2017 Writing Reflections #IWSG

IWSG Day Question: As you look back on 2017, with all its successes and failures, if you could backtrack, what would you do differently?

Oh gosh, 2017 has been a strange year as it is. Right now I’m cursing not mentally preparing more for NaNoWriMo. I may have hit my 50K, but I haven’t reached the end of the story and all I seem to do now is pick away at it.

Of course that sets off the worry that I won’t be able to maintain my schedule.

Other than that, I’m not sure what I would have done differently. I might wish I had known some things before stumbling around in the dark for a while, but that time was spent learning things to take forward with me.

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It’s that time of year again… #IWSG

Oh, hey, I remembered to do an #IWSG post this time. The last couple of months have been a bit crazy and today starts off another level of insanity with NaNoWriMo kicking off. And the fact that this is my 11th year participating doesn’t make me sound any more sane.

NaNo-2017-Participant-Facebook-Cover

IWSG Question of the Day: Win or not, do you usually finish your NaNo project? Have any of them gone on to be published?

Initially I didn’t finish my projects if I didn’t win (usually gave up somewhere along the line because life) and I still have them kicking around somewhere. And honestly, even in their incomplete state, they have served a purpose – I’ve taken ideas from them for other projects.

My wins I’ve completed within the month. It’s a hot mess, but I have the story from beginning to end. Actually, I want to say Shattered Illusions wasn’t finished, but it technically was – I ended up scrapping the ending and extending the book out more.

The last few wins have gone on to be published. Currently only Twisted Magics and Shattered Illusions are available, but Twice Cursed will be out next summer.

However, that leads into my insecurity for the month. I’m writing book 4 in the series for NaNoWriMo and I haven’t been this blank on a book since I meandered my way through the first version of Twisted Magics.

I’m not a planner by any means. Tried it once and ended up ignoring my outline, but I usually have a better idea in my head of key moments I want to hit. What if this one doesn’t work out? What if I have to delay my schedule? Is it possible to keep up this momentum?

Granted, if you saw me wrestling with Shattered Illusions, then you know I’ve been through this before. Doesn’t make it any less stressful. There may be hair pulling and copious amounts of chocolate.

And if anyone is interested, I finally started a newsletter. It also pushes to my Facebook and Twitter accounts. I’ll have some fun stuff coming out later this month.

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The other side of writing #IWSG

Oops, almost forgot to put up something for today.

Lately I’ve been focusing more on the other side of writing, or rather, the business side. Lining up events, marketing, sending off whatever information someone needs… It’s been a bit of a whirlwind month and it’s only going to pick up from here.

Which means I’m not getting a whole lot done on the writing/editing side.

I look at my schedule with trepidation as events get closer. Facebook takeover – how do I do that? The without sounding boring part. I got some awesome advice at Library Comic Con for when I’m doing those types of events, but what about that panel coming up?

While all of that is enough to scare this introvert, I think I might be more concerned that I’m falling behind on my schedule of getting editing done on Twice Cursed. And to think, I was ahead. I’ve already pushed aside a side project that I like to work on in these couple of months leading up to NaNoWriMo while whatever book I’m working on is out to beta readers.

I guess my insecurity for the month is if I can stay on task and keep up with all the new things happening. And that’s not even counting all the personal changes that have happened lately either.

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Lesson learned #IWSG

IWSG Day Question: What is one valuable lesson you’ve learned since you started writing?

Yep, just answering the question this month. Figure it’s better than my fretting about pretty much the same thing I have been for months.

I guess the biggest lesson I’ve learned is that I need to write what makes me happy. If I can make some others happy along the way, great! If not, well, at least it’s still my story. I went through I forget how many revisions on some projects, trying to make the massive changes people suggested and suddenly it wasn’t my story anymore and I was forcing my characters to act in ways they wouldn’t.

And of course this meant they didn’t play well with me.

In a way, I suppose this is also a lesson in finding people to look over my work who aren’t trying to change it to their story. I was losing what made it mine. I’m completely open to fixing issues and ramping things up in areas or what have you, but also in recognizing when a recommendation isn’t worth taking.

On that same note, those recommendations can shed light on an aspect I need to bring more to the forefront. While I may not take directly what is said, I do pay attention and take it under consideration.

And I’m sure my groups think me weird when my brain starts taking off on a suggestion, trying to figure out how I can incorporate what is being said.

Crunch time #IWSG

Shattered Illusions is up for digital pre-order on Amazon. Working on getting the physical proof in (and obsessively checking the mail for it) so we can go through it quickly and I can get pre-orders started. Setting up other sales for Twisted Magics. And the list continues. I might be found tugging my hair with everything going on and worrying about how the second book will be received.

Though this month’s IWSG made me stop and think about where I am. Did you ever say “I quit”? If so, what happened to make you come back to writing?

I’ve given up on projects. Just stopped working. Stopped writing for a while and eventually something brought me back. There were a number of years in a row I attempted NaNoWriMo and got maybe a few thousand words in before getting frustrated at my current life situation and simply dropping it and walking away. Kept thinking I was never going to finish anything.

I actually was about to give up even attempting the challenge when I got pestered to join for another year. Figured why not? It’s a day and a half before it starts and I have half of a concept. Found a great group of people in my area also participating and I just plugged along doing my thing.

Suddenly, this world I fought with for years came to life and I had a horrible mess. But there was something in that mess. Eventually it turned into Twisted Magics and well, I’m still writing that series and loving (sometimes frustrated at) the crazy things my characters get into.

What changed that made everything finally click? I changed which character I was trying to write from and went back in time. Sounds weird, I know, but having something (even when that something was a huge steaming mess) gave me the boost I needed to get back to writing.

Now I have these two with a third being edited (and more in planning):

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Distracted #IWSG

Usually I can focus down on a project and work on it for a while, but after getting through one round of revisions on book 3 during Camp NaNoWriMo I got distracted by other side projects.

These side projects are helpful because for me it fills in the gaps that the reader won’t see and if it’s something that can come back in later, cool. If not, I know what those people were doing at the time. Maybe I’ll have something I can share later.

I just feel a little guilty for not focusing fully on the current major project. I guess it gives me something else to do instead of pacing nervously as Shattered Illusions gets closer to release.

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Snowball effect #IWSG

Since I totally forgot about today’s post until now and it has some relevance for me, I’m stealing Loni’s idea.

I posted previously about Crossfit. I try not to speak too much of it because I know the stigma it carries. And truthfully, from an outside observer before I started it looked like pure chaos.

I promise I’ll get to the writing part soon.

A few weeks ago there was a team workout and I got partnered up with two other women who had just started (I was not quite at my first month yet I think). They were friends who decided to do this together. Cool because my husband dragged me into this. So we’re getting set up and going since there’s different movements and it’s supposed to be one person working at a time so the other two can rest. About halfway through they’re not following the pattern anymore. Suddenly I find myself on my own for the rest of the workout because they decided I wasn’t moving fast enough for them (by the way, this is not normal behavior for people at my box – the others are very helpful and inclusive no matter their level).

I’m big and slow. I have a hard time doing stuff. I scale everything. Those simple facts began to snowball into directly negative thoughts (I can’t do this. I’ll never get anywhere. What was I thinking? Who am I kidding?) and it went beyond Crossfit. I began second guessing myself on everything, which is really bad at this time as I’m wrapping up book 2 and editing book 3. Had a panic attack about another team workout and had to sit that day out.

Lack of a decent night’s rest for who knows how long wasn’t helping either.

It became my turn at one of my critique groups and I prayed I could take people’s opinions without breaking down. I knew I had problems with the first chapter of book 3, but I couldn’t figure out what.

Managed to make it through that and start Camp NaNoWriMo (I use Camps for revisions and maybe some small side projects if I have time). I haven’t touched the first chapter yet since I decided to go through the rest of the book before I made an major changes. Need to see what I have because I know I set up a lot in the beginning that comes back.

I’m also torn a bit on a few things because readers vs critique partners again.

So I’m still on shaky ground with pretty much everything, but I’m trying to move forward.

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