Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Insecure Writers' Support Group: Stepping Forward

 
This is my first time posting to the IWSG group (click link to participate), and already I'm feeling insecure, not wanting to say the wrong thing. But I guess this is a place where I can bare my writer soul and speak honestly, right?

I am trying to finish a novel that has been rewritten so many times it's almost an embarrassment. I've written probably ten drafts (I've lost count) and it's had several critiques. However, it's a far, far different and better book than the one I started writing nearly fifteen years ago. Today it finally feels complete, but I'm overwhelmed with the process of finding an agent and publisher. I know I need an agent. At least that will be my foremost goal in the beginning. I just don't want to back down when the going gets tough, and from what I hear, it will. I really believe in Callie's story, a fourteen year old who along with her little brother searches for their missing mother who disappeared in Thailand. So much of her story is taken from my own experience living in Malaysia and traveling to Thailand (Callie is half Malaysian). So you see, a huge chunk of my heart lives in this novel, but I know I need to be tough and also look at it as a product I'm going to sell. I need to stay objective, right? Is that possible? 

Not sure why I have hesitated so long to join this group, but it only took reading a third of IWSG's book to realize the benefits. I read the chapter on flash fiction and decided to give it a try. I had been editing my novel for so long I wasn't sure if I had a creative bone left in me. I sat down and wrote an entire scene, one I had been mulling over for months but had never put on the page. I realized I had just started another novel. I have since written a second scene, and so I'm very grateful to this group's book for motivating me.


One thing I know for sure is that I need to get the current novel off my desk. So I'm stepping forward and asking for your support, in soft little ballet slippers. Sigh.....I wish had the boldness of a gypsy dancer (hmm...not sure why I thought of gypsies.....must be from Libba Bray's Gemma Doyle trilogy. I was reading it while finishing my novel). But you know the kind of dancer I'm talking about. Basically, I'm afraid of the spotlight. I'm the actor behind the curtain, afraid to go on stage. So, I'm insecure, I admit it. Full confession. Am I as hopeless as I feel right now?

28 comments:

  1. Yup. You're a writer. LOL

    I feel the same way. I'd rather just write and not interact, 'put myself out there,' but that's part of the job. You'll do fine. Just take it one day (and one query) at a time. ;)

    IWSG #143 until Alex culls the list again.

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  2. It's a brave step. Welcome to authorland! Tenacity is needed in this profession. You've stuck with this project for 15 years, so you do have some. Keep your focus on the positive. We're here to root you on and to remind you you're not alone.

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    1. Thank you. I debated for a long time before joining this group. I almost backed out last night when I wrote it! I hope I can be an encouragement to others too.

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  3. Yay for joining the tribe! I hung back and observed for two years before hopping on board, so I totally get it. My novel that was published in 2013 was first drafted in 2002 and went through at least 80 drafts (meaning 6 to 8 complete rewrites). I hear you about redrafting and finally being able to step away and work on something new.

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    1. Thanks, Crystal. You've been supportive long before this post and I really appreciate it!! 80 drafts, wow.....now I don't feel so bad, but I know I've had as many edits. I have a bad habit of editing things to death. I wrote this novel without an outline, so I had to go back and rewrite a lot, fixing the plot and subplots. I'll never do another book again this way. Learned my lesson. As much as I hate doing outlines, I hate having to fix things that could have been fixed in the beginning.

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  4. Welcome to the IWSG! you are in the right place.
    Time to take the next step with your book. You've devoted so many years to it - time to make it a reality.
    And glad to hear the IWSG inspired you! The contributions from our members were just amazing.

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    1. Alex, Thank you for starting this group!!

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  5. Take it one step at a time, learn, grow, challenge yourself. You can do it!

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    1. Thank you. I'm so excited to be a part of this amazing group!

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  6. Welcome to ISWG! I hope you find it as encouraging as I do. Your novel sounds amazing--especially since you have your "heart" in it. I know it's scary to put your work out there, but the only thing I can say, that it does get easier each time you send it out. There will probably be some rejections, but you can't get an acceptance if no one reads your work. :)
    By the way, I'm an SCBWI member and kidlit writer too. :)

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    1. Thank you! I hope you're right about "easier." Happy to meet another SCBWI member and kidlit writer :)

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  7. I am not a writer and I am part of this group:) I may, one day, write my mom's biography. I think you are doing great! You have written the book (and rewritten) and now you can get all sorts of knowledge from the people who publish and have published books. i have read some have publishes and agents and others don't. I think, back in late fall, there was some book all about how to help the writer. Ask Alex as he was the brainchild of this

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  8. But you are a writer, Birgit, just not in the sense of writing of a book. I have enjoying your writings a lot. Yep, already reading Alex's book. Thanks!

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  9. You are not hopeless at all. IWSG is where it's at for moral support! Your first IWSG post is terrific! Keep writing!

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  10. Thank you so much, Donna. This group is awesome!

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  11. Welcome to the group, Sharon!

    Have you considered self-publishing your book? It's not that hard to do, you'll get it out faster than a traditional publisher can, and you'll retain control of your story. It may sound scary to self-publish, and yes, marketing is hard, but there are also lots of other authors willing to help. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

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    1. Hi Sandra. Thank you for this!! There is such a huge debate over self-publ vs trad. right now, and there are valid reasons to go either way, but I'm going to try the trad. route first, wanting the marketing editors the big guys offer--and advance if I strike gold. I know, I know, I only a few get this. And I could hire services out.... And there are marketing hurdles regardless of how I go, but this is going to be my approach for now (of course that could all change, the more I learn :) One of the reasons I wanted to join this group WAS to see how others navigate the publishing process, so thanks again for offering to help. You may hear from me!

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  12. You're definitely not alone in having "stage fright" (as an aspiring actor when I was a kid, I often go to this analogy too). That's what the group is for! You'll be in good company here. Welcome.

    As to your book, I know it is hard to step away from being so personally attached to it, especially when you've been working on it for that length of time. But consider it as owing it to your characters that they deserve to make their way in the world, after being in development for so long. Hope that makes sense! Good luck!

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    1. Ah.....a kindred spirit, thanks Nick! I sometimes think the same about my characters. No one knows them yet and they are dying to be introduced. Need to remember that....

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  13. So glad you decided to join the group! Welcome!
    And you sound so much like me it's almost scary. I've always been the one afraid to go on stage. But this group and wonderful community has helped change that.

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    1. Yes, yes.....someone else who understands! Thanks, Julie, I know this group will make a huge difference.

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  14. It is inspiring that you keep to the task of refining your work and that persistence is a testimony that will help many insecure writers. Remember, you are doing it!

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    1. Boy do I ever know about persistence (and banging my head against the wall in frustration :) Thanks for your encouragement, Cherdo!

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  15. Are you hopeless? Absolutely not! The novel I'm about to publish has been in the works for thirty years or so, and I've revised it so many times I've lost count. Just take small steps and breathe in between. You'll get there!

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    1. Really....Wow, you are a true veteran. You stuck it out and now you are about to see it published. I'm going to remember this. Thanks, Lori!

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  16. Sharon, welcome to a wonderful group. It took me a while to join the IWSG because I didn't want to make a fool of myself. And it took me years of rewrites, revisions, and editing before I got close to publishing. You're not alone.

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    1. Thank you, Cathrina. I totally relate. I didn't want to say the wrong things, etc., or worse, label myself. Now I see how important it was to take this step. I'm not alone!!!

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