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 because due to direct competition. At least the ones I've worked for, and yes, working at bookstores gives you a birds eye view of the publishing industry. We attend conventions put on by pub co.s anywhere 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!

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Top 3 Reasons I Wrote About The Death of a Musician #IWSG #AmWriting #Noir #Mystery

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

It's time for another Insecure Writer's Support Group post. We commiserate the first Wednesday of every month to lean on each other by helping them and  ourselves. Click this link to join Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writing Support Group.

February 5 question - Has a single photo or work of art ever inspired a story? What was it and did you finish it?

The awesome co-hosts for the February 5 posting of the IWSG are Lee Lowery, Ronel Janse van Vuuren, Jennifer Hawes, Cathrina Constantine, and Tyrean Martinson!

There are countless writers who have been inspired by a single work of art. Girl With A Pearl Earring, by Tracy Chevalier. The Empress of Tempera, by my good friend Alex Dolan. Sacre Bleu, by Christopher Moore.

I chose Nirvana's song Lounge Act for my book titled, well, Lounge Act for 3 reasons.

#1 - The lyrics highlight so much of the mysterious circumstances behind Kurt Cobain's death, and all the controversy surrounding the aftermath of his demise. I can talk about the details of Courtney Love's attorney, private eye, and even the chief of Seattle PD turning on her at the time. 

#2 - Noir mystery novels have many political and personal truths woven through. Easter eggs readers search out to find. If you read the lyrics to Kurt Cobain's Lounge Act you're sure to pick up what I'm hiding in plain sight when laying them down. 

#3 - When I truly love and am simultaneously fascinated by a subject my pieces practically write themselves. It's no longer work but a compulsion. When I read Ross Macdonald, Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, and the rest of the noir greats you can tell they are truly passionate about their subject. Their work speaks for itself.

Has a single photo or work of art ever inspired you? I always return comments unless kidnapped by a cult or California catches on fire and I'm forced to evacuate again. Happy IWSG Day!

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.