insecure writers support group

Insecure Writers Support Group: Why I Write

Happy November, writers! Kvetch with us at Alex Cavanaugh’s blog.

Thank you to the wonderful co-hosts for the November 4 posting of the IWSG: Jemi Fraser, Kim Lajevardi, L.G Keltner, Tyrean Martinson, and Rachna Chhabria!

November 4 question – Albert Camus once said, “The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.” Flannery O’Conner said, “I write to discover what I know.” Authors across time and distance have had many reasons to write. Why do you write what you write?

Fantastic question! I never expected to become a writer. What I didn’t realize, however, was that I lived the writer experience long before publishing novels. As a psychologist, I write a case note after every psychotherapy session. These are narratives about the past, present, and future; narratives about tragedies and triumphs. I’ve also written a few scientific journal articles and book chapters.

So, maybe it wasn’t so far-fetched that I started writing novels, since they share a common motivation with my case notes: trying to make sense of why we do what we do.

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay
Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay
Image by Foundry Co. from Pixabay
Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay 

Over time, I’ve developed other reasons for writing:

  • Demystifying psychotherapy
  • Sharing the healing power of love
  • Exploring how functional and dysfunctional families work
  • Creating happy endings when I can’t find them in real life, and…
  • CONNECTING with the reader. I think we’re all seeking connection.

What about you? What motivates you to write or read?


Best #Self-Help Strategies for People in Recovery

Thank you to Charles Watson for the guest post on self-help strategies for recovering from addiction! Take it away, Charles:

Best Self-Help Strategies for People in Recovery

People are often taught to seek help when experiencing a recovery crisis. Although this is advisable at the beginning, it can also be helpful to perform some self-help strategies to boost chances of recovery. Read further to find out what you can do.

Self-help is a topic that is often explored in improving one’s wellness, business, or other individualistic pursuit. There are countless books and resources published in the topic of self-help, and it can sometimes be overwhelming which strategies are helpful for someone who has specific needs.

What is self-help?

Self-help, by definition, is using one’s own resources and will power to achieve things without the seeking the need of other people. This concept can be applied in many areas of your life while in recovery, such as forming of healthy habits, productivity, improving relationships, and many others.
Although it is understandable that you will still need the help of professionals when it comes to looking out for your health, there are some aspects of yourself that can be improved only through your choice. When you choose to better yourself, it helps you take another step towards recovery success.

What are the benefits of self-help strategies in recovery?

Self-help can supplement other recovery methods.

Self-help tools can aid your other recovery plans, such as those imposed to you if you go to a rehabilitation center. For example, a nutritionist may provide you with a diet plan that you should follow for recovery.
Accompanying this with self-help strategies to improve your sleeping habits can further aid in your health and increase your chances for recovery.

It can provide you with the motivation you need.

Many people find themselves motivated at the initial part of a rehabilitation period. However, as time goes by and the challenges to stay sober increase, it may be difficult to be on the right track.
Adopting self-help strategies could alleviate this lack of motivation and could give you the habit-forming tools to stay away from your old habits.

It can give you a strengthened mental perspective.

One of the cornerstones of self-help is discipline and control, and this is what you need on your road to recovery. Having a strong mental perspective gives you the ability to resist all kinds of temptations especially after you get away from rehabilitation centers or other controlled environments.
The ability to say “no” can be hard to achieve if you don’t have a strong mind. Acquiring a strong mind through self-help may be beneficial to your success.
Having mentioned all these self-help benefits, what are some of the best strategies in this area that can push you towards your goal?

What are self-help strategies to use for recovery?

Have a reality check about your substance abuse.

The most common hurdle for people who are undergoing addiction is their denial to the extent of their current state. As a person who is constantly taking substances, you need to admit that you have an addiction. Admitting to yourself that you need help is the first step in understanding and accepting the steps that you need to take for progress.
The most common signs that you have substance addiction are:
       Interference of drug use to your daily life
       Consistent use of substances even when it’s no longer prescribed or recommended
       Taking steps, even if morally wrong, to acquire substances such as drugs or alcohol
       Loss of control or irrational thoughts due to substance use
       Engaging in reckless behavior
       Physical health problems due to malnutrition on continued substance use

Read self-help addiction recovery material.

There are many inspirational and motivational books about addiction recovery that can help you get started with improving your mental strength. A lot of these books can vary in content–some of them contain touching stories of those who succeeded, and other have more specific steps you can take during the process of recovery.
These self-help books are meant to help you see the consequences of further addiction, make you understand how your addiction works, and what are some small habits you can pick up to keep yourself sober. Some of the top best sellers are:
       The Naked Mind: Control Alcohol by Annie Grace
       Integral Recovery by John Dupuy
       Awakening the Brain by Charlotte Tomaino
       Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America’s Greatest Tragedy by David Sheff
Explore these titles and see which ones are applicable to you.

Attend self-help groups.

Another strategy that can help people to succeed in recovery is attending self-help groups. When it comes to fighting addiction, having a support group is essential to help build accountability towards each other.
Many self-help groups have people who did not necessarily go to rehab centers to fight their problems. A lot of them listened to others, found emotional strength through each other’s support, or found that socialization is a great occupation to keep them away from substances.
Some of the popular self-help groups are Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous. If you already have a rehab center that you’re currently attending, there may be support groups available to your current demographic and personal needs. Alternatively, there are also non 12 step rehab centers offering holistic services with support groups to help those in recovery.

Replace old habits with new ones.

Addiction is not about removal, but rather replacement. When you simply remove something in your life, that specific void will always have a need to be filled. This is why going cold turkey against substances often prove to be ineffective because people fail to replace their old habits with healthy ones.
A self-help strategy that is also applied in many rehab centers is searching for habits that help people stay away from drugs and alcohol. For example, instead of taking in drugs, people can pursue other hobbies such as going to the gym, adopting a pet, or attending events. Being idle can play tricks in your head, and make you feel like there’s a sense of lack. Research shows that you need a minimum of 21 days to establish a good habit in your daily routine.

Help yourself on the road to recovery

The road to recovery is comprised of many elements–seeking help from others, following specific steps, and having the self-motivated decision to succeed. As these elements come together, you will have better chances of taking the path towards addiction recovery.

#IWSG Inspringration

Welcome to May’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group hosted by Alex Cavanaugh. It’s a great place to vent fears and encourage each other.

Make sure to visit May’s Co-Hosts:

May’s Question: It’s spring! Does this season inspire you to write more than others, or not?

Thank goodness spring has sprung. These cold, cloudy days have been major downers. The longer daylight in spring often motivates many aspects of my life, including writing. 

I’m also inspired by different types of artists. Is anyone watching American Idol? I’m amazed by how much I enjoy the new season. Besides writing, creative pursuits like singing, cooking (in Chopped), and fashion design (in Project Runway) enthrall me.

Here’s a post that might interest you: Seven Ways to Build Your Writing Confidence.

Happy writing!

What I Do and Why I Do It

Thank you to my friendly, funny critique partner Nicki Elson for tagging me to answer four writerly questions! (That’s her gorgeous self, on the left.) Nicki is the author of 80’s romp Three Daves and sexy angel story Divine Temptation. And I’m really stoked for the upcoming release of her hilarious chick lit, tentatively titled Vibrizzio (a buzzing Italian lover hehe).

Onto the questions…

What am I working on?

I’m nearing the finish line of writing Blocked, a college volleyball romance. Spike! The story features a forbidden romance between the offspring of candidates for US President: Lucia Ramirez, daughter of the Republican nominee, and Dane Monroe, son of the Democratic nominee.  Lucia and Dane are freakishly tall scholarship volleyball players who think the opponent’s political philosophy is FAIL. But they can’t deny their attraction to each other.

Swimmer Matt Grevers, who’s 6’8″, inspired the character of Dane Monroe:


How does my writing differ from others in its genre?

As a psychologist, I like to bring a psycho element to romance by including mental health diagnoses and therapy scenes. In Blocked, I gave Lucia an eating disorder and Dane an alcohol problem. (Tee hee.) Naturally, I threw them into some much needed therapy with a sport psychologist.

Why do I write what I do?

I write romance because of all the feels. It makes my heart skip when characters kiss! And I write stories of healing and redemption because I love to witness them every day. I want to inspire readers to overcome emotional pain in order to reach new heights.

How does my writing process work?

Recently I’ve relied less on an outline, instead letting the characters lead the way. It’s so helpful to share each chapter with critique partners…making writing more social is motivational for me. My one complaint about my process: it’s SLOW. Waah. I wish it could go faster.

And now I get to tag four authors so they can tell us what they do and why they do it. I tag:

***Darcia Helle***

***Elisa Dane***

***Matthew Alan***

***Lisette Brodey***

Please stop by next week (6/4) for the Insecure Writers Support Group. I need your advice for self-publishing!