Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Insecure Writer's Support Group

Good morning! It's been a while since I posted to the IWSG. It's good to be back! If you don't know what the Insecure Writer's Support Group is, click HERE to go to their website or HERE to go to the site of its creator, Alex Cavanaugh. If you haven't already joined, you really, really should. It's a wonderful, fabulous community of writers who are ready, eager, and willing to encourage any and everyone! Seriously, these folks are great :)

I did a lot of thinking during my blog hiatus. Most prevalent were the thoughts: "Why do I blog?", "Why do I write?", and "What on earth am I doing here?" Now, aside from the last one, these aren't too painfully existential. They did, however, need to be confronted and considered.

"I blog because I enjoy it!" I argued. "I write because I enjoy it!"

"Blogging and writing connect me to a larger community, a greater plan than just sitting in my living room watching episodes of Dr. Who."

These answers are true, but they didn't help the disconnected feeling I felt every time I turned on my computer or stared at a blank sheet of paper. The thinking turned to brain fog and I walked away from blogging for a time.A new question emerged:

"If blogging and writing are so important to you, if they connect you and revitalize you as you say they do, WHY don't you do them?"

Ugh. Thus striketh the Muse. And he was aiming below the belt that day, and every day since. Up until I started this blog, re-signed up for the IWSG AND developed the premise for this post. It's not a pretty premise and, I'd wager, it's something many of you will find familiar.

Are you ready?

I don't blog and write and create as I should (as I know I'm perfectly capable of doing) because...



*pause to let that sink into my stubborn, thick skull*

This isn't a pleasant confession. I'm not at all proud to be letting this out of the basement. The more I thought about it, the more I realized this was truth and it was a truth that needed dealing with. Blogging is HARD WORK. Writing is HARD WORK. They are! Don't let anyone disillusion you into believing you're going to wake up every morning, a brilliant post at the forefront of your brain, glide to the keyboard (coffee in hand) and type out genius. It's not going to happen. And, strangely enough, that's exactly what I expected of myself.

Every post had to be perfect. Every word I put on the blank slate had to be exact. There was no room for error. The idea of editing wasn't foreign to me; I have a degree in writing, for crying out loud. I KNOW what it's like to edit, re-edit, edit some more and STILL have a professor tell you, "Eh, it could be better." But this is real life. This is my life, and there are no professors hovering over my shoulders to read everything I put down.

And THAT was extremely liberating.

The freedom of writing is saying what you need to say, what you want to say. The freedom of blogging is finding a group of like-minded people to whom you can say it. And the freedom of the art, the craft, the WORK is this: NO ONE IS THERE TO TELL YOU NO. YOU ARE IN CONTROL OF YOUR WRITING AND YOU HAVE AS MUCH TIME AS YOU NEED IF YOU'RE WILLING TO TAKE IT.

I'm not writing for deadlines yet. I'm not writing for grades any more. I'm writing for myself, because I have stories that need to come out, characters that need answers. I write because it's the art form that chose me, not the other way around. (Seriously, who would choose writing over pottery or macrame?)

The point to this whole, rambling post is this: writing is WORK and if you aren't willing to put in the hours, you will not reap the rewards. Those rewards vary: a finished project; a self-published collection of essays; a poem for a loved one; a recipe. World wide fame is a nice dream, but it's not necessary to getting words on paper and words into the wild. There are so many opportunities out there for writers and artists of all kinds. They are there for the taking!

All we have to do is be willing to put in the hours and days and weeks of HARD WORK and then set our children free. They won't let us down if we are willing to do what it takes to get them there.

Happy Wednesday, all! As I mentioned yesterday, I'm working a weird schedule this week and next; if I'm late in responding to comments or visiting, that's why. I promise I'll make it 'round! It will just take some time. Besides, after this post, I know exactly what I'll be spending my down time doing: writing.


  1. Profound head-thumping Jen! Thanks for sharing.

  2. I find that it is easier blogging that working on my WiP. So I spend more time than I should blogging and less time writing. And then there is Facebook and TV and reading and the list goes on. When my muse isn't on fire, it is really easy to allow my WiP to slip into last place on my priorities list. And that doesn't make for progress of any kind. Thanks for posting this!

  3. If the "work" of writing brings a smile to your face and happiness to your life, then it is not work.

    But if your work does this as well, than you have chosen your work wisely.

    One writer's lazy is another's goal. We judge ourselves to harshly. The words come when they should, when they are ready, and seldom do they show up before that.

  4. Hi Jen: No, I don't believe you are lazy. Perhaps momentarily uninspired, or life is demanding a temporary readjustment of priorities. I like to blog but often I feel like I'm talking to a blank wall. Perhaps it's my content, or I'm expecting too much. However, I'm taking it one day at a time, successes and failures.

  5. What? You mean I have to work for things I love? Nah. ;) I'm of the opinion, the more effort you put into something, the more you love (or hate) it. The love of a project comes over time and you bang your head against the desk and then latch upon that "aha!" moment. The battle makes the triumph greater.

  6. Lazy!!! I can relate.
    Enjoy writing without deadlines. It's much more fun.
    And welcome back to the IWSG!

  7. As writers and artists, we can't be lazy. That's an important thing to know. Thanks for the reminder.

    Mary Montague Sikes

  8. Writing might be work, but I love it too and can't give it up even on my worst day. :-)

    Anna from Shout with Emaginette

  9. Aloha Jen,

    Gosh I am so lazy when it comes to writing that is simply amazing that I even found the energy to comm--


  10. Woot woot! It is hard work and it has to become habit too. When I was in high school I had a creative writing teacher who wrote for a half-hour every day, without lifting her pen from the page, no matter if she had anything to say or not. So for the first fifteen minutes of class she'd make us do that and everyone hated it. But when you put the pen to paper and scribbled, "I hate this, I have nothing to say, nothing to say, blah blah blah hey hey hey..." then suddenly you'd start babbling about something and it would lead you in surprising directions. I loved that. We have to take control of the Muse, not the other way around. Thanks for reminding us.

  11. I beg to differ, Jennifer. You're not lazy, you're tired! Big difference. Happy IWSG. And thanks for visiting my blog!

  12. Hi Jen. I'm glad you're finding your way. Now how many hours in a day would be freed up if I didn't blog or write. Soooo many, but I'm happiest when I'm doing these things.


  13. Jennifer, I agree that blogging and writing is work. It takes discipline to meet the deadlines for blog posts or doing the next chapter or x amount of pages--whatever your goal is.

    A lot of things can interfere with that. The daily grind of our work schedules, health, family, must do chores. Sometimes it tires one out. Not so much being lazy as much as not having any energy left over to tackle the creative. When our creative energy is at it's lowest it's easier to be Scarlet O'Hara, 'feedle dee, I'll think about it tomorrow'. I'm trying to find that balance too. Experimenting with writing times. Ways to refresh myself so the creativity flows again.

    You know why?

    Because I'm not happy when I let go of the creative. It bites hard and draws blood. So, for me, I have to find a way to counterbalance the necessities and must dos with what I need creatively to feel whole.

    You'll find your way.

    Sia McKye Over Coffee

  14. Good for you, Jen...

    Self discovery can be a real kick to the gut...

    But you are so right.... BLOGGING AND WRITING IS HARD WORK...



  15. It is hard work and once I treated my writing like a job, good things started to happen.
    Of course bribing myself still works best.

  16. I feel like I've lost my mind. I know I've been here, read this, and was almost positive I commented. Where did it go? Into Blogger spacey space? (oh, unless it's moderated and then you'll have two from me)

    Let me try again - I remember when I thought my posts had to just so and I felt I had to comment on the exact day people commented on me. (I'm of the group that feels if someone takes the time to comment, you should comment back - if you can find them. Sometimes when people are on WP, I can't find a link back to their blog - so frustrating!) Now, I've let up a little. I'd rather have a bit of a schedule that allows time for Blogger, writing, family. And most important - be flexible!! That's where I screwed up. I was so dang rigid. Best of luck =)


  17. You guys! Such wonderful, thoughtful comments. Thank you SO MUCH! I'm working my way toward reading your IWSG posts. Promise! Thank you again for reading, commenting, and following!!!


  18. Amen and amen. Although, I will say that wanting everything to be perfect (and oh yes, I hear you on that!!) does NOT make you lazy. Not in the slightest. I just had to get that down, cuz we writers tend to be a TEENY bit hard on ourselves :) But, fantastic post here, and great reminders to all of us. There's a reason they call it a "Rough" draft...


Thank you for taking the time out of your busy, fantastic life to pay a visit! I appreciate every, single comment and I'll continue the conversation here :) It makes this big blog-verse of ours feel a little more like home.

Cheers! ~J