great.

For now, here’s a great song I definitely didn’t write (before my time! =D) But which I also thought of in a new light. So to speak. And it is exactly how I feel right now about writing and other subjects.

IWSG: Happy July!

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Summer is here and so is IWSG Day! The first Wednesday of the month and the official day for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group to post about what’s going on in our writerly lives.
The optional question of the month for July asks us: What is one valuable lesson you’ve learned since you started writing?
Even though it’s not a lesson per se, the first thing that comes to mind is how many interesting and varied people there are in the writing world. As a  young person, I had a picture in my mind of the writer as serious, intense, brooding and in another world entirely from the one where the rest of us live. I am always fascinated to discover how normal – and how strange – writers can be, the different lives of the people who write, their different styles and ways of going about it. There is no one-size-fits-all. I am especially humbled by the many successful writers who continue to stick around with us “aspiring” writers to give us tips and advice. I am always surprised by how much fun writing can be. Infuriating at times, maybe, but mostly fun.
What about you? If you’re a writer, what valuable lessons have you learned?

IWSG: Truth or Dare?

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This is my June  post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, where on the first Wednesday of every month, like-minded writers come together and share advice, good news, and more.
This month, I have a question: What constitutes good storytelling? Is it more important to be factual or is it more important to have a really great narrative?
In the context of fantasy writing in particular, I am thinking of some of my favorite authors like McCaffery and Lackey, who both wrote in universes with magic systems designed with D&D like precision, where you could meaningfully turn it all into charts and numbers if you wanted to. It’s all very simple, all very clear-cut, and sometimes that bugs me – because real life isn’t always simple or clear-cut. In fact, it usually isn’t. In the real world, the good guys don’t always win in predictable ways in keeping with set formulas.
I do like stories to be unrealistic, to have beginnings, middles, and ends – despite the fact that my rational self is rebelling against this – like life doesn’t work that way! I privately can’t stand the kind of story I always seem to find myself writing where everything gets so deep and reflective and existential and is any of this even real? I’ve read Moby Dick for example, prone to existential tangents AND *all* of the research you could want on whales. (I think it’s an awesome book by the way – if you skim a few chapters here and there.)
I can think of several stories where the narrative got really strange and wacky – and how glad I am that they did. And others where I’ve thought – sheesh – couldn’t the writer have maybe cracked a book about life in the northeastern United States before writing that? I believe research and realism is important at service to the narrative, but the narrative is always the boss, but I’m having a hard time convincing my brain of this. What do you think? What makes a great story? What makes great storytelling?