Insecure Writer’s Support Group: Sunscreen and Scary Stuff

Insecure Writer's Support GroupToday is August’s instalment of Insecure Writer’s Support Group, which sees hundreds of writers and bloggers worldwide post about their insecurities, support others with theirs, and offer up advice for overcoming them. If you want to visit the other IWSG member blogs, or sign up yourself, you can do so here.

Do you remember that song; Baz Luhrmann’s Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)? Basically a long list of good advice put to music. I had it on CD. Loved it. Tried to live by it.

There was one particular line that still resonates: ‘Do one thing every day that scares you’. For me, that’s not difficult. I’m scared of everything. Some days, just stepping out of the front door is scary enough.

But I still do it. Because I think it’s important for me to push myself. When I look back over my life, I can see all the things that would have never happened if I didn’t do things that scared me. And the sense of accomplishment when I have pushed through my fears is like no other high.

I’ve just agreed to do something that terrifies me. Later this year, I’ll be appearing at a literary convention. I’ll be running a workshop, and, scariest of all, I’ll be taking part in a panel discussion. On a stage. With a microphone. In front of an audience. An audience expecting me to be clever and insightful. (Thank goodness there’s no expectation for me to be funny!)

This terrifies me. I’m sure I’ll simply sit there, gaping like a fish, unable to get a single word out. I’m hoping that my theatre training will kick in and get me through it. But I know how good this is for business. How important it is. How many doors it could open.

Have you ever been on a panel discussion or led a workshop? What are your top tips? What scares you, and how do you push through your fear?

Insecure Writer’s Support Group: Progress is Progress. But…

Insecure Writer's Support GroupToday is July’s instalment of Insecure Writer’s Support Group, which sees hundreds of writers and bloggers worldwide post about their insecurities, support others with theirs, and offer up advice for overcoming them. If you want to visit the other IWSG member blogs, or sign up yourself, you can do so here.

I’m currently plugging away at the first draft of The Mothers, the final book in my Paper Duchess series.

It’s moving forward nicely enough, following the plot, but it’s slow. With life and family pressures and distractions, I have very little writing time, and this one really seems to be dragging. Or maybe I’m just feeling more impatient because it’s the last in the series.

With a lot of writer friends currently rocking Camp NaNo, I feel like I’m a snail being left behind. I know that progress is still progress, and, even if I only manage to write 100 words a day, it’s 100 I didn’t have the day before. But it’s not easy to convince myself.

Are you a slow writer? What do you do to speed up production? And where do you find pockets of writing time during the day?

Insecure Writer’s Support Group: The Real Struggle

Insecure Writer's Support GroupToday is June’s instalment of Insecure Writer’s Support Group, which sees hundreds of writers and bloggers worldwide post about their insecurities, support others with theirs, and offer up advice for overcoming them. If you want to visit the other IWSG member blogs, or sign up yourself, you can do so here.

All writers have a certain part of the book-writing/publishing business that they really struggle with (or, more likely, several parts, but we all have our absolute nemesis). Mine is blurb writing. Even more so than titles.

My biggest problem with it is that, for some reason, when I sit down to write one, every cliché my brain knows spews itself onto the paper. I just can’t help it!

I’m learning, I think I’m getting better, but no part of my book suffers more revisions than the poor blurb.

I’m working on one now. Wish me luck! What’s your writing nemesis?

Insecure Writer’s Support Group: Changing My Spots

Insecure Writer's Support GroupToday is May’s instalment of Insecure Writer’s Support Group, which sees hundreds of writers and bloggers worldwide post about their insecurities, support others with theirs, and offer up advice for overcoming them. If you want to visit the other IWSG member blogs, or sign up yourself, you can do so here.

There are those who say people don’t change, that old habits die hard, that leopards…well, you get the picture. But that doesn’t have to be the case.

I’m sure, as writers, we all know that there’s always something new to learn, or a new viewpoint to consider, that we don’t, never have, and will never know it all. It’s important to be open to change, otherwise we simply keep making the same mistakes over and over. I’m sure we’ve all got the unfinished manuscripts to prove it.

I used to insist that I was a discovery writer, that plotting simply did not work for me. And, you know what? It was true. Plotting didn’t work. But it wasn’t because the concept of it was wrong, just that my method was.

It’s taken a long time, and a lot of unfinished stories (and, actually, a lot of soul-searching too) to discover how I plot, and what systems and strategies are right for me. But that’s what it’s all about, right? Trial and error.

So this is me now, elbow deep in plotting. Lots of pens, lots of index cards, lots of colour. And, not only is it working for me, but I’m loving it too. I’m a convert!

Plotting

Insecure Writer’s Support Group: Raising the (Nearly) Dead

Insecure Writer's Support GroupToday is March’s instalment of Insecure Writer’s Support Group, which sees hundreds of writers and bloggers worldwide post about their insecurities, support others with theirs, and offer up advice for overcoming them. If you want to visit the other IWSG member blogs, or sign up yourself, you can do so here.

I completely forgot about posting in February as I was absolutely swamped with writing, editing, and publishing, so I have a good excuse!

This month we’re being asked Have you ever pulled out a really old story and reworked it? Did it work out?

As it happens, my very first release as an indie author was exactly that.

Cutting the BloodlineCutting the Bloodline started life as a stage play way back in 2010, and was stashed in a draw for years before I reworked it and released it as a novella five years later.

I knew the story wasn’t entirely dead; the characters and the idea kept bugging me, kept whispering in my ear, and kept pushing me to release the story. How could I say no?

So Cutting the Bloodline became my debut release. It was the book that taught me how to format an ebook, how to use KDP, how to market a book, how to handle a book launch, pretty much everything about the indie publishing world. Of course, I’ve learnt so much more since, and there’s always new things to learn, but this book will always be special because it was my first. The characters too, of course, and I couldn’t say for definite that I’m finished with them either.

Insecure Writer’s Support Group: I am Not a Serious Writer

Insecure Writer's Support GroupToday is 2017’s first instalment of Insecure Writer’s Support Group, which sees hundreds of writers and bloggers worldwide post about their insecurities, support others with theirs, and offer up advice for overcoming them. If you want to visit the other IWSG member blogs, or sign up yourself, you can do so here.

For this month’s post, IWSG members are talking about the writing advice they wish they’d never heard. There’s so much advice out there about how to write, what to write, where to write, when to write, even what to wear, eat, or listen to while you write. It’s confusing, to say the least.

There is good advice. There is bad advice. And then there is good advice that’s not necessarily good for you. It can be hard to tell the difference, and the only way to do so is by experience.

I’ve always been an advocate of trying something once, but, in the early days, as a new writer, I took the advice of experienced writers as gospel. Worse still, advice from writers I admired became my mantra.

It was such a piece of advice that I wish I’d never heard. It stated that anyone who didn’t write every single day, writing in hours similar to 9-5, treating it like a day job, would never, ever be a serious writer. I fretted for several years over this advice, berating myself for not committing regular and laborious hours to my craft.

I can laugh at such naivety now, but, much like maturing into adulthood, it took me years to realise the most important thing. Everyone works differently. It doesn’t matter if I skip a day or two, or a week, or a month. It doesn’t matter if I write during the day, or at night, or in the short snippets of peace and quiet my young children allow me. It doesn’t matter if I write while hanging upside down from a trapeze. It doesn’t matter, because everyone has to find their own way.

There is good advice. There is bad advice. And then there is good advice that’s not necessarily good for you. Find your own path, and don’t feel guilty because your methods are different to someone else’s. Don’t try to fit in their shoes. Do what works for you.