#IWSG – Stresses & Strains

Time for the monthly Insecure Writer’s Support Group post and my latest news on the writing front.

First Fevered Fuse, which should be back from my London-based editor friend by the end of the week. Hopefully, her copy/developmental/substantive edit will give me the final inspiration to finish my first Snowdon Shadowspolice procedural. Then I will have to impose a deadline to ready its submission to a publisher, possibly a small UK press, Crooked Cat / Darkstroke Books initially.

If anyone else has submission suggestions, let me know, please.

As for other ongoing writing, I’m mentally preparing for the final WEP/IWSG Challenge of 2021 – https://writeeditpublishnow.blogspot.com/2021/12/wep-2021-continues-artistic-inspiration.html – especially as I see the deadline is now December 15th, which I had down as the initial posting, not today’s impossible stress-inducing date. Guess the theme of ‘Narcissus’ means dashing from my burrow screaming ‘I’m late, I’m late for an important writing date’.

Which brings me in a panic onto the monthly question, so please prepare for more weirdness.

But I must thank the Ninja Captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh for all he does – and thanks for creating the Insecure Writer’s Support Group without whom my writing would be non-existent…and every post might be ‘farewell’.

And thanks to all those whose encouraging comments ensure I scribble onwards. Apologies for failing to reply to every comment. I try at least to press ‘like’ when I’ve read them. I do attempt an all-inclusive answer sometimes.

Finally, don’t forget to visit more active writers via the IWSG site, and to read better answers to this month’s intriguing question.

Insecure Writer’s Support Group

Although the question is optional, I’m again tempted to answer.

December 1 question – In your writing, what stresses you the most? What delights you?

A: Deadlines.

“Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be too late!”

Lewis Carroll –  Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Okay, I’ll explain – in a rambling way as that was the cryptic answer – as usual.

Back in the last century, well before MS meant multiple sclerosis – diagnosed in 2000 – I was writing to non-stop deadlines as an equestrian journalist. Weekly reports for various sports pages, some weeks as many as 20. And often, a detailed report for a national magazine, Eventing which ceased publication in June 2015, one of the sad closures to my life – https://rolandclarke.com/2015/09/01/end-of-an-era-closing-a-chapter-in-my-life/.

Anyway, those deadlines were stressful, although I devised a coping/cheating mechanism – I wrote the Eventing article first, then copy & pasted sections for the local papers. Note that the Eventing report was on the main winners at an event, usually over the weekend, and the locals wanted pieces on riders competing at the same event from their area.

However, not every magazine article slotted into this convenient pattern – some were feature pieces with their own deadlines, stresses, plus strains on my inefficient time management.

I wonder if this deadline-stress added to the stress-induced MS? Yes, stress is something that can trigger MS attacks. But I’ve blamed my stress on organising an end of season Awards Ball in November 1999 and a failing first marriage – both leading to my initial collapse.

Anyway, once diagnosed with MS in January 2000, I began to juggle the stress/deadlines better, gradually phasing out my career as a journalist over the next five years.

Not the fiction writing though, as Spiral of Hooves was now emerging with its own deadlines. And with this Blog site, some more appeared, like all those relating to the Snowdon Shadows police procedural series, plus writing events like NaNoWriMo, the A-to-Z Challenge, the WEP /IWSG Challenges, the annual IWSG Anthology, and this monthly post. Deadlines, and yes, stress,

But delight at the feedback and acceptance. The positive and uplifting comments are like gold fairy dust, so many thanks to you all. That counters the stress and strains.

One of the greatest delights was having my short story, Feathered Fire appear in the IWSG Anthology  Voyagers: The Third Ghost: The Third Ghost, released May 5th 2020.

That kind of acceptance makes the stress worthwhile. But I keep wanting a novel acceptance. Am I greedy?

Gazing at daffodils, two women weave their tale of love and loss

Not Fevered Fuse, but an aftermath – or a postscript. Time for another Blurb Blitz Challenge.


The awesome co-hosts for the December 1 posting of the IWSG are PJ Colando, Diane Burton, Louise – Fundy Blue, Natalie Aguirre, and Jacqui Murray!

How can I be repetitive asking you to agree these guys are the best? Well, they are – especially as they all have concerns, fears, and insecurities. But they struggle on, so ticker-tape applause for all of them – plus toasts with the best brew available.

Purpose of IWSG: 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!

Every month, we announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG post. These questions 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.

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting!

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

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

Every month, we announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG post. These questions 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.

For more on the IWSG monthly post and links to other participants visit:


7 thoughts on “#IWSG – Stresses & Strains

  1. Your posts are always interesting, Roland. I suspect that having always had deadlines, you need them as part of the structure of your life. I certainly do. I get incredibly lazy and never do all the tthings I’ve been waiting for time to do. Give myself a deadline, and whoosh, it’s done.
    I really must give myself a deadline to get the wood filler and fill the holes in the door frames left when my doors were replaced… in December 2020. Hm. I’ll let you know how I’ve got on next IWSG post.
    I don’t know whether I’m doing Narcissus. No inspiration, and lots of Christmas stories being written for my series websites.
    Lots of love – and seasons greetings. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I get what you are saying about the deadlines. I’ve rarely had to face any real writing deadlines in the professional sense, but I totally understand the nature of the stress in meeting such a deadline.

    Best wishes on the work you are involved with now.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi, Roland! It fills my heart to hear you sounding more like the Roland I know. Wow, you’ve been dealing with MS for a very long time. I admire your persistence greatly. I want to read your book ~ Wishing you strength, inspiration, and a happy, happy holiday season. Take care, my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sorry all of that eventually got to you and you had to retire.
    I had two friends, one with MS and the other with a rare blood disorder, and they ended up marrying, both probably figuring this was it. Miserable marriage. Divorced a year later. Ironically, both conditions went into remission. Who knew they were poisoning each other?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Good to hear you are still at it! I’ve been very good at keeping deadline-stress out of my life, and recently made the decision to keep it that way, and not even try for a trad publisher for my next book, something I’d toyed with. Might interfere with my travel plans 🙂

    Looking forward to whatever you come up with for Narcissus—like Jemimna, I’m not very inspired. Guess it would be good if I could come up with something relating to one of my existing seres.

    Liked by 1 person

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