Tuesday, September 4, 2018

IWSG: A Better Month

Time for another posting with the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, where writers can share their insecurities and encourage one another. IWSG was founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh and we share our posts the first Wednesday of the month.

Thank you all for the encouragement last month! I was really down and discouraged when I wrote that post, plus I had procrastinated and wrote it late the night before post day. I was tired and frustrated, and the blogging community swooped in and made me feel better. Thank you! August was a better month overall. I participated in the WEP, which helped get me back in a better writing flow. I started working on an idea for the IWSG Anthology Contest, although I’m not yet sure if I can pull it together into a decent story. It is nice to feel inspired to write again, but I’m still working on balancing my energy to make time for it.

This month, the optional question is: What publishing path are you considering/did you take, and why? That is a question I ask myself quite often. I realize that I do not have anything ready to be published, but that it still something to consider now, so I can be ready once I get to that part of the writing journey. I have heard pros and cons of both self-publishing and using a publisher. I think that starting off, I would be better off with a publisher to help get my name out there. I would still consider self-publishing. It depends on what I end up writing first, it could be a novel, a collection of poems or short stories, or a book of devotionals. I do hope to get at least one of those unfinished ideas published someday. 

Happy September, everyone!

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

WEP: Change of Heart

            For the August challenge, the WEP (Write...Edit...Publish) is collaborating with the Insecure Writer's Support Group. I decided to take a different approach and wrote a monologue. I should give credit to my brother for suggesting this idea, because I probably would not have participated otherwise. My monologue is short, but I like how it fits with the Change of Heart theme. It was another interesting writing experience, and I hope you enjoy.

The Dilemma

In or out?

Why must I always be faced with such a decision?

This opportunity does not present itself very often,

And I feel so pressured to make a choice.

I could enjoy the pleasures of staying in,

But then I’ll constantly wonder what’s going on out there.

In here, I feel safe and warm,

I know exactly the best area to make myself comfortable,

And I have all the accommodations I could hope for.

On the other hand, out there I can find excitement and adventure;

There’s so much to explore, and so much to do and see.

If only my demands could be met immediately,

And I can get out when I need to.

But I am forced to decide my fate based on the whims and fancies of others.

Who do they think they are, anyway?

They go out whenever they please,

Sometimes without even asking me what I want to do.

I tell you I am sick and tired of it all!

Oh no! The door is about to close!

This opportunity is about to pass me by.

I must go out! Now!

Hello, world outside the door!

The door…

The door has been closed behind me.

No, wait! I wasn’t ready!

I had a change of heart,

I don’t want to be out here anymore.

Please let me back in,

This was a mistake!

Come back, my human!

Word count: 232, FCA

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

IWSG: Maximum Insecurity

Time for another posting with the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, where writers can share their insecurities and encourage one another. IWSG was founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh and we share our posts the first Wednesday of the month.

The main insecurity that I dealt with in July applies to my current job situation, and though other factors come into play, this definitely affects my writing, or lack thereof. I feel as though my job is this enormous obstacle that stands in the way of most of the things I want to do. I’m especially reminded of this during the summer months when there are so many activities going on with my church and among my friends, and I only get to participate in a fraction because of work. I have hinted before that I would like to quit my job and write full time, but that idea somewhat frightens me. It seems a bit irresponsible, especially in the eyes of some people in my life. Though, my hesitancy mainly is caused by a fear of failure. What if my writing isn’t accepted anywhere? What if I’m overcome by writer’s block all the time? What if I can’t find a new job if this doesn’t work out? So many what ifs and I am not the greatest decision maker. I constantly pick stability over leaping into the unknown, and I wonder how much longer my creativity can withstand being pushed aside.

I wish I could say that I have something figured out, because this issue has been plaguing me for quite some time. At least I can say that I have done some writing the past few months, mostly journaling and prayers. I try to remind myself to squeeze it in during less stressful and less distracting moments. To end on a more positive note, I found a few encouraging quotes:

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

IWSG: Clearing Clutter, Changing Goals, and D&D

Time for another posting with the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, where writers can share their insecurities and encourage one another. IWSG was founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh. We usually share our posts the first Wednesday of the month, but since the U.S. Fourth of July holiday is on Wednesday this year, we are posting on Tuesday. July’s optional question is: What are your ultimate writing goals, and how have they changed over time (if at all)?

June went a little better than May for me, but I still have a lot of catching up to do in nearly every area of my life. It seems as though I will not be able to fully concentrate on my writing until I start clearing away the clutter around me. Not just concrete things like clothes and desk supplies (although those are on the list), but also digital clutter with emails and organizing files, and clearing my head of distractions and negativity. It has been a long, difficult process, and I feel as though circumstances keep trying to pull me backwards, but I must keep moving forward.

As for my goals, they have adjusted themselves over time. I still would like to write my non-fiction “quiet book” someday, but organizing those thoughts and ideas into meaningful words has proved harder than I thought it would be. I feel like I would have to change to a better, less stressful day job in order to give that project the attention it requires. I have recently grown fond of writing short stories and even a little flash fiction. I hope to get a short story published within the next few years. I have been tweaking and adding to my fantasy story entry from the 2016 IWSG anthology contest. My friend and her husband inadvertently helped me with it a couple weeks ago. ~ Warning: The next sentence will reveal just how much of a nerd I truly am. ~ They started a sort of Dungeons and Dragons role-playing story and invited me to join, so I decided to use one of my fantasy story characters. We are not following the typical D&D rules, but I think this will be an entertaining verbal storytelling experience. I highly recommend it for fantasy writers!

I guess I distracted myself from the initial question. My ultimate goal, under my current circumstances, is to publish at least one book. If I ever manage to obtain my dream job of being a stay-at-home wife and mother, I may be able to publish more (maybe). Under better day job circumstances, another goal of mine would be to write weekly devotional blog posts similar to the ones I used to write when I started this blog. So, to better my writing, I need to broaden my search to find a better job, or get married (lol 😄).

To my United States followers: Happy Independence Day!

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

IWSG: Place Generic Title Here

Time for another posting with the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, where writers can share their insecurities and encourage one another. IWSG was founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh and we share our posts the first Wednesday of the month.

May was a rough month for me. My dad had surgery to remove cancer from his prostate on May 4, and then ended up in the hospital for an extra week due to various issues. So, for eight out of the ten days he was there, I was driving back and forth with my mom, who can’t drive herself, to the hospital (70 miles away from home). By the grace of God and the prayers of many friends from church, we survived that ordeal. It was a relief to finally get settled back at home, but half the month was gone and I was exhausted. Going back to work after all that was very difficult for me, especially since there have been some changes with staff and scheduling the last few weeks. Needless to say, writing was not on the agenda last month. Although, I did write a rather lengthy letter to a friend, but I have not sent it yet because I felt like it needed some editing. So, it’s good to know my writer's brain is still working.☺

Sorry that I don’t have much to say related to writing; I’ve been too tired to be insecure. I do have some thoughts on the optional question this month, which is: What's harder for you to come up with, book titles or character names?

Without a doubt, titles are my weakness. I usually struggle with finding titles for my blog posts and short stories. I don’t even like the title of this blog, but after all these years, I can’t seem to come up with anything to change it to! That’s why I just use my name for my Facebook page and Twitter. I probably overthink it. I feel like the title needs to be something all-encompassing, witty, and meaningful, all in a handful of words. Most of the time, when I spend too long thinking about it, I end up giving up and picking something that feels generic. There are only a few titles I’ve used that I thought were clever, and the rest were rather lame. Character names are a bit easier. I sometimes have trouble initially, but I usually find a name that works. I feel like most of my characters embody their names very well. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2018


Time for another posting with the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, where writers can share their insecurities and encourage one another. IWSG was founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh and we share our posts the first Wednesday of the month.

The question for May 2 is: It's spring! Does this season inspire you to write more than others, or not?

            My answer is no, not really. I have a harder time concentrating in the warmer months during spring and summer. There seem to be more distractions and I cannot sit still for more than ten minutes at a time. In the winter, or other cold days, it is easier for me to stay still and focus on one thing for a while. I enjoy a warm blanket and a cat on my lap (which, in my opinion, is one of the most comfortable writing positions) as I write, and that does not work very well once it starts getting warmer. I do tend to gather more ideas during spring and summer. I usually try to keep a notebook, or at least my iPhone notes, on hand to take down any interesting interactions I observe as people and animals take part in various outdoor activities.

            Spring also tends to put me in a spring cleaning mode, which adds to my lack of concentration because I’m constantly going over my to-do list in my head. Really, it seems that spring and summer are busier because there are more activities going on as people find their way back outside. Personally, I enjoy the outdoors better in the winter when there are fewer bugs and a chance of snow. I guess I’m getting a bit off-topic discussing my weather preferences. Back to my writing, I cannot believe April is already over! I don’t know where it went. I think I spent most of the month (when I wasn’t stuck at work) reading, listening to audiobooks, or working on online courses. So, that counts as writing research, right? 😉

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

IWSG: Ups and Downs in Writing

Time for another posting with the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, where writers can share their insecurities and encourage one another. IWSG was founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh and we share our posts the first Wednesday of the month.

The question for April is: When your writing life is a bit cloudy or filled with rain, what do you do to dig down and keep on writing?

            I went through a lot of cloudy days with my writing (also in other areas of my life) in 2017. I had a few better months from December to February, but the momentum has been fading again. What has worked for me before is signing up for something fun or challenging (or both) with a deadline or specific post date. I’ve done blog hops, the A to Z Challenge, the IWSG Anthology Contest, and most recently, the W.E.P. Challenge. I have enjoyed every single one of those writing experiences, and I hope to continue participating in more contests, blog hops, and challenges. As you can see, I’m skipping the A to Z again this year. As fun as it is, it is very difficult to keep up with my fellow bloggers throughout the challenge. I do hope to utilize some of my A to Z ideas at some point in the future, but this was not the year for me.

Anyway, looking back at my answer to the IWSG question, deadlines usually help me actually do things. As funny as that sounds, it has been true for me most of my adult life. I am not very good at sticking to my goals unless there is an outside force that holds me accountable. I have started a number of email and video courses (i.e. Reedsy or The Great Courses) and I have not finished one of them, but when I took college classes, I finished my work because I was held accountable by my professors and grades. For better or worse, I also tend to thrive as a procrastinator. I have probably written more words the week before something was due than I have at any other time in my life.

A problem I have with this method of writing motivation is getting myself to sign up in the first place. I am still working on balancing out my schedule and energy levels, and sometimes I have to take shelter from the rain and storms for a while. Sometimes, I do have force some writing out of myself, whether I feel like it or not. That is part of the reason I participate in the monthly IWSG posts. It is a great way to hold myself accountable, reflect on my writing, and check on how the balancing act is going each month.

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