Wednesday, February 3, 2021

3 Reasons Blogging Is More Than Sharing Stories #IWSG #AmWriting

It's the first Wednesday of the month. Time for Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group post. Join us by clicking HERE! Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG.

Every month, we announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG post. 

February 3 question - Blogging is often more than just sharing stories. It’s often the start of special friendships and relationships. Have you made any friends through the blogosphere?

3 Reasons Blogging Is More Than Sharing Stories -

1. Art isn't created in a vacuum. These trying times call for more digital contact. We can't invite people for coffee or long inspirational lunches. We can't pen each other's thoughts in person without breaking pacts with our Covid pods. We can reach out to groups online such as this one.

2. Inspiration. Interfacing via our blogs and other social media platforms has been a necessary outlet to prevent total isolation and follow another's work. Through the posts of others I've mined treasure troves of inspiration on IWSG Day. I enjoy learning the process of others. It's helpful to watch another writer's progression in their craft, and learn how they overcame creative obstacles.

3. Perspective and support. Visiting a fellow writer's blog forces me out of my own head to learn and appreciate another's perspective. It's an unselfish give and take. There's room for many stars in the filament, and that's a beautiful thing.

What does participating in the blogosphere mean to you? Happy IWSG Day!  


Wednesday, January 6, 2021

What throws you out of a book? #IWSG

 So strange. I noticed a few of my blog posts are missing. Were they deleted when Blogspot updated its platform? I don't know, but it's annoying.

It's the first Wednesday of the month. Time for another Insecure Writer's Support Group post. Share and receive support by signing up HERE!

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

The awesome co-hosts for the January 6 posting of the IWSG are Ronel Janse van Vuuren , J Lenni Dorner, Gwen Gardner Sandra Cox, and Louise - Fundy Blue!

January 6 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?

I try to read everything, both good and bad. It's rare for me to cancel an investment in reading someones work. Continuity issues as well as a lack of authenticity in the work can make me put a book down. When there are holes in a story I get frustrated.

Mark Twain said, "Write what you know." 

Another writer said, "Write what you want to know." I forget who the quote's from.

When I'm reading work that smacks of inauthenticity; work you can tell was fleshed out because the topic's hot right now and the writer's heart and head just isn't into it, it's hard for me to keep going.

JT Leroy was a young gay writer and former trans prostitute suffering from AIDS in San Francisco. He exploded on the literary scene creating tons of buzz in the publishing world. Eventually he/she was outed. He didn't exist. The writer was really a woman named Laura Albert who was in her forties from New York. I tried reading the book, Sarah and just couldn't get into it. I knew too much and almost wished I didn't. 

I watched Author and The Cult of JT Leroy documentary. While the story of this imposter was fascinating, it diminished my desire to read the work. JT Leroy's short stories and novels were touted as fiction based on Leroy's true life tale. Laura Albert, while a talented writer grew her career by creating an avatar out of her sister in law, Savanah Knoop who wore a wig and pretended to be a boy to the public. JT Leroy said he hung around Skinheads and hustled on Polk Street. The problem was there were no Skinheads in San Francisco in the 90's and no one knew him on Polk Street. Laura's avatar itself had a problem with continuity in public. Savanah details this in her book, Girl Boy Girl.

Just like the title of my blog says, there's more fact in fiction. I love to read all genres. It's rare I give up on a book. What makes you put down a book?

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Winter Writing Malaise #amwriting #IWSG #Noir #Mystery


It's the first Wednesday of the month. Time for another Insecure Writer's Support Group post a la Science Fiction writer, Alex J. Cavanaugh. Join us by clicking HERE!

December 2 question - Are there months or times of the year that you are more productive with your writing than other months, and why?

The awesome co-hosts for the December 2 posting of the IWSG are Pat Garcia, Sylvia Ney, Liesbet @ Roaming About Cathrina Constantine, and Natalie Aguirre!

In 1816 Mary Shelly, her husband poet Percy Bysshe Shelly, Lord Byron, and his physician John Polidori were all trapped indoors due to formidable weather. To pass the time they wrote horror stories to entertain each other. Voila! Frakenstein was born. 

How amazing is that? If only! During the cold holiday months all I want to do is read, think about writing, plan on what do to with my writing, plot what I'm going to write, but not do any actual writing. During quarantine lockdown I get this general sense of malaise while wondering if I just wasn't cut out to be a real writer. Then, I remember. Shelly had no internet. No Netflix. No Hulu. No Amazon Prime. In 1816 if they weren't reading or writing they were making dolls out of cornhusks and staring at fire.

On a run.

It's easy to feel adrift during intense isolation from family and friends. We feel a shift in our ambitions making it hard to stay on track, or at least I do. For the rest of the winter I plan on celebrating the bare minimum. Keeping to my deadlines, social distancing, hot pilates via Instagram calls, and power pilates in the park. 

Does anyone else feel the same way? Winter ever slow you down, or do you stay consistent with your productivity throughout the year? Hope everyone is staying safe. Happy Holidays! 

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Writing Towards Self Discovery And An Audience #IWSG #AmWriitng #Noir #Fiction

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

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is where we virtually meet up once a month to share encouragement and support. JOIN US HERE!

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?

The awesome co-hosts for the November 4 posting of the IWSG are Jemi Fraser, Kim Lajevardi, L.G Keltner, Tyrean Martinson, and Rachna Chhabria!

I don't think my voice is powerful enough to come close to Camu's version of my purpose of a writer. That and I'm much too cynical.

O'Conner's philosophy about writing to discover what one knows resonates with me. If I can render out my experience in search of self discovery, my audience will pick up on my vulnerability and believe in my authority on the subject, fiction or not.

Courtesy of SFMOMA
Exposing yourself to an audience is terrifying, but your audience can tell when you're covering up and/or faking the funk.

Which quote mosts resinates with you? I always return comments. Happy IWSG Day!

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

What Defines a Working Writer? #IWSG #AmWriting #Noir #Mystery #WritingSpace

It's the first Wednesday again! Time for another Insecure Writers Support Group post where we give advice and share our raw selves.
IWSG Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG. Join us HERE

October 7 question - When you think of the term working writer, what does that look like to you? 

The awesome co-hosts for the October 7 posting of the IWSG are Jemima Pett, Beth Camp, Beverly Stowe McClure, and Gwen Gardner!

I identify as a working writer. While I empathize with all working writers during these trying times I also take pride in the fact that most writers have the strength to stay calm and work through chaos, our homeostasis.

Above is Peaches, my catdog. She understands chaos theory and doesn't judge me. She also knows that money and value are not synonomis, but thinks a mutually inclusive relationship should be achieved somehow. 

My early passion for reading cultivated a compulsion for writing. Now it's a trifecta of reading, writing and solitude. The pandemic has perpetuated the solitude. Peaches wishes we went out more.

I am both traditionally and self published, but never believed lack of publishing invalidates work. I always refer to those attending my workshops as writers. 

 Note books, paper clippings, half empty Kombucha bottles, pens, wrappers, the landscape of my workspace changes daily. Most of my waking hours are spent at my desk. When, and if this ever stops I'll call myself a hobbyist or 'dabbler' or dead. Not that there's anything wrong with being a hobbyist! I'm simply a neurotic.  

How do you define what makes a working writer? Let me know in the comments below. Happy IWSG Day!

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

#IWSG 3 Part Philosophy On The Publishing Industry - How Many Options Are Too Many?

Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group post the first Wednesday of every month. 

This group is about connecting through commiseration. 

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

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?

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

As a hybrid author and previous bookseller at three indie bookstores this loaded question has many layers for me. I will now exercise all my communication powers to try to simplify my feelings and projections on this subject as succinctly as possible.

1. I invested in ISBN numbers and barcodes from Brokers when my first book. Back then it was cheaper to buy in bulk. Now, they're ridiculously expensive. This means people are still willing to invest. Why? I haven't a clue.

2. I've seen wildly successful writers sell solely through Amazon using their free ISBNs locking them into a contract. Brick and mortar will not sell through Amazon due to its being in direct competition with well, everything... At least the bookstores I've worked for wont buy/sell through them, and yes, working at bookstores gives you a birds eye view of the publishing industry. We attend conventions put on by pub co.s everywhere from the big top five to Vanity Press.

3. The quicksand of the digital age. Covid has not just killed hundreds of thousands of people, it's the brick and mortar bookstore's final death rattle. We've prophesied so many times when this will happen. It's happened. All is but a click away.

I'd like to see the gate keepers and key holders let go of the power they jealously cling to and accept modern times have brought a paradigm shift to the exposure of all art. 

What are some changes you would like to see in the next decade? Happy IWSG Day!

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

#IWSG 3 Ways I Get In and Stay In My Writing Zone #AmWriting

The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. 

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


May 6 question - Do you have any rituals that you use when you need help getting into the ZONE? Care to share?

The awesome co-hosts for the May 6 posting of the IWSG are Feather Stone, Beverly Stowe McClure, Mary Aalgaard, Kim Lajevardi, and Chemist Ken!

My top 3 ways to get in and stay in my creative zone may sound simple, but I have to remind myself these limitations over and over ad nauseam.

1. Butt in chair. Read any reference book on writing and you'll get a version of this. Writers are fantastic procrastinators. Stay in your seat no matter how long it takes. Half the battle is showing up.

To me - "Writing means NOT stopping writing."
- Chuck Palahniuk
(*le sigh*)
2. Keep all visual aids and writing material readily available so your butt stays in chair! I don't know about yours, but my mind tries to find ways to get me out of my chair. I want a different color pen. Where's my pink highlighter? I'm thirsty. I need more coffee. It's ridiculous. Now I keep my story boards, notebooks, typewriter and computer on one giant desk.

3. Turn off Wi-Fi. Clicking away all those pop-up notifications is a time suck.  It takes more effort than you realize and interrupts your stream of thought. Turning off my Wi-Fi was a game changer.

How do you stay in the zone? I heart comments and always return them asap. Happy IWSG!