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.

Advertisements

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.


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: There’s always more goals to reach for

September 4, 2013

Hey there, welcome to the August 2013 meeting of the Insecure Writers Support Group! I’m still struggling with my insecurities about knowing when my stories are ready to submit, but rather than ramble on about that, I thought I’d share another source of insecurity; monthly to-do lists.

I’ve been coming up with to-do lists of creative goals for several years now, a habit I picked up over at Stringing Words. Almost always, because I’ve got an optimistic and competitive bent, I come up with a long list of around a dozen projects, and most of the time I leave several of them unfinished to roll over to the next month.

I’ve talked with Elizabeth about this, and she always tells me that’s a great spot to be in. “Aim high, shoot for the middle” is her usual catchphrase, and I try to take that advice to heart. But sometimes it’s hard for me not to look at my end of month progress reports and feel like a failure, or get this insane determination to push harder next time, even when I don’t have the energy to keep up that pace.

For August, I had ten goals listed. Five of them, I definitely accomplished, including one where I definitely went above and beyond the target. One more I feel very confident in marking as a win, even though there might be a technicality that a nay-sayer could argue. (That goal was to stay caught up on the Ad Astra slushpile, and two new stories came in just before midnight on August 31st.)

For one more item on the list, I pulled a late substitution, and instead of revising “Gotta Have that Look” to submit to critters, I did some superficial edits to “Love is a Masterpiece” and sent that in instead, because I wasn’t feeling confident on where I wanted to go with GHTL. Two more goals I made progress on, but definitely didn’t finish; fanvidding and my “How to Think Sideways” lessons. And the last one, submitting a manuscript to a paying market, I can’t even give myself a partial.

So I was looking at that list and giving myself something like a seven out of ten. Elizabeth and Rinelle both cheered me on when they did their own end-of-month updates, pointing out that I’d accomplished a lot, and I know I have. But it’s hard to feel that way somehow.


IWSG: Facing rejection and accepting ‘as good as I can make it now’

August 7, 2013

Okay, it’s time for the August 2013 edition of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. Apologies for not participating in July, but I was pretty ragged with Odyssey writing that week, and my blogging was down to the minimum.

It’s nearly two years now since I last submitted anything to a publishing market. At the time, I told myself that I needed to concentrate on the craft, but really, that was probably just my insecurity, finding a way to avoid rejection. Well, I’ve definitely learned a lot about the craft of writing, and I while I was at Odyssey a lot of people told me that I should be submitting a lot, that I was ready for it. Jeanne told me, Sheila Williams told me, Nancy Holder told me, I think Patricia Bray told me, the resident adviser told me and my fellow students told me. So I’m doing it. I’m going to submit again before August is finished, and I’ve set a tentative goal of reaching 42 new rejections in the year after I left Odyssey.

Part of what I’ll need to get me to that goal, as well as a willingness to face the rejection again, is a willingness to accept something short of an ideal perfection in my writing. Basically, if a story’s as good as I can make it right now, then it doesn’t get to sit on the hard drive for months as I learn more about writing; I pound the digital pavement and start sending it out. Yeah, I’m going to learn more about writing in the meantime, and use what I’ve learned to write better stories; maybe I’ll be able to revise something in between rejections, or maybe it’d be better not. But I can’t let the process bottleneck at the end. Keep writing, keep revising, keep submitting.


IWSG – Chase dreams and you just might catch one!

June 5, 2013

It’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group time again, and I feel like I don’t have any new insecurities to bring to the table. Sure, I’m still nervous about leaving for Odyssey in just a few days, but I think I covered that pretty well last month.

But I’ve still got plenty of excitement and inspiration to share, I think. And it’s occurred to me that a lot of writers from all over the world applied for this. If I looked strictly at the numbers, I might have thought that it wasn’t worth the effort to put together my application and mail it off. I certainly wasn’t feeling too hot about my chances after three other workshops rejected me in March.

Still, I got in! That’s made me think about other things that I thought I wasn’t ready to try for yet. I’ve submitted some stories to magazines, but I gave it up after getting a half-dozen rejections or so. Maybe I should be more like Elizabeth, pushing the race points month after month, looking for new places where I can submit my writing, and I can build up a few nice little publication credits. And there are other dreams that I’ve let slip away, that I’m still scared of typing into this blog where everyone can see them.

But I’m not going to let them stay one step ahead of me forever. Those dreams can still run, but sooner or later, I’ll give them the best chase I can manage. (Hmm, considering how lousy my knees are, maybe I’ll need some sort of hovercraft to hunt my dreams in.)


%d bloggers like this: