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IWSG: Doing the Thing That Scares You

A couple months ago, I did something. Something big. Something scary. Something I have always wanted to do.

I bought a ticket to Europe.

Not as part of a group tour, or a cruise. A single, solitary, one-way ticket to Amsterdam.

The moment I confirmed the purchase, my stomach fell straight to my toes. What was I doing? Who did I think I was, planning a solo trip thousands of miles away from home? I wasn't that brave!

Here's a secret, though: I AM that brave.

We all are.

Life, I have come to learn, is often choosing to do the thing that scares you. It's not easy, and there are a million reasons NOT to do it, but what's the worst that could happen?

Given, of course, that the thing that scares YOU is not, like, committing murder or jumping off a high-rise. DON'T do those things. They're scary for a reason.

But buying a ticket to Europe? Applying for a job you really want? Asking that cute dude out that you see every day at the coffee shop (probably not for coffee, though)? Yes. Do those things.
Moments after buying my ticket.

Because the worst that could happen is that you fail. You get lost in the streets of Florence. You don't get the job. The cute dude says no. You're still okay.

This applies to writing, as well. A book idea that scares you might turn out to be the best thing you've ever written. Joining a writing group could earn you some new friends (and writer friends are the best) and maybe some solid advice. And self-publishing the book babies you've put your heart and soul into for years...

Okay. That last one is super scary, no matter how much optimism I sprinkle over it.

But, just like that ticket to Amsterdam, I'm gonna do it. I'm gonna do the thing that scares me. Because what's a life spent sitting on the sidelines while others chase their dreams?

What scares YOU (writing-wise or not)?

IWSG: Writer Angst



The first Wednesday of every month is reserved for Insecure Writers Support Group (unless I forget). In these posts, I write about my insecurities as a writer. Make sure to check out all the wonderful bloggers participating!



Current Writing Mood:




Thank you, Schmidt, for summing things up so nicely for me. 

How is YOUR writing going these days?

IWSG: Publishing Paranoia

The first Wednesday of every month is reserved for Insecure Writers Support Group (unless I forget). In these posts, I write about my insecurities as a writer. Make sure to check out all the wonderful bloggers participating!

These days, the number of insecurities I have as a writer is lower than it's ever been. I'm confident in my stories and the way I tell them. I believe in these books, in these characters, and I love the ever-loving shit out of them.

That doesn't mean there aren't things that still scare me.

Publishing, for instance.

I've made the terrifying and exciting decision to self-publish. I'm taking the rest of this year to polish the three books in my first series, and then off I go.

There was a lot of back and forth that went into this decision. And though I now feel this is the absolute right thing for me and my books, I'm still wrought with insecurities.

Mostly, its the whole, "Everything is my responsibility so if I fail then I have no one to blame but myself, and also what if no one likes my books and they think my characters are stupid and my doin' it scenes are awkward and my dialogue is stilted and unrealistic and..." thing.

I could keep going, but I'll leave it at that relatively small list of things that are running through my head.

I'm sure traditionally published authors experience a lot of these same insecurities. You spend months and months and years slaving over these books, falling in love with these characters, laughing with them, crying with them, and then...then, you let them go. You put them out into the world and you hope that people love them as much as you do.

Someone won't though. Maybe lots of someones. And there's nothing you can do about it.

It's like birthing a baby, and of course you think it's the most beautiful baby in the whole damn universe, but someone is bound to tell you that your baby is ugly.

I don't want anyone to think my babies are ugly.

So, what about ya'll? Those of you that are published, both traditionally and self, how do you deal with these insecurities? Any tips for that inevitable moment when someone doesn't like your book? I'm freaking out over here!

IWSG: Revision-Induced Terror




The first Wednesday of every month is reserved for Insecure Writers Support Group (unless I forget). In these posts, I write about my insecurities as a writer. Make sure to check out all the wonderful bloggers participating!

Revisions.

Edits.

Rewrites.

These words are currently the makings of my writerly nightmare.

Here’s the deal: I am about half through writing the third book in my series. Which means I’m about 40k words or a couple months (whichever comes first) away from having three books to revise.

Three.

What. Was. I. Thinking?

Me, being scared.
When I made the decision to forge ahead with book three, it seemed like a good idea. Get all the details in place, I thought. Continuity is magic, right?

Don’t get me wrong, I like revising. I like turning something messy and cobbled together into a cohesive, smooth, pretty story. It’s fun for me. Unless I’m looking at nothing BUT that for an extended period of time.

I’m not exactly sure how to go about it. I’ve rewritten plenty of times. Hell, I rewrote the same book for years and years. Now, I have (or will have) three solid drafts that don’t need rewrites, just revisions. And it’s scary.

Super scary. 

So. How do you revise? Do you have a method? A process? A trick up your sleeve? Are you hands-on, with printed pages in front of you, or do you prefer doing everything on your computer?

I’m all ears, lovely folks. I need all the help I can get.

IWSG: Don't Stop Believing

The first Wednesday of every month is Insecure Writers Support Group Be sure to stop by and lend your support to the other writers participating!

I decided to go back to Book #1 for yet another rewrite. I am plagued with the idea that maybe I'm wasting my time.

I finished a book I love a couple months ago. I wrote it with such ease and I love the finished product. It needs some work, of course, but overall, I feel like it was a huge victory for me. It was the first NEW book I wrote in years, and it felt liberating and amazing.

Why, then, would I go back to the book I've been writing for upwards of 8 years, on and off? The book that has caused me so much stress and anger and frustration and pain? The book that has seen at least 10 different rewrites and is STILL not all it could be?

It's a waste of time, right?

But the thing is...I can't give up on it. With my newest book, I learned things about myself. I learned to be a better writer, a more confident writer. I believe I can finally give the characters in that first book the story they deserve. And, in the words of the incomparable Journey, "Don't Stop Believing."

So, back to the drawing board, I go.

Will this be the time that I finally get it right?

What about you? Have you ever worked on the same project for years and years? How did it turn out? Do you ever feel like you should just give it up?



IWSG: How Long is Too Long?


The first Wednesday of every month is reserved for Alex Cavanaugh's Insecure Writers Support Group (unless I forget). In these posts, I write about my insecurities as a writer. Make sure to check out all the wonderful bloggers participating!

I have this app on my phone called Timehop. Basically, it scours the internet each day for things you've posted on the same date in previous years. It's kind of cool and mostly I enjoy the look back (especially today's update from last year: "Dropped off the last rent check today. Can't wait to make that first mortgage payment!). But lately, I've been getting updates like:

"Finished Chapter 17 today! Onto the next chapter."


or

"I rewrote my outline. Now, maybe I'll finish this thing by the end of March!"

The problem with those updates? They're from 2 & 3 years ago, and are about the same book I'm working on now -- which, for the record, I had been working on sporadically for at least 4 years prior. Actually, now that I think of it, in April, it will be 7 years with Dana, and I was definitely working on this novel when we met. You guys, that's a LONG time.

So, my question for today is: How long is too long to work on the same project?

When should you decide it's just not gonna work and set it aside? When do you start on something new?

Now, I'm not completely bummed that I'm still working on the same book, because in the last year or so I have made leaps and bounds with it. This is the best it's ever been. It's finally becoming what I have wanted it to be from day one.

But those Timehop updates, they do make me wonder. What might I have accomplished if I'd let this book go?

What are your thoughts? How long have you been working on your current WIP? When should you give it up and move on?

IWSG - The Trouble with Dreams

This post is in participation with the Insecure Writers Support Group, which posts the first Wednesday of every month. Check it out!

I've always been a writer. From the moment I picked up a pencil and could scrawl words on paper, I've been making up stories. I didn't get serious about it until I was about seventeen. That's when I made my very first attempt at a novel (which will NEVER see the light of day). Since then, I have written five full novels and two half-started attempts. Most of this will never be read by another living soul -- heck, I probably won't even look at some of it. I've learned a lot along the way, and, despite all the hard work and frustration, I've managed to hold on to my love of words.

Publication has always been in the back of my mind. Even if I just wrote the first novel for fun, I wrote the second (and third, and fourth...) with the idea that someday I'd be published. When you're seventeen, a little ole thing like publication doesn't seem like that big a deal. It doesn't seem so hard. But once you grow up, when you start to research the big, bad world of publishing, well...it's an icy cold wake-up call.

But we keep on writing. We keep on dreaming. We push and we strive.

We.

Don't.

Give.

Up.

Even when we have people doubting us. Even when we doubt ourselves. When the writing sucks or the words won't come and we're crying ourselves to sleep. We keep on imagining our names on shiny new covers or bestseller lists. We think about "the call." We go to school and work our day jobs and take care of our families. We seek out careers that will allow us to pursue our dreams.

We are troopers.

Don't get me wrong, I love all this about being a writer. I love knowing I'm not alone in this impossible dream. I love having an entire community full of supportive, wonderful people who understand exactly what I'm going through. I wouldn't want to be anything other than a writer for all this alone.

But I'm struggling. We all are, I know. It's the impossibility of this dream that keeps my feet on the ground, even while my head is in the clouds. I've got to keep a tight grip on reality. And this presents a problem.

I want to write. That's all I want to do. I want to type my days away. But a girl's got to eat. Bills have to be paid. And my job is barely cutting it. And so I'm going to school to further my education and get a better job. But what kind of job is there for someone who has never wanted anything but to write for a living?

What about you? Do you feel the pressure of the real world trying to smother The Dream? How do you keep going? What do YOU do for a living?


Under the Influence

This post is for The Insecure Writer's Support Group, which posts the first Wednesday of each month.


So, the week before last, I finished reading a Young Adult dystopian series with mixed feelings. I loved the writing style, but felt let down by the ending. Usually, my favorite part of finishing a book is deciding which book to read next, and so I turned to my shelves (and my Nook) with excitement.

And I searched. And searched. And searched.

I could not make up my mind.

Should I read another YA book?

Should I read a Romance?

I felt burned by my latest endeavor into YA, and so all the books calling my name from THAT genre were being ignored. And it'd been too long since I'd read a Romance novel, which is usually my genre of choice.

So what was keeping me from scooping up one of those pretty books?

Influence.

It has always been a struggle for me. Whatever I'm reading at the time somehow seeps into my own work. Not intentionally, but the influence is clear.

I've finally been on a roll with my WIP. Rumor has it, I've finally found my "Voice." So, I was worried that if I indulged in my beloved Romance genre (which is what I'm writing), that progress would somehow be compromised. The style of the author I'd chosen would take over my own style.

I finally decided to risk it and chose an author I'd never read. I've only written about a thousand words since then, but the me-ness still seems to be intact.

What are your thoughts on this subject? Do you worry that what you're reading will influence your own work? How to you keep this from happening? Read any good books lately?

IWSG - Losing It



Today's post is brought to you by the Insecure Writers Support Group.

Ever since the semester from hell ended, I've been trying to jump back into my novel. I'd neglected it for months and months, due to pieces of my soul being consumed by the evil Math, and so I was excited to dive in and pick up where I left off.

Only I couldn't.

I tried reading through the previous chapters.

I tried writing journal entries from the POV of my main character.

I tried free writing, hand writing, typing away on the computer.

I tried everything I could think of. But nothing was working.

And so I began to worry. Have I lost it? Am I no longer a writer? WHAT DO I DO NOW????

It's a terrifying thought, losing my ability to write. Writing is My Thing. It's what I love to do. So I've been fighting for it. I've been mapping out new ideas and rearranging the scenes in my outline. Anything to get the juices flowing again. So far, nothing has worked super well, but I think I'm getting there.

Or, at least, I hope I am.

So, what about you? Have you ever felt like you lost your writing? What did you do to get it back? And how evil is Math, anyway?


IWSG: L is for Lame



So, I've been thinking a lot lately about this writing thing. Every time someone asks me what I write, I usually say either one of two things. One, "Oh, girly stuff." Two, "It's kinda, sorta romantic comedy."

Comedy.

I was writing away the other day when I found myself giggling over something my main character said. And then I stopped and wondered...what if I'm not funny?

I mean, *I* think I'm funny. Sometimes. But what if I'm the only one? I can't really say I write romantic comedy if there's nothing funny about my stories!

Needless to say, this has been bugging me ever since. I'm scrutinizing every line I write, looking for the funny. And I'm genuinely worried that I'm lame. Super lame. Lame-O.



Am I the only one who has fears like this? How do you shove them aside and forge on?


Insecure Writers Support Group


So, this is my first post for the Insecure Writers Support Group. There are a million insecurities that come with being a writer, so I'm not sure where to start.

The biggest insecurity that I've been battling lately has to do with time. When I sit down to work on my novel, there's always a voice in the back of my mind, taunting, teasing, being an all-around jerkface, telling me that I'm wasting my time.

And after hearing it for so long, it's hard to not listen.

So, I've been wondering: Am I wasting my time? Is there something else I should be focusing on? Something more important? Something that will have a for-sure payoff in the end? Is it time to be a grown up and get my head out of the clouds?

I have put a lot of time, a lot of heart and soul, anger and tears, into my writing. The novel that I'm currently working on has gone through many different versions over the last 7 years or so. But I keep coming back to it. Why? Because I love the characters. I love the story. I want to give it the attention it deserves. And I'm getting there. I can feel it. But at what cost? A few sleepless nights spent typing away like a maniac? A couple hours spent revising the latest chapter instead of studying for my math test? An afternoon spent in a coffee house with my writing group instead of at home cleaning the house?

How do you decide if you're spending each hour the way you should be spending it? How do you know whether or not all the time and effort you're pouring into this make-believe world on your computer screen is worth it? How do you know?

Truth is, I don't. It's scary to think about putting so much of me into this thing that may or may not amount to something worthwhile in the future.

So, how do you battle that fear? How do you keep pushing forward despite the insecurities?