Wednesday, May 4, 2022

#IWSG: Writing Highs and Lows

 

From https://www.chelsey.co.nz/quotes/classic-quotes/it-was-the-best-of-times-it-was-the-worst-of-times-charles-dickens-1859

This month's question this month is a good one.
It's the best of times; it's the worst of times.
What are your writer highs?
And what are your writer lows?

Highs:

 1.    Seeing my words in print

 2.    Patching a plot hole—those nasty little beasts!

 3.    Finding the “just right” word

 4.    The people I’ve met along the way.  Kindred spirits (a.k.a other writers) are not as scarce as I used to think. (as Anne herself says)

 5.    New ideas, a.k.a. “The Shiny New Manuscript” syndrome



It's sparkly! It's new! Look a shiny new manuscript!

Lows:


1.    Rejections or harsh critiques

2.    People who look at me like I have three heads when I tell them I’m a writer.

3.    Pounding on the keys even when I don’t feel like it.

4.    Writer’s block/getting stuck--Even though I've overcome several spells of writer's block, it's hard not to get discouraged.

5.    Condescending editors/agents--I understand their job is hard, but making fun of authors, especially in public, is not professional. 


What about you? What are your writing highs and lows?

If you'd like to read more ISWG posts or sign up, please go HERE. You won't be disappointed.  

 



Wednesday, April 6, 2022

#ISWG: Losing that Loving Feeling

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

Growing up, it was instilled in me very strongly to never quit. And that life skill has stood me in good stead through a lot of things, especially work situations. But it took me well into my adulthood before I realized that sometimes it’s okay to quit. Sometimes a hobby’s not for you or you grow apart from a friend, and it’s okay to let that go. (Like those socks I tried to knit. I should probably accept that I will never finish them!)

It’s still hard for me to decide when to set aside a manuscript.

I have written several complete manuscripts. I have queried four of them to various ranges of success. I have two that I decided to abandon before I even got to the querying stage. And now, I have one I’ve been working on it for a year, but I have lost all my excitement for it.

In last month’s post, I talked about being versatile. But the thing about trying lots of new things is that in the process, sometimes you realize what you don’t like.

And maybe this genre, which tends to be dark, is just not me. I look longingly at old manuscripts and think about how this or that genre made me happier--somehow forgetting that there are no easy books to write.

But if I set it aside, there's that nagging fear that I’m a quitter. I should just push through the boredom. Because I can’t give up. I can’t not finish. Aw! Will the insecurities ever stop?

Reasons why to set this manuscript aside:

1.    It’s dark and depressing, and I don’t need any more of that in my life right now.

2.    It might not be marketable. It’s in an over-saturated genre.

3.    I’ve lost my passion and excitement about working on it.

What to do? Although when I initially wrote this post, I was ready to set it aside for now or perhaps forever, I have decided to continue. It's helped to take baby steps. I don't think about finishing the whole book, just the next scene or chapter.

Have you ever taken a break or set aside a manuscript?

In other news, I found out that my short story for adults, "The Complete Jane Austen on a Desert Island" will be published in a local anthology in May.

If you'd like to read more ISWG posts or sign up, please go HERE. You won't be disappointed.  

 

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

ISWG: Trying New Things

Photo by Anna Sullivan on Unsplash

My husband and I have a running joke about what he orders when we go out to eat. I always try something new. He always orders the same thing—no matter the restaurant. He says, “At least I won’t be disappointed.”

To tell the truth, I’ve had some ups and downs with my orders—and with my writing. I like to try new things, whether it’s in food or in life.

To date, although I generally write for children and teens, I have tried nearly every genre within that age range (mystery, fantasy, historical, contemporary, etc.). I have written nonfiction and fiction. I have written short stories and novels.

Recently, I tried my hand at something outside my comfort zone.  I wrote a short story for adults with a very unusual POV. It is also a little more humorous than what I normally write.

My critique partner said, “I can’t believe you wrote this.”

Of course, when you’re an insecure writer, you can even obsess about a compliment. So of course, I started wondering, why do I write all over the place? Why can’t I stick with one genre? I see all this marketing advice about building your brand, being known as the writer who writes X, Y, or Z. Well, I’ll never be able to do that.

My husband came to the rescue: “Think about it this way:  you’re versatile.”

Have I been scared to write a scene or a story? Honestly, I’m scared to write just about everything I write. It’s different. People won’t like me if I write this. I don’t know enough about X. And more recently, with the YA project I’m working on, strangely enough, some of what I’ve written has come true. Does that happen to other scifi/futuristic writers? Have to say I’m new to that genre too.

But we have to keep writing. Like trying a different item on the menu at each restaurant, I can’t say that everything I write works out. But I always learn something from every experience.

And that’s what matters, right?

Have you ever been conflicted about writing a story or adding a scene to a story? How did you decide to write it or not? 

If you'd like to read more ISWG posts or sign up, please go HERE. You won't be disappointed.  




 

 

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

IWSG: Slow Writers Unite!

 

https://unsplash.com/photos/FTKfX3xZIcc?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditShareLink

There's the slow food movement.

And a slow parenting movement, which I've been following without knowing it. 

And although I found some posts about Slow Writing Movements, most seemed to be geared towards literary fiction writers, which I am not.

But what if we started our own movement? A movement where it was okay not to be the fastest writer in the room.

Slow writing would be a place where...

It’s okay not to fast draft or do NaNoWrMo.  

Daily tallies of word counts doesn't make you a better writer.

Some days you might write a lot, others a little. It’s all adds up.

Quality over quantity.

It’s okay to stop mid-draft to look up the right phrase or research your setting—your writing will be richer for it.

This is not a race. If you write faster than others, you will not sell your book faster or gain more readers.

Take time to smell the roses, to live life, because fiction is made of life.

Make sure to take time away from writing—fresh eyes make the best editors.

Or if you want to make your first draft take even longer, just say yes to more backstory, maps, world building, and character charts. 😀

Will you join me?

I didn't do this month's question. I thankfully have not lost any of my writing heroes yet. And I didn't want to do a sad post. If you'd like to read more ISWG posts or sign up, please go HERE. You won't be disappointed.   



 

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

ISWG: When I thought Writing was a Contest

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash


It was the best of times, it was the worst of times attending my first conference. My second son was only 6 months old and not used to me being gone. Let’s just say my mom and husband deserve a medal keeping him occupied for that day.

I wore my “Writer” conference badge like a medal.  I even walked taller when I went to get gas.

And then there were the pitch sessions. Every single agent/editor made a request. I got to meet the illustrious Andrea Brown in person.

I felt like I was at an American Idol audition and got the golden ticket!

But the bad news was I only had a really polished first chapter, although the rest of the manuscript was complete. I only had to show a first chapter in my pitch sessions. They didn’t see the rest of it. The saggy middle, the ending that needed tons of work, my thousands upon thousands of newbie mistakes.

I had a writing mentor at the time. She’d read the full and was working with me on revisions.  She graciously read it more than once. And after the third time told me that it still wasn’t ready.

But. I. Had. Been. Chosen. 

No one could've talk me back from the ledge of my dream as I was just about to take flight.

So I sent it out anyway.

It was a few months before the first rejection came in. Still, surprisingly that editor had a few good things to say.

I got very little feedback from anyone else. And by that time, I’d had enough distance from the whole thing to see that I'd rushed.

It took me some time to recover. It wasn’t my last writing mistake. But it certainly was the one I learned the most from.

Just because someone shows interest, doesn’t guarantee publication. It’s always better to wait and revise and wait some more before sending something out. Check your pride at the door. By the time you finally get something published, you’ll be so surprised, you won’t believe it.

That first conference was a hard lesson, but a good lesson.

I don’t regret it. And I don’t regret my other writing mistakes. I keep learning as I go.

I've had some successes since, but right now, I'm trying to smell the roses , enjoy the journey, and remember that writing is not an American Idol contest.

What is the one thing you regret the most about your writing career? Were you able to overcome it?

What is 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 - and return comments. This group is all about connecting!

 To see more IWSG posts, go here. 



Wednesday, December 1, 2021

ISWG: Writing's Peaks and Valleys

 

Photo by Rohit D'Silva on Unsplash




Writing isn't any easy path. I keep writing because I can’t stop. Like a challenging hike that ends with a phenomenal view, sometimes you have to wade through the brambles to get to the beautiful bits.

The valleys:


1.    Comparing myself to others. I’m not on social media much anymore, but people posting their daily word counts (always higher than mine) used to stress me out.

2.    The marketing part of writing. While I’ve learned to write a decent query letter, I've never gotten used to the ups and downs of querying. Can someone else sell my writing, please?

3.    Worrying about what other people think. When I let that “what will x think of this?” get inside my head in the middle of drafting, I don't do my best writing. Writing must always be truthful, which will probably offend someone.

The peaks with their mountain views:


1.   The surprise aspect of writing. I've never written a scene or a piece of dialogue that came out exactly as I expected. I love it when the characters and plot surprise me.

2.    When the seemingly random threads of the plot come together. In my current WIP, I thought a secondary character's medical condition wasn't that important. But then—boom—I wrote a scene where it became everything and the driving motive for my main character. Those types of connections make writing fun.

3.    When I get a life-changing critique. It’s always hard to hear criticism of your work, and sometimes I need to wait a few days till I can see my way to solving any problems. But a good critique always helps you see your work in new ways, a true gift.

4.  Writing has taught me that criticism helps you grow as a person. Writing has given me a thick skin. It's not easy separating yourself from what you write and be willing to hear the hard stuff. But being open to feedback is an invaluable skill in life. And there have been many non-writing times when I've been glad I've learned not to take criticism personally.

5.    Getting words on paper. It’s often hard to stare at that blank page, but after you’ve written a bulk of your novel, it’s amazing to realize you created something out of nothing. It is a great privilege to use the gifts I’ve been given in this way.

What delights you and what stresses you out about writing?

What is 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 - and return comments. This group is all about connecting!

 To see more IWSG posts, go here. 



 





Wednesday, November 3, 2021

ISWG: Only So Many Words

 

Photo by Florian Klauer on Unsplash

When I was in high school, my English teacher asked me to be on the high school yearbook. She knew I liked writing, so why not write for a school publication? Much to her surprise, I said no. I wanted to save my words for my fiction writing. I thought if I worked on the yearbook, I'd use all my words up on that. I wouldn’t have any words left over for my own writing.

As an adult, it’s much harder to save my words, and prioritize my own writing.

But that’s what I’ve been doing lately. I’m not blogging as much—sorry faithful readers—but I am writing.

I am now almost half way with a draft of a new YA novel. I’m happier and more excited about writing than I’ve been in a long time. So, perhaps this saving my words thing is working.

Never fear, I do plan to get back into writing on this blog more frequently and doing book reviews again. As soon as I can manage to juggle both.

This month’s question: do you find the title or the back copy harder to write?


Back copy hands down. My husband is really good at titles. He’s come up with 80% of my titles. But struggling through a query synopsis is very hard. I’ve gotten better at it over the years, but it’s still not my favorite thing.


How about you? Do you find that if you do a lot of writing for other purposes, you don't have words left for your own writing? And which do you find harder: back copy or titles?

 

What is 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 - and return comments. This group is all about connecting!

 To see more IWSG posts, go here.