06 September 2023

Happy Anniversary, IWSG!!

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's the posting day for the Insecure Writer's Support Group! Click here to learn more and sign up!

This month I'm a co-host! The other fabulous co-hosts are Sonia Dogra, J Lenni Dorner, Pat Garcia, and Meka James

This month is also a special post because it's the IWSG's 12 year anniversary! The question for this month is: When did you discover the IWSG, how do you connect, and how has it helped you?

**WARNING: Please do not attempt a drinking game where you take a shot every time I say IWSG in this post.**

I had to dig through the archives for this information. Including this one, I have written 120 posts for the IWSG (according to a Google search, that means I only missed 3 months!). The first one was on June 5, 2013, and was entitled The Greatest/Worst Book Ever Written. It was about feeling like your story is the greatest thing ever one day, then absolute crap the next. I felt like I had found the perfect blogging community to join because I was chock full of insecurity (and I still am). It seemed like the perfect place to be. 

The IWSG has been a HUGE part of my blogging for over the past ten years. I honestly can't remember how I stumbled upon it, but I'm certainly glad I did. I do remember that at the time there was no IWSG website, and the sign-up page was through Alex J. Cavanaugh's blog. Going through my first posts I also remembered the old black and white badge with the red font! I don't feel old...

I've really enjoyed and benefited from connecting with so many other writers with the same insecurities. I love how we're able to relate to and help each other out by reading and commenting on posts. Although I've never met anyone in person, I'd like to say I've made a lot of friends through this community. I also remember how frustrating it was when I first started blogging to get people to come visit my blog.  Joining the IWSG helped me get a lot more traffic and find other blogs that I still frequently visit. 

It's definitely important to note that without the IWSG I probably wouldn't be blogging at all right now. I haven't written a non-IWSG post in over two years. I've been in such a writing rut that it's hard to come up with things to blog about. Having the IWSG as a staple every month forces me to come up with something, and there's always the optional question there to help me out when I have no ideas. 

The IWSG also helped me get published! My short story "The Last Dragon" was published in the second IWSG anthology, Hero Lost: Mysteries of Death and Life. I'm really proud of that story and it's because of the IWSG that it's out in the world. 

I probably would have given up on blogging a long time ago if it weren't for the IWSG. Although writing is often hard for me right now, I have no plans on quitting anytime soon. I'm just taking it one month at a time. 

02 August 2023

Conflicted? Me???

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's the posting day for the Insecure Writer's Support Group! Click here to learn more and sign up!

This month's optional question is: Have you ever written something that afterwards you felt conflicted about? If so, did you let it stay how it was, take it out, or rewrite it?

If you've been here before, you probably know this was me after reading this question: 

My whole story concept (of my main WIP, at least) has me conflicted. But I've come too far and worked way too hard on it to scrap the whole thing just because of its controversial subject matter. 

I think if anything, being conflicted will actually make the story better. You know, if I ever get back to writing it. When I first started the story I didn't really put too much thought into the fact that I was writing about a taboo topic. It was just the idea that popped into my brain and I was going with it. But now that I've spent a lot of time with it and really thought about the subject matter, I know I have to really take it seriously and put in the work to make this a story worth reading. And hopefully one that people won't immediately brush off once they know what it's about. 

Anyhoo, I've talked about this subject on here too many times to count. Speaking of counting, I am counting down the days until my birthday vacation! After this Friday, I'm off work for a week, and my husband and I are going back to New York City! We're seeing Sweeney Todd, which is one of my favorite musicals and one that I've never seen live. We're also doing plenty of other activities, some new, and some we've done before (going back to the cat cafe for the third time!). 

I always hope that being in New York will get me back into writing because that's where my story takes place. I thought I would watch some writing related Youtube videos and maybe even bring my book on finding your story's theme while I'm on the train. Maybe I can spark some creativity. But either way, it should be a fun trip and most importantly, I won't be at work! 

05 July 2023

Ideas, Ideas, Ideas!

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's the posting day for the Insecure Writer's Support Group! Click here to learn more and sign up!

This month's optional question is: 99% of my story ideas come from dreams. Where do yours predominantly come from?

I'd say my ideas come from all over the place. I've gotten a couple ideas from dreams, most notably the novel I still refer to as Shiny New Story, although it is no longer shiny or new, just titleless. I had a dream about two characters who were in a particular relationship/situation (I can't tell you what--it's a spoiler!) and I thought that would be really interesting to write about. 

Uneven Lines came to me after watching this trashy exposé on student-teacher relationships on TV. For reasons I can no longer fathom, I wanted to write about a taboo relationship between a student and a teacher (AKA the dumbest idea I ever had, yet here we are). A few hours later, while I was sitting in a writing class minding my own business, Jordan birthed himself from my brain and threw his entire story at me. And the rest was history. 

Honestly, the fact that the story centers around a controversial relationship has been the hardest part (that and dragging subplots...). I want to make sure I get the story right or no one is going to be interested in reading it. Of course, I've talked about my creative slump more times than I can count here, which is probably the biggest factor in me not finishing the book. But I have to make sure I tell the story right, and I just haven't had the brain power to get there. 

Other ideas have just kinda popped out of thin air. I started writing Sexy Fluff #1 because I was just doing a writing exercise with some characters from an Uneven Lines sequel, and realized that I could write happy, sexy romance scenes much more easily than my usual complicated storylines. I had a random thought that I could probably finish books faster and possibly even get them published and make money doing so. But I couldn't actually think of a plot, right? 

Well...I came up with a plot by the next morning. And I decided to start writing it for NaNoWriMo (which was literally right around the corner). I still haven't finished it, due to aforementioned creative slump, but working on it was a nice break from my usual heavy story ideas. I also have an idea to create a whole series of Sexy Fluffs with a different romance trope for each book  (#1 has a rivals to lovers plot). I think it could be fun. 

Overall, though, I feel like I actually have a hard time coming up with new ideas. Maybe it's because I already have enough unfinished ideas taking up space in my brain. Perhaps once I actually finish them, more ideas will follow. 

07 June 2023

Creative Slump

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's the posting day for the Insecure Writer's Support Group! Click here to learn more and sign up!

This month's optional question is: If you ever did stop writing, what would you replace it with?

That's an interesting question for me, considering the fact that I haven't properly written anything in a few years. I've done some editing, some brainstorming, a note here and there, but no real writing for quite some time now. That isn't to say that I've made a choice to "stop" writing, exactly. It's more like a creative pause. 

So, since I'm not actually writing, what have I replaced it with? Well...not much, really. Writing has always been my main creative outlet, and while I have had other interests, they mostly turn out to be temporary or just an idea that is never brought to fruition. I tried getting to jewelry making for a bit, but haven't committed to it as much as I'd like (especially considering the amount of beads I bought....). I made a few bracelets for myself but then didn't try anything for awhile until I made a bunch for my niece last Christmas: 

So at this point, it's just an occasional hobby. Nothing ever seems to keep my interest like writing has in the past. I like watching movies, but I don't think I'd be good as a reviewer. I've thought about starting a Youtube channel, but I'm too shy and don't have a good idea what my focus should be. I have started using TikTok, but I've only made a few videos so far. I have interests and small ideas, but nothing major to fill the void of writing. 

You could say I've been in a creative slump. I've also been in a reading slump, which is probably related. Or both slumps are influencing each other, since usually reading inspires me to write. I think I got discouraged when I read too many heavy, long novels in a row, then wanted to read a light, fluffy, romance to break things up, and the one I chose was SO BAD that I had no idea what I wanted to read anymore. 

I do have a few new books lined up that I hope will get me back into reading more. And possibly even inspire me to get back into writing. Maybe even get back to Uneven Lines? I know, now I'm talking crazy. But as I always say to myself, one thing at a time. 

03 May 2023

Yet Another Harebrained Scheme

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's the posting day for the Insecure Writer's Support Group! Click here to learn more and sign up!

This month's optional question is: When you are working on a story, what inspires you?

I suppose I could take this question two different ways: what helps motivate me to write, or where do my ideas come from? When I think of "getting in the zone" to write, music is always the thing that helps me the most. I always create playlists for my books and listening to songs that make me think about my stories always help inspire me to write. 

As far as ideas go, they're all over the place. I've gotten ideas from dreams, from watching trashy daytime television, songs, life experiences, and probably some other things I'm forgetting. Sometimes if I just let a really basic concept or a trope sit in my head overnight I'll be able to come up with a whole story around it. 

I've been trying numerous different ways lately to spark some sort of inspiration. Can't exactly say any of them have actually worked (yet!) I seem to get plenty of ideas but I'm not very good at following through on said ideas. Basically anything I've said here before and you probably commented, "that's a great idea!" Well...I can't seem to get past the "good idea" phase and get to the "actually doing something" phase. 

That being said, I do have another harebrained scheme. The good thing about this one, however, is that I really think it's something I need to get done eventually, even if it doesn't lead to any immediate inspiration. 

I've put a lot of details into Uneven Lines over the many, many, many....many years I've been working on it. I love things like symbolism, themes, motifs, etc. What I want to do is write all of these little details down into one place, kind of like Cliff Notes for my own book. It's really just for me because I want to make sure I remember all of these details, and maybe going over them will help spark some ideas of how to finish the book and expand upon everything I've been putting into the book so far. 

And maybe someday I'll actually have an audience for this book and I can share these things and blow everyone's minds! I can dream. 

After lots and lots of searching, I bought a journal to write all of this down. I ended up choosing a simple gray one (because gray is one of UL's colors...yes it has colors...). I thought about getting something fancier and was looking at all kinds of custom journals on Etsy but I didn't really want to spend too much money on it, just in case, you know, I don't actually do it....but I also didn't want to use an ordinary notebook, so this journal has lots and lots of pages to write all of my nonsense. 

And as long as I actually do it, I may be able to fill all of those pages. 

05 April 2023

Make a Schedule

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's the posting day for the Insecure Writer's Support Group! Click here to learn more and sign up!

This month's optional question is: Do you remember writing your first book? What were your thoughts about a career path on writing? Where are you now and how is it working out for you? If you're at the start of the journey, what are your goals?

Actually, that's four questions!

My very first book was a picture book that I wrote when I was 8 years old. I wasn't thinking too far ahead about a writing career at that point, but I knew that I loved to come up with stories and wanted to write them down. As I got older and started writing novels, I knew that this was what I wanted to do. 

I would love to be a full time writer and completely support myself through writing. Unfortunately, that's not where I am at this point in my life, and my day job does take up a lot of my energy, making it difficult to make time for writing. I've also been in a creative slump for quite some time which has also kept me far from completing any of my writing goals. 

I think my main goal right now, one that I can actually accomplish in the near future, is to create a writing schedule for myself. I want to mainly focus on Uneven Lines, of course, but I'd also like to give some time to other book ideas I've come up with, especially ones that I feel I can write a lot faster and maybe actually have a chance of publishing. 

So creating some kind of schedule for myself along with a list of the projects I want to work on is my main writing goal for this month. I'm hoping just to get to a point where I'm writing consistently again. Then maybe I'll be able to see some kind of career in the future. 

01 March 2023

Envious of Everyone!

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's the posting day for the Insecure Writer's Support Group! Click here to learn more and sign up!

It's already a new month? What the heck?? This month's optional question is: Have you ever read a line in novel or a clever plot twist that caused you to have author envy?

I wish I could think of a particular line or plot twist that made me feel this way, and I'm sure there have been, but I think at this point with my writing, I'm envious of pretty much anyone who's actually writing. 

Even at my best, I'm a slow writer. I've always been in awe of those authors that can bust out multiple books per year. I don't think I could come up with enough ideas for that many books, let alone write them. I do have a good handful of unwritten or unfinished book ideas, but I feel like it's typically very hard for me to get new ideas for stories. They only come around once in a while. 

I've been in a creative slump for quite some time, but for the past month or so, I feel like life has just been too hectic to focus on writing. I have a lot of plans to get more organized and try to focus on different projects in the hopes that something will spark that creative energy. I've got a lot of writing books and workbooks that I hope will help figure out how to finally finish Uneven Lines. What I really need right now is the time and energy. 

I know it'll work out eventually. The chaotic happenings in my life seem to finally be mellowing out (although who knows what could happen next!). I just need to find a way to work writing (or writing related activities) into my daily schedule, then maybe I'll get used to it and want to do it all the time! We shall see.