Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Insecure Writers Unite!

Morning all and welcome to the January edition of the Insecure Writer's Support Group (brought to you by Alex J. Cavanaugh). I have a lot to ramble— I mean talk about today so let's just jump right into it, shall we?

Only, where do I begin?

Well, let's start with my physical face-to-face writers group. There's approximately one such group in my area (if there are others, you are hiding yourselves extremely well) and I've been a member of it for the last seven or eight months. And every month until last night's meeting, it's been me and my publishing aspirations in a room with a group of five or six older ladies mostly looking to write their memoirs. And talk about quilting. Still, it was fun and I always left each meeting feeling energized and enthusiastic about writing (quilting not so much. I am a true Undomestic Goddess after all). This, as I'm sure you'll agree, is awesome.

Then last night's meeting happened. Our membership doubled all of a sudden and among the newbies were a pair of insufferable egomaniacs (this coming from me, mind you) who sucked up all the time and all the oxygen. Apparently they are both the world's foremost experts on everything so I suppose I should be fortunate they have hijacked my sweet little writing/quilting group but I'm not. I'm a little sad. And by 'a little', I mean 'a lot'. I came home from the meeting irritated and drained and ranting (which delighted The Man to no end, I'll tell you) because absolutely nothing got done and the only person who got to share any writing with the group was one of the egomaniacs.

Things took an interesting turn when, during a discussion about critiquing each others' work (critiquing? In a writers group? That's craaaazy!), that same egomaniac said he was not going to critique other writers' work because he wasn't going to submit his own to be critiqued. So I'm not really sure what he's looking to get out a writers group except a captive audience onto which he can pontificate about how awesome both he and his books are (almost an exact quote. True story.). And that irritates me. You know, in case I wasn't clear about that.

But I'm going stick with the group. At least for another month. Maybe two. Because it has been fun and, with a little more structure, it could be so again. We've been spoiled before now and could get away with a very lax structure but that's not going to happen anymore. So I guess we'll see. As awful as it sounds, if things don't calm down, I'll just have to secede from the group and start my own. Or maybe just stick with the online version.

Because life is too short to be irritated and drained. I have big goals (note: we're now transitioning into my next topic) this year and I don't have the time nor the energy to waste upon it.

As some of you may know from my 2012 goal post (goal post... hehehe), I have set the potentially very bold goal of publishing my fantasy WIP, Effigy some time this year (provided I can get out of my own way). My initial target date has been set for sometime between April and June. I know that's crazy specific but that's just how I roll.

I'm doing it on my own. I don't know if this is a smart decision but it's the one I think is right for me. I like the idea of having control over every aspect of this project because, above all, I want to be happy with the final product. I mean, if anyone else out there ends up liking it too, that would be super sweet but even if the only copy that ever gets sold is the one that sits on my personal bookshelf, it better be one I'm head over heels in love with.

So I'm in the hunt for all those things a self publishing author needs. I've been reading books and articles. The Man has been doing the same (he's been wonderfully supportive). I have a couple of new betas— people who took pity on me after my last sob story— by the way, I just have to say that you all are wonderful bunch of people and this is a fantastic community. I was supremely touched by all the kind comments and offers I received last month— waiting patiently for me to send them some chapters. I have a copy editor in mind. I have a book cover idea; I just need an artist to make it look like a book cover and not an elementary school art project done by the kid who ate too much paste. I probably have other things too. I just can't think of them at this time...

But, in addition to all that, I'm curious about others' experiences. So, if you're a self pubbed author with a tale to tell, please tell it to me. Good, bad or in between, I'm curious about it all. You can leave me a comment below. You can email me direct ( Whatever you'd care to do.

Oh, and one last thing before I sign off for the day...

Susan Gourley has a new book out called Beyond The Gate. I wanted to post a picture of the book cover here but I apparently am doing something wrong. Anyway, her name's a link to her site so you can hop on over and see it for yourself. And you should. It's available on Kindle through Amazon and I believe it's also up on Smashwords (or will be soon). It's the second installment in her fantasy series (The Keepers of Sulbreth is the first and is also available as an eBook). I'm reading it right now. Be sure to check them out...

See y'all on the flip. I'm outta here...


  1. Although I love in-person writer's groups, if you have one or two bad people in it, it can completely ruin the experience. I would suggest setting some clear guidelines. Work read will be critiqued. If you don't want a critique, then don't read. Period. If that's what you do in the group, then all the group members have to go along with it or leave. Since you and your ladies were there first, I think you need to highjack your meeting right back from the newbies.

    Good luck with the self-publishing. I hope to self-pu some short story collections this year, but I have no experience at it yet.

  2. I have recently made a strong determination that I have no place in my life for people who don't contribute in a positive manner. I would give it one more meeting, but, if jerk is still there, I would seek a better situation. Keep us posted and good luck! New follower :)

  3. Sorry about your writers' group . . .I've been in one awesome one, and two awful ones which have made me a bit shy to try more. I've seen arrogance, as well as the desire to cut others down, as well as receiving bad writing advice. However, in the good groups, there can be good feedback/criticism, encouragement, and excitement about writing.
    I hope your group turns around.
    Best wishes on your self-pub goals!

  4. Well, I'd ditch the writing group....but I am notoriously impatient about that sort of stuff. Also, I am excited about Effigy plans!!

  5. I can empathize with your wriitng group story. I visited one writing group that consisted of those writing their memoirs and never returned. I guess I don't have the patience that you do. ;) Go for your dreams with your book.

  6. It is time for you to seek another writers' group. Sigh. I hate when that happens. I, like you, have decided to self-publish ... mine on Kindle Direct. So far John Locke is in no danger of being knocked off his pedestal!

    My own Insecure Writer Post is WE GUESS WITH OUR FEARS on how to deal with the form rejection and how to write a winning query (I've gotten many nibbles from agents, but alas no wins on my submission!)

    Have a great 2012, Roland

  7. I feel your pain with the writing group. Another girl and I started one and for months it was great, but then people just dwindled. Long story short I joined the "elite" writers group in my area. You know the one were you have to pay all the fancy dues, ya well I went to 3 meetings and never went back. They were all much older and had no open critique groups. They actually told me to start my own. >.> I was like...I paid 40 bucks for this?

    Good luck with the self pub, I am in the same boat as I find things I will pass them to ya!

  8. oh yikes! maybe your newest hijackers will read this post - problem solved!!! As I don't know what your rules are (in mine - no one gets in without all agreeing and then we'd only invite someone for a 'trial' or guest visit first) Seems like this isn't going to work out - how could you trust your own work to people you don't like? Impossible. Find yourself a SMALL group - max. five folks. Find out if others feel the same in your original group.
    And keep on keepin' on - you are quite a clever funny writer!

  9. I was all ready to comment on your writer's group, but I'm stuck on how cute it is that The Man is helping you out like this! *Awwwww!*

    Good luck with the self publishing and keep me updated so I can go buy it! :)

  10. wait...what? He's there but he won't critique others and doesn't want his stuff critiqued? Why did he even show up?
    If it were my group, i'd squash that, and say it's a rule that everyone crits and everyone gets critiqued. But that's me. I can't stand people like that and would probably try to smack him down some

  11. That's too bad your writing group went bad. Maybe the egomaniacs will drop out. Good luck on self-publishing!

  12. Brings back many awful memories... And here I was missing a face-to-face group and thinking of starting one, lol. This happens all too often, unfortunately. Thanks for the reminder.
    Susan's first book was great. Looking forward to her latest.

  13. That's great! Susan and Roland are your best resources. They can help.
    Sorry about your group. Bring a timer next time. Give them five minutes. When it dings, loudly yell Time's Up! See what happens.

  14. Hey, I am all for "doing it on your own"! I don't have much to tell yet from my own experience, as I still have two to three months before I begin publishing. But so far I can report that everyone who's commented on my blog has been really supportive of my decision :-)

    PS. As frustrasting as your egomaniac-dominated writers' group experience was, it made for entertaining reading!

  15. Dang. Egomaniacs with the hostile take over for the win? You're going to allow that? Go disgruntled stock room girl on their asses! Fight fire with fire! And wear your Jayne hat while you do it. If nothing else, it will make for another awesome blog post.

    I, alas, probably to the dismay of many, was elected vice president of my local writer's group for 2012 - though I was told it was a landslide. They were probably just being nice.

    And Susan Gourley's Futhark Chronicles books are awesome.

    Good luck retaking your group! (In the spirit of The Princess Bride - Good luck storming the castle!)

  16. Eesh. Writing and talking about it is hard enough without difficult people around. In my experience, the best writers I know have been through so much to develop their writing that they are pretty down to earth and humble about it.

    Good luck with your group. It is hard when something you enjoyed gets ruined by difficult people.

  17. Why does it only take 1 or 2 people to ruin something? Ugh, I feel for you, really. Good luck though, and I hope everything works out.

    Huge good luck on your goal. I self pubbed this past August and so far, well, I'm published! LOL I do have a recommendation for cover art. Keary Taylor did my cover, and about 4 other people's covers (mostly because I recommended her) so I'm going to recommend her to you because she does great work and it's not too pricy.!

    Good luck!

  18. THIS is why I've not been overly anxious to join a "real life" writing group. Every other group I've been in always has a jerk and sooo much time is wasted. I'm quite happy to live in the internet age. :)

    Exciting news about your book!

  19. I love my little crit group. There's three of us. We originally split off from a larger group because no one was really serious about publishing, they were too busy talking about publishing. We've been successful on our own and meet when we can. Otherwise we email.

    I hope your group sorts everything out. And I wish you all the best on getting your novel published.

  20. OKay, the writer's group thing with someone who doesn't want to crit or be critted?
    Just seems . . . ridiculous? Really effing stupid? Pointless?
    Need I continue?

  21. That writer's group sounds awesome. I am part of one that I love to death, and oftentimes I'm the only man in there and it can be tough when there is a bunch of stories about women's cycles and such, but I still love it all the same.

    I'm certainly no expert, but I've been known to whip up an okay cover once or twice. Just let me know if you want help... and don't mind it taking a while for me to get started on it.

  22. I don't know what to say about self-pubbing that I haven't said on my blog.
    But, yeah, make sure you have a good cover. And, you know, Rusty is pretty great, so don't look -that- gift horse in the mouth.

  23. Definitely keep at it for a few more months! It's like gym memberships. Loads of people made New Year's Resolutions to write more, be published, etc. And just like the gym membership, that resolution will die fast. Sad to say, but true! Hopefully you can return to your quilting conversations soon enough. ;)

  24. Thanks, everyone, for the writers group advice. I have lots of great ideas to take with me to the next one. Timers, air horns, hmmm. Maybe my German shepherd. And if all that fails, I'll just poach my favorites for my own group.

    Thanks for coming by! As always, it's much appreciated.

  25. I agree with Tasha and Caitlin - give it just a bit more time. Bad seeds will fall by the wayside...
    Good luck!

  26. My ftf crit group has gone through many changes, and many people. Some of them have been egomaniacs. Us long-time members know how to hurry them along to their next stop in short order - without getting mean.

    But leaving your current group to find one that doesn't have the occasional jerk; well, it's just my opinion that it doesn't happen. Groups run great for a while, then get bumpy, and smoothe out again.

    As others have said, the trick is to adhere to your bylines when new members aren't a fit; and talk about what doesn't work with all the members.

    Perhaps starting your own group isn't a bad idea. Finding like minded writers can inspire your writing.

    I'm no expert though; I just happend to land in a great group.


  27. I've not had any experience with real life writing groups, but that sounds like a sucky change to the group dynamic. Likely the reason they don't want their work critiqued is because they know they'll be shot down and their poor ego will be shattered. That'll teach 'em.

  28. Ugh there are few things as annoying as a delusional writer. And you're stuck with two. You have my sympathies.

    Good on you for picking a publishing date. If you're planning to hire someone to make the cover, I have a friend who's a graphic designer.


  29. I know a great group that is seriously into helping each other and are big supporters of self-published authors. It is a Facebook group and it's been awesome meeting them, the ring leader and super cool boss is Emlyn Chand. I'll leave here the links to both, her editorial business Facebook page and a link to her web. She's herself promoting her first self-published novel, so she can give you great advise. I'll also leave a link to my FB page so we can keep in contact, I could introduce you to the group, if you're interested.

    Good luck!
    Following from Diary of a Writer in Progress.

  30. I think I would love to try a writing group but have been unsuccessful in finding any in my area. There are some, but they are run by the university and you need to be a student to belong to one.

    Outside of that, I'm just not very social. I've done some internet searches and come up empty. In lieu of that, I decided to go to boardgame nights instead and play games at a local coffee shop. It sounds fun.

    I'm sure Effigy is going to be great. When you publish it, I'll read it for sure. I love fantasy.

  31. ha ha haha ha!
    that was such a great tale of old gals and look at me sals!
    i was LOLAIMK (laughing out loud, alone in my kitchen =D

    the only group i know about here meets on weds nights and i teach a bible class then, of course! so i do 2 online groups, unicorn bell and a revising group via emails, started by peggy edelman

    and my goal this year is to get an agent or self pub. so i will be watching your journey! good luck and persevere!

  32. Same thing happened in my writers group. The egomaniacs took over. They sucked the life and fun out of it. The leader of the group did her best to intervene, but nothing held these clowns back. Eventually the group folded.

    I hope your group doesn't become a casualty as well.

    Happy writing! (new follower...I have to find out what happens!)