Getting Back to Normal – But What Does Normal Look Like?

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group

July 7 question – What would make you quit writing?

Getting Back to Normal – But What Does Normal Look Like?

My answer to the question of What would make you quit writing? is simple: my death. Or, being incapacitated to the point I can’t see, can’t type, can’t think.

That said, I did struggle with writing recently. My son-in-law died of Covid-19 on April 29.

At first, I resisted the writing—it was hard to start again—but thanks to the weekly Zoom write-in meetings I had with a group of writers, I was able to find that familiar joyful rhythm again.

The promotions, though… Since April, I’ve not been doing any—not for my books or for my writer friends. I couldn’t even perform a simple retweet.

Every time I tried to do any kind of promotion for my books, I struggled and ended up walking away from it all. I’d purposefully delete the emails with links to share, so I didn’t have to deal with it.

I realized in answering the question for today’s blog that something had to change. I didn’t like the monstrous time I’d spent in the past, promoting with little results to show for it. I wasn’t looking forward to doing it again.

Wanting to put the joy of writing back into the writing and why I do it in the first place, I had to dig down deep. Here’s what I came up with:

  1. I want to depend on and work toward more word-of-mouth advertising, where fans share my books and my self-created promos on social media. If it doesn’t happen, so be it. If it happens slowly, so be it.
  2. I want to become more connected in online writing groups where I can share my experience and knowledge. Even if I get back nothing in return. I’m paying forward the help I’ve received over the years.
  3. I want to spend more time writing, teaching, and coaching than I do promoting.
  4. I want to become part of the 5% of authors who write more than 12 books,[1] where everyone else with fewer books has quit writing. I’ve got 9 so far. When I’m finished with my novella series, I’ll have 15. I’m working on getting them finished.
  5. I acknowledge that being an author—traditional or indie published—is a long game, even though I’ve been writing for 45 years.
  6. I will no longer look at my $15-25 per month royalties as sad, but as progress in this long game from where I started at $0 with the creation of my production company in 2015, and which became a new direction/life for me, a reinvention actually.
  7. I will remind myself upon learning of another author’s promotional success that while it works for them, that doesn’t mean it’ll work for me. I will focus, instead, on those methods that DO work for me. I’ll concentrate on a few methods rather than on many.
  8. I want to thank those who subscribed to my newsletter and have stayed because I have something to offer them.
  9. I want to thank those who subscribed to my newsletter and then unsubscribed because I wasn’t a good fit for them. I’m ecstatic that they gave me a try, because…
  10. I want followers who are genuinely interested in my work and me. I want to have earned that follow.

If putting joy back into my writing is my mission statement, then these ten points are my vision statement, specific steps to make that mission statement a reality.

Based on my vision, I don’t see me quitting anytime soon. In fact, after finishing this blog and scheduling it to publish, I went and did some retweets. The next step is to schedule some of my own promotional posts.

Nope, quitting isn’t on my radar anytime soon.


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!

[1] Jane Friedman’s Electric Speed email newsletter, June 26, 2021.


About Diana Stout

Screenwriter, author, former English professor
This entry was posted in #IWSG, Struggling to write and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Getting Back to Normal – But What Does Normal Look Like?

  1. Astrid says:

    I’m so sorry about your loss. This must be so sad. I understand it got you to rethink things. That being said, it’s great that you got to refocus your attention on the actual writing rather than promoting. These are great goals!


    • Diana Stout says:

      Yes, horribly sad. As I think back over my life, I can see where I’ve made shifts and/or reinvented myself after major life events. Thanks for commenting, Astrid, and for thinking I’ve created some great goals.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Nancy Gideno says:

    Monthly royalties! The sign of a working writer (even after the work is done). You can truthfully say your writing could put food on the table . . . maybe on two fast food meals a month, but . . . I confess to have been in the COVID slump, too, and now have upcoming writers getaways where I’ll have no excuse not to do the work. My motto, rub authors together and sparks of inspiration catch fire!


  3. P.J. MacLayne says:

    I agree. I don’t think I’ll quit writing until I’m dead. I’m at 9 books so far. (That I’ve published!) Do the ones that will never be published count towards the 15?


  4. Wow, that is some kind of list you got going there. At the start of 2020 I wrote a manifesto to myself to help me keep pushing myself to be better and to write more, and to share the words I throw at the page. Now in 2021 I am heartened to read about so many writers who are all going through the same struggles I am.

    I didn’t know only 5% of authors make it to 12 books. That’s a crazy statistic. And you’re going to be in that 5% soon! Well done. Keep those words flowing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Diana Stout says:

      That 5% sure is crazy! I’ve been heartened to learn others have had the same struggles, too. Thanks so much for visiting and commenting. Good luck with your writing!


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