Wednesday, March 7, 2018

The Insecurity March

Hallo fine peoples! It’s first Wednesday! Wait, whut? Where did February go? Though to be honest I’m glad it’s over. February is when winter really drags and once March arrives I feel a little more hopeful.

Gratuitous cat in drag

So welcome to the Insecure Writer’s Support Group meeting!

This month's question...

How do you celebrate when you achieve a writing goal/ finish a story?

Gads, I wish I remembered! I guess I must have been doing it wrong though. Because if I was doing it right, it would have reinforced me to do it more often and it also would be epic enough that I would remember.

I think my trouble is my first drafts are dirty, so it ISN'T the end. I still have at least 9 rounds of editing ahead. And even then I don't know if it's done. I mean it may not be good enough for any publisher or agent and then where are we? In front of more editing, that's where.

But when something is accepted for publication--THAT is big. THAT is a party.

I gotta question for you. If you had NO RESTRAINTS (time or money), how would you LIKE to celebrate this? I think I'd do a trip. A different country for each book....

Okay, now go visit some other insecure people!

Insecure Writer’s Support Group meeting!

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Almost Missed Me Completely

Here I am halfway through the day before I remember... not that I forgot. It was on my weekend to do list. And my Monday one. But Tuesday rolled around and I had social commitments and my mind left me entirely.  But I'm here now!

Welcome friends to the first Wednesday Insecure Writer Support Group!!! My writing life has been on hiatus of late, but The Burrow, my writing group, is at least talking about writing again, so that's something. I've also been reading a lot. Erm... and binging on too much television...

As for this month's question... What do you love about the genre you write in most often?

I suppose for me that boils down to suspense. I write YA, dystopian, mystery... the common thread is I like a twisty tale. The thing I love is laying out the threads and then pulling them all back together again. My very favorite stories are the ones that elegantly pull several strands back into place that you haven't even noticed were anything more than description at first. Sometimes I do this intentionally (like with murder clues)--I always try to have my major plot points mapped--but the part I REALLY love is when I suddenly realize I have a solution where part of the pieces were just included organically. There is this rush of satisfaction with it.

What about you? What is the favorite thing about your genre?  And now go visit some other insecure writers!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Insecure Much?

Hallo fine people, and welcome to first Wednesday and the Insecure Writer's Support Group. This blog is officially a re-first... what do I mean by that? The first second blog within a week in many many moons.

But enough about that. Welcome to the support group and welcome to writing life 2018, which will hopefully be a significant improvement on writing life 2017 or writing life 2016. Because here is the thing. I haven't finished a new book since 2015.

Yeah. If that isn't something to feel insecure about, I'm not sure what is. I have some 20 finished books under my belt, but somehow things unraveled for me in 2015 and I haven't been able to find it again.

Somehow. I actually know how. My worklife threw me a giant turd and I spent the next 18 months trying to find my place again so I wouldn't end up fire. This left me a big pile of emotional goo when I got home and my several attempts to get going again went amiss.

The good news: I have found that spot so my nerves are no longer shot and my creativity has peeked in on me now and then. In November, while I didn't “win” or finish a book, I DID write 43,000 words. Better than an ordinary month, if not WriMo speed.

I also made a deal with a neighbor, though I need to check in with her again, to hold each other accountable in the new year.

But BEST... as I slept in yesterday (my last day off of 12 days) a good plot unfolded. When I got up I wrote a timeline and thought through some characters and actually started writing.

My intention is to put in at least an hour five days a week. I may have some more intense periods, but that feels sustainable to me. I'm not worrying at this point about publishing and how it fits with my other stuff, as I haven't had much luck selling my other stuff. It is just time to remind myself I love to write and that if I stick to it, I can finish.

What about the rest of you? How are you feeling on writing in the new year?

And please, go check in on some other insecure writers!

Monday, January 1, 2018

One Day at a Time (With Planning!)

Resolutions are easier to keep with specificity. I know that. But I am trying something different this year because my last couple years the plan has petered out relatively quickly.

I did do a couple things right last year. I adopted an eating plan that is totally sustainable, NOT a diet, and only gained 4 pounds over the course of a full year. Normally I have either been losing or gaining, and with this plan my entire range this year was +/- 7 pounds from my starting place. But always returned to that center. It involved mixed methods (which the statistician in me loves) so I have 3 days of no carbs in a week, 2 days of “light” (one super light, one 25% less than normal) and two days of flexibility (one “normal” and one 25% EXTRA). The idea is that it keeps the body from panicking and hoarding calories.

This year I am just adding some objectivity. I am going to track calories and “define normal” calorie wise... just a reality check that I hope may be enough to push me into loss range.

But there are several things that I've not been attending to that I need to get going on. I feel like I've been in crisis management for a few years now, just doing the next thing that needs doing because it has reached critical and failing to do the self care I know I need.

Physically I need: more sleep, regular stretching, regular strengthening, a more coherent exercise plan.

I need to write.

I need to organize.

I need to be there for my kids and husband.

It's a lot.

So I am actually only making ONE resolution. I take a bath every night as part of back pain management. This allows me to EASILY spend five minutes planning the next day's specific goals. That way I get the specificity, but also the flexibility to adjust for what is and is not working. So my resolution is to make a mini plan every night.

Anybody else?

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

The Blank Page

Hallo fine peoples! Welcome to First Wednesday, otherwise known as the Insecure Writer Support Group!

So here's the deal I haven't finished a novel for two years, as of this WriMo. Well, 23 months, as that WriMo was my last success... only I didn't finish it, so... yeah. I had great plans for this year, but I haven't done the prep work I really need. Still, I am going to rebel... write words to the tune of 50K, but write them finishing things. Or starting things. Or... just writing. I just need to get back to writing. The discipline of sitting down every day. It is overdue.

And of course the timely question for this November monthly meeting: Win or not, do you usually finish your NaNo project? Have any of them gone on to be published?

Yes. Usually. The history for me is a good one. Though I should give the caveat that I usually finish the FIRST DRAFT. Getting a work ready for submission is another matter entirely. But I “won” 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 and I think all but two of those got “finished”. Only two however, got polished.

At the moment however, I just need to get back to the habit. I need to write words.

How about you? Do you WriMo? How often do you succeed?

Now go visit other insecure people and be supportive!!!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

First Wednesday Once Again

And still no rhythm...

Oh, my friends, what to do.

Oh, right... proper intro. Welcome to the Insecure Writer's Support Group and our meeting first Wednesday of every month!

I did manage to get started on a timeline... it is a story I've meant to write for a very long time but had not felt up to it. My family story... or rather my grandfather's. It is a sad tale, riddled with tragedies, but it is also one for which I want to shed light. There is a villain who needs exposing. So I am putting together the timeline of what I know and overlaying a timeline of national, international and local history, along with what I can about personalities. So that's not nothing.

And now for this month's question...

Have you ever slipped any of your personal information into your characters, either by accident or on purpose?

Rocky Point on Lake Chatcolet
Hmmm...  I guess all of them have a bit... I am not good at making it all up, so there are scraps of personality in there. I've also included a physical trait now and then. Cam and Annie in my cozy series both have the uncolor hair I have (that shade between blonde, brown and red that actually has no name)--they have bonded over the fact--it is how they became friends. Kenny and Amanda are tall like I am. Sometimes I include a relationship that I have, but when I do this, these are the shortcuts--the details that the story is NOT about, but provide a sort of grounding. OH!  Also Appearing takes place at a lake cabin exactly where my parents' lake cabin was... There is that... So I guess I do. But hopefully not too heavily.

How about all of you?

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

IWSG: Creativity Sapped

I keep trying.

Oh, right. Intro. It's been so long I forget how we do this. It's first Wednesday which means it is the monthly Insecure Writer's Support Group meeting. Hi, I'm Hart. [Hi Hart]. And I'm supposedly a writer.

Trouble is the world keeps throwing crap at me that makes it really hard to write. Not just at me. I think I am not alone.

The political scene is a disaster. Not to get political, (but I am—highlight if you want to see, if you like the current administration, you probably don't) but I feel fairly strongly we've had cruel presidents and idiot presidents but this is the first time we've had a cruel idiot president.

But right now the Pacific Northwest, including the Idaho Panhandle where I grew up and Oregon where my heart will always be, is on fire. Dozens of friends share daily about the poor air quality. People are trapped because roads are blocked. Thousands of acres including the Columbia River Gorge—my favorite place on the planet—are burning.

Texas underwater. Thousands left homeless. And friends in the path of Irma.

Money trouble from paying tuition and failing on one of my financial aid forms (so not getting the loan I intended). I suppose I will be glad in 3 years for this year I didn't borrow, but right now it's a major stressor.

How does a person even try to be creative?

I used to write dark stuff to keep life from going in dark directions—an outlet, if you will. But life went dark anyway. So maybe I should take up romantic comedy (yeahno). Satire? To do that, I'd have to find some of this funny. Sci Fi might work. Except it all looks realistic from here.

What do all of you do to find the creativity when it has been obscured?