Just Get It Written

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Small Steps (IWSG)

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It’s the first Wednesday of the month, which means it’s time for our group posting for IWSG. Insecure Writer’s Support Group is the brainchild of Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh, and his co-hosts for June are are M. Pax, Tracy Jo, Patricia Lynne, Rachna Chhabria, Feather Stone, and Randi Lee!

Writers write, and stories need readers for them to come alive. And yet, how do you know when a story is ready to be set out into the world? Writers tend to be neurotic, insecure creatures, and at a story’s infancy, when it is most vulnerable, most of us can be crippled by a harsh critic or even something as simple as lack of a support system.

For years, writing was my dirty little secret. Stories were hidden, tucked away in locked drawers and password-protected files, never to see the light of day. The only writing I’d actually shown anyone were those that I had to. But fear can rear its ugly head even during the best of circumstances, and sometimes, you just have to take that small, tentative step, and see what happens.

And so I opened the door, took that first step and actually sent off a few chapters from my current WIP to a friend of mine to beta read. Sure, friends are nowhere near CP’s in critique value, since friends would naturally be nicer with their feedback, and perhaps even shy away from telling you what’s wrong with it. But I feel just a little braver now for sending it off, and that small step towards progress is something I have to be content with for the moment. As that line from one of my favorite movies, Contact, go: Small moves, Ellie, small moves.

 

How easy/hard was it for you when you started showing your work to other people? Did admitting you’re a writer to friends and family come easily to you, and how did you deal with those moments of “I’d love to see what you’ve written!” and all you have is a mess of a novel?

 


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I’m a Tortoise, Not A Hare (IWSG)

Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way. – E. L. Doctorow

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It’s the first Wednesday of the month, which means it’s time for our group posting for IWSG. Insecure Writer’s Support Group is the brainchild of Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh, and his co-hosts for April are Suzanne Furness, Tonja Drecker, Toi Thomas, Rachna Chhabria, Fundy Blue, and Donna Hole!

As A-Z’ers kick off the A-Z Challenge and Campers get busy for a month of Camp NaNoWriMo, I find myself stuck as everyone else surges forward this crazy month. A-Z has always seemed so daunting to me, but Camp seemed like a good idea, especially since I really had fun with it last year.

In the end, I had to make a decision: Do I get back to creating, or do I stick with revising? I could have countless drafts and it won’t do me any good if I can’t see something to the very end—something that I would actually be proud to let others read (which is an insecurity that I will save for another day). There are times when I feel like I’m going in circles, reading and revising the same chapters over and over again. Is there any point to all of this, or am I deceiving myself? Am I chasing something that will never be? But I still love the story, and no matter how long a break I take from writing, I inevitably keep coming back. That, at least, has to mean something, doesn’t it?

One of my current WIP’s is my Camp novel from last year, Lost. It currently sits at 60,940 words. It’s very slow progress, considering I finished Camp with 51k words. I spent a lot of time second-guessing the third person narrative in which it was originally written. I ended up rewriting a portion of it in first person, just to see if that suited the story better. It didn’t. While some parts worked better with the first person voice, the over-all story suffered from it. So back to third person I went.

Maybe it’s a natural progression, something I had to do and see for myself, to see how the narrative plays out. Or maybe I wouldn’t have wasted all that time if I had a writers group or a CP. Who knows? Sometimes it feels like I’m hardly moving at all.

Do you find yourself rewriting scenes in different points of view, just to see how it works out? At what stage of writing/revisions do you feel confident enough to show your novel to others? How did you find your writers group and/or critique partner, if you have one? Any tips on how to find one?


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Are You Ready To Commit? (IWSG)

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It’s the first Wednesday of the month, which means it’s time for our group posting for IWSG. Insecure Writer’s Support Group is the brainchild of Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh, and his co-hosts for February are Gwen Gardner, Dolorah, Sarah Foster, and M. Pax!

This month is all about commitment for me. Writing, after all, is a marathon, and not a sprint, which means it’s important to be able to get down and commit yourself to a project until it’s through. Unfortunately, I’ve wasted the last few years jumping around from story to story. Sure, I have “finished” drafts here and there, but without the polish of revisions, they really can’t be called finished.

So I decided to commit to one of the two stories I’ve been working on. I was happy with my choice. It was something I wanted to focus on and finishing it would definitely be more rewarding than the other one. And for a few days, things were going good… and then that other story just wouldn’t shut up. You know, the one that you thought you’ve read to death and are just sick of that you want to put it aside for a long while? Well, turns out, it won’t leave me alone. But I was committed, and so I refused to heed the call.

Now if this were someone else’s story, that commitment would probably have resulted in much success and rejoicing, but this is me we’re talking about… so no, it didn’t quite work out for me. I was doing more staring than revising. It’s the perennial stuck at start problem, as I made it as far as chapter three. So I caved in, and worked on that other story, just to see if I could at least be a little more productive–and I was. Even things that I didn’t notice before seem obvious to me now.

So I don’t know what the lesson behind this whole thing is, since I obviously did not stick to what I committed myself to. Maybe I made the wrong choice? Maybe it was just its time now, and I didn’t realize it? Either way, I apparently still suck at committing. But for now, I’m going to commit to this one, see where it goes.

Do you find it just as hard to keep your focus or do you stick with a story until it’s done? At what point do you decide to set it aside and work on something else? How do you keep yourself committed when you have that other project that’s just calling you?

 


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Writers Write – An IWSG Post

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It’s been a rough couple of months and writing-wise, I have not been very productive. I didn’t even get to do NaNoWriMo, as I’d intended. I’d hoped it would help me get back on the saddle, so to speak. But in the end, time simply didn’t permit me to even attempt it.

We all have other things to deal with in our journey–life, work, relationships, etc. It is up to each of us to find the time to dedicate to writing, if it is something that we truly want. So does that mean that I do not want it enough? I don’t necessarily think so … although I wonder whether this is me simply trying to justify things?

Writers write, and the simple fact is, I haven’t been getting much writing done. So that’s my insecurity. I feel that I should have been able to do more. The first half of the year went so well goal-wise, and the latter half was just a downhill spiral. In the back of my mind, I know I should be writing, there’s that voice telling me I should fire up my computer and get writing. But at the end of the day, I find that I don’t have much energy left, and just crash.

With a few weeks before I go on a much-needed Christmas break, I’m thinking it’s time to forgive myself and not beat myself up over what I haven’t been able to do. Instead. I’ll take my break, hope I come back new and refreshed, and pick up where I left off.

Does that sound like a good plan? I don’t know. I certainly hope so!

Any tips on how you guys do it? Do you take planned breaks or do you just keep going? Beat yourself up over those lost time when you should’ve been writing?

 

Insecure Writer’s Support Group is the brainchild of Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh, and his co-hosts for December are Heather Gardner, T. Drecker from Kidbits, Eva E. Solar at Lilicasplace, and Patsy Collins! Thank you all for your hard work!


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IWSG Celebrates Three Years!

InsecureWritersSupportGroup2 It’s the first Wednesday of the month, which means it’s time for Insecure Writer’s Support Group. And what a session this is, as it marks the three-year anniversary of IWSG! Thanks to the Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh, who started this and has kept it going, along with his various co-hosts for the month. This month, his co-hosts are Kristin Smith, Elsie, Suzanne Furness, and Fundy Blue.

To celebrate the anniversary, the IWSG team is putting together an ebook that will benefit writer, The IWSG Guide to Publishing and Beyond. Very exciting indeed!

My insecurity for this session is that unlike most of my fellow IWSG’ers, I really do not have much of anything to contribute to the book. I suppose it’s an insecurity that pretty much every writer goes through: Do I really have anything worthwhile to say? Does anybody care?

The writing journey never ends. We are constantly learning and growing, and I think the difference is where we are at that point in our individual journeys. In my case, I think I’m pretty much still on the starting line, which can be quite frustrating and depressing if I think about it, so I try not to. And if you don’t focus on how far you still have to go and just keep on doing what you love doing, then it’s not so bad. And at the end of the day, I’m happy to be surrounded by people who are more than willing to share their guides and expertise.

So pop on over to some of the IWSG members’ blogs and see what tips and advice they have to share!

 

 


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Ten Things I’ve Learned Since I Started Writing – Guest Post by Elsie Elmore + Giveaway

undead tour banner

I’m happy to hand over my blog today to Elsie Elmore, who is celebrating the release of her debut novel, The Undead: Playing for Keeps, with two giveaways!

Rafflecopter Giveaway         Goodreads Giveaway

*        *        *        *        *

I was thrilled to be asked to do a guest post on Just Get it Written. Caffe Maggieato has a great blog that hosts awesome interviews and provides great tips for writers. (There’s even a Linky Tool for the Celebrate the Small Things weekly post if you want to join.)

Photo Credit: Flickr by Angie Torres

 Ten Things I’ve Learned Since I Started Writing

  1. I’m not alone…per se. There are a lot of writers out there facing the same struggles, doubts, and milestones. Reach out and find camaraderie.

  2. Practice and time will improve your skills. Read, write, and repeat.

  3. Creating your cover with a graphic artist is mind blowing at times. Colors, fonts, perspectives, all have to be factored in. It’s a far more complex task that I initially thought.

  4. Self-doubt is a demon that knows no bounds… but that demon can be tamed by keeping it in check. Believe in yourself.

  5. We’re all a Work-in -progress. (I wrote a post about this.) It’s important to cut yourself a break sometimes and step back to see your growth.

  6. Writing scenes in different perspectives is helpful. Changing POV gives you insight into a characters mind or what’s happening externally. Writing in different perspectives is also great practice.

  7. Critique partners are very important. And they are definitely partners, so be kind, choose well, and reciprocate with the same energy and effort they offer you.

  8. Writing is easier some days than others. If I’m stressed over something personal, I cut myself some slack and work on different aspects of writing so I can let myself settle.

  9. Staying organized will help you manage your time better. Scrivener has been the best tool I’ve discovered since I started writing. This program allows you to plan, rearrange, create character sketches, and more.

  10. Everyone has their own set of goals and their own definition of success. I just need to focus on mine.

The Undead CoverGenre: YA Paranormal Romance

Release Date: September 3, 2014

Where to Buy:

Amazon      Amazon UK      B&N

Don’t forget to add it to your Goodreads

 

ElsieElmoreElsie Elmore lives in North Carolina with her husband and two kids.

With a science education degree from NCSU, she never imagined she would someday write stories that challenge the laws of nature. She loves the color red, has an appreciation for chocolate and coffee that borders on obsession, and wishes fall temperatures would linger year round.

Elsie is a member of several writing organizations: RWA, SCBWI, and WSW. The Undead : Playing for Keeps is her debut novel.

Where to find Elsie:    Website     Faceboook     Twitter     Goodreads

 


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You Win Some, You Lose Some – An IWSG Post

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It’s the first Wednesday of the month, which means it’s time for Insecure Writer’s Support Group. Thanks to our host, the Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh, and his awesome co-hosts for July: Krista McLaughlin, Kim Van Sickler, Heather Gardner, and Hart Johnson for all their hard work!

As we reach the halfway mark of the year, I thought it’d be interesting to talk about goals and check in with everyone on their progress: Are you on track, falling behind, happy with your progress despite everything?

For myself, I hit a setback in June as I didn’t meet any of my writing goals. Life happens, things come up, other things have to be prioritized, and those few pages of edits and research…Do they really count as accomplishing something? I tell myself that yes, they do; that somehow they are all the bits and pieces that have to happen in order for me to achieve my goal. But am I deluding myself? I don’t know. All I know is that goals aren’t achieved overnight. We have to keep on working and moving towards them, even if it’s at a slow pace. As the ever-wise Gandalf said: “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

What’s your process in trying to meet your goals? How do you deal with the adversities and missed deadlines?

And to everyone who’s participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this July, good luck!


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Do It Without Fear – An IWSG Post

This month’s group posting for Insecure Writer’s Support Group is a bit tricky for me. First I was too busy to be insecure about anything in particular and then the more I thought of what I could post about, the more all sorts of insecurities started popping up that I scarcely know which one to talk about.

Since I can’t post about all of them unless I want my head (and yours) to explode, I’ve decided to leave my insecurities be for now and get back to work. I think one of the greatest actors of our time, Sir Anthony Hopkins, really summed it up very well with this quote:

AnthonyHopkinsQuote

Yeah, no mention of writing there. But it works just as well, wouldn’t you say? 😉

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Thanks to our host Alex J. Cavanaugh and his June co-hosts C. Lee McKenzie, Tracy Jo, Melanie Schulz, and LG Keltner!


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On Writing and Editing – An IWSG Post

InsecureWritersSupportGroup2Need support for your writing journey? Join Insecure Writer’s Support Group as we do our group posting first Wednesday of each month. Thanks to our host Alex J. Cavanaugh and his awesome co-hosts for May: Mark Koopmans, Joylene Nowell Butler, Elsie, and Lisa Buie-Collard!

Now on to my insecurity for the month: bad writing.

Yes, we’ve all heard it before. No manuscript is supposed to be good during the first draft. That’s what revisions are for. But how long does it take to fix what’s wrong with it?

I’m currently in the middle of another round of edits. The first round, I fixed plot holes, continuity issues, and some glaring grammatical errors. In this round, I’m trying to “clean up” the writing by getting rid of clunky sentences, over-used words, etc. I’m also realizing how boring my writing, and by extension, my characters are. This is something I need to fix in the next round, although I’m not exactly sure how successful I’d be.

What’s your editing process? Do you split issues into different rounds of edits or do you fix them as you see them? How long does it take before you are satisfied with your novel?

 


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Mid-Novel Slump – How Do You Deal With It?

Neil Gaiman

As we reach the halfway mark of Camp NaNoWriMo, some will find themselves hitting the infamous mid-month slump. If you’re on track with your writing goals, you should be halfway through your novel by now. And if you’re behind, well, you’re probably beginning to panic, which brings me to Pep Talks.

Over the course of the month, you get pep talks from famous writers who share their words of wisdom and encourage you on this crazy, wonderful journey you’ve decided to take. What could be better than that?

Camp NaNoWriMo apparently has this feature, too, although on a smaller scale, it would seem, as they’re delivered directly to your inboxes.

It’s the 14th, which means I should have 23,334 words by now. At 20,040 words, I’m still two days behind. A few days ago, I hit my “mid-month slump,” way ahead of schedule. Writing was becoming more and more like pulling teeth. I had to force myself to keep writing, skipping ahead with the scenes, because otherwise I’d not get anything written.

All of us go through this, that moment when you wonder if you should simply give up on this story and move on to the next shiny thing. You begin to wonder whether anyone else but you would care about your novel and your characters. As a matter of fact, you probably want to stab each and every one of your characters by now for being the boring, uncooperative lot that they are.

It is easy to fall into this trap and go through an endless loop of never-finished stories. In these times, we need more than ever to have that cheerleader: someone who’s going to tell you to keep at it, someone who believes in you even when you have lost faith in yourself. Not everyone will have that, unfortunately.

There are way too many amazing pep talks but for today, I want to focus on the one given by Neil Gaiman.

In his pep talk, he sums up the frustration and despair that we go through when writing. We are not unique in this; all writers go through it. The difference is whether we choose to give up or forge on. As much as we’d like to believe, there is no magic formula. It’s all just hard work and we have to be prepared to do it.

As Neil Gaiman put it: One word after another. That’s the only way that novels get written. So keep on keeping on. Write another word and then another.

Which part of your novel do you find hardest to get through–the beginning, middle, or the end? How do you deal with it? And if you’re participating in Camp NaNoWriMo, how is your writing going so far?