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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Iwsg November 5 - Just do it #IWSG

The first Wednesday of the month is the time for the Insecure Writer's Support Group blog hop. This is the once-a-month blog hop started by Alex J. Cavanaugh .

IWSG = Insecure Writers' Support Group (click for the link).  We share our insecurities and support each other with empathy, sympathy and  practical suggestions. 

Visit the site - and visit the co-hosts:
LG Keltner, Donna Hole, Lisa Buie-Collard and SL Hennessy

Art work by Ben Southan
Over the past months, I have been wrestling with all sorts of writing-related questions.  For me, at least, they never come one at a time, small and easily dealt with. 

Instead, they cluster around the door of my thoughts like wolves and go rushing in if I let them.  Fighting them off is tiring and usually an exercise in futility.

There are questions regarding my writing in general:
  • Is it good? (Pretty important, actually… )
  • Is it the best I can do? (See above)
  • I’m tired: how can I write anything good when I am exhausted? That requires a little extra thought.

Then come the questions regarding works in particular:
  • Will it sell? (Speaking strictly from the ‘art’ standpoint, this should not be so important a question, but we do tend to equate quality of writing with saleability, whether or not we recall our earlier sneers at various best-selling offerings that appear to have been cranked out on a conveyor belt by someone who, we say, has prostituted his or her talent to profitability)

Questions regarding the flow of my writing and the value of my current WIP:

  • Does this WIP follow well after its predecessor? Does it pick up the threads and weave them convincingly? 
  •  Is it bad? The predecessor was really good, so why does this one stink? (I’m getting ahead of myself, but if I were not – at the time I squall this to the heavens – really tired and off my game, I would admit that a story with three years of effort going into producing it is naturally better, at the moment, than one that is just underway. And I would also acknowledge that, this being a series, I am building on the structure that I hopefully perfected in Volume I and will bring to a thundering, triumphant conclusion in Volume III.)
  • …and why, oh why, is Volume III, nearly completely visualized, so much more seductive than Volume II, which I have had to insert between I and III?

Hydra by John Singer Sargent
How do you cope?
As with all questions posted on this wonderful hop, these are nothing new. 

Like the Hydra in Greek Mythology, though, they  do tend to come back every time you think you have killed it.

It's a condition peculiar to writers.
(I remember the story of a young actress telling the great Sarah Bernhardt that she never, ever had stage fright.  La Bernhardt said, 'Well, ma petite, when you become a real actress you will!')

What is the answer?

November is NaNoWriMo time. We are supposed to write, write, WRITE!!! for thirty days straight and come up with 50,000 words. I am not participating this year because I have committed to get Volume II (of The Orphan’s Tale) whacked into a shape where I will not die of embarrassment when I send it to my editors at month’s end and then, heaven help them, to anyone who volunteers to be a beta reader. Publication is tentatively slated for Spring 2015. But the concentration on writing itself swung my attention toward the answer to this and just about any angst-related, insecurity-generated question that a writer can face:

Just write. 
  • Write what comes out the ends of my fingers.
  • Close my eyes and write. 
  • Wake up and see what I have written and laugh hysterically and resolve NOT to do this at 11pm on a weeknight. 
  • Realize that I am not carving things into a block of marble. I am putting out words, and words can be tweaked (the part I personally love the most).

But I'll write. That is what a writer does. 
And just producing the raw material, which I can squint at, groan over and ultimately fix, somehow, for me at least, smooths away the worries. 
When I an clicking into productivity and actually doing what it is that I live to do, I am invincible, at least in my own mind.

Then I'll go over what I have written. Use my wordsmithing abilities and work on it. I'll just do it. Mark things up, rewrite, groan.

I’ll be too busy to be insecure.  And I'll be writing, which is, after all, what I live to do.


  1. I like your questions, and your answers. Just write! It's the best solution to all of the insecurities.

    1. It is easier than going into a coma and learning to overcome your fears... Which, if you are paying attention, indicates that I was intrigued by the first few of your latest book and now have it on my kindle! Thank you for stopping by!

  2. I often wonder if my WIPs are good and the best that I can do. You always want your current works to be as good or even better than what you've already done.

    I love tweaking words, too. :)

    1. Doesn't tweaking just seem... right? I'm looking forward to your book!

  3. Just write...that's pretty much the best advice anyone can give to other writers or themselves. Good luck just writing!

    1. Thank you! And thank you for that delicious paragraph from Poehler!

  4. I also struggle with those insecurities. I think most writers do. We just need to shove all the insecurities into a closet and lock the door. Write for the sheer joy of it and don't worry about anything else.

    1. I love the name of your book (was at your blog but had trouble signing in to Wordpress since I changed my password) Best of luck with your release!

  5. Everything you said is so true. Writing is the only cure. So write. Thanks for a great post I think most everyone can relate to. Best of luck with your work.

    1. thank you ! And thanks for your good wishes! (Off to peek at your blog!)

  6. I feel the same, many days, and you're right about writing.

    It only makes sense that Volume III is seducing you away. You've reached that middle part where the troubles pile on and the happy ending looks impossible, and yet for the ending to mean anything, you'll have to get through the struggle. You will triumph.

  7. Just write. Absolutely. I love the last quote and often have to remind myself that books aren't written, they're rewritten. That's where the magic happens, which is a good thing because I don't know anyone who can plunk out a perfect first draft!

  8. Hi Diana! It's funny, but I have the exact same predicament (only difference is I'm not actually working on Book Two yet). The first book, which I'm nearly finished is - if I do say so myself - awesome. The last book took my breath away when I wrote it. But the one in between really has me scratching my head. I started work on it this year - then had to go back and do more on Book One - but I still feel nervous from the memory of how unwieldy and unformed the second book seemed....What is it about sequels? I don't know. But I do know if we persevere, we will get there! :-) Good Luck :-)

  9. Write what comes out... Yup. I'm with you. I also agree with you about not writing t a very late hour on a weeknight. I've done that and I know how it is when you see what you've written on the next day.

    New follower here. :-)

  10. Hi Diana .. writing book 1, then book 2, then book 3 .. similar to blogging - the voice comes out as we go on ... we find our place in the writing world .. and then we start again and give ourselves new opportunities ...

    Keeping on spewing the words out onto paper ... just keeping on ... good luck and cheers Hilary