Wednesday, March 2, 2016

ISWG: Baby Steps


I had every intention of getting a blog post up for January (and February)'s ISWG group, but as they say, the plans of mice and men….December and January have been difficult months. In the midst of cold and flu season, I think I was only well for one week of those months. Sitting down at the computer has not been on my priority list. In fact, I got quite discouraged about my writing, because I wasn’t doing much of it.

Then with the difficulties with yet another cold starting, I decided to just write for as long as I could stand it. I figured I would last 5-10 minutes, but I lasted an hour. It felt good to accomplish something, even if it was small.

My plan for my January ISWG post was to write about January goals. Looking back on 2015, I set my goals too high. I planned to finish revisions on two projects (!) and start a third. I only finished (or nearly finished) revisions on one manuscript. There’s been many times I’ve felt bad about that, especially when I talk to other writers, who are faster writers (or perhaps just faster revisers) than I. It’s easy for me to forget that finishing one manuscript is still something to be proud of. And I’m glad that I took that amount of time, because if I had rushed, it would not be as strong of a manuscript. I know it’s not perfect, and I am too close to have true objectivity, but this is the first time I’ve written a manuscript where I don’t have those nagging doubts in the back of my mind. Nagging doubts that I hope an editor, an agent, or even a critique partner will overlook.


So what does that have to do with writing while I’m sick? It is the small steps that count. I have always loved What About Bob? (Yes, in addition to fancy period pieces, I love silly movies.) But those baby steps have been so true for many parts of my life—from saving money to raising kids to writing books. We can’t rush it (or at least I can’t), but if you do the next thing, no matter how small, it eventually adds up to something significant.

What about you? How do you deal with discouragement when everyone else seems to be writing faster than you?

P.S. Since I wrote this post, I did finish my revisions! If anyone's keeping track, this is my shiny new manuscript. It may no longer be quite as shiny, but I'm finished. (That post was from 2014 while I was working on the first draft. I started this project in 2009, set it aside for 5 years, and revised it for a little over a year.)

Insecure Writer's Support Group

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time.

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Our Twitter hashtag is #IWSG

23 comments:

  1. Congrats on finishing your manuscript! That's so awesome. And sometimes with illnesses or other important things going on in life, taking baby steps can be a major accomplishment.

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  2. Jenni, you never have to worry you are slow -- I take that prize. I just keep plugging along, come rain come shine. Congratulations on finishing!!! It's such an accomplishment.

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    1. Glad to hear I'm not the only slow writer around. And thanks for the congrats, Vijaya!

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  3. Sorry you were sick for the past two months. (Hope you signed back up on the IWSG list.)
    In the push to produce, we sometimes do rush, but that only makes it take longer in the end because of the clean-up needed.

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    1. Yes, I did sign up again. :) You're so right about the clean up later. I've learned that lesson many times.

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  4. Baby steps. Yep. I love the mantra- I can only control this moment.

    That is all we ever have and all we can ever do. Congrats on the manuscript.

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  5. I totally sympathize. i started off the year sick too. Glad to hear you're back and your revisions are done! :) Baby steps take you much farther than you might believe. Just a little here and a little there, then suddenly you've done it!

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    1. Sorry to hear that you had a hard start too. Thanks for the encouragement, Christine!

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  6. It doesn't matter how small the steps as long as we're moving forward, right? :)

    I try very hard to only compare myself to myself and not to others. It doesn't always work, but I try.

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    1. Yes, comparison is a constant struggle for me too. But I'm much happier when I don't. Thanks for stopping by!

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  7. I write pretty fast, it's the editing/revising that really weighs me down. But as you said, it's baby steps. As long as I feel I make some progress every day (or almost every day), be it a page or two of revising, or going over a beta-reader or critique partner's notes or whatever, I feel like I've accomplished something.

    Congrats on finishing your manuscript!

    And yeah, everyone in my house - myself, my wife, both kids, even the cat - were sick for most of February. It was a rough month.

    IWSG March

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    1. That's where I'm at too. If I just write a little bit (or revise) most days, I'm doing well. Thanks for stopping by!

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  8. Congratulations on finishing your manuscript. Life gets in the way. I completely understand that. Sometimes to the point of making me want to give up, but then I dive back in and start plugging away. Sorry to hear you've Been sick. My dad died and I didn't write for a long time and I'm just getting back into it. I forgot to sign back up on the list, but I wrote my IWSG post. Oh well, I will sign back up next month. Glad I got the chance to stop by your blog. I will visit again soon.

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  9. YAY!!! Writing THE END!!!! is the best feeling ever!!! I'm also a very slow writer and a pantser, so when I get stuck on an idea, I stall terribly.

    Baby steps, and the more baby steps and more and look what you've accomplished!!! I believe the first book is always the hardest, at least it was for me. It took years. When you're ready to start on a new project it does get easier.

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  10. Honestly, if other people are writing faster than me, I ask what they're doing and try it myself. It doesn't always work for me, but I try out different strategies all the time :) Also, it's OK if you are a "slow" writer.

    Here's my IWSG March post: How to Succeed at Twitter Without Really Trying

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  11. Congrats on getting back on the horse, and the manuscript! W00t! I'm trying to find a balance between writing faster than I used to, but still holding to my personal standards for quality, or even raising the bar.

    I try to ignore what other writers produce, because they aren't me. Their lives and challenges are different than mine. I compete against me, and push myself to work better, smarter, and faster, but don't worry about how fast others are working. Samantha-speed is right for me.

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  12. Jenni,
    To be quite honest with you, I try my best to keep my eyes only on me. If I were to look at what everyone else is doing, I would be down in the dumps all the time. So, I've learned and I am still learning to rejoice with the others while I walk at my own pace.
    Wishing you all the best.
    Shalom,
    Pat

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  13. I'm sorry you were sick. I had a tough time in my life a little over a decade ago and got very little writing done, but doing it here and there helped me move along.

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  14. Congrats on finishing the revisions! And doubly so on sitting down to write while you were sick (it totally sucks to be sick so much!).

    Funny--I wrote about revising and how hard it is in my IWSG post. That's when writing starts to look like work, for me.
    Rebecca at The Ninja Librarian

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  15. Congrats on finishing your revisions! Everyone writes at a different pace. Don't worry about what others do. :)

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  16. I am intrigued by this Insecure Writers Group. Insecure has been my identity for years. I'm trying to break out!


    Thanks for "talking back" at Harvest Lane Cottage. Do you know that your comments come through to my email as a "no reply blogger"? If you'd like to get direct responses to your comments more often, you might like to know how to change that. I wrote about it in this blog post.

    http://harvestlanecottage.blogspot.com/2015/01/are-you-no-reply-blogger.html

    If you're like me, you don't have time to go back and check on other blogs to see if you've gotten a response to your comment. I sometimes can take time to track down commenters, but I'm usually short on time.

    ஐღLauraღஐ
    Harvest Lane Cottage
    ...doing what I can with what I've got where I am
    on a short shoestring budget!
    ~~~~~

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