Insecure Writer’s Support Group: Write for yourself

November 5, 2014

I don’t have time for a long IWSG post this month, because I’m busy with Nanowrimo stuff, but I did want to share this thought for everybody, whether you’re trying to revise your first short story or making headlong progress on your n-teenth novel manuscript.

Write for yourself first. Yes, we all want our stuff to be read by lots of people, and many of us hope to make a lot of money at it. But especially if you’re feeling insecure about what you’re writing, remember to write to please yourself first. Write what you think is cool, what you have fun with, what you’d like to say if anybody at all is listening.

If you don’t think it’s ready for anybody to read, don’t show it to them. But write what makes you happy.

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IWSG: Time to be encouraging!

October 2, 2014

Well, it’s time for Insecure Writer’s Support Group, (or a day late, hopefully not a dollar short,) and I’m not feeling terribly insecure, even though I procrastinated a little yesterday. So I think it’s time to be encouraging and share some things that might help my insecure writer friends.

First off is this really great comics site my friend Danie shared with me the other day, full of illustrated inspirational messages, lots of them from writers and other creative people: Zen Pencils! At the moment, the home-page comic is based on a commencement speech by Shonda Rhimes, (creator of Grey’s Anatomy etcetera,) and the list of ‘Related Comics’ under it includes a great interpretation of Ira Glass’ advice for beginners, as well as great words of wisdom from Chris Hadfield and Bill Watterson. I haven’t explored the full catalog yet, but I want to.

What else do I have that might be encouraging to an insecure writer? Nanowrimo is on its way, and I think that’s very encouraging. The homepage forums will probably be full of 2014 awesomeness in the next few days. And I think writing classes are very cool. I’m planning on starting Holly Lisle’s How to Write Flash Fiction that Doesn’t Suck course, which Elizabeth Twist has said lots of good things about. And one of the reasons I didn’t get this post up yesterday was the welcome shindig for the Sufficiently Advanced Magic Class, which is going to be a lot of fun! It’s a great group, I can tell already.

So… I dunno, if you’re still insecure, post in the comments, and I’ll see if I can come up with something encouraging just for you!


IWSG will be up soon…

October 1, 2014

Just a quick note here to let you know that I will be posting for IWSG soon, but the evening got away from me and I need to crash.


IWSG: My Race Score Sucks

September 4, 2014

Well, it’s time for Insecure Writers’ Support Group again!

I said, a little earlier this year, that I would submit lots of writing and my ‘race score’ would soar to incredible heights. If you haven’t heard of it, the race score is basically just one for each story you have out at a market, and it’s one of a few different ways to ‘gamify’ the submissions grind. There are a few other rules; I think simultaneous subs, if you do them, don’t count for extra race points, and longer things like novel partials and full novel manuscripts (out at an agent or directly to a publisher) count for multiple points.

Just at the moment, my race score is 1, thanks to ‘Return to Civilization’, which has been in the Analog slushpile since January now. The other two stories I’ve submitted over the past year, (including “Love is a Masterpiece” that got an Honorable Mention with Writers of the Future) are in this weird limbo hold where I don’t know where to submit them now.

I even had a two-step plan for how to bring my race score back up, but both steps are lagging. I was going to fast-track revisions on “TimeBubble Blues” and “Gotta Have That Look” so I could start sending them out–and I’m still not feeling confident in the revisions. And I was going to start scouting out new markets that I could submit to.

I’m not even sure why the scouting part is something I’m hitting so much resistance on. I love reading genre short stories. I really like finding out new places to read shorts and figuring out what kind of stuff they want most.

At least I think I like it, so why haven’t I been doing any of it lately? 😦


Insecure Writer’s Support Group: The Workshop Blues…

August 7, 2014

Hey, guess I got kicked out of IWSG again for missing two months in a row, but I’m back. And boy am I insecure! 😉

Sign – when is revision ever enough? I just got back from the ‘Never-Ending Odyssey’ workshop in New Hampshire, and it was a great week of critique circles and hanging out with writers and that kinda stuff. But I also came to realize that I’ve got a LOT of work still to do on this novel I was workshopping, “Think of the Children”, which is a little disappointing after the months and months of work I’ve already put into the current draft. A fresh perspective from reader-writers is what I go to workshops for, but it was depressing to realize that the book still isn’t putting its best face out there and it just isn’t as ready as I thought it was.

At the same time, I think I’m kinduv excited about what I’ve learned, about how to get to the essential conflict in the story and let that shine. So, first step, is to put what I’ve learned into a new revision outline. I can get that finished in August, right? I hope so, because it’s on my goals list, along with a few other things…

What’s up with you? Are you feeling insecure this week? Share your thoughts with all of us.


IWSG: The Revisions Edition

March 6, 2014

Welcome Insecure Writer’s from far and wide! So, I’m six days into my personal version of National Novel Editing Month, and even though it’s been hard to find the energy to log revision time, I think I’ve been doing pretty well. I’m nearly at 10 hours out of the 50 hour challenge now.

I’ve been bouncing around with my revision projects so far, mostly between going through the Holly Lisle ‘How to Revise your Novel’ course on a second manuscript, “The Angel’s Charlie”, and a follow-my-gut approach to revising a science fiction short, “Gotta Have that Look.” I wrote this version of GHTL during Odyssey, based on an earlier Camp Nanowrimo short that I sent to Jeanne while preparing to attend the workshop, and I both loved and hated the feedback I got on it. I finally broke ground on the revisions back in December or so, and I actually really like some of the changes I’ve been making to it over the past few days. Hopefully I’ll be able to send it back to the Team Ambitious crew in a week and a bit, see what they think of all the new stuff.

One cool bit that I was able to take from the ‘How to Revise your Novel’ course and apply to GHTL was the Holly Lisle three-part fix for talking heads: establish the setting, give a character a prop, and involve a gimmick. (I won’t explain that in detail here: Go buy the course for yourself!)

I’ve been counting other stuff as EdMo time too; if you’re going to reach 50 hours in a month, you have to dig deep. I’m not going out looking for lots of critiques to do in March, but whatever critiquing I do for other writers counts. I’ve also been planning another rewrite of Orpheus, hoping to expand it for the I Am the Abyss anythology. And I’ve been looking for other shorts to revise, finding Jeanne’s feedback on my Odyssey application piece, “The Time Bubble Blues”, and updating a list of every short story I’ve written over the past 4 years or so.

So I guess I’m not feeling that insecure about my writing just now, it turns out. 😀 What about you?


Late IWSG: procrastination and February blahs

February 6, 2014

First, sorry that this is late. I’ve actually been having some issues about juggling ‘What’s up Wednesday’ and the IWSG the past few months, since they both fall on Wednesdays. I don’t want to skip either, but I don’t like blogging twice in the same day or trying to combine two topics in the same post, so… what can ya do?

So, yeah. Insecure Writer’s Support Group. I knew what I had to focus on this week, and next week. Time’s running out for applying to Kij Johnson’s novel workshop, I got some great feedback on my synopsis from Team Ambitious, so… I mucked around, watched television, and didn’t really tackle it until this evening.

I’m not quite sure why I couldn’t rise above procrastination. This winter has been a bit tough on me, energy-wise. I can keep on with the day-to-day, and I’m reading like nobody’s business, but actually getting stuff written has been harder. Also, the feedback that my critiquers sent out was rich enough in detail to be a little overwhelming, and this was the first time in months that we weren’t able to swing a Google Hangout for critiques. So I didn’t have the little ceremony of the virtual critique circle to help me come to terms with the response, just a few files in my email. Maybe it took me this long to come to terms subconsciously with what I absorbed when I skimmed through the files, and that’s something I had to do before I could tackle the work consciously. (Looks back and forth shiftily.) Yeah, that’s exactly what happened.

But at least I’m making progress now.


IWSG: Writing without a long-term plan

January 8, 2014

Hi there! Since New Year’s Day fell on a Wednesday, the January meeting of the Insecure Writers Support Group got pushed back a week. Welcome everybody!

I’m actually feeling pretty secure about a lot of writing stuff right now. I got a story draft finished during the Christmas holidays, and I’ve been making some good progress on revising short stories. I’m even up to three Race Points!

However, after reviewing my progress on my 2013 creative goals, I’ve been procrastinating on picking my writing resolutions for the new year. I’ve just come from a great writing year, but some of the most amazing parts were things that I hadn’t planned or anticipated. Maybe the thing that’s tripping me up is that setting concrete goals seems to trivialize or minimize the value of that kind of serendipitous side-journey.

I’ll probably put some kind of 2014 goals down before long; as well as the crowd over at Stringing Words, a few of my Odyssey Team Ambitious friends have been sharing their lists. But right now I’ve set some targets for January and that’s as much looking forward as I’m ready to indulge in.

 


IWSG: Submissions and The Race

December 4, 2013

Hi there! It’s Wednesday, it’s the first week of the month, so that means it’s time to meet with the Insecure Writers Support Group! Today, I wanted to go back to talking about submissions, and something a little scary that I’m going to try: Race points.

It can be really intimidating to send your shorts to a market, where it’ll get judged in the slush pile for all kinds of things you might not know about, and discouraging to keep sending anything out after a rejection.

I hadn’t submitted anything to an actual market in years before this fall. When I was at Odyssey this summer, everybody was really encouraging about submitting, and talking about how it might take up to 100 rejections for a good writer to make their first sale. A lot of my Odyssey classmates are full of plans to become ‘Centurions’ (ie reach their 100th rejection) by next Summer.

Sigh. I’ve made two submissions so far in 2013; got one rejection back, and the other is still in the slush pile.  I think I’ve made progress on letting go of my perfectionism and refusing to leave stories in the trunk because I don’t know enough to fix the flaws I see in them.

I used to be intimidated by Race Scoring, maybe because I felt there was something I was missing, and maybe because I’d come across some really high Race target numbers, (like Dean Wesley Smith’s, which is 60 points! :-o.) The idea with Race points is just to keep your points up at a high level for as long as you can; you get one point for every story that’s submitted and out on the slush pile, you lose the point when it’s rejected or when you get paid for the story. There’s some ‘equivalent points’ stuff to factor in submitting novels and other stuff, but that’s the basic idea. And part of the reason I’m drawn to Race points now is that they’ll keep me from targeting markets that have a really quick turnaround time, as opposed to really good markets where I’d like to make a sale, and that I think are a good fit for my stories.

I think I may keep count of my rejections as well, just to turn something that could be depressing into a badge of honor as a writer.

So, what about you? Any followers out there who are also struggling with the submission grinder?


IWSG: Getting back to drafting

October 2, 2013

IWSGHey there! It’s time for the September 2013 edition of the Insecure Writers Support Group! First of all, I’m excited to report that I crossed almost everything off my September to-do list before I went to bed on Monday evening, including submitting a story! A revised version of “Tough Love’ has been entered for Writers of the Future!

But I’m still feeling like I haven’t been accomplishing as much as I’d like to in terms of writing and revising. I only got a little over 1000 new words written in September, finishing off one story and starting another.

I’m taking a break from the Team Ambitious critiquing this week and next. (I’m not the only one. Somebody decided that submitting to WOTF was an acceptable substitute for submitting a new story to be critiqued.) And I’ve resolved to get the first draft of ‘Steampunk Roswell 51’ finished by the morning of Canadian Thanskgiving. I want to do some serious revision on ‘Love is a Masterpiece’ or ‘Gotta Have that Look’ too.

If only I can avoid spending all my time for the next two weeks playing with my new Nexus 7 tablet. 😉


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