#IWSG – First Piece of Writing

Insecure Writers Support Group Badge

The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group Day, and from last month the group have revved up IWSG Day to make it more fun and interactive!

Every month, they’ll announce a question that members can answer in the IWSG Day post. These questions may prompt us to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. So on to the AUGUST 3rd QUESTION: 

What was your very first piece of writing as an aspiring writer? Where is it now? Collecting dust or has it been published?

My immediate reaction is: do false starts to my stuttering career count?

I suspect the well-intentioned but probably delusional first scribblings don’t – like the stories about animals that I dreamt up as a child. Nor does my prize-winning essay about ‘A Day in the Life of a Helicopter Pilot’ that won me 3 days with the Royal Navy, aged about eleven.

As for all the manuscripts taking up space on my hard drive, they are post-debut/ “Spiral of Hooves” so don’t qualify.

So I have to time travel back to the early 1970s when I was at school near Montreal, and created BILINSSEF, a bilingual society that showed classic science fiction films and encouraged aspiring SF and fantasy writers. I even published a magazine called MIND SPHERE, although I fear that my shorts were the bad ones.

I have the notes and outlines for some of those stories, but not sadly any of the magazines. Nor have I got my first ever draft novel, which was a fantasy about a unicorn and a god. The god had given himself amnesia believing that the real divine being would rescue a time-fractured world. Cue the unicorn.

Sadly – or maybe fortunately – the manuscript was probably trashed when I left Canada, although a few of the ideas have filtered through to works in progress…including the unicorn, even if his nature has changed.

Moral: sometimes age improves ideas as well as wine. And some wine doesn’t age at all well.


Oak Wine Barrels – Copyright: Sanjay Acharya



The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group Day. We post our thoughts on our own blogs. We talk about our doubts and the fears we have conquered. We discuss our struggles and triumphs. We offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling.

Please visit others in the group and connect with my fellow writers.

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Our Twitter hashtag is #IWSG

And be sure to check out our Facebook group –https://www.facebook.com/groups/IWSG13/

Our revved up IWSG Day question may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.

The awesome co-hosts for this August 3 posting of the IWSG are Tamara Narayan, Tonja Drecker, Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor, Lauren @ Pensuasion, Stephen Tremp, and Julie Flanders! 

29 thoughts on “#IWSG – First Piece of Writing

  1. To spend 3 days with the Royal Navy is an amazing prize for a young boy. My nephews would probably be interested in that helicopter pilot essay you wrote. 🙂 And how neat that you published magazines. I used to want to do the same thing. Hey, when I hear the word “unicorn,” I get interested. 😉


    • RN experience was very special and still have great memories of it. Not sure how much I got right about the helicopters; obviously enough to impress the judges.

      And yes, unicorns are ‘interesting’/always worth exploring.


  2. This is a hard question, but it must have been fun to think about. I lost the first manuscript I worked on, and now I wished I’d saved it. At the time, I didn’t think it was worthy saving, but now I’d love to see what I wrote.


  3. I have a false start YA story that I wrote shortly after reading how author Stephenie Meyer’s idea for Twilight came from a dream. I dream vividly and figured, hey I can turn one of my dreams into a story! It was a totally generic portal world fantasy and I quit because I had no real plot. A few years later I tried again with a new idea and the writing bug stuck.

    Here’s my August IWSG post on my first novel attempt (note I said ATTEMPT). YA Author Stephanie Scott IWSG August


  4. For an eleven year old boy, I’m sure that 3 days with the navy is like heaven!
    “And some wine doesn’t age at all well.” The wine analogy is interesting… a different spin… 🙂
    Happy IWSG Day!


  5. I like your analogy about ideas and wine. Good point. Too bad about losing so many old manuscripts and magazines. Best wishes on your writing.


  6. I like the wisdom you have discerned from your manuscripts. I believe also that age improves a manuscript. Somehow the longer you work on it, it matures. As for those that don’t age well, I believe it has to do with whether or not they are a heart thing, meaning how much did I really believe and love them to care for them.
    All the best.
    Shalom aleichem,


  7. My Dad was a gunner for the Royal Canadian Navy. Same thing, sorta. Hi Roland. Sorry I’m late. I love reading your posts. They are full of wisdom and common sense. Ah, yes, some wines age well, some don’t. I know a few humans like that. But a good wine doesn’t necessarily have to cost you an arm or a leg or both.


    • Had to Google RCN to see when it replaced the British navy…and not as early as thought. (I wondered if it was nearer 1812 than 1910, so surprised to see wrong. But first ships were RN ones.)

      Anyway, agree wines don’t have to be pricey – some awesome wines can be a bargain, as can some engrossing reads.


  8. Age definitely makes story ideas better. In fact, my preferred method is to start a story (first 20 to 50 pages), then let it sit for 3 to 5 years, until my subconscious has worked out all the details or formed a better concept of the characters.


    • Interesting approach Crystal. I always say that I leave my first draft at least six months to “mature”. But never tried longer…although there are some well-aged ideas around so perhaps I can learn from your approach. Thanks 🙂


  9. That’s amazing that you win 3 days with the navy as your prize. I wish that I had my first writing piece of writing to look back on. It was a fairy tale about twin princesses who ran away from the castle because they wanted to define their own fate/future. Which has also followed into my other works in progress.


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