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?