Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Round And Round She Goes (An IWSG Post)

The Insecure Writer's Support Group (brainchild of uber blogger and Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh) is two years old today! And I'm pleased to report that it only took me two years to remember that it's IWSG and not ISWG!

Please click on the above link or the picture to the left for a complete list of participants (all 319 of us!)

So anyway, in the interest of full disclosure, I feel like I should warn y'all that I'm probably going to be all over the place today because that's just where I happen to be at the moment. I'm up, I'm down, I'm backwards, I'm forward, I'm inside out and upside down. I long for the days when I was more like this:


These days, if I think these four things, it's within the same breath. And I usually skip stages two and three.

The biggest reason, I think, for this mindset is that it's looking more and more like my planned 2013 Effigy release isn't going to happen. And it's making me sad. Very, very sad. In every sense of the word.

I truly thought it would happen this year. I'm pretty sure I said the same thing last year and maybe the year before that, but I really meant it this year. I did. I really did. I honestly did think it was going to happen. I thought I finally had all my ducks in a row and my bases covered, and all that jazz, but apparently my bases were covered by my inner Bill Buckner*, so now, instead, I'm stuck feeling like the most incompetent person in the history of the human race (not to suggest Bill Buckner is this person) and questioning whether I should keep going on this whole writing thing.

Then I track down a pen and my notebook and write another scene while planning three more, which, I find, is an answer in itself.

Of course I'm going to keep going. I can think I'm going to quit all I want, but I won't. Because here's the thing...I love being a writer. I'm not particularly successful at it (yet?), but I love it just the same. I love that my must-have accessory is a notebook and pen. I love that my friends never get insulted when I trail off in mid-sentence because I just had some awesome brainstorm I need to write down. I love that my significant other never complains when I turn the light on at 3am because I just thought of the greatest dialogue ever.

And—maybe even more important than that—I love my characters. They probably don't love me very much considering my main source of entertainment is thinking of new and fun ways to torture them, but I love them, and I love telling their stories. That's not something I'll ever give up.

So while I'm not experiencing the rousing success for which I had hoped (and keep in mind that by 'success' here, I only mean, you know, hitting the 'publish' button), I have heard it said that every day you write is a day you succeed. At least I'm doing that.

The rest will come. Maybe in 2014.

Thank you, IWSG-ers and other followers of this blog. This is an incredible community and I'm honored to be a part of it. You inspire me and challenge me and encourage me and all sorts of other things that would look good on a Hallmark card. This is particularly nice because I seriously worry that one of these days you're going to revoke my writer card and banish me from the clubhouse altogether. So, you know, thank you for not doing that. It's much appreciated.

Here's to many more years, IWSG! And here's to Alex J. Cavanaugh who started it all! Cheers!




*—Bill Buckner, in case you're not a rabid Red Sox fan, was a MLB first baseman from 1969 to 1990. He had a pretty successful career but he's most often remembered, unfortunately, in Red Sox circles for a fielding error in Game Six of the 1986 World Series that allowed the New York Mets to score the winning run. The Red Sox went on, of course, to lose the 1986 World Series, so there was not much rejoicing happening there. Unless you were a Mets fan. Then I imagine you were pretty damn pleased. Anyway, that's who he is.


73 comments:

  1. *hugs* There's still time left this year, but if you're really not ready, you're still shuffling forwards. That's the important part!

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    1. There is still time left this year, that's true, but I just have this feeling. And when December rolls around, I'll be a little closer than before.

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  2. Love that drawing it's so true, think we can all relate to it! Seems to me like you have the right positive attitude, so keep on going, you're heading in the right direction. If you love the writing that's the most important thing.

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    1. I think so, too. And maybe I'll never hit the publish button, but I'll still love the writing itself.

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  3. Realizing you're not ready is better than rushing into something sooner than you should, IMO. You'll be able to give Effigy the attention it deserves this way, even if it'll take you a little bit longer to reach your goal!

    Also, I'm constantly skipping stages two and three, too, especially lately. Not a fun feeling!

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    1. No, it's not a fun feeling at all. I hope you find your way back to stages two and three soon.

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  4. Publishing the best novel you can is more important that hitting a self-imposed deadline.

    But, can I give you a word of caution? I have a novel that I spent 15 years writing, on and off, changing it, expanding it, taking out half the plot and mixing it up. It has never been published, and I don't think it ever will. If you love your book, and want it to be published, you need to have an end in sight. You don't want to make my mistake... although I'm sure you won't :-)

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    1. Yes, which is why I'm trying not to beat myself up (too badly) about it. I always want to do what's best for this book.

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  5. You are so sweet and funny! I'm sorry that your planned debut is taking longer than you expected, but I love your determination. You'll make it! Just don't give up. :-)

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    1. I won't. Thanks for stopping by today.

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  6. You can't quit because we won't let you! We want to read that book, damn it.
    Don't worry about the time frame. Just readjust your goals and keep moving forward.

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    1. Yep, that's my plan. Regroup and push forward. Again.

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  7. I did this for years and years, but, despite the long journey I made it, and you will too. Keep working at it, remember, tomorrow is another day, a brighter day!

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  8. I've been saying the same thing about my story collection for, um...well, let's just say awhile now. I think the trick is to figure out if it's that you aren't ready or if it's the novel/story that isn't ready.

    If the novel/story isn't ready, let it sit, work on it, etc until it is, changing deadlines etc as you go. But if it's you...? I know I can talk myself out of anything, including going ahead with something that is (probably) not a bad idea (aka, the collection.) Just make sure you're not talking yourself out of something great. We all would hate that. :)

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    1. Well, the novel definitely isn't ready. And as for me, I will never be ready so when the novel is, I'm just going to have to suck it up and do it.

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  9. You're definitely succeeding! It's taking me forever and a day to write a book but I am totally enjoying the process. The only person creating the deadline is me, it's all in my head. Once I realized that, the pressure was off and I enjoyed the writing that much more.

    I love that I'm not the only one who wrote ISWG ha ha!!

    Elsie

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    1. You're not alone with that whole IWSG/ISWG mixup. I can't believe it took me two years to train my fingers to type those letters in the correct order. Well, actually, maybe I can.

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  10. Having read some of Effigy, I don't think you have to worry about the "I suck" part of insecurity. As a blurb writer however...well, nothing wrong with publishing in 2014 or 2015... :P

    Actually I'm right there with you. I thought I would have this novel done six months ago. I'm only now getting to where I can see The End. We'll get there though. :)

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    1. Yeah. I really have been a master procrastinator whereas my blurb is concerned. But I will have it done by the end of the year. Probably. Maybe. Maybe not.

      But we will get there. I'm just taking the extremely scenic route.

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  11. It's hard when you don't hit your goal, but I think if you really love your story and characters (the way you seem to) then your story will eventually make it's way into the world. And I can't wait to read it.

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    1. Thanks. It is hard when I don't hit a goal. I really hate it.

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  12. Congratulations to you all, from a newbie, and good luck with your publication date!

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  13. Glad to hear you're not giving up. You had me a little worried. I know how you feel about not being able to get the book published like you wanted. In July, the current story I'm trying to get ready to publish, I wanted to in August. It didn't happen and I'm not sure it will happen this year. Publishing isn't a race though, so keep polishing that story and it will be ready when it's ready.

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    1. No, I know it's not a race, but it is turning into a real marathon. Nothing to do for it but keep going. One step at a time, one word at a time.

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  14. Oh gosh, MJ. Can we just get together and talk for hours? LOL. Thank you for getting it. I'm so glad there's someone else on the planet who feels/thinks like I do. I wish I were as simple as that 4 step picture too! LOL! I had high hopes this year for myself too--and it's not looking good. So I've got to go back to the drawing board and keep trying. Kind of my worst nightmare, but yanno... we keep doing it, keep trudging, even when we don't think we can!

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    1. No, thank you for getting it. =D

      See you back at the drawing board...

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  15. Replies
    1. I love it too. It's so perfect for so many writers.

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  16. It takes so much more to realize you are just not ready than to rush into something. I'm releasing my debut novel this year... but its been over four years of it being worked on, believe me I understand how you are feeling. You are amazing to know that you love it and will keep going. But for now? Big hugs ;)

    Love that graphic!

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    1. Thanks, S.K. I definitely don't want to rush into anything. I want it to be right.

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  17. No one is going to take your writer card. It takes time and often more time than we'd like for it to take.

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    1. I'm finding that to be incredibly true.

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  18. Hey M.J.,

    Of course, the easiest way to remember how to get the letters in the correct order for "IWSG", is to remember it as "I Was Seeking Gary." My human, um Gary, has been informed this has worked for several folks.

    The main thing is to keep it down to small, realistic, workable amounts that lead to the ultimate goal. At your own pace, without unneeded pressure.

    That's how my human and I go about it.

    Stay chillin',

    Snoop Bloggy Dog in da Gangsta's Pawadise!

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    1. I Was Seeking Gary. All right. Noted, and thanks for the tip.

      The publishing goal was the big year long one I set back in January. It's been broken up into smaller goals over the weeks and months, working toward the big goal, but it looks like next January I maybe need to not do that. =)

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  19. You'll get there in the end, especially if you keep trying. It's better to take a long time to publish and get it right, rather than rushing it and getting it wrong.

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  20. Goodness, I know what you mean. I've been able to take a more mature perspective on #4 lately. I read to learn. What is it about this writing that I love so much, and what would I like to incorporate in my own prose? There are a few key authors in particular who inspired me to be better, and I'm so grateful I wasn't too discouraged to learn from them.

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    1. I will do that, too. I have a lot of authors whose work has helped me become a better writer. In my opinion, anyway.

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  21. I'm sure the fraud police have you somewhere on their list after Neil Gaiman, so, you know, if you ever hear of the fraud police taking Gaiman down, you should be ready to run.

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  22. I love that graphic, it's so perfect.

    And you'll get there. As the old saying goes, just take one step at a time, and you'll get there. :)

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    1. That graphic is perfect. All hail the woman who created it!

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  23. Sometimes my emotions run the whole gamut in the space of a few minutes. Excellent way to show it btw.

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    1. Isn't that funny how that seems to be so common in this community?

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  24. Oh, hang in there! If you are going traditionally with it, that process is SOOOOOO Slow! Don't ever blame yourself on that front. Just finding someone to love it and get it out there for you takes forever, and then THEY need to find someone who loves it and will publish it. You can do this thing! Just keep writing and keep trying to find someone who gets your vision!

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    1. I will hang in there, and I will keep writing. Thanks for the encouragement.

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  25. The wonderful roller coaster of the fragile writer's ego. I sympathize. Yet just by the urge that keeps you writing tells you that you'll get there. You can do it! :)

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  26. You've hit on the reason I never say when anything I'm working on is going to be finished. I figure it'll get finished when it's finished, and until then it's a work-in-progress.

    I do finish things. I get a thrill when it happens. That's when I tell people the thing is finished.

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    1. I do finish things, too, sometimes. Boxes of donuts, for example, or bags of candy. I bet I'll feel much better when I finish this project.

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  27. I can so relate to how you are feeling. I feel like this all the time. But at least you haven't given up and when you do publish your book, you are going to love it so much more. I believe in you and I know you are going to get your book published, whether it be this year or not. I am absolutely positive that it is going to be great, regardless of when you publish it.

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    1. Thank you, that's really very kind of you to say. I hope to prove you right.

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  28. Your card is laminated and can never be revoked!

    I'll wait. However long it takes.

    Heather

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    1. Wait...It's laminated? Well, that's a relief. =D

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  29. You've so got this, MJ! I know--we all know--what it's like to see our goals and timelines fly by with nothing to show for them. It's BEYOND frustrating. But you're taking the right steps, the necessary steps, to create a story that meets your expectations. It WILL all come together for you if you keep at it.

    And you're so right, being a writer is an awesome way to spend your time, and we should acknowledge that more often. It would help us during the 'I suck' times. :)

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  30. I so hear you on thinking "this year" and realizing you said that last year and the year before, and so on. But each year I also think, I'm so glad this isn't out there yet. 'Cause I can see so many ways to improve it.

    There's a point where you can rewrite too much, of course, but anyone can hit the publish button. Only a real writer hones their craft and discovers and delivers the best writing they can. Just as only a real writer scribbles down dialogue at 3 am. :-)

    apparently my bases were covered by my inner Bill Buckner.

    OMG. My gut is still recovering from that one. : D

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    1. Glad you got a laugh out of it. I'm thinking you may be the only person who understood the Bill Buckner thing without the footnote at the end. =)

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  31. You really are doing great, you know. Hang in there, and try not to dwell on what isn't happening. Focus instead on all the stuff you _are_ getting done!

    P.S. I still have trouble with the IWSG vs. ISWG--glad to know I'm not the only one! :0

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  32. Hi. MJ...

    Keep going! You WILL get there. You have the passion and drive. Like you, I had planned for IT to happen this year, but live throws us curve balls and another IT happened to me... knocking me for a loop.

    But I did get my first blurb published a few weeks ago, and my first book illustration published last month... so IT did happen, but in another way.... all of our journeys are predestined... we really never know, but we just plug along.... never give up your dream!

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  33. Off topic - maybe?

    A couple weeks ago I "sounded" a story idea off my ex-husband (yep we're still friends). One that is half written, but I lack certain knowledge of engineering to pull off. He's not usually interested in my writing, but we got to talking, and he gave me a lot of good ideas and technical tips. He was excited about the story "we" were creating.

    He came over yesterday and asked me to print up the story for him to read. He pouted when I said I hadn't had time to work on it, but the ideas were still fresh in my head.

    Just saying, some days everyone is supportive of your ideas, the next they wonder why you waste your time. I think the industry itself is just as fickle; there are a lot of really good writers wondering when it will all fall into place. Not to comforting to know all things happen in the proper time, but it is the best encouragement I can give.

    I know all will turn out well for you MJ. I'll try to send you along a bit of patience - I need a lot for myself, you understand, lol.

    ........dhole

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  34. You know I *love* your posts - especially the "Oh, shoot" ones because your humor and optimism shines through, even when you don't feel like it:)

    I know you won't - but don't you dare stop writing - you *ARE* too good to stop :)

    So there!

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  35. You sound like the perfect writer to me. Persevere, persevere, persevere, and a little more revisions and you'll be there. I was in your mindset for years, and I know how you feel. Not until I hit the lowest low, I suddenly saw the light. It will happen!

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  36. You have the right attitude. Just keep at it and publication will come. Best of luck.

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  37. Oh I keep telling myself the same thing every year. And every year that date goes by and I haven't finished. And this year I've actually managed backwards with all my rewrites and procrastination. ugg. But what can we do except plug away. You'll get there MJ, you will. And then you'll realize it's only the beginning. Funny, I can still remember back when I thought I could get my book finished in a year. HA!

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  38. Stopping is the only time we are sure to not have our dreams accomplished. I love the cartoon.

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  39. The novel will be ready when it is ready. It's okay not to have it done by a certain amount of time.

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  40. It's great to have deadlines, but sometimes it's not to be. My first book took about 7 years from start to finish (the final year and a half to get the last half of the book after realizing the first half wasn't the end of it), and that was the timing it was meant to have. Don't stress over our humanly stuckedness (I love making up words) on having deadlines. You'll finish with it, and it'll be just as you want it, and the next will be easier and quicker. Writer’s Mark

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  41. It's good to set goals but we have to keep the BIG goal in mind. To love what we do.

    All the other goals can be altered ;)

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  42. I know you will publish someday, because if you don't you shall have a good many people standing outside your house, protesting. The longer you work on it though, the better it will turn out. Though waiting is hard.

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  43. '...every day you write is a day you succeed.' I love this quote, thanks for sharing it.
    Good luck with your WIP. Although you're frustrated with it, it's good that you keep going. Every day is another step closer.

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