#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:

https://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/p/iwsg-sign-up.html

#IWSG – Writer Success?

Passing on the monthly Insecure Writer’s Support Group post is a decision I face and resist each time, even if it’s tempting to succumb to failure. But not this month.

As for July’s family medical crisis, that was resolved, although I suspect there may be others out there.

So, the monthly question made me answer again, so please bear with more confused thoughts.

Okay, here goes.

Well, first 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 March’s post might have been ‘farewell’.

Second, my thanks to all those whose encouraging comments ensure I scribble onwards. Apologies for failing to reply to every comment recently. I try at least to press ‘like’ when I’ve read them. Maybe I’ll attempt an all-inclusive answer next time.

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

Insecure Writer’s Support Group

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

September 1 question – How do you define success as a writer? Is it holding your book in your hand? Having a short story published? Making a certain amount of income from your writing?

Writing success – a dream for six decades.

When I was a teenager, I spoke as a teenager, I understood as a teenager, I thought as a teenager, and expected writing success. But when I became a retiree, I put away teenage dreams.

Okay, that’s a simplified statement – and a crib from 1 Corinthians 13 – so, I’ll elaborate.

As a child, I never expected real success, but as a teenager scribbling shorts and novel ideas, I hoped I’d get at least a short story or two accepted by magazines. My first rejection dashed that dream, stopped me submitting, and led to me self-publishing a sci-fi fanzine. Yes, it contained stories by other people and me – but understandably short-lived at 2 issues.

I put away any ambition as a fiction writer for five decades, although I was published as a journalist – purely factual articles. In my early 20s, I had a brief stint as a sub-editor on The Field magazine, then went freelance for a few years, before becoming a photographer – briefly again.

Fast forward to 1994 – via organic produce, green politics, videos and films – and I was back writing as a journalist, focusing on equestrian sports, mainly eventing. My first novel, my first fiction acceptance was taking shape, but it wasn’t finished until I retired. So, Spiral of Hooves was released as an e-book on Monday, December 9th, 2013, by Spectacle Publishing. For a few months, I felt successful as a writer, but I was insecure and dissatisfied. Dissatisfied with the slow sales, mediocre reviews……and the lack of a physical book to caress. However, that was released on Monday, August 7th, 2017, the second edition – re-edited, updated, and self-published as Spectacle had been bought out.

Thanks to the Insecure Writer’s Support Group , I got the chance to write and submit shorts to the annual anthology. Eventually, one story – Feathered Fire – was accepted and published in Voyagers: The Third Ghost in 2020. However, to date that is my only published short.

So, is that writing success? My wife says getting my novel published means ‘yes’.

For me, I see others submitting regularly and getting their writing out there. That’s ‘success as a writer, especially if the response is good and there’s more to come. However, there are one hit successes as well-but they’re rare, although amazing.

My writing is dissolving into dreams and screams…marinading forever. My co-writer never emerged so Fevered Fuse will remain unfinished, while Sparkle and Kama may make brief appearances in WEP/IWSG Challenge posts – as long as I can type sense.

Maybe one day things may change.

Apologies, that’s all until my next post – October’s IWSG post and then the WEP/IWSG Challenge a couple of weeks later.

The awesome co-hosts for the September 1 posting of the IWSG are Rebecca Douglass, T. Powell Coltrin @Journaling Woman, Natalie Aguirre, Karen Lynn, and C. Lee McKenzie!

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:

https://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/p/iwsg-sign-up.html

Voyagers Author Yvonne Ventresca’s “Pandemic” – A Great Read for This Trying Time

Currently the IWSG Anthologies blog is featuring posts from the winning authors in this year’s IWSG anthology VOYAGERS:  The Third Ghost.

This week’s post features Yvonne Ventresca, the author whose short story “The Third Ghost” won the top honour in the Voyagers anthology, giving the book its title and cover.  Yvonne is sharing the backstory to her award-winning young adult novel Pandemic., which was written before the current Covid-19 pandemic, but her research into the Spanish Flu crisis proved invaluable – and chilling.

https://iwsganthologies.blogspot.com/2020/10/yvonne-ventrescas-compelling-young.html

#IWSG – Distracted Writer?

September has been another of those catch-up month – sporadic fail – after I was ill in August. In short, backlog has multiplied.

Therefore, this month’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group post crept up before I’d found the time/energy/motivation/space/whatever to visit last month’s visitors. Apologies to you all – or is that excuse getting stale?

Anyway, I can’t disappoint the Ninja Captain himself by missing a month – especially as he’s such a stalwart follower. Thanks Alex J. Cavanaugh for creating the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where you can find better answers to this month’s challenging question.

October 7 question – When you think of the term working writer, what does that look like to you? What do you think it is supposed to look like? Do you see yourself as a working writer or aspiring or hobbyist, and if latter two, what does that look like?

My image of a successful working writer is possibly Ernest Hemingway, at the end of his life an Idaho resident – like me, but I avoid the drink and guns, or the suicide ending.

7th October 1939: American writer Ernest Hemingway (1899 – 1961) works at his typewriter while sitting outdoors, Idaho.
(Photo by Lloyd Arnold/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

When I started down my writing path, I took the journalist calling – like Hemingway sin estimulantes. In fact, I was interested in warcos, such as Hemingway’s 3rd wife Martha Gellhorn. But I wandered along sylvan paths following country pursuits, and my image of a writer scribbling in notepads evolved into a writer at a typewriter with a wastebin of discarded pages.

Even now I have the image of a serious working writer in their dedicated space transforming the notepad scribbles into a manuscript – albeit on a laptop. Whatever the means, that still means dedicated time -a space of regular time set aside each day to go to that space and work. Yet, J K Rowling was forced to use coffee shops and why do I see Mary Wesley writing in her garden?

There’s as many different types of writers as genre variations multiplied by sheets in a ream.

Time to answer the hardest question: what sort of writer am I?

First, a retired equestrian journalist with a notepad/recorder and a desktop PC.

Second, a writer who aspires to release another book into the world, probably set in Snowdonia.

Third, a distracted writer who too easily finds other things to do whether that’s wading through and deleting endless emails, sleeping, or attempting to beat a game.

Are role-playing games my version of Hemingway’s addictions?

Or fourth, at this time of year, I transform into a NaNoWriMo writer. Come November and I usually manage 50,000 words plus in the month. Most of my draft novels were written or revised in November – although one was written at the same breakneck speed one April.

Does that make me a hobbyist? Or a spasmodic writer? That fits the spasms in my limbs/nerves as well as the tingling tattoos of my MC, Sparkle Anwyl.

For the record, I’m prepping my 2020 NaNoWriMo entry called ‘Lost Sheep’ with a premise linked to Sparkle:

A retired Welsh farmer faces challenges to his faith when his legacy is threatened.

Clue: Grandfather.

My thanks to Debs Carey for triggering my NaNo brain with this insightful post:

https://fictioncanbefun.wordpress.com/2020/09/27/secondthoughts-older-people-in-books/

 Also thanks to Fundy Blue who encouraged me to contribute a post the IWSG Anthologies blog today:

https://iwsganthologies.blogspot.com/

And a footnote: Hemingway disapproved of the 1939 Idaho photograph, saying, “I don’t work like this.”

Hemingway on Writing

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The awesome co-hosts for the October 7 posting of the IWSG are Jemima Pett, Beth Camp,Beverly Stowe McClure, and Gwen Gardner! 

How can I be repetitive asking you to agree these guys are the best? 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. They are truly the best.

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 someth

Voyagers Author Rebecca M. Douglass and Her Middle-Grade Books

Currently the IWSG Anthologies blog is featuring posts from the winning authors in this year’s IWSG anthology VOYAGERS:  The Third Ghost.

This week Rebecca M. Douglas, our Ninja Librarian, and one of my stalwart beta readers, shares her published books and her inspiration at the IWSG Anthology Blog:

https://iwsganthologies.blogspot.com/2020/09/voyagers-author-rebecca-m-douglass-and.html

On Wednesday, October 7, 2020, the next IWSG Day, I’m giving the scoop on my novel Spiral of Hooves, the relevance of my career as an equestrian journalist & photographer, plus a few words on my WIPs – the Snowdon Shadow series.

Sherry’s Mayan Adventure

Well, Bubba and Squirt’s Mayan Adventure. So, congratulations to author Sherry Ellis.

Today on the IWSG Anthology blog, celebrate with my fellow Voyagers author Sherry Ellis as she releases her latest book, the new Bubba and Squirt adventure.

If you have read this year’s IWSG anthology VOYAGERS:  The Third Ghost, then you have already met the irrepressible Bubba and his plucky sister Squirt in Sherry’s short story “Ghosts of Pompeii.” 

Learn more about Sherry’s wonderful characters and books for Middle Grade readers, plus her inspiration at the IWSG Anthology Blog:

https://iwsganthologies.blogspot.com/2020/09/iwsg-anthologies-author-sherry-ellis.html

Fellow Voyagers author Rebecca Douglass is up next week and will share some of the middle-grade books she has published. So, log back for more then.