insecure writers support group

#IWSG Countdown to Launch and Reading Pet Peeves

Happy 2021, writers! Join us for this supportive monthly gathering to vent our hopes and fears. You can sign up at our founder Alex Cavanaugh’s blog.

Thank you to this month’s collegial co-hosts: Ronel Janse van Vuuren , J Lenni Dorner, Gwen Gardner Sandra Cox, and Louise – Fundy Blue!

How’s your writing? I’m gearing up to publish my next sports romance, RIVALS. We’re working on the cover design, and I’m scheduling a day off work in March for the release. Since I’m self-publishing, I want to avoid the typical Tuesday of traditional publishing launches. What do you think of releasing a book on a Friday? I’m considering 3/19/21.

Question: Being a writer, when you’re reading someone else’s work, what stops you from finishing a book/throws you out of the story/frustrates you the most about other people’s books?

Ooh, I like this question. My first two pet peeves as a reader are the very errors that plagued my early writing:

  1. Adverb abuse. I hope writers won’t waste my precious reading time with She left swiftly when it’s more fun to read She skedaddled.
  2. Cliches. Don’t “beat a dead horse” by using phases like “every cloud has a silver lining” or “it’s raining cats and dogs”. My aunt told me that good writing is poetic–fresh, lyrical, and unique.
  3. But most of all, I’ll abandon a story that lacks an emotional connection to the characters. If I don’t care about the people inhabiting the story, the writing quality doesn’t matter. I love vulnerable characters who grow through facing intense conflict.
insecure writers support group

IWSG: Writing Productivity

Thank you to Alex Cavanaugh and the congenial co-hosts for December: Pat Garcia,Sylvia Ney,Liesbet @ Roaming AboutCathrina Constantine, and Natalie Aguirre!

December’s question: Are there months or times of the year that you are more productive with your writing than other months, and why?

In the past, the demands of my university day job used to lighten in the summer months, and I would write more then. Now, my day job is steady throughout the year, so my writing has the same pace year-round: LEISURELY.

Although my writing pace has slowed, I’m thrilled that the wonderful Jessica Royer Ocken took less than two weeks to edit my latest novel, Rivals. Thanks to the speedy critique of Nicki Elson as well! I’m now working on cover design, formatting, and…

creating my first AUDIOBOOK *squee*

Image by Felix Lichtenfeld from Pixabay

Audiobooks are the only format I read these days, and I’m eager to develop one of my own. If you’ve made an audiobook, any tips for me?

Happy Holidays to all writers!

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?

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IWSG: New Releases by Nicki Elson and Chrys Fey

Welcome to the August 2020 edition of the Insecure Writers Support Group, hosted by Alex Cavanaugh.

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Congratulations to my critique partner, Nicki Elson, on the launch of her 8th novel yesterday: MOLLY UNPLANNED.

Here’s my 5-star review of Miss Molly.

I’m thrilled to co-host today, along with: Susan Baury Rouchard, Nancy Gideon, Jennifer Hawes, Chemist Ken, and Chrys Fey!

Speaking of the lovely Chrys Fey, I’m part of the blog hop to celebrate her new release, Keep Writing with Fey: Sparks to Defeat Writer’s Block, Depression, and Burnout. Congratulations to Chrys! Scroll down to read my own experience with these issues.

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Catch the sparks you need to conquer writer’s block, depression, and burnout!

When Chrys Fey shared her story about depression and burnout, it struck a chord with other writers. That put into perspective for her how desperate writers are to hear they aren’t alone. Many creative types experience these challenges, battling to recover. Let Keep Writing with Fey: Sparks to Defeat Writer’s Block, Depression, and Burnout guide you through:

  • Writer’s block
  • Depression
  • Writer’s burnout
  • What a writer doesn’t need to succeed
  • Finding creativity boosts

With these sparks, you can begin your journey of rediscovering your creativity and get back to what you love – writing.

(The table of contents of this book looks fantastic!)

BOOK LINKS:

Amazon / Nook / iTunes / Kobo

Goodreads

Chrys Fey Author Photo

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Chrys Fey is the author of Write with Fey: 10 Sparks to Guide You from Idea to Publication. She is also the author of the Disaster Crimes series. Visit her blog, Write with Fey, for more tips on how to reverse writer’s burnout. https://www.chrysfey.com/

Keep Writing with Fey Blog Hop: Share your story about writer’s block, depression, and/or burnout and how you overcame it or what you are currently doing to heal.

Since writing is secondary to my work as a psychologist, I write only when I feel like it. Therefore, I don’t experience much writer’s block or burnout. But I have turned to writing to deal with feelings of depression from painful events in my psychology career.

For 15 years, I have worked for two different university departments, and I don’t seem to fit well with one of them. Twice, that department has chosen to work with another psychologist instead of me. (I guess I’m a masochist for returning after the first time they let me go.) The process has been all the more agonizing due to their lack of direct communication. It was a gradual ghosting instead of a kind cutoff.

Therapy has taught me that self-talk is important for healing. When hurtful events happen, we can benefit from compassionate narratives. Since I write romance novels, some of my narratives compared getting fired to romantic rejection:

When reality sucked, I turned to fiction.

They don’t know my strength.

I won’t let one person determine my value.

We separated, then reunited, but the bitterness and poor communication continued, leading to a divorce.

A relationship breakup doesn’t mean either person is wrong or bad; it’s just a poor fit. I can find a better fit elsewhere, or I can stay single by going into private practice! 😀

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What is YOUR experience with writer’s block, depression, or burnout? Thanks for stopping by.

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Writers, Have You Heard About The Occupation Thesaurus?

Hi everyone! Today I feature a new book for writers…a treasure trove to enrich your character authenticity.

Some of you may know Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi of Writers Helping Writers. Well, today they are releasing a new book, and I’m part of their street team. I’m handing the blog over to them so they can tell you about their Writer’s Showcase event, new book, and a great freebie to check out. Read on!


Certain details can reveal a lot about a character, such as their goals, desires, and backstory wounds. But did you know there’s another detail that can tie your character’s arc to the plot, provide intense, multi-layered conflict, AND shorten the “get to know the character” curve for readers?

It’s true. Your character’s occupation is a GOLD MINE of storytelling potential.

Think about it: how much time do you spend on the job? Does it fulfill you or frustrate you? Can you separate work from home? Is it causing you challenges, creating obstacles…or bringing you joy and helping you live your truth?

Just like us, most characters will have a job, and the work they do will impact their life. The ups and downs can serve us well in the story.

Maybe you haven’t thought much about jobs in the past and how they act as a window into your character’s personality, interests, and skills. It’s okay, you aren’t alone. The good news is that The Occupation Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Jobs, Vocations, and Careers is going to do all the heavy lifting for you. (Here’s one of the job profiles we cover in this book: FIREFIGHTER.)

GIVEAWAY ALERT: THE WRITER’S SHOWCASE

To celebrate the release of a new book, Writers Helping Writers has a giveaway happening July 20th & July 23rd. You can win some great prizes, including gift certificates that can be spent on writing services within our Writer’s Showcase. Stop by to enter!

Resource Alert: A List of Additional Jobs Profiles For Your Characters

Some of the amazing writers in our community have put together additional career profiles for you, based on jobs they have done in the past. What a great way to get accurate information so you can better describe the roles and responsibilities that go with a specific job, right? To access this list, GO HERE.

(Jennifer Lane here: Check out the job profile I added for SPORTS COACH. The heroine and hero in my work-in-progress both work as coaches for rival universities.)

Happy writing to all!

 

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#IWSG Publishing Changes and KITTIES!

Thank you to Alex Cavanaugh for convening the monthly IWSG, where we share our neuroses to help us feel less alone.

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The awesome co-hosts for the July 1 posting of the IWSG are Jenni Enzor, Beth Camp, Liesbet, Tyrean Martinson, and Sandra Cox!

July 1 question: There have been many industry changes in the last decade, so what are some changes you would like to see happen in the next decade?

I rarely follow publishing trends but I did find some predictions in this article. Self-publishing is already flooded, and all the writers pumping out words during quarantine will drown the market. I can’t wait to read the brilliant creations!

The demand for screenplays will likely increase given all of the streaming services. I hope to learn more about writing screenplays.

For those of you with a work in progress during COVID-19, are you altering your story to include the pandemic? I’m not. I believe many readers want an escape from this dreary reality.

Speaking of WIPs, mine is plodding along, up to 62K words out of about 80K. How’s your WIP?

My biggest excitement this month is KITTIES! I adopt two kittens tomorrow, a brother and sister. It’s been five years since my cat, Izzie, crossed over the rainbow bridge, and I’m finally ready.

I fell in love with tuxedo cats when author Jayne Rylon posted photos of her foster kittens on Facebook. Did you know tuxedo cats are smarter than other color patterns? So, I’m adopting a male tuxedo cat and his sister.

 

I’m thinking of the names Tux and Tessa. Got any fun bro/sis cat names to suggest? Whatever their names, I’m sure they’ll be excellent writing companions.

 

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#IWSG Writer Secrets

Happy June to all writers! Join us at host Alex Cavanaught’s blog to share our neurotic fears.

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Thank you to June’s cohosts: Pat Garcia, J.Q. Rose, and Natalie Aguirre!

This month’s question: Writers have secrets! What is one of yours–something readers would never know about you?

Well it won’t be a secret for long if I share it with you, will it?

Okay, okay, I’ll answer the question. The secret I’ll share relates to this line:

My life is like a romantic comedy, only there’s no romance and it’s just me laughing at my own jokes.

My secret: I suck at romance! (Interesting that I write romance novels, eh?) I’m perpetually single. I have rich, fulfilling friendships, but when it comes to romance, I seem to be commitment phobic. Strange dating encounters have included my puzzling attraction to gay men, as well as the time eharmony set me up with a pig farmer (not that there’s anything wrong with that–I mean, non-stop access to BACON, baby.)

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Maybe I turn to fiction to find what’s lacking in my real life? Maybe my annoying habit of laughing at my own jokes drives away potential suitors?

Can’t wait to hear YOUR secrets!

Also, I finally got around to reading On Writing by Stephen King (recommended by several of you), and here’s my 4-star review.

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#IWSG Your Future Writer Self

Join us for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group at creator Alex Cavanaugh’s blog.

Happy Holidays, writers! I just returned from Chicago where my family celebrated Thanksgiving. My oldest sister made a yummy meal including a brussels sprout salad, and my middle sister went all out planning a Frozen-themed party for my niece’s second birthday. (The seal was a gift for my niece that snuck onto the table. Not part of the movie, but still a wintry theme.)



December 4 question – Let’s play a game. Imagine. Role-play. How would you describe your future writer self, your life and what it looks and feels like if you were living the dream? Or if you are already there, what does it look and feel like? Tell the rest of us. What would you change or improve?

Imagining the future, hmm. My writing life has never been intentional–I fell into it through fan fiction, and I consider writing more of a hobby than a career. As a result, it’s tough to plot a future for my writer self. 


I have envisioned a time when my psychology career slows down, meeting with fewer clients per week, and increasing writing time then. I’d like to venture into different genres, character ages, and tenses. I want to continue improving my craft. I also picture myself near a beach somewhere, likely South Carolina to watch my precious niece grow up! 


Thank you to the courageous co-hosts for December 4: Tonja Drecker, Beverly Stowe McClure, Nicki Elson, Fundy Blue, and Tyrean Martinson (A special thanks to Nicki Elson for being the best damn critique partner a writer can have.)
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#IWSG Arresting Google Searches




It’s time to disclose our inadequacy and excitement about writing. Check out where it all started on Alex Cavanaugh’s blog.

Thank you to this month’s co-hosts:


This month’s question:

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever googled in researching a story?

What a great question! I’m sure many of us fear getting arrested for our bizarro and sometimes illegal internet searches, all in pursuit of writing with authenticity.


No way I can choose just one, so here’s a list of strange searches I’ve conducted:

Nicotine patches (for my WIP)
NCAA recruiting rules (also WIP)
Seafood restaurants in Pensacola, Florida
Secret Service protection for families of presidential candidates
ANFO (explosive)
Paintings of dogs playing poker
US Naval Academy Honor Concept
Parts of a guitar
Insulin pumps
Frank Sinatra songs
Parolee voting rights
Chemistry experiments gone wrong

And last but not least: 
Splenectomy!
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#IWSG How Does Reading Affect Writing?

Writing can be lonely and disheartening, and I’m thankful for our monthly support group to lift up writers everywhere. Alex Cavanaugh started the group and has a great admin team to keep it going.

Thank you to these intrepid co-hosts:


This month’s question:
It’s been said that the benefits of becoming a writer who does not read is that all your ideas are new and original. Everything you do is an extension of yourself, instead of a mixture of you and another author. On the other hand, how can you expect other people to want your writing, if you don’t enjoy reading? What are your thoughts?


I’ve only heard about how much reading can help writing, and I’ve experienced those benefits myself, so I disagree with the notion that reading may interfere with originality in writing. Our imaginations are infinite–even if we read an idea that inspires our own work, we will produce a much different take on the story than any other writer.

It is true that particular genres sometimes flood the market (like paranormal romance around the time of my debut novel in 2010), but this phenomenon is probably more about following trends than about too much reading.

How has voracious reading made your writing better? Here’s how it has helped me:

1) Familiarity with the genre helps me improve my story’s structure (including pacing, voice, length, characterization). 

2) Reading increases my vocabulary and clarity. Occasionally, I jot down words or phrases that resonate with me, like in the murder mystery Defending Jacob that I just finished reading. The author described a TV news van barnacled with satellite dishes and antennae–a cool description, I thought. 

3) Reading absolutely stimulates my writing! When I read an amazing book, I can’t wait to get back to my manuscript and try to create a teensy bit of magic myself.