Cover Adventures: Creating Covers

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group

This month’s question for February 1 is: If you are an Indie author, do you make your own covers or purchase them? If you publish trad, how much input do you have about what goes on your cover?

Cover Adventures: Creating Covers

My first three books were traditionally published in the 1990s with two different publishers.

While I wasn’t thrilled with the cover of my first book, The Man on the Romance Cover (’93), at least the faces matched the magazine pictures I had sent them, providing a sense of how I saw the characters.

With the second and third books, Tomorrow’s Wishes (’94) and New Beginnings (’96) published by Avalon Books, who sold books chiefly to libraries, I had no say in the covers and wasn’t consulted. I mailed them the manuscript each time, and then one day a box of books would appear on my doorstep.

When I began to write fulltime—my dream come true—and became an indie author/publisher, I already had the rights back from those first three published books, so I updated the books’ text, retitled them, and created new covers, using my artistic background and formatting education.

My designs were okay but needed something more. I found a cover designer, loving her work. She took my designs and improved them, then created Grendel’s Mother from just an idea. I provided the stock photos for my seven Laurel Ridge novella covers, along with three other books. She did a fantastic job with all the covers and was a joy to work with. She left the business upon the birth of her second child.

A designer from a writer’s group I recently joined introduced herself with a redo cover of that nonfiction Fire book—a cover that was gorgeous, but the design didn’t fit my overall series design. Quickly, through a Zoom meeting, we became friends and I mentioned that I needed a cover for my Christmas story screenplay that I was publishing, Charlie’s Christmas Carole. She’s an absolute delight to work with, so I’ll be using her for future books.

With the help of a good friend, we redid Love’s New Beginnings, and then she helped me create the template for my non-fiction, Finding Your Fire & Keeping It Hot, which is the first in a series of books that writers will find helpful. I’ll be creating the other covers now that I have the template

With the anthology, Lost and Found that I edited and was a contributing author, the lead author and I designed that book’s front cover, which then I finished the spine and the back.

As an indie author/publisher, all of my covers have been a collaboration, where I find the main stock photo, relay my idea for additions, and then the designer takes what I’ve presented and runs with it, adding their spin, which is always perfect.

I enjoy seeing my visions come to life, and it allows me a bit of artistry playtime now that I’m not painting or sketching anymore. I put that hobby aside in favor of writing decades ago because I saw writing as a career, wanting to devote the bulk of my time to it.

Today, I would have trouble handing over total design of my covers to a publisher, even one of the big five publishers. I would always want to have a voice, even if only a small one.

*****

Purpose of The Insecure Writer’s Group: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds.

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group Day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting.

The awesome co-hosts for the February 1 posting of the IWSG are Jacqui Murray, Ronel Janse van Vuuren, Pat Garcia, and Gwen Gardner!

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Posted in #IWSG, Covers, Laurel Ridge novellas, Publishing books, Writing Behind the Scenes | Tagged , , , , | 11 Comments

My Word for the Year

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group

This month’s question for January 4 is: Do you have a word of the year? Is there one word that sums up what you need to work on or change in the coming year?

My Word for the Year

I’m a spreadsheet geek.

It’s a new year, so I set up my 2023 spreadsheet and because I’m an analytical geek, as well, I calculated my 2022 writing hours. Here’s how I spent last year’s writing time:

  • 22.18% promoting
  • 15.75% teaching, coaching & mentoring
  • 13.03% in meetings
  • 9.298% on writing tasks

for a total of 60.24% of time spent on writing-related activities other than actual writing.

That meant I was only writing new words, rewriting, editing, polishing, and formatting for only 39.76% of the time.

Eye-opening for sure! Surprising, too, considering I had published five books in 2022 but wasn’t seeing good outcomes in the promotions. As a result, in 2023, I will work to reverse those two numbers. Why? Chiefly, because I recognize that ads don’t really sell books. Readers, via their word-of-mouth accolades, sell books.

So, to spend more time in actual writing and publishing to build up my body of work and less on promoting and other writing tasks, I need to be better focused.

And, that’s how my word for the year became:

FOCUS

I know I’ll be publishing the last three novellas to my romance series, another non-fiction motivational / how-to book—this one on grammar and punctuation, and I have ideas for other projects I want to start plotting. This focus should better help me manifest my writing desires, which means producing more product, which then should attract more readers.

But, wouldn’t you know it. Since I just released my newest book, Charlie’s Christmas Carole, a family Christmas screenplay with paranormal moments that readers say should be a movie, I need to do some promotional work. All the while, I’m whispering, focus, focus, focus, which makes me eager to get back to producing the last three Laurel Ridge novellas.

By the way, Shattered Dreams, the first story in the series, will be free for all readers on Jan 10-14.

How about you? Have you read Shattered Dreams, yet? A second-chance story of love, about two high school sweethearts who were brutally separated and have met up again a decade later?

Also, what’s your word for 2023? What’s the inspiration behind it? I’d like to know!

*****

Purpose of The Insecure Writer’s Group: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds.

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group Day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting.

The next IWSGTwitter Pitch will be January 25, 2023!
Check out details on our #IWSGPit page.
Posted in #IWSG, Motivation | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

Writing Through the Holidays

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group

This month’s question for Dec 7 is: It’s holiday time! Are the holidays a time to catch up or fall behind on writer goals?

Writing Through the Holidays

Over 50 years ago, I dreamed of the day when I would be writing full-time, surrounded by books. For most of those years, I was writing on holidays.

In my 20s & 30s: Christmas school vacations meant no writing during the day as the kids were home. We’d fill our time with fun activities and major writing would wait until school started again in the new year. My office was a spare bedroom that also served as a storage room, and I had a couple bookcases in the living room.

In my 40s: This decade was a mixed bag of events of non-writing jobs where I worked on both sides of any holiday, writing on the holiday. Once I became an empty-nester, if I wasn’t traveling during Christmas, I spent it writing. One of the three bedrooms became my office and contained a few bookcases.

In my 50s: Major writing transitions occurred in this decade. From writing a few hours a week because I worked full-time in business to working full-time and going to school full-time. I traded creative writing for academic writing. Midway through the decade, I began teaching full-time while still a full-time student. I collected research and reference books—filling my one-bedroom apartment with 17 double-stacked bookcases. My office was a corner in the living room. During the holidays, I was either writing academic papers or grading student paper, writing comments on them.

In my 60s: Life-altering events filled this decade. Two years after receiving my Ph.D., the campus where I chaired the English department closed, so I retired and became a full-time indie author and publisher, living the dream of writing full-time while surrounded by books. Most Christmases, I was writing while my kids and their families celebrated the day with in-laws.

In my 70s: A new decade for me, where I continue living my dream. I have fewer bookcases, though, having downsized my living space. My daughter says that I’m the only one she knows who has an office that comes with a bedroom and kitchen as the living room is my office.

Hard to believe I’ve been writing for over 50 years. Most of my writing was performed in spare moments: editing at stop lights, playgrounds, airports, or dictating while driving. Huge chunks of creative writing time before retirement were rare. Plus, I sacrificed a social life in exchange for a writing life.

These days, every day is a writing day, even the holidays. In fact, I rarely know what day it is.

The journey getting here is all the sweeter because I recognize writing full-time wasn’t the actual dream. Getting the writing done and published was the dream. From that perspective, I’ve done well.

A dream can come true if you want it bad enough to take advantage of the small moments and keep that dream forever forward in your thoughts and plans.

Merry Christmas!

*****

Purpose of The Insecure Writer’s Group: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds.

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group Day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting.

Posted in #IWSG, Persistance | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

7 Reasons Why I Love NaNoWriMo

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group

The question for this month is: November is National Novel Writing Month. Have you ever participated? If not, why not?

7 Reasons Why I Love NaNoWriMo

The first year I participated in the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo or Nano) was in 2013.

I didn’t participate in 2014, but I’ve participated every year since 2015. Only in the last two years have I been able to meet the goal of writing 50,000 words, because I discovered a secret about Nano that isn’t highly advertised—my #1 reason for loving Nano.

 My 7 Reasons

  1. I can edit for 50 hours instead of writing 50,000 new words. One hour of editing is the equivalent of writing 1,000 words.
  2. I’m forced to concentrate on just one project rather than my usual 2, 3, or 4 projects.
  3. Forced to concentrate on only one project, it’s likely to be finished and published soon.
  4. My daily writing habits are reinforced.
  5. I work best with deadlines and since I’m an indie author, I have only self-determined deadlines… rarely met. Weekly and monthly deadlines I can handle, but end-date deadlines, I blow right past them. Participating in Nano provides that 50 hours/50,000 words deadline.
  6. I know that thousands of other writers are huddled over the keyboard, doing the same as I am. It’s comforting knowing that.
  7. I enjoy seeing projects I started years ago come to the forefront again and become published books or screenplays.

*****

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds.

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting.

Posted in #IWSG | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

October’s Glory

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group

The question for this month is: What do you consider the best characteristics of your favorite genre?

Because I have a number of favorite genres, that question becomes long in answering. Instead, I’m choosing to write about my favorite month of the year: October.

October’s Glory

As much as I had to see summer end because it means having to shut the windows and doors and blocking the sounds of nature—mostly the birds—I am absolutely thrilled when October arrives. Here are the many reasons why I love it so.

My favorite season, fall, is finally here!

The vibrant and picture-worth colors start arriving. Reds, orange, yellow, lots of various greens and browns, where the trees become a fashion parade of brilliance. Breathtaking around every corner and at every glance. If only those colors could last longer than just a couple weeks.

The air becomes crisp, requiring a light jacket in the morning and evenings. If the temps do warm up a bit, there’s a cool undertone just waiting for the warmer temp to slip up so that it can sneak in again.

The food – Candy corn! Pumpkin pie, the bounty of vegetables from the garden, casseroles, soups, chili!

Cuddling up under a blanket.

SWEATERS! Need I say more?

And, it’s my birthday month. What better way than to celebrate my favorite month, my favorite season, right?

How about you? Do you enjoy October?

*****

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds.

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting.

Posted in #amwriting, #IWSG, Writer at Work, Writing Behind the Scenes | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

Why You Want to Be Passionate About Your Writing: (and 9 suggestions on how to find that passion)

Writing with Passion

By Diana Stout, MFA, PhD

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group

The question for this month is: What genre would be the worst one for you to tackle and why?

I write in multiple genres. Basically, I could write in any genre I chose provided my passion remains high; therefore, there isn’t any one genre that would be worse than another, but It wasn’t always that way. In the beginning, I struggled in the fiction genre and had to learn how to find and keep my passion high for those projects.

I’m in a lot of writing forums online, where a good number of the members are relatively new writers. The comments I see repeatedly are:

  • I’m bored with my characters. What should I do?
  • I can’t think of anything to write about. Can you (meaning all of us) give me some ideas?
  • I don’t read [insert genre, like romance, mysteries, sci-fi] and I’m writing one. Is that a problem?
  • I only write now and then, when I feel like it. How do I become more interested?
  • What must I do to write every day?

You get the idea. They sound a bit lost, don’t they?

I remember when I first started writing feeling that same way.

  • I didn’t write every day.
  • Halfway through a manuscript, I became bored with my characters.
  • Writer’s block became a constant companion.

My one redemption was that I read a lot. Basically, a book a day, reading both fiction and non-fiction. And when I started writing, I was reading in the genres I wanted to write.

While reading can broaden and deepen your writing skills to a point, it’s about the practice of writing that creates the difference between an experienced writer and an aspiring writer.

Suggestion #1 – If you’re going to be a writer, you need to read more than just the genre you’re writing in. Read fiction and nonfiction, read how-to books about the craft of writing. Read articles and books about writers. Read their blogs. Read everything.

Suggestion #2 – While you’re reading, pay attention to the writing structure, the use of the authors’ words and phrases. Reread passages that take your breath away or have you nodding your head. What are they doing that you’re not doing? I learned more about how to write fiction by reading screenplays than I did by reading other novels. Be willing to diversify.

Suggestion #3 – Write every day. Every. Single. Day. Even if it’s only ten or fifteen minutes to start with. Even if you don’t want to do it. Just do it.

Suggestion #4 – Write every day using the same tools, in the same place. What you’re doing is creating a habit. When I sit at my desk every day, I know that while I may dink around a bit cleaning my desk and answering emails, I will be writing eventually. Even if only for ten minutes on certain days. Most days, once I settle in, I’m writing anywhere from 3-10 hours—writing new words, editing, or polishing.

Suggestion #5 – If you’re not interested in writing in your current WIP, then write something else. Write a blog, or a letter to the universe (no one in particular) where you rant about a problem, which then you destroy the letter afterward. Or better yet, turn your rant into a blog, putting a positive spin on it. Write a list of questions that you then find answers by researching qualitative websites.

Suggestion #6 – Have no ideas on what to write? Then create a list of everything that interests you, or list your complaints, list what you’d love to share with other writers, characters you love, books you love, then list why you love them. Guess what? In generating a list, you’ve spent time writing! Ideas will come from the list-making.

Suggestion #7 – Bored with your characters or their story? Guess what? If you’re bored, so will be your readers. When I’ve lost interest in my characters, that tells me that I don’t know them well enough, yet. As a result, I get stuck (some call it writer’s block) in my story, not knowing what should come next. It means, I need to go back to the beginning and add to their character development, dig deeper into their personalities, ask questions until they’re spilling their guts.

Suggestion #8 – Being stuck means I need to go back and create more conflict for those characters based on their decisions. Once my characters can make me laugh out loud as they dictate dialogue or because of their actions, I know my readers will laugh too. My characters’ ability to make me laugh or turn the page—no matter how many times I’ve read the pages—tells me I have found my passion for that project again.

Suggestion #9 – If none of these suggestions are working for you, have you considered reading my book, Finding Your Fire & Keeping It Hot? (available at any bookseller). In it, I share a lot of reasons why your passion has disappeared, more than I could list here.

This book was the foundation of a class I just finished teaching, and where students were saying that my book had changed their lives. They had found their passion to write again.

My desire in writing the book was to share with other writers the research I had done and the steps I took to find and maintain my writing passion, keeping it hot most days.

What’s your writing passion level these days?

  • Cold and dead?
  • Somewhat warm?
  • Or hot like mine?

*****

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds.

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting.

http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/

Posted in #IWSG, Blogging, Writing with Passion | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

Writing to Market or Writing From the Heart

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group

The question for this month is: When you set out to write a story, do you try to be more original or do you try to give readers what they want?

Writing to Market or Writing From the Heart

My answer to this month’s question is both, depending on the project.

Grendel’s Mother was born from the heart. I gave a female who had no voice in Beowulf—a woman made into a monster—a voice. It was my first book published as an indie publisher.

Two romances, traditionally published in the 90s—were written to market, though my heart was in their locations.

Tomorrow’s Wish for Love, originally published as Tomorrow’s Wishes, is a sweet romance written specifically for Avalon Books who published only to libraries. This book takes place in Grady County, Georgia where I lived for nine years.

Love’s New Beginnings, originally published as New Beginnings, is likewise a sweet romance written for Avalon Books. This book takes place in Calhoun County, Michigan where I was raised and lived currently.

Once I got the rights back, I retitled, revised, and updated them, and gave each a new cover.

Determined Hearts was a book written from my heart, though I had been considering its possible market. It was my second book ever written and it became my first book traditionally sold, published as The Man on the Romance Cover. Once I had the rights back, like the other two romances, I revamped the title, cover, and updated the content.

My cookbook, The Super Simple Easy Basic Cookbook, was born of my lifetime collection of recipes. The bonus of publishing it? Now everyone else had easy access to my recipes…well, for a price.

David & Goliath was truly born of my heart. It’s a book in screenplay format and is a suspense thriller, a category I’m returning to. D&G was one of three scripts I wrote that year.

Miss Mississippi was a script I plotted to market, having researched that I discovered 7 of the top 10 movies—comedies—that year had men in dresses, but then the writing totally came from the heart. That’s the script I optioned and it still gets interest, though now it needs a massive rewrite.

Finding Your Fire & Keeping It Hot was born both of my heart and written to market. The topic is one I talk a lot about: how to find your passion, your purpose, how Universal Laws operate, and the book is based on my journey of these topics. I’ve had people telling me I needed to write the book, so I finally did.

With students, teachers, and other writers telling me that I needed to write my plagiarism how-not-to book, and my grammar and punctuation book, along with other writing craft topics I’ve taught over the years, these will be upcoming non-fiction how-to books…written from the heart but with the consideration to market.

Writing to market is okay, but writing from the heart is the best because I’m fully engaged and interested as much as the readers will be once I publish the book.

*****

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds.

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting.

Posted in #IWSG, Blogging, Writing Behind the Scenes | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

Your Purpose as a Writer

Think back to your early days as a writer.

If your early days were as a child, your answer will be different from that of an adult. So, if you started as a child, consider your answer when you first began writing, and then consider a second answer of why you wanted to continue writing as an adult.

I can’t say I had a set-the-world-on-fire purpose or even one that served others as I began writing when I was 19, and then would pursue the craft more enthusiastically at 25.

My first intent was to make money.

My second intent was to get my name in print.

Once I started writing romances, my intent was to become rich and famous like so many other romance writers. I thought of romances as the easiest of genres to write being such a fan, reading one a day. In truth, I’ve discovered of all the writing I’ve done in multiple genres, the romance genre is the hardest of them all.

As I wrote those novels—that received rejections—I was writing inspirational and how-to magazines articles that were selling. I found satisfaction in helping others. The more acceptances I received, which included a weekly newspaper column and then a magazine column, I realized I could help other writers.

My third intent became to help other writers.

With that intent and with the traditional publication of three romances, I got to help other writers by teaching writing craft classes both online and in-seat at a local community college. I started writing screenplays, finding a great love for that genre.

Then, a life-changing event had me reconsidering my writing, which up until that time had been part-time, coming secondary after every day job I’d ever worked and every other responsibility of family and home.

What if I could change that scenario and make my day job part of my purpose? To help other writers?

That’s exactly what I did. After going back to school as a non-traditional (meaning older) student, I became an English Professor, the dream of all dreams. I had managed to combine my purposes. I was teaching the craft of writing by day and writing by night.

And, that scenario continues today as a full-time writer having published the first of my how-to series of books, Finding Your Fire & Keeping It Hot, which is also the basis for the class I’m teaching August 1-12, 2022, Bringing Abundance Into Your Life.

Did you notice how my purpose changed over the years? How long it took me to find my true purpose?

Not everyone struggles the same way I did. I know some writers who found their purpose and their writing niche quickly.

I know one writer who found her genre niche but needed to rebrand herself to find her audience and market.

I know another highly successful romance writer who is changing subgenres, staying in romance but moving from contemporary to historical.

I know several successful romance writers who moved to paranormal, mysteries, or suspense, leaving romance behind altogether.

While I believe a lot of writers start writing with the idea of making lots of money, and starting with a popular genre—after all romances are half of all paperbacks sold—I believe, too, that they find their heartfelt purpose is to entertain. Well, and to earn a living from their writing.

How about you?

What is your purpose for writing?

To entertain? To become a best-selling author? To write a memoir so that you can leave a legacy for your family? To become famous? To win awards?

By the way, I have a new added purpose: To win an Oscar for Original Screenplay and to purchase a huge house that I can staff and run as a Writing Retreat Center where I can continue to help writers in another way.

Dream big or go home, right?

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Living in Fiction

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group

The question for this month is: If you could live in any book world, which one would you choose?

Living in Fiction

I had to really think about this month’s question. I considered the time periods of movies, made from books, that I repeatedly watch like Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion, Sense and Sensibility, and others of that era. While I love the stories, I’m not sure I’d like the restrictions women lived under. In some instances, they couldn’t even marry for love.

While I enjoy reading about women in medieval times, those living conditions were even worse! And, medical care was horrible back then. I would have died in childbirth.

I enjoy watching The Martian every time it’s on TV, a movie made from Andy Wier’s book by the same title. A book that was a page-turner for me. A book I read in one sitting. But again, it’s not a world I want to live in.

In further consideration of which world, my gaze landed on my covers that are on the wall opposite my desk. As I’ve been finishing Arrested Pleasures, the #3 story in the Laurel Ridge Novella series, and having read the story five times in June as I proofed it, laughing out loud every time at the same spots, I considered their world.

Located in the Deep South—an area I loved when living there—and a modern-day, contemporary time period, I can easily see myself in their world. Additionally, as I’ve been getting to know these 7 couples, each pair represented with their own story, I’ve come to not only like them but to enjoy their company. Yup, you heard me right.

They have become as real as my actual friends. They’re funny, smart, and live simply but with purpose. These 7 couples and other secondary characters have been traveling with me from room to room and journey with me in the car, shopping with me, too. They’re entertaining, engaging, caring people who I’m going to sadly miss once the series is finished.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if they came to life in a televised series?

I can only dream…and manifest.

*****

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds. Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting.

Posted in #IWSG, Writing Behind the Scenes | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

How to Become a Writing Maverick: aka, a task-oriented and persistent writer

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group

The questions for this month are:  When the going gets tough writing the story, how do you keep yourself writing to the end? If [you] have not started the writing yet, why do you think that is, and what do you think could help you find your groove and start?

How to Become a Writing Maverick: aka, a task-oriented and persistent writer

What do I use to help me find my groove when starting to write?

  1. I’ll listen to genre mood music, usually soundtracks from favorite movies; or, I’ll listen to sounds of nature.
  2. I’ll just start writing, knowing the first couple page equates to priming the writing pump so that the well of words will flow easily. These first few pages will probably be garbage and that’s okay.

If I haven’t started the writing yet, why do I think that is?

  1. I’m procrastinating. Climbing any new mountain looks daunting. I’ll find a writing task to do instead.
  2. I’m exhausted from finishing the last project. I’ve learned I need a short break between major projects. That’s when I’ll file papers, clean off my desk, and perform other types of writing tasks.

When the going gets tough writing the story, how do I keep myself writing to the end?

  1. I gut it out. I put my butt in the seat and make myself write the words.
  2. I write every day. Even if it’s only for five or ten minutes. If that’s all I can accomplish that day, it’s enough.
  3. I write first drafts now by ignoring the mistakes, the rules, and the inconsistencies because this is where I can get taken down by trying to rewrite before the first draft is finished.
    1. It happened with Grendel’s Mother, which was a 10-year process, with a 7-year gap between starting the first draft and its completion. The first three years, I spent rewriting the first 40 pages multiple times.
    2. It happened with my Laurel Ridge Novella series, where the first book, Shattered Dreams (#1), was published, and now five years later where I’ve just published Burning Desire (#2), and have Arrested Pleasure (#3) set up as a pre-order. I discovered I had to write all of the following six books as first drafts before I could publish #2. The other four books of the series will be published closely behind #3.

Every day is about priming that pump, finding that zone.

If I can’t find the zone, I just write anyway. I know from experience that without any words placed on the page, I’ve got nothing to work with later.

Some days it’s easy, other days it’s not. But the end result, the opening of that box of new books, is always the same. Pure ecstasy.


Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds.

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting.

Posted in #amwriting, #IWSG, Grendel's Mother - Book, Laurel Ridge novellas, Persistance | Tagged , | 4 Comments