Tag Archives: confidence

IWSG and What’s Up Wednesday

InsecureWritersSupportGroupPurpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds! (Our Twitter hashtag is #IWSG)

Alex J. Cavanaugh’s awesome co-hosts for the July 3 posting of the IWSG are M. Pax, Karen Walker, and Melissa Maygrove.

Insecurity sets in when we are the most vulnerable. I’m well versed in this now because I have been sick. As a healthy person, the sick thing is not something I have had to do often and I have little patience for. I’m humbled by those who fight illness chronically. Ugh. Totally, NOT fun. In the first place, it does lower all your defenses. Not only was I low physically from the illness but convinced that I was the biggest loser on the planet for all the things I was not accomplishing this summer on my writing that I swore I would. In the boxing ring of insecurity I was beating myself up pretty good. Then, the medicine began to work its magic and logic took hold. My life has been in limbo for a year and given that I’ve done remarkably well just keeping my sanity, crucifying myself for not meeting arbitrarily set goals felt cruel and unusual even for a writer. 🙂 Thus, I have a new goal for the near future: be kinder to my inner writer. We experience enough judgment from the outside. Let’s not add to it.

What’s Up Wednesday

ButtonSmallNoBorderI spent another week lost to illness. Thus, if you read above, you know I’ve already beat myself up over the whole ‘what I didn’t accomplish’ thing. Mostly, I fought to get well.

What I’m reading: Nothing. I’ve been too sick even to read. Trust me, this was a first.

What I’m writing: I did get edits made to one chapter. I’m set to begin again now that I’m actually vertical.

For the week to come August 8-14 (OMG! Is it really time for classes to begin?)

Reading: I look forward to starting a new book. Haven’t decided if it will be fiction or non-fiction. Hmm. So many books…so little time.

Writing: FINISH EDITS OF THE GAP PROJECT.    ready set write button

I am frustrated, but I am undaunted.

Go me!

How was your week?



Filed under Writing

The Oracle

Anyone remember a trilogy from the 90’s called The Matrix? I thought so. It was a thought-provoking series for many of us and enjoyable on many levels. I’ve been thinking about one particular line from the first film a lot lately. It’s when Neo visits the Oracle. She gives him the following advice about being “the one”.

        “Being the one is just like being in love. No one can tell you you’re in love. You just know it. Through and through. Balls to bones.”

Writing is a lot like this for me. I know I’m a writer, have known it for longer than I have vocally admitted it. It is as the oracle said something that you know balls to bones. I have that level of understanding about what I am, but these days, I’m questioning that level of commitment in my craft. The writing is solid but my ‘life’ has been on a collision course with chaos for two years, and I have begun to realize that I did something smart for me on a personal level and deadly on a writing level. Emotionally, I clocked out. This has allowed the horrid circumstances surrounding me to not destroy me. However, my writing has all the emotional honesty of a pet rock.

I’m not sure I’ve ever been an honest writer. I’d love to lay it all on the page the way Les Edgerton does. I read his stories and the gut ravaging honesty is in every word, hell, every bit of punctuation. Of course, the second semester of grad school I was given two mandates – no more emotion and no more killing. Man, I write mysteries. Killing people was what I did best, and I lived for it. It was both the worst and the best thing that ever happened to me. My writing itself improved. The melodrama disappeared (I hadn’t even realized it was there), and I found the drama inherent in life beyond dead bodies. Still, it may have done more damage than I realized.

After grad school, I was a writer by definition. I sold my stories. I marketed my YA novel. But I am sad to say that I am a bit adrift. I’m a mystery writer having difficulty killing people. I have an adult mystery novel based on one of the worst of all emotional situations for a parent – that of a missing child – and I’m having difficulty getting that voice out of my head. No emotion! No killing! I yell at it to shut up, and it simply yells louder.

Now, the Oracle’s voice is replacing it, telling me to go all in “balls to bones”. I have to put as much of myself into the writing as exists in me. If it truly is all of me, I have to find a way to shove aside the doubts, the voices that say anything other than, “Write!”

What do you do when your commitment waivers?


Filed under Writing

Be Inspired Meme

Be Inspired

I was tagged by blogger Natasha Hanova for the Be Inspired meme. The instructions say to answer the following questions, and then tag five people. Thanks for tagging me, Natasha. Now, for those questions…

1. What is the name of your book?
2. Where did the idea for your book come from?
The concept and the main character came from a dream.
3. In what genre would you classify your book?
YA Science Fiction Suspense


4. If you had to pick actors to play your characters in a movie rendition, who would you choose? I know enough to know I’d have no say so I’ll not go there. Like many writers, I have pictures of my characters. My main character’s looks are based on a former student. Her other characteristics are a composite of many people. Which is, of course, the real fun of building characters.

5. Give us a one-sentence synopsis of your book. Ginny Carrera discovers she’s genetically engineered to survive a nuclear holocaust AND on the international auction block so with the help of friends, Toad and Mayo, she sets out to take down an evil senator and his crew of human engineers.

6. Is your book already published / represented?

It is being shopped with appreciable interest so I’m hopeful.

7. How long did it take you to write your book?

The first writing was three months. The rewrites and edits have been unending.

8. What other books within your genre would you compare it to? Or, readers of which books would enjoy yours?
Not a lot of books that I’m familiar with, but there are authors who inspired me. Kevin Brooks, Caroline B. Cooney, and Harlan Coben.
9. Which authors inspired you to write this book?
An author didn’t inspire me to write this. My childhood fascination with only one aspect of science class did. I was not a science kid but when the introduced genetics, I lit up. It fascinated me and still does. The ongoing growth in this area of research keeps me reading everything I can get my hands on.
10. Tell us anything that might pique our interest in your book. 
Puberty is hell for everyone. Try doing it after discovering that you really are the freak you feared people thought you were. Then, try doing it on the run because nearly everyone is after you for your invaluable DNA.

Now to tag five others…

Victoria Dixon @ http://victorialeedixon.com/

Rachael Harrie @ http://rachaelharrie.blogspot.com/

Michelle Wallace @ http://www.writer-in-transit.co.za/

Hildred Billings @ http://hildredbillings.blogspot.com/

Andria Parker @ http://anchorsandfreedom.com/about/

I can’t wait to hear more about you. Please leave a note in the comments if you decide to participate. Thanks!


Filed under Writing

One Stop Shopping

Ask anyone who knows me, and they’ll tell you I defy the female stereotype. I HATE shopping. I’ll schedule doctor and dental visits to avoid shopping trips. Because of this I have made an art of efficiency with shopping just so I have to do it less.

Research can be a little like shopping. It can take over your writing time and before you know it you’ve lost hours to the internet. This site might help with that. It’s a one stop shopping trip for writer’s. This blogger has put together blogs on just about every topic you could possibly want. So, check it out. Maybe the time you save will allow you a little shopping  trip of your own. If you’re so inclined, that is. 🙂


Filed under Writing

The Writer’s Life

The image of the writer – historically speaking – is of a guy and a typewriter in a room, isolated, alone, slaving away at his craft. Writers lived lives that kept them introverted in the social sense and often at odds with other writers. Read biographies of great writers ,and you’ll read stories of the often great feuds between them.

Fast forward to today and the image of the writer is quite different. We live in a global world where the writer – even when alone at a computer in her attic room – is by no means isolated. She may be talking with someone in England or Canada or Australia or Africa or…well, you get the idea.

Todays writer cannot afford to live in isolation. Ours is a job fraught with rejection, criticism, and constant uphill battles. No one wants to take that journey alone. The writers of yesterday would be quite surprised to find how much todays writers rely on each other and the community of writers. We have local groups that keep us afloat such as critique groups and beta readers, and we have regional groups such as writer’s guilds and unions that provide us with much-needed support. We have national organizations that allow us to widen our circle of influence and to help us learn from a diverse group of people.

We have online groups which allow us to interact with people we might never meet otherwise and establish friendships that would not have been possible thirty years ago. In this regard, there’s never been a better time for writers.

As I drove to the college this morning, it occurred to me that I rarely talk to others about this. I’m blessed by this circle of friends, their insights, words of criticism and support, and sometimes, just the shared laughter and tears.

Novel Clique is my critique group. A sisterhood of writers who close down Border’s once a week and laugh and cry with abandon. I’d be lost without them.We began as a group of unpublished writers and have stayed together and grown together. We’ve now celebrated as each has published.

First Tuesdays is Novel Clique’s pay it forward. We began it as a way to help new writer’s starting down that path. It’s a gentle hand of guidance from people who have been in the trenches and felt the slinging of mud and the harsh lash of criticism handled incorrectly. Once a month it’s an opportunity for laughter and shared experiences. We all learn from it.

Professional writers are generous beyond belief. It amazes me every day at the number of writers who continue to reach out to writers every where – published or not – to offer insights and support. For me, that list includes Nancy Pickard, Richard Thomas, Harlan Coben, and Les Edgerton. Successful writers are busy people; and when they take the time to reach out with a kind word or suggestions for a WIP or just  a smile at a conference, it’s important to say thank you. Thank you!

MFA’ers – you know who you are – are definitely special people to me. We shared an experience that bonded us in ways that are almost familial. Our continued contact is important to me and always will be.

Online writing friends consist of people I’ve met on blogs, Facebook, and even face to face at conferences and then, continue to communicate with online. These friendships are unique. I might never have met these people if not for technology. I enjoy the banter and exchanging of ideas and support across the miles that separate us.


Filed under The Life, Writing, Writing Groups

The Blog Tour

Thanks, Tasha for The Versatile Blogger Award. It’s sweet and fun.

The Rules for The Versatile Blogger Award:

  1. Thank and link back to the person that gave you the award.
  2. Share seven things about yourself.
  3. Pass the award to fifteen bloggers that you think deserve it.
  4. Lastly, contact all of the bloggers that you’ve picked for the award.

I’m headed out on my tour for the fifteen blogs I want to award.

Seven things about me: 1. My favorite holiday is Halloween. 2. I love teaching teenagers. 3. I’m jazzed by the possibilities of a new story. 4. I love to work out. (Sick I know) 5. I have an interesting work background – everything from butchering meat to running a swimming pool to painting houses to teaching. 6. I love Mexican food. 7. Someday, I’m retiring to the ranch with the horses, the dogs, and a lot of peace and quiet.


Filed under The Life, Writing, Writing Groups

Blog Chain – Facing the Keyboard After Rejection

Like all writers I face rejection constantly. It’s as consistent as the bills. The question for those of us who do this is: How do you stay motivated at your most unmotivated?

For me rejection brings to mind torture devices from the darker paths of history. Put me in stocks. Pull out the thumbscrews. Chain me in the tower. Stretch me on the rack. Just don’t make me write when it feels like my dog writes better prose than I do. No offense, Moses.

Motivating myself to write when things are as dark as they can get is beyond difficult. It’s like hunting for a man after a painful divorce. Demeaning, devastating, deplorable. How do you force yourself to sit down to the keyboard after someone rips your work to shreds? The obvious answer is you sit your butt in the chair, and you do it because as a writer you have no other option. For most of us that’s true but it’s also true that each rejection makes it harder to repeat the process. .

It’s not like I enjoy being eviscerated. (And no matter how many times I tell myself it’s not personal, those words are mine and therefore, it’s very personal.) However, I can’t stop the voices in my head, and I can’t stop telling stories just because they aren’t perfect on the page yet or because I haven’t found the right editor or agent to read them yet.

In all honesty, sometimes the blistering criticism is accurate. My work is not done. And I’m not totally surprised by the criticism as some place deep down, I knew something wasn’t working. I wasn’t sure what, but I knew something was wrong. However, some of it is BUNK. A reviewer rushed, skimming rather than reading.  Or makes suggestions that aren’t helpful or fitting to the work at hand.

The issue for a writer before they pull out the thumbscrews is to figure out which criticism is worth pursuing and which can be burned in effigy or placed on the rack and stretched until shredded.

Unfortunately, you have to let go of the pain of the rejection first. Having a support system can help. My critique group provides that. They provide a balance for me. Honestly agreeing with the reviewer when the advice is right and telling me to ignore it when it’s off the mark. But mostly, by acknowledging that this is part of the process, and we all go through it as writers. A form of hazing to find who has the wherewithal to keep going in the face of constant rejection. That is what gets me back behind the keyboard and willing to keep trying.

What keeps you in the game? Check out Natasha’s blog to see what she has to say about rejection.



Filed under The Life, Writing