Wednesday, January 8, 2020

#IWSG #AmWriting 3 Reasons I Began My Writing Journey

It's time for another of Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group hops. It's normally every 1st Wednesday of the month, but due to this month's 1st Wednesday falling on New Year's Day it's been pushed to the 8th. Time to reveal ourselves to one another.

January 8 question - What started you on your writing journey? Was it a particular book, movie, story, or series? Was it a teacher/coach/spouse/friend/parent? Did you just "know" suddenly you wanted to write?

 The awesome co-hosts for the January 8 posting of the IWSG are T. Powell Coltrin, Victoria Marie Lees, Stephen Tremp, Renee Scattergood, and J.H. Moncrieff!

1. The need to communicate. I grew up military and moved around a lot. When I wasn't playing sports my nose was in a book. The culture shock moving to new environments made me feel pathologically misunderstood. I remedied this through writing. 

I was good at it because I wanted to explain myself so badly. Even if it was only for my family or the classroom I always wrote to an audience. To this day it makes me feel like a weight cutting off my ability to speak has been lifted off my chest.

2. Controlling my world and telling a story by proxy. They say there's more truth in fiction than fact. Autobiographies are guarded. We reveal our true selves through avatars. 

3. The ability to get a reaction. The first piece I wrote was a one act play during Easter when I was 7. I loved performing for my large family. My grama kept the hot pink construction paper manuscript and I found it after she passed. The play mostly consists of blocked out story board drawings. 

In grama's living room my cousin and I walked back and forth pretending to have found a baby wrapped in a towel on the beach. We were looking for it's family. At the end, I announced we no longer had to keep looking because the baby was dead. I allowed it to unceremoniously roll out of the towel and onto the floor. It was Easter, and I didn't understand the resurrection story well. Everyone looked shocked as my tipsy uncle clapped loudly. Taking our bows I felt drunk with power.

What started you on your writing journey? I always return comments unless I've been abducted by aliens or a house falls on me. Happy IWSG!

Thursday, December 5, 2019

#IWSG Top 3 Changes I'd Make To My Future Writing Style #AmWriting

It’s time for another group posting of Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer’s Support Group! This is where we visit other write's blogs to give advice to those in need (and we're all in need).

The awesome co-hosts today are Tonja Drecker, Beverly Stowe McClure, Nicki Elson, Fundy Blue, and Tyrean Martinson!

December 4 question - Let's play a game. Imagine. Role-play. How would you describe your future writer self? What would you change or improve?

Top 3 Changes I'll Make - (God willing.)

1. I'll stop overthinking. 

Ever notice how sometimes writing in the morning half awake, or just coming out of a dream state seems easier? You allow that stream of conscience to flow and you stop getting in your own way. I always suspected that's why so many writers were/are alcoholics, but who wants to become a statistic? My dream is to reach a natural state of focus and meditation to get the work done. I'm rooting for you future self!

2. I'll be more organized.

I have books on the organization techniques of my favorite writers. I have an actual coffee table book with pictures of writer's libraries, dens and drawing rooms. I finally have a place with a study of my own and it still needs work. My dream is to properly utilize all of the space and it's unique capabilities.

3. I'll be nicer to myself.

We writers tend to be the hardest on ourselves. It's why Alex created this space for us in the first place! Earning your chops as a writer is not just a bumpy road. Writing is a treacherous cross-roads covered in darkness full of infinite decisions. It's exciting, elating, deflating and terrifying all at the same time. Eventually we develop new muscles and can navigate the flat bloody wastelands and dreamy green hillsides. When/if I get there I hope I can give myself a pat on the back with my chin up and finally feel satisfied.

What does your future writing self look like? 

Now that I got that house off of me I can start responding to other's posts. But if I'm abducted by aliens it my be tricky. Happy IWSG Day! 

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

#1 Rule To Being A Successful Artist

It's the first Wednesday of the month. Time for Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group. JOIN HERE!
November 6 question - What's the strangest thing you've ever googled in researching a story?

The awesome co-hosts for the November 6 posting of the IWSG are Sadira Stone, Patricia Josephine, Lisa Buie-Collard, Erika Beebe, and C. Lee McKenzie!

The key to being a successful artist is - drumroll please - ignore mean people.

Yes. Seriously.

We've all heard it before. Hurt people, hurt people.The truly damaged hide behind the, "I'm just being honest," bullshit. I'm not talking about healthy criticism. I'm talking about jealous boring people who are so unhappy they can't stand to see anyone else earn a slice of joy.

We writers develop a "super hero spidey sense" for people who critique to hurt versus those who critique to help.

Constantly putting ourselves on the front lines we are forced to endure a ton of crap. If we stick it out we develop new muscles. 

To quote Billy Corgan, " As artists we have to go down to Hell to come back up and tell the tale. Most mother f*ckers won't take two steps out the door, yet stand in deep judgment of our journey, which is missing the point."

The reason trolls make noise is because we terrify them.

The strangest thing I've Googled for writing is online narcissists (those who claim everyone is batshit when really it's themselves.) and how much money one can purchase a cadaver for. Ahem. I write mystery novels.

What's the strangest thing you Googled? I always return comments unless a house falls on me or I'm abducted by aliens. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

3 Reasons You Have To Read To Write #AmWriting #CreativeWriting #WritingTools #IWSG

Welcome to this month's post of Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group! The name says it all. If you're a writer in need of support, JOIN HERE!

October 2 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?

The awesome co-hosts for the October 2 posting of the IWSG are Ronel Janse van Vuuren, Mary Aalgaard, Madeline Mora-Summonte, and Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor!

1. - Stephen King, "If you don't have time to read, you don't have time (or the tools) to write. 

If you don't love reading, why are you writing? You have to a passion for what you're doing. If you don't, no one else will.

2. - Reading doesn't adulterate your writing. Guess what folks. None of our ideas are original. I've worked at four book stores and libraries. Everything under the sun has been written about before.

Most writers I have taught in my workshops have favorite artists they prefer to emulate. As you're developing your chops you use other peoples voices until they morph into your own.

3. - Hunter S. Thompson would type F. Scott Fitzgerald's novels one by one to emulate his syntax and cadence. 

This is not an uncommon practice. Why reinvent the wheel?

Do you agree? If not, why? Please leave your answers in the comment section below. I heart comments! I will always return a comment unless a house falls on me or I'm abducted by aliens. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

3 Reasons This Is Every Writer's Dream Retreat #ShakespearCo #Paris #IWSG #AmWriting

This is a place where we can share our doubts and fears with others who can commiserate!

Join Alex J. Cavanaugh's tribe HERE

September 4 question - If you could pick one place in the world to sit and write your next story, where would it be and why?

Shakespear Co., Paris. I'll give 3 reasons why.

#1. You literally live in a bookstore. No joke. And it's on the left bank. In. Paris. For free! 

They only except "tumbleweeds". You can't apply for the writer's retreat. You have to pack-up, go to Paris and charm the beret and clove cigarette off of whatever literati is working there at the time. No, 'first come first serve' or payment needed.

#2. You're surrounded by other artists from around the world. It's dense, and you're bound to O'D on inspiration. I've collected books about this artist in residency experiment. They write books about it. Enough said.

#3. They have archives from other artists who were sold there and have stayed there since 1919. You can study about them on old fashioned index cards. (Again, I have only bought the books.) 

What is your dream writer's retreat and/or place to write. Let me know in the comment section below. 

I always return comments unless a house falls on me or I'm abducted by aliens. 

Thursday, August 8, 2019

#IWSG #Writing #Surprise

August 7 question - Has your writing ever taken you by surprise? For example, a positive and belated response to a submission you'd forgotten about or an ending you never saw coming?

The awesome co-hosts for the August 7 posting of the IWSG are Renee Scattergood, Sadira Stone, Jacqui Murray, Tamara Narayan, and LG Keltner!

I've had one belated response to a submission, and it's not even note worthy. I do hold on to all my rejections. I have a friend who laminated all her rejection slips and made them into a large table mat. Mine could probably be made into a cozy tent.

I've had at least a thousand submissions rejected in my writing career. At. Least.

When I've written for others, trying to capture their voice I was sure I was off. Worried it would piss the interviewee off due to their feeling misread or attacked somehow. 

But sometimes, just sometimes, trying to capture another's voice helped me find my own. Does that make any sense? I've been surprised at the depth my own voice took when trying to sound like someone else. 

Maybe my skills show up better for others. 

What about your writing has taken you by surprise? If you've ever gotten a late response to a submission that was positive please share. I want to live vicariously!

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

#IWSG 3 Things I Project Into My Writing

It's the first Wednesday of the month! Welcome to Alex J. Cavanaugh's writer's support group. Join us and/or check us out by clicking here -

The awesome co-hosts for the July 3 posting of the IWSG are Erika Beebe, Natalie Aguirre,Jennifer Lane, MJ Fifield, Lisa Buie-Collard, and Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor!

The Question of the Month is "What personal traits have you written into your character(s)?" 

Those who have read my work probably have picked up on these three things. 

1. My characters are usually female, always loving and giving, yet can turn aggressive as a grenade when defending herself and her own. What do I mean? She can turn as black as the fat cat's market trade while her intentions are as pure and white as a dove's.

2. My protagonist is always flawed, and he or she is self aware enough to actively fight against it.

3. She/he constantly is second guessing herself, and shows up for others more than herself - even though she's self deprecating and will never admit it. My favorite quote from Brittany Wolfe (my latest protagonist). 
"Yeah, ok. I helped him out. But don't spread it around. You'll ruin my bad reputation."

I heart comments! I'll always return a comment unless I'm abducted by aliens or a house fall on me.