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This post is part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group blog hop. The first Wednesday of every month is Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. The awesome co-hosts for the November 1 posting of the IWSG are Tonja Drecker, Diane Burton, MJ Fifield, and Rebecca Douglass!

I can’t believe it’s November already! Halloween has passed us by and now Thanksgiving and Christmas approach. I swear it was just summer the other day. I once read there’s an actual psychological reason that time passes faster as we get older: experiencing new things tends to make our perception of time ‘slow down’ as our brain needs to concentrate and gather new information. As children, everything was new and the world moved slowly (remember the agony of waiting for your birthday or Christmas?). As we age our lives become more and more routine and our brain is basically on autopilot and not paying attention to the passage of time. So clearly, the way to slow down time is to have new experiences!

In that vein, my insecurity this month is that I wish I could have some new writing experiences. I have a few projects going but I feel sort of sluggish and bored with them. With writing in general, really. I’m probably just going through a fallow period but it all seems kind of dull and meaningless and I find myself scowling at the page. I need some fresh material to get my brain paying attention again!

But then I also ask myself: is it wise to start something new when I need to finish all this other stuff first? Ugh!

BLEH TO WRITING.

November 1st Question: Win or not, do you usually finish your NaNo project? Have any of them gone on to be published?

I’ve only done NaNoWriMo once, and Camp NaNoWriMo once, and I used both as tools to complete projects that I was already contracted for through publishers. I think NaNoWriMo is a great event for people who want a kick in the pants to get some writing done, or want to increase their productivity as writers and develop good writing habits. I think it helps bring writers together in community and fun. However, for the most part I personally write just as much any other month so I don’t get a whole lot of additional benefits from it. I wish everyone doing it the best and I hope you have loads of fun!

10

Halloween is tomorrow and spooky things are lurking around the corner. Just when you thought it was safe to sit down at your laptop, just when you started to believe the plot was finally coming together, just as the dialog starts to flow, you look up from the screen and there they are…

STEP INSIDE AND WITNESS THE SPINE-TINGLING MADNESS OF:

WRITER’S BLOCK

Legend has it that on Halloween night, the emaciated, ghastly specter of a book critic rises from the grave and haunts writers by making it so they don’t know where to go next with their story and can’t get any words on the page. The book critic floats around your desk chanting “Oooooh! Weak plot, boring characters, two out of five staaaaaars!” thus stealing all your confidence and enthusiasm.

DRY SPELLS

Unlike the Sinister Book Critic of Writer’s Block, the Evil Zombie of Dry Spells hunches over you and chews on your brain. You thought you had this writer thing down, you have the power to write tons and tons of books, you are productive! Then the zombie creeps up on you and snacks on the creative part of your brain, and you can’t even come up with so much as a shopping list. Beware!

“IT JUST DOESN’T WORK”

Deep in the woods, in the dead of night, walks the chilling figure known as Bloody Mary the Aggravating Editor. She tears apart your manuscript, tells you that your favorite character is awful and should be cut, and points out that you can’t spell. Just when you think all is safe, she comes up behind you and whispers in your ear “Maybe you should scrap this project and work on something else.”

FLAT CHARACTERS

From the depths of Hell rises Glinda the Goodreads Ghoul. She will rip apart your book and tell you in glowing, bullet-pointed detail how much all your characters suck and just weren’t fleshed out enough. All her minions will gather around cackling and agreeing with her. You will wake up in a cold sweat, glad it was just a dream…or WAS it?

BAD STORYTELLING

Beneath the cold light of the full moon, a werewolf with fangs as sharp as razor blades and foul intentions in his twisted brain lurks in the shadows. He scratches at your back door, and when you open it, he rips your heart out: “You’re an unoriginal hack and you couldn’t tell a story to save your life. You should do the world a favor and never write again.” You fall to the floor, screaming in agony.

REJECTION

You finished your book! You revised and polished it until it shines. You wrote a kickass query letter. You found some agents and editors who like the kind of stuff you write. You send off your manuscript, and wait, and try to be patient, with hope in your heart, and then Halloween night comes…

The Vampires of the Publishing Houses rise from their graves. They loom over you with bloody fangs and glinting eyes. Their laughter is cruel and mocking as a fiery pit opens beneath you. As they kick you in, they utter that chilling phrase:

“Unfortunately, this doesn’t suit our needs at this time.”

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Today is day two of Evernight Publishing’s 7th birthday celebration Facebook party! All day long authors will be chatting with readers, having fun and playing games, and giving away prizes, prizes, prizes! I’ll be participating this evening and giving away an Amazon gift card, an Evernight gift certificate, and some books, so stop on by!

Today’s line up (all times are EST):

9:00 – 9:30 AM Lea Bronsen
9:30 – 10:00 AM Katherine Wyvern
10:30 – 11:00 AM Jessie Pinkham
11:00 – 11:30 AM Allyson Young
11:30 – 12:00 PM Peri Elizabeth Scott author
12:00 – 12:30 PM Aletta Thorne
2:00 – 2:30 PM Tanya Jean Russell
2:30 – 3:00 PM Katerina Ross
5:00 – 5:30 PM Elyzabeth M. VaLey
5:30 – 6:00 PM C. E. Vescio / Cara Vescio
6:30 – 7:00 PM Lorraine Nelson
****7:30 – 8:00 PM Megan Morgan****
8:00 – 8:30 PM Magali Fréchette
8:30 – 9:00 PM Jean Maxwell
9:00 – 9:30 PM Libby Bishop
10:30 – 11:00 PM April Zyon Author

Hope to see you there!

9

Back when I started this whole writing thing in my teens, I just couldn’t wait to be rich and famous. I knew someday I’d be an international bestseller, penning books from the deck of my luxury yacht or my special writing room in my mansion with a glorious cliffside view of the ocean. Everyone would know my name! Celebrities would want to hang out with me! All I had to do was write a book so beloved by millions that they would literally mail me their paychecks, begging me to write the sequel.

Well, here I am about twenty-five years later, and…I have my own place, anyway? I also have Netflix and a cat, so I guess that’s pretty good overall, right? Granted, my day job pays for all those things, but hey, with my last royalty check I bought some groceries! I mean, not like a whole WEEK’S worth of groceries, let’s not get crazy here, but I picked up some pretty tasty ice cream.

You probably know by now that most writers are not, and never will be, magnificently rich and famous. Even making enough to sustain a living is far-fetched. Making decent money off writing depends on a lot of different factors, including your productivity levels–how many books you can produce, because it’s your backlist that makes you money–trends, your publisher, your readership, publicity, luck, and just a smidge of black magic. To have a bestseller you probably need all that but a more advanced level of black magic, but I couldn’t tell you.

So why are we still doing this? If not for money, fame, recognition, or even the light bill, why do it?

For the love of the writing itself, of course.

If you’re feeling like you’ll never make it, and you’re just more than a tad frustrated, and you’re thinking about throwing in the towel, maybe I can give you some inspiration to keep going. Here are the reasons–the real, attainable reasons–that I write.

  • Because I like telling stories. I don’t know if I was born with this urge or it came from something in my life, but I just like telling a story. I like putting together the elements that make up a story. I like snapping together all the pieces and making something whole. There’s a real satisfaction and delight in it. It’s like making something that’s broken work again, or organizing everything just so. It gives me a sense of accomplishment and victory.
  • Because I’m good at telling stories. I’ve been doing this for a long time and so now I’m very good–or at least skilled–at putting all the technical aspects of writing into motion. I know how to construct a plot and characters, I know how to work toward a conclusion, build theme, and shape tone. I like playing with language, and I like using imagery and subtext to create a message. I like the arty side of writing, but I also like the technical side of it. I learn more and more as I continue, and it’s always fascinating.
  • Because some of the stories I want to read haven’t been written. Some stories just don’t exist, but I would like them to, and when I realize I have the power to make that happen, it’s both thrilling and humbling at the same time. Just think about it. If I want a story in the world, I can create it! Me! I can do that! That’s amazing.
  • Because when I write, my head shuts up. Only when I’m writing does the rest of the world fade away. Everything else on my mind gets shoved aside for a time and I feel calm. Writing helps me focus. Writing helps me forget. Writing gives me a chance to breathe and it’s incredibly cathartic. All the noise quiets down when I get to the page.
  • Because storytelling is important. From books to TV shows to movies, to comic books, to plays, to songs–the world wants and needs stories. We need an escape, we need something to distract us, to make us feel, laugh, cry, smile, remember, and dance. The world is often harsh and bleak and terrifying, but having stories helps us cope with all that. And though I may not be famous, and I might never be, if only a few people read my stories, at least I’m still doing my part to help humans get some enjoyment out of life. If I can’t fix things, I can at least help soothe.

What are your reasons for writing? Your real reasons? At the end of the day, what is it that keeps you coming back, even when you get very little out of it?