Monday, August 14, 2017

#IWSG -- Sometimes writing sucks.

Sometimes writing sucks

Why do I say that? Cause it’s absolutely true. I’d even dare to say that there are more days that suck being a writer than there are days that are truly amazing or noteworthy.

There are times when the 'writing well' is just empty.

And I don’t mean writer’s block. It’s more like, writer’s complete shutdown OR writer’s out-of-gas OR writer’s screeching halt.

You don’t feel like writing.
You don’t feel like editing.
You don’t feel like marketing.
It all just sucks.

You know what? That’s okay, because there are times when EVERY job out there sucks.
Being a ditch digger isn’t always glamorous.
Being a celebrity certainly has its ups and downs.
Try being a proctologist and tell me that every day is rainbows and unicorns.

So, it’s all good to have some down days because they will have to swing back up.

It’s true. Science says so.

It’s what you do when you’re down that can make the difference in your well-being, and for that matter, your career.

Don’t wallow. Don’t sit on your couch and pine for the good ol’ days.

Feed yourself.

Go where the people are. Watch. Listen. Maybe even join in. It doesn’t have to cost anything, except maybe some of your time.

Do stuff with family and/or friends. Lots of writers are introverts, but that doesn’t mean you can’t socialize with people you trust and understand you. Your family will appreciate it.

Read / Watch / Listen to entertainment. It’s okay. You’re not cheating on your writing. It will only help you become a better writer.

Meditate / exercise. I mean, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Learn a new skill to make your brain do something completely different. Check out YouTube for how-to videos on just about everything.

Fill up on all the good things around you and once you’re back in the upswing you will have TONS of new material to work with.

The life of a writer isn’t for wimps, so go kick some ass.


Don't forget to show us your insecurity on October 4th!

Check out all the details...HERE

There are some great prizes for the winners and some great IWSG SWAG to choose from – notebooks, pens, mugs, tote bags, etc.
Proceeds go to fund the upkeep of the IWSG site.

Monday, August 7, 2017

How Much Do You Know About Irony?

Read the complete post

Alanis Morissetter

Alanis Morissette should have read this Reedsy post before she sang Ironic. If she had she would have gotten irony right instead of. . .well, rather wrong. It's not ironic when you're already late and stuck in a traffic jam, now is it? And it's not ironic if it rains on your wedding day. Tsk. Tsk, Song writers. Call Reedsy before you tackle irony again because the only irony in the song, Ironic, is that the writers didn't understand irony. 

Reedsy On!


What Is Irony?
As Reedsy points out, "Irony is a storytelling tool used to create contrast between how things seem and how they really are beneath the surface." There are three main types of irony:  dramatic, situational, and verbal."

Dramatic Irony and Why Use It?
Simply put, dramatic irony occurs with the reader/audience knows what will happen before the characters do.  It's a great way to raise and sustain tension until the character finally is allowed in on the secret. Reedsy uses A Touch of Evil to show the effect of dramatic irony.  In the first scene, there's the planting of the bomb. Next, there are delays and some confusion. The bomb's ticking and we're the only ones who know it. 
  • Use dramatic irony if you want to create sympathy for a character or if you want to bring the reader closer to a character.  We all know Peter Parker's Spiderman, but the other characters in the story don't. That allows us to relate to him very differently than if everyone knew his secret identity.

  • Do you want your characters vulnerable? Give them a sense of security that doesn't really exist, and let the reader know the truth. They aren't safe at all.

  • Add a dash of comedy. Shakespeare did that with poor Malvolio and his "cross garter" fashion debacle. Reedsy uses a more modern example. "In an episode of Friends, Joey picks up Ross’s coat and a ring tumbles out — a ring intended for Rachel. When Joey kneels down to pick it up, Rachel assumes he is proposing and accepts. Comedy ensues as misunderstanding and miscommunication take the day." 

Situational Irony should not be confused with “coincidence” and “bad luck.” Here's Reedsy's example: "To differentiate, consider this: If you buy a new car and then accidentally drive it into a tree, that is both coincidence and bad luck. If a professional stunt driver crashes into a tree on their way home from receiving a “best driver” award, that is situationally ironic."
What does Situational Irony accomplish in a story?
Surprising twists like those found in thriller, crime, and mystery genres.
To emphasize themes. When the outcome is unexpected, we're made very aware of the underlying message. Reedsy gives the Tortoise and the Hare as an example of Situational Irony. 

Verbal Irony is when the intended meaning of a statement is the opposite of what is said. Somewhat like sarcasm, but not exactly because as Reedsy points out not all sarcastic statements are ironic. 
It gives insight into characters. In verbal irony, characters know what they're doing and why, so when they "intentionally state something that contradicts their true meaning" they reveal a lot about themselves.

If you'd like to read the complete post, go to REEDSY's site. It has more examples and more thorough explanations of each type of irony.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The Insecure Writer's Support Group and Show us Your Writer Insecurity

It’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month and encourage everyone to visit at least a dozen new blogs and leave a comment. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs.

The awesome co-hosts today are Christine Rains, Dolarah @ Book Lover, Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor, Yvonne Ventresca, and LG Keltner!

The August question: What are your pet peeves when reading/writing/editing?

July 27 was the very first IWSG Twitter pitch party, #IWSGPit. And it was a huge success!

Thanks to all who participated in or promoted the #IWSGPit Twitter pitch party. It was an incredible success – there were 2300 Tweets and we were a trending topic. The IWSG team learned a lot and the next #IWSGPit in January will be even better. Now that we’ve established ourselves and the site is a Writer’s Digest Top 101 Site for Writers, there will be five times the amount of publishers and agents watching the feed. Thanks again for such a successful event! - Alex

On August 24th at 2:00 pm EST, Chrys Fey will be participating in a LIVE YouTube interview with Evan Carmichael, an entrepreneur who she'll be interviewing about his book Your One Word and getting some great advice for IWSG members. You'll be able to watch the interview live HERE. You can set a reminder if you click on the link, or you can watch it later.The video will be uploaded in the August 30th IWSG newsletter issue.

Show Us Your Writer Insecurity!

Are you proud to be an insecure writer?

Then show us!

On Wednesday, October 4 (IWSG Day), post a photo of yourself (or your alter ego) with any of the IWSG swag or with the IWSG logo. Then leave a comment that day at either the IWSG website’s post or the IWSG Facebook post directing us to your photo. (All blog, Facebook, Goodreads, and newsletter members welcome, but photo must be posted on a blog or Facebook to qualify.)

The IWSG site admins will visit each one and pick the top three. Why? Because there are cool prizes involved:

Third place – EBook of A Change of Mind and Other Stories by Nick Wilford, eBook of The Remnant by William Michael Davidson, eBook of Cling to God by Lynda R. Young, eBook of Already Home by Heather M. Gardner, and eBook of Dragon of the Stars by Alex. J. Cavanaugh.

Second place – The entire eBook collection of the Totem series by Christine Rains, eBooks of Princess of Las Pulgas by C. Lee McKenzie, audio book of CassaSeries by Alex J. Cavanaugh, eBook of Black and White by Nick Wilford, and your choice eBook from J.L. Campbell.

Grand prize winner - IWSG website interview, IWSG newsletter spotlight, IWSG pinned tweet for one week, C. Lee McKenzie's Featured Follower for the month, the IWSG Goodreads book club eBook for October/November, a short chapter critique, and a pair of IWSG erasers.

We have some great IWSG swag – notebooks, pens, mugs, tote bags, etc. Proceeds go to fund the upkeep of the IWSG site.

You have two months to prepare – show us your best insecurity!

Did you participate in #IWSGPit? Are you ready to show us your writer insecurity?

Monday, July 24, 2017

Contests and Awards - Love Them, Hate Them, or No Opinion?

Contests are a great way to gain attention for your books. If you win or place, it’s added exposure and bragging rights for your book. Often you get a badge or sticker that can be placed on the book cover. We have dozens of opportunities listed on our Contests page.

Are they worth the time and money? Beverly Stowe McClure’s books have won dozens of contests and she’s here to share her thoughts on the subject.

Whatever you think about contests and awards, they are quite popular. When I agreed to write an article on this topic, I had no idea what I was getting into. Do you know how many contest and award programs there are? Too many to count. I discovered awards for almost any subject you can think of, whether you’re a writer, artist, or in most any profession. So, I had to decide which ones might be more interesting to readers of this blog, along with contests that I have personal experiences with. Yes, I enjoy contests, but not everyone does. Also, this is my opinion. You may think differently.

To start with, let’s look at contests you might want to enter. First, check to see if it’s free, or do they charge a fee. You can find this information by googling contests and going to the site. Warning, your eyes will bug out there are so many. No kidding. You’ll find the “big” ones, like the Nobel Prize for Literature, The Man Booker Prize, the Caldecott and Newbery Awards for children’s books, among many others. These do not charge fees, as far as I could find.

Some of the contests I’ve entered do have fees; others do not. My thinking on this is that the cost is part of marketing my books. Is it worth the price? Everyone has his/her own opinion about this. Winning and being a finalist boosts my ego and makes me think I’m doing something right. Being able to put a sticker on the book is so much fun. Here are some of the contests I’ve entered and the results. Maybe, if you’ve been thinking about entering a contest, this will give you a little more information.

1. Children’s Literary Classics Book Awards The fee is $95.00. Yes, that’s a lot of money, but I have four books that have won in different years: two gold, two silver. That’s encouragement. They also review your book, and writers know how important reviews are.

2. Eric Hoffer Book Award The fee is $55.00. I have a finalist here. They pay the winners in cash. Unfortunately, finalists only receive a certificate. These are not just for children’s books.

3. Next Generation Indie Book Awards They charge $75.00. I have two finalists here. These are books for all ages, too. They also pay the winners in cash. Again, I got certificates. One day…

Beware, though. I had a bad experience with one contest that no longer exists. The first time I sent a story to them, I won gold. It was a very prestigious contest, I thought. I believe it was a respected contest in the beginning, but the next year I entered, sent my $50.00, and waited and waited and waited. Time passed for announcing the winners, and I couldn’t find anyone to ask what was wrong. Another contestant emailed me with the news that her money had been refunded. The contest no longer existed. She gave me the contact person’s email, and he very nicely refunded my money. It seems another person, one of the judges, just quit. So, be careful. Find out about the awards before sending them your money. If they’re free, there’s no loss, except the cost of mailing your books.

To me, contests are fun, a way of letting others see my work. Has it resulted in more sales? Not that I can tell, but there’s always tomorrow. And who knows?

I could give you a list of contests and awards, but they’re easy to find on the Internet. There are contests for everyone, from non-fiction, to fiction for adults and for children. Even if you’re not in the writing business, you may have hobbies that can win awards. Google them. I found some interesting ones. You might even discover a story there.

So, love them, or hate them, or have no opinion. I like them.

Most of the time, you’ll find Beverly Stowe McClure at her computer, typing stories little voices whisper in her ears. When she’s not writing, she’s snapping pictures of wildlife, flowers and clouds. She’s sometimes known as the “Bug Lady.” She’s not telling why.

Remember - the IWSG Twitter pitch party, #IWSGPit, is Thursday, July 27, 2017. Polish your pitches and we’ll see you then!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Dear Slow Writers

On the IWSG Goodreads Book Club page, we had a poll asking our members what their biggest writing insecurity is. Here are the results:

I was surprised to see that so many writings are insecure about writing slow.

If this is your insecurity, this one is for you! :)

Dear Slow Writer,

There isn’t a rule that says we have to do the same things at the same times in the same amount of time.

Some writers can write a book in a year. Others can write a book in a matter of months. There are also writers who can write a book in 30 days. And then there are writers who could spend five years+ writing a book.

All of these time frames are correct.

Our circumstances, perseverance, and whether we know exactly what we need to write (plotter or pantser) all factor in on how long it takes us to write a book.

If a writer is prone to procrastination, it’ll take them longer to finish a book. If a writer has a career or children to nurture, most of their writing time is eaten up. What we have to do is embrace the time we have to write, and actually write during that time.


If you procrastinate, get your butt into gear!

Threaten yourself. “If I don’t write 3,000 words today, no binge-watching TV tonight.”

If you end up writing a lot (more than usual) but don’t reach your goal, show yourself some sympathy. Give yourself a pat on the back and watch an episode or two.


If you’re the kind of writer who is able to focus on writing more often but struggles to write a page in an hour (or a day!) then evaluate your performance to pinpoint the cause. Is it because you’re striving for perfection?

A first draft is not meant to be perfect.

Editing Every Sentence

Are you self-editing/revising after every sentence?

Save that for when you finish the first draft. Don’t even edit a chapter once you’re done with it. 

When I get stuck with my writing, I read over the previous page or paragraph and fix up some sentences, add a bit more details or emotion here and there, but the key is that I don't get carried away. What I'm really doing is tweaking, and using those tiny revisions to get my juices flowing again. Those edits, although I'm going backward a tiny bit, help me to keep going forward.

To keep yourself from getting carried away with editing as you go, limit yourself. Be strict. When you feel the need, only look at the last sentence or two you wrote. Two max! And you can’t do it after every couple of sentences either. That'll hold you back. Limit yourself to two sentences per page. Or twice a page if there's two long paragraphs.

Remember, two max!


Another reason why you could be spending an hour (or a day) to write a single page is because you aren’t prepared. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with writing by the seat of your pants, but going with the flow let’s in the potential for writer’s block, procrastination, and snail-like writing.

You can’t go with the flow if there is no flow.

You don’t need to draft a complete outline for your book, but figuring out the beginning, middle, and end will aid you in knowing which direction to head.

At the end of each writing session, map out what you’ll need to tackle in your next writing session to give yourself a head start. Every time you pick up or put down your pen, know where the story needs to go and what your character(s) need to do.

What else can you do to speed up your writing?

  •  Participate in NaNo. Write a novel in a month (or up to 50,000 words). Prepare by having an outline and just write. And you don’t have to wait for November, pick any month that works for you.
  • There are books that tell you how to write a book in 30 days. Why not see if one offers good ideas?
  • Practice free writing. Don’t think, just write.
  • Turn off your computer screen and write. You may create typos but don’t worry about that now. Writing with a blank screen in front of you will prevent you from editing as you go, or seeking perfection.
  • Use a typewriter. With a typewriter, you can't delete so easily, so you'll be forced to keep whatever you have typed. This is another good one for those of us who edit as we go.
  • Give yourself rewards. After you write one chapter, 1,000 words, or 10 pages, treat yourself to a piece of chocolate. Or a cold beer. Or movie night. Or a hot bubble bath. Whatever motivates you, use it for a bribe.
  • Sike yourself up. Say, “I love writing! It’s my passion. And right now, I’m going to write. These pages may not be 100%, but they don’t have to be. 1,000 words, here I come. WOO-HOO!”
  • Compete with someone. Set up a friendly challenge with a writing buddy to see who can each 50,000 words faster. Check in every single morning/evening through email/messenger/phone to stay accountable. And, if you want, you can have a reward at the end for both of you, such as promising to beta read or buying each other’s books (just one).

Slow writers are still writers.

Slow writers are just as good as fast writers.

Slow writers write just as well and have the same dreams.

Pace is unique and selective. Ignore the pace of other writers and embrace your pace!

      P.S. If part of your insecurity of writing slow has to do with feeling as though you’ll never finish (well, maybe in 10 years), convince yourself that that’s okay. Because it is. It damn well is! Babies start walking eventually, and eventually you’ll have a finished manuscript.

      A dream doesn’t have an expiration date. By the end of the 10 years, your story will be 10X richer and more precious.

      And if you think you’ll never, ever finish . . . Dude, you have to have more faith in yourself. ;) Believe it! Know you’ll finish your book the moment it’s meant to be done.

      Your book is worth waiting for. Trust me. Have faith, and keep writing!

 QUESTIONS: Do you write slow or fast? Do you have advice to contribute?

Monday, July 10, 2017

Where to Begin Worldbuilding

A question I hear from a lot of writers is how to start Worldbuilding. Worldbuilding is much like character development, in that your world, or universe, is a character in your story. It involves knowing everything about your world, which is far more than what the will readers see.

So, where do you start?

You could create a map of your world, and start imagining what it's like to live in various places (and if you can't draw, check out my tutorial.) Or, you can start developing your characters and asking yourself (or them!) what they do in their world. You could even write a few scenes describing the world and develop it from there.

There are many methods to start building your world, but one of the most important things about Worldbuilding, is Economy.


Yeah, Economy.

Most people, when they hear the word Economy, think money: the buying and selling of resources. But Economy is much more than monetary transactions, and in understanding that, we can then learn how to apply that to Worldbuilding.

Put simply, Economy teaches us that everything has a cost, but that cost is not always money. Let me demonstrate that for you.

I want you to give me cookies. Imagine all the ways you can supply me with cookies (provided we are in the same location, and you have the means to do it). The two main ways you could get me cookies is to either buy a package of them or make them. The question then becomes: how much does it cost for either option?

As an example, let’s say a package of cookies costs $5, and buying all the ingredients to make cookies, let's say $15 (I’m sure it’s more than that). But as we established, there are more costs than just monetary ones. For instance, we have to go to the store. We have to take a car to get there. A car uses gas, which adds to our cost. We can represent that in dollar amounts. But it is not just going to the store, it's also coming back. So we can estimate a gallon of gas (really far store) for whatever your local price is.

Then there is time. If you weren't buying me cookies, you could be doing something else worthwhile (or not). Time to drive to the store, time to find the cookies, time to buy them, time to drive back home. In the case of making cookies, that too is a factor of time. Furthermore, we have to use the oven, which requires energy.

As we can see, to get me cookies is not just a cost of your hard earn money, but one of time and energy.

Now that we have expanded our understanding of cost, let us discuss how this affects Worldbuilding.

Imagine a king in a medieval castle, and he is served chicken. Could be from a farm, or a wild chicken from the nearby forest. Before he eats, he picks up some salt to put on his chicken. Where did that salt come from? How is the king able to use salt with his meal?

Kind of weird to think about: it's salt. You have salt in your cupboard; you bought it from the store. Salt is commonplace now, yet it wasn’t commonplace 1,000 years ago. While many societies had salt, it was primarily used for cooking and/or preserving something, not something to add to a meal after it was cooked. In fact, it really wasn't used as a condiment during this time, as it was very expensive. However, for this example, let's say that it is a condiment.

What ways could the castle servants have obtained salt? Perhaps the salt is mined for. Look at that, suddenly our kingdom has a salt mine. Or, maybe they live near the coast, and use the ocean to get salt, which involves workers and processing. Suddenly you know more of the geography and some of the land’s inhabitants. Perhaps it is neither of those things, and they buy it from a merchant. Where did the merchant get it from? A neighboring country? Look at that, you've expanded the world.

Salt has to come from somewhere. Knowing where it originates helps you better understand your world. Now, this may just be a background detail that doesn't make it into your story. You don't need to write: “The king picks up salt, which was purchased from a merchant who got the salt from a neighboring country that they have an established trade with.”

Just say: “The king picked up salt.”

Let's give another example. Your soldiers go into battle with their swords. Where did the swords come from? Blacksmiths made them. What metals did the blacksmiths use? Maybe this story with soldiers in a battle takes place during the ancient age, and they use bronze swords. Bronze is a combination of copper and tin. Was this society fortunate enough to have both copper and tin mines? Or did they have one metal, and trade for the other? Have neither and traded for both?

Everything comes from somewhere. Things don't exist in a vacuum. A common mistake I see from writers is having various things in their story, with no explanation of how those items got there. Such as a race of beings that live at the bottom of the ocean, and have never visited the surface, but they have apple trees in their garden. There are no apples on the bottom of the ocean, and we’ve established they've never been to the surface... so where did the apple trees come from? Perhaps they traded for the seeds from another race? Or perhaps it’s something that should be removed from the story.

Economy is the place you start when you build your world. You know what your characters will do. They’ll fight in a sword duel, or fly across the universe in a space ship. They will need to eat, and drink, and sleep. So the question becomes, not only how they do this, but how do they come to being able to do these things. When we can understand that, it reveals more about your world and makes your story more complete.

It is imperative to remember that things have a cost. If you want something to appear in your story, you need to understand where it came from and how it came into being. You need to take me to your world, and immerse me in it. I want to feel like I’m there. The more a writer knows about their fictional world, the more a reader can feel connected to the story.

Find Christopher D. Votey at his website and on Twitter.
Character Astrology Profiles releases July 23 and you can pre-order it on Amazon.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

#IWSG Updates & Exciting News

It’s another IWSG posting day when we share our insecurities and encourage each other. For today’s hop, Captain Alex’s trusty helpers are Tamara Narayan, Pat Hatt, Patricia Lynne, Juneta Key, and Doreen McGettigan.

We have a lot going on this month and for those who want to answer the optional question, for July, we’ve asked What is one valuable lesson you've learned since you started writing?

The value of relationships is something that cannot be denied. The IWSG has been the vehicle through which many of us have made connections that have helped us raise the bar in our writing life and achieve things we didn’t think were possible. 

With the IWSG making the strides it has, we too are encouraged to keep moving forward on this journey and encouraging writers, new and old, to strive for the best and claim new territories.

With several anthologies under our belts, the sky is the limit in terms of what’s next. If there is something you want to do with your writing, but don’t see or know how, keep putting in the work, learning the craft and maintain a positive attitude. 

As you might have heard, we've had some exciting news recently, The IWSG has been included as one of Writer’s Digest’s 101 Best Website for Writers. This is quite an achievement and speaks to exactly what this group is about.  

On July 27th, we’ll be hosting a Twitter Pitch Party that will run from 8:00 am – 8:00 pm Eastern time. The hash tag is #IWSGPIT Get those pitches ready! For more information, check hereOur Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag #IWSG

Submissions are open for The IWSG Guide to Writing for Profit Anthology and will close on July 31. The word limit is 1000 words and if you are a member of any of our groups (IWSG Hop, Facebook, Goodreads) feel free to submit your article. Additional submission details are here.

The Secret Garden is this month’s book of choice for the book club. You have until July 31 to read.

What valuable lessons have you learned since you started writing? Do you plan to participate in the Pitch Party or submit an article for the Anthology? Are you reading The Secret Garden? Feel free to share. 

Do try and visit 5-10 persons you haven't visited in a while as you make your way around today. 

Thanks for being a part of this wonderful group of writers!

Monday, June 26, 2017

The IWSG - One of the 101 Best Websites!

This post marks a major milestone for this site – the Insecure Writer’s Support Group made the Writer’s Digest 19th Annual 101 Best Websites for Writers!
This site was created to be a major source of information and support for writers everywhere. To make the list confirms that the efforts of those behind the scene who have worked so hard to make this site and the whole IWSG group and experience as awesome as possible.

Special thanks to all of you, the writers and authors who have supported the group and this site over the years. You are the reason for this site. We couldn’t have done it without you!

Submissions are open for The IWSG Guide to Writing for Profit. What are we looking for? Anything writing related – books, journalism, articles, whatever. What have you tried that was successful? What have you tried that didn’t result in sales or making money? We need to know what doesn’t work as well! Submissions are open to all IWSG members – monthly blog post members, Facebook, and Goodreads. Details here.

Thanks again for your continued support. We’ll see you July 5 for the next posting of the IWSG blog group.

Monday, June 19, 2017

10 Ways to Maintain Writing Momentum

The big question many writers ask is, how can I keep going when I struggle to find the time to write, when I can’t get published fast enough, when I aren’t getting the sales I expected, when the idea of finding success in my writing career seems out of reach or overwhelming? The simple answer is momentum.

Momentum is the strength or force gained by motion or a series of events. In the case of writing, the more we sit and focus on what we need to do, the easier it becomes. And it’s not just the ease we gain through the act of writing, but also the love of it.

By writing, we remember how much we love it.

The moment we pause, take an extended break, allow other factors to gain priority, the easier it becomes to set our writing aside, the quicker the excuses come back, the harder it is to return. When we continue to write, the momentum keeps us confident. It also keeps the flames of our dreams fanned. Hope continues to burn within us and the thoughts of finishing that manuscript, or marketing that book, become less overwhelming.

So how do we maintain momentum in our writing?

1. We make the time to write or market. For some writers that means scheduling the time, sacrificing television, getting up an hour earlier than the rest of the family. When someone says, “I don’t have time to write,” it’s more often than not an excuse. It’s allowing other life distractions to take priority. Of course, there will always be times you won’t be able to write due to sickness, injury, commitments to others, but even then, turning your thoughts and focus, even briefly, toward your writing can help maintain the momentum. Keep in mind, though, that thinking about writing will never be as effective as simply sitting down to write. If you are crazy busy, then find ways around it. Write down those ideas that pop into your head while standing in a queue. Snatch a minute or two to develop a character further. Use your waiting room time to look up possible images of your characters, or do some quick research related to your writing.

2. Protect that writing time. Train your family and friends and yourself that this particular time you’ve set aside is your time to write. Don’t let anything infringe on it, baring of course, an emergency.

3. Don’t think of writing as “just a hobby,” even if it is. Writing is precious to you. It matters. If you are like me, then it keeps you sane. Therefore give it a measure of priority, and always remember its worth.

4. Know exactly what you want from your writing. This will give you an indication of how much time you’ll need. Work out precise, measurable goals. Go beyond the vague pseudo-goal of, “I want to write a book.” What kind of book do you want to write? How long do you want to take writing it? Do you also want a career of writing? What does that look like? What does success mean to you? The answers will be different for everyone.

5. Be cautious of taking a break from writing. Even a little break can be harmful to the momentum you’ve built. If you take a break, any kind of break, even one as brief as checking Twitter, then it’s so much harder to get back into writing.

6. Find a writing space. Ideally it should be a space you use only for writing. When you sit there, it’s a signal for your brain to turn toward writing.

7. Avoid the blank page. The blank page can mock us. I can easily spend an hour staring at it. To fix this problem, some writers, when they finish for the day, will write the first couple of sentences of the next chapter or onto the next page. This maintains momentum because it helps kick off the next day’s writing session.

8. Allow yourself to write rubbish. Don’t stop just because that perfect phrase or word is eluding you. Make a quick note and keep writing.

9. Be wary of all distractions. One of the biggest distractions for writers is social media. We need it, but we shouldn’t let it take over our precious writing time. Give yourself a separate time for social media. Other types of distractions we face are writing related distractions. A great example is research. You might come across a segment in your manuscript where you need to look up how something might work. Make a note and move on. Do your research while watching television or some other time you haven’t designated specifically for writing.

10. Don’t edit until your draft is complete. If you edit as you go, you create a distraction for yourself and by the end of the draft you might’ve realized that you need to do a major rewrite and discard the segment you spent all that time on.

In summary, always be mindful of the importance of momentum in your writing. Make the time to write, avoid all the distractions and practice discipline. And keep writing.

What do you do to keep writing? How has maintaining momentum in your writing helped you?

Lynda R. Young

Monday, June 12, 2017

From Excellent Indie Author Tips to Dreams of a Castle Retreat

Today IWSG has the amazing Derek Murphy to share some excellent tips for Indie Authors.

It's great to have you here today, Derek. So let's just hop right in with a central question. What’s your best advice to authors about creating author platforms?

Derek: Design is important for trust and credibility, but nobody will visit your site unless you are writing about the things they are interested in (using keywords they're searching for). So worry more about the content and getting backlinks from more established sites, than site design. You can always fix it after you get more traffic.

You have to crank up your audio for Derek's video. But how kind of him to take the time to create this just for IWSG readers.

What should authors consider when setting up their websites? (This probably ties in with #1, but I thought there might be some specific details about what to include and what to avoid in this piece of the platform.)

Derek: I use wordpress because it's easy to change later. Don't throw in a ton of everything. Focus on the user experience and getting them to take action, so you can measure it. You can't improve what you can't measure.
100 visits a day = 1 optin? Can you get it up to 2 or 3? Can you boost traffic?

You offer a course called Guerrilla Publishing. What can an author expect from that course?

Derek: Guerrilla Publishing is the basics of publishing quickly and launching well. I have other courses that cover a lot more, but I've found authors need less, not more. A simple plan that works. there's still a lot to do, and it can be exhausting, but if you set things up right and launch well, you can focus on the next book right away, instead of always trying to promote the first.

As a cover designer, among other amazing talents, can you tell us what the cover should do for a book?

Derek: The cover gets the right readers to read the description of the book - most authors' covers fail because they aren't attracting the right audience, either because they just aren't attractive and professional, or because the authors tried to do something unique and different for their genre-bending book. You must decide which market you're shooting for, and it should be a pretty big market, and then the cover should look like what readers expect from that market. They won't read the description to figure out what the book is about if the cover hasn't already sold them on the genre.

Tell us about your dream of a writers’ retreat in a European castle.

Derek: Still a dream, but it's something that inspires people - we rented one last year and will probably rent a castle every year for nanowrimo, but buying one is probably impractical - it was much harder to get people to take a month off and join me in europe than I'd thought it would be. I can find 10 or 20 a year, but to fundraise to buy a castle I was thinking I needed about 1000 people to buy some time to fund it. Now I'm thinking of making a writer's colony or camp in Oregon or Washington.

I want to write in a castle! Anyone out there who'd like to have that kind of experience?

Thanks, Derek. Really appreciated your participating in this interview for IWSG and sharing all your great information with our members.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Submissions Open for Free IWSG Guide / IWSG

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is a safe place for insecure writers of all kinds.

It’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. We encourage everyone to visit at least a dozen new blogs and leave a comment. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs. 

Our awesome co-hosts for today are: JH Moncrieff, Madeline Mora-Summonte, Jen Chandler, Megan Morgan, and Heather Gardner!

Our Twitter is @TheIWSG and hashtag #IWSG

Optional June 7th Question: Did you ever say “I quit”? If so, what happened to make you come back to writing?


Submission Period Now Open to Our Members!

The IWSG Guide to Writing for Profit

This will be a non-fiction book like our Guide to Publishing and Beyond.

What to write: Share experiences about making a profit as an author, what it takes to become a successful writer, the many skills a writer needs to learn other than writing, share the experience going from hobby writer to published author (without making it a self-promotion piece), the fallacies behind writing for profit, the little known facts learned along the way, what you wished you knew when you first started writing, or marketing tips based on experience of what has worked and what hasn't.

If you gave any questions, email us at admin AT

Word limit: 500-1000 words.

Submission eligibility: All members of the IWSG Blog Hop, IWSG Facebook group and/or members of our IWSG Goodreads Book Club. It's free to join any of these groups and a great benefit to be a part of these communities.

Deadline: July 31, 2017

Send your piece to admin AT as an attached Word document and note which IWSG group you belong to. Please include your name, a one line bio, and one website link.

***The BEST 100 articles will be included in the book!***

BOOK CLUB: The IWSG Book Club will be reading for June/July....

This book will demonstrate characterization, which was voted #1 by our members for what they want to learn how to do better. Even if you've read this book before, reread it with fresh eyes.

Whether you read a book is up to you. 

Whether you join the book discussion is up to you. 

Though we do hope for both. ;) 

And you can join any book discussion, even if you don’t read the book.

Our book club is not a strict one. 

Join us and participate when you can.

Optional July 5th Question: What is one valuable lesson you've learned since you started writing?

QUESTIONS: Have you ever said "I quit"? Do you make a profit writing? Will you read The Secret Garden (or re-read it with fresh eye), paying attention to characterization?