Wednesday, February 6, 2019

#IWSG #AmWriting Why We Need Alternative Outlets To Maintain Our Voice

It’s time for Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer’s Support Group! This is a safe place to release our fears. Oxymoron on the Internet, right?


No, seriously. This is a place for writers to encourage and protect each other. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month and encourage everyone to visit at least a dozen new blogs and leave a comment. We offer commiseration and advice, especially in times of need.  

The fabulous and talented co-hosts today for February 6 posting of the IWSG are Raimey Gallant, Natalie Aguirre, CV Grehan, and Michelle Wallace!
 Click on their links to check them out.

Kurt Cobain was a painter and a sculptor. Leonardo da Vinci did freakin everything. Jean-Jacques Russo was known for his operas before he became a famous philosopher. I feel close to certain our alternate "creative selves" are ultimately what make us stand out as writers.

My alternative creative outlets:

I've worked at three independent bookstores.
I love to ski.
Stalk my favorite authors.
Faulkner House, New Orleans
Visit every literary hotspot hoping against hope to absorb talent.

Pretend my dog is a small child.

Obsess over, and play guitars.

Did you know Stephen King is in a band? That Chuck Palahniuk kick started the Cacophony Society, and even used it as the prototype for Project Mayhem in Fight Club?

The Cacophony Society turned into Burning Man and Santa Con. Chuck has profusely apologized for both ever since. 

What are your alternative creative outlets? Please answer in the comments below. I always return comments unless a house drops on me, or I'm abducted by aliens. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

#IWSG 5 Of My Least Favorite Questions About Writing

Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG.

It's the first Insecure Writer's Support Group post of 2019! This is science fiction writer, Alex J. Cavanaugh's blog hop. Here we share insecurities and give advise on writerly questions and pathologies. This helps propel my productivity throughout the month. 

Join HERE!

January 2 question - What are your least favorite questions people ask you about your writing?

The awesome co-hosts for the January 2 posting of the IWSG are Patricia Lynne, Lisa Buie-Collard, Kim Lajevardi, and Fundy Blue!

Question 1. What's your process?

Answer 1. What's my process? For which novel? Which genre? Which venue? I usually just tell the inquiring party to visit to my blog, or join the writing workshop I teach here in San Francisco. Just like we're all physiologically different, so are our minds and the way we work. It's the first loaded question to trip me up during Q&A after a reading. 

Question 2. Are you still writing?

Answer 2. If I have a pulse, I'm still writing. 

Question 3. How much money do you make?

Answer 3. How do so many people fail to realize how rude this question is? I'm asked this online, at parties and especially during the holidays.

Question 4. I have this New York Times bestseller of an idea, but my real job doesn't give me time to write. Maybe you could write it and we could split the royalties? I'll share it with you if you promise not to steal it.

Answer 4. This might sound harsh, but your "genius idea" is safe. Trust me. Writer's have ideas coming out of our ears, spinning in our brains and whirling around so fast we can barely get them out of our fingertips. If we had twenty fingers instead of ten it would solve so many problems.

Question 5. I'm considering being a writer and I'm thinking of doing a series. I haven't tried it before, but would love to quit my job. Any advise?

Answer 5. Telling me you decided to maybe try working as a writer is like me telling a concert pianist I want to play along side them when the muse hits me. It doesn't work that way. You don't ask to play violin for the orchestra when you only picked it up yesterday. 

Those are my top five. That was surprisingly cathartic. What are your least favorite questions you've been asked about your writing?

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

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

#IWSG 5 Objects I Always Have On Hand Writing

It's the first Wednesday of the month. Time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group. Read about our fears, commiserate and offer advice to other writing comrades. If you'd like to join us, click HERE and sign up. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs.

The awesome co-hosts for the December 5 posting are:

This month's optional question is: What are five objects we'd find in your writing space?

I think a better question is what do I not have in my work nest? Hint: It morphs into a "work mess".

Yes, the bar stools have my workout gear drying on them. It's December in San Francisco.
Hunter S. Thompson wrote in diners digging in to a Kentucky style breakfast and ordering 4 Bloody Marys at a time. Anthony Bourdain wrote every morning the moment he woke up to espresso, a pen and a pad while he was just coming into consciousness. 

I write with my Taylor guitar next to me, notes from my publisher on hand (always a source of encouragement), my iPhone, notebook(s) and computer. I write long hand first, then I type. My main trick is turning off the Internet so I'm not interrupted when creating the Word Doc. 

And this little guy is always around -

The joy of writing long hand. The notebook pile continues to build.
What five things do you have in your writing space? I heart comments. I will always return a comment on other's blogs unless I'm trapped in a avalanche or abducted by aliens.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

#IWSG Good v.s. Evil - Battling Toxic People Through Writing

Click below to join!

Graphic Novel Coming Soon!

The Handler - By Matt Garcia and Adrienne Reiter

It’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group!

The awesome co-hosts for the November 7 posting are: Ellen @ The Cynical SailorAnn V. FriendJQ Rose and Elizabeth Seckman!

This month's optional question is: How has your creativity in life evolved since you began writing?

My last Halloween working at Books Inc.

I've hit a rough patch this last year. I'm a private person (believe it or not). Social media still gives me social anxiety. As quiet as I am I still seem to attract toxic people. Because, San Francisco.

I write about food and vino for a wine blog. Cooking, baking, trying new texture/flavor combinations in food is one way my writing has kept me creative. But my biggest creative endeavor is sitting in dives, on park benches and wine bars observing people. They're where I get my best ideas for fresh dialogue.  

Now my haunts are limited. I was laboring under a sea of lies. Now people are mad at me for perceived slights I never would have committed had I known all the facts. I'm being accused of saying things I never said. Thankfully I have friends around me for support.

How does your writing influence your creativity?

Thursday, October 4, 2018

#IWSG A Day Late!

I'm a day late for this post. Ugh. Because. Trying to balance? 

Welcome to Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group monthly post! If you're a writer who needs support, or can offer advice JOIN HERE.

The awesome co-hosts for the October 3 posting are: 
DolorahTanya MirandaChemist Ken, and Christopher D. Votey.

Question this Month: How do major life events affect your writing? Has writing ever helped you through something?

I'm going to make a leap and say that all our writing is directly effected by life events. Here's my proof wrapped in an amateur hypothesis.

I'm a plotter, not a "pantser" - A pantser is a writer who "flies by the seat of their pants". (duh) I'm envious of pantsers. If only I had the guts. As a mystery writer, I feel I have to plot. It's impossible not to. However...

As much as I try, I never truly can see where I'm going with the plot. If I get heart broken, lose a client, or someone in my family becomes ill my character arch's will abruptly change.

Do life changing events do the same for you? Please comment below. I always comment back. Happy belated IWSG Wednesday!

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

#IWSG Publishing Options - What are you working towards? #publishing #writing #reading #shoppingyourbook

It's another IWSG Wednesday! Now that it's September, my hats off to all the teachers back in the classroom as they continue to burn their last drop of midnight oil writing at home. You're amazing!

Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group is a special place where we writer's share our hopes and insecurities once a month (or more) and provide each other support and encouragement. Are you an artist in need of a community? JOIN HERE! 

The awesome co-hosts for the September 5 posting of the IWSG are Toi Thomas, T. Powell Coltrin, M.J. Fifield, and Tara Tyler!

I'm both traditionally and self-published. As a hybrid author I feel I understand a few avenues of the publishing world. What creates buzz. What entices fans. The truth about publishing is - no one knows it all! There are a myriad of venues, platforms, and ways to reach your audience. It's a noisy world filled with traffic and head-on collisions. 

It really grinds on me when I hear people scoff at self-published authors. I admire the hell out of self-published authors! They're a one artist team. Achieving what they've accomplished requires infinite talent and discipline. 

It took me eight years to acquire a publisher and publicist I can trust. I was spinning my wheels while gaining no traction with my self pubs and random indies. I went traditional because frankly, living in the city I live in I haven't the time nor the overhead to put out successful novels by myself. I have another novel coming out in a few months. If I was busy promoting and marketing my last book it wouldn't exist.

I have a strong local and online community of writers from all walks of life and various publishing platforms. Here's what I've learned - It doesn't matter as long as you're doing it! It doesn't matter how you publish. While I have tremendous gratitude for my team and their faith in me, what works for me might not work for everyone else. As a bookseller in three San Francisco bookstores I have first hand accounts of top five publishing houses like Simon and Schuster sink without a trace, while an indie pub shot into the stratosphere. 

Writers are in constant conversation on different publishing venues. With the publishing world morphing daily, I find it endlessly fascinating. 

To quote our lovely co-host Toi Thomas, "What's your publishing path?"

Please comment below - I will always get back to you on your blog unless I'm abducted by aliens, or trapped in a basement. Happy IWSG! 

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

#IWSG - Pitfalls To Avoid On Your Publishing Journey

It’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group!
Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month and encourage everyone to visit at least a dozen new blogs and leave a comment. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs.

The awesome co-hosts today are: Erika Beebe, Sandra Hoover, Susan Gourley, and Lee Lowery!

The question for August 2018 is: What pitfalls would you warn other writers to avoid on their publication journey?

I've accepted long ago that being a writer is all about fielding bad news. You get rejected. So. Much. It's literally your job when you're not writing. According to Ta Nehisi Coates it's why so many give up on writing and go to law school, business school, or study medicine.

With so many publishing options these days, it's a noisy world. Daunting, really. If writing is your passion, and by passion I mean compulsion, keep going! Cream rises to the top. After years of writing, competition at your advanced level dwindles down. Those other potential candidates chickened out by choosing alternate career paths. You really will get those writing jobs and advances one can live on if you just hang in there.

Don't be afraid to ask for help! Join a community like, Insecure Writer's Support Group. It takes a village. No one makes it alone. I experimented with so many venues before I could roll into higher paying assignments, which finally led me into landing my publicist. 

Happy IWSG Wednesday everyone! What would you warn our tribe while on their publishing journey?