Wednesday, December 6, 2017

IWSG: LOOKING BACK


I'm still having some computer problems. I took that new tablet-computer back and got a refund, and I'm still using my old slow Inspiron. It turns on if I keep it plugged in, and I'm used to all its quips and delays. Can't say I'm enjoying any conveniences of the computer age at this moment. The more improvements they make, the less reliable the services become.

Luckily we can always count on the monthly meeting of the  Insecure Writers Support Group. We get together the first Wednesday of every month to share successes, failures, worries, tips and general musings.

This month's optional question: As you look back on 2017, with all its successes/failures, if you could backtrack, what would you do differently?

  Well that's an easy answer. I'd write more, lol. And submit more.

I did not write much during 2017- not even editing/revising already completed stories. I've seriously slacked off this year. It seems every year I slip more and more away from writing and blogging. I worry that the last about 10 years has just been a phase; I'm not really cut out for writing as a career.
I love it when I'm writing out a story idea, bringing the world and characters to life. Editing/revising is more exciting than the initial drafting because that's when I can really flesh out the characters, the world, the plots and intrigues. But nothing is more fun than researching settings, names, character careers and personalities, the ups and downs of relationships and traumatic life events.

But then its time for submission. Finding somewhere to send off the story to a publisher for the wide world to view. Coming up with tag lines, synopsis, pitch. Writing and tweaking to fit a specific niche (anthology or publisher/agent preference), finding just the right Agency to submit to, then hoping I'm one of the few that hit the appropriate voice and theme.

Writing comes easy when I let go of the publishing aspirations. But if I don't submit, why write at all? Two of the three stories I submitted this year were accepted, but neither were accepted by the anthologies they were written for. I am pleased and amazed at any publishing success, but the time and energy it takes to submit, and resubmit, and anxiously wait, is the most discouraging part of writing.

Yes, I should write more, but I should also submit more. I can't really complain about the lack of publication if I don't put out the work in finding publishers. And readers.

Thanks for stopping by today. Please be sure to visit IWSG host and creator Alex J Cavenaugh, and this months co-hosts: Julie Flanders, Shannon Lawrence, Fundy Blue, and Gwen Gardner.

29 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Not all writing has to be for publication. The joy of it should come first. Think of the stories you've written for WEP. Those weren't for publication, but I bet they were very satisfactory.
#IWSGPit is in January - maybe a publisher or agent will find you.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

It's a lot of work. More than I can do right now with DLP in full swing.

Natalie Aguirre said...

I know what you mean about wondering if I have it in me to try to get published or not. For me, either way is okay because I enjoy the process. And it sounds like you do too. I think it's okay to not feel that you have to do it full time if you don't want. You may be busy with other important things, like your family.

Stephen Tremp said...

Hi Donna, I'm focusing on shorter stories this time around. 250 page books and short stories. Not sure I'm up to writing a 400 page book these days.

Pat Hatt said...

Writing for the joy of it sure has to take priority many a time, as no one will probably get rich, sadly, lol and can always self publish too. Doesn't have to sit around.

Cherie Reich said...

Lots of people write as a hobby or just for themselves. There's nothing wrong with that. The publication part of writing is often the hardest part. Well, really the marketing is, but you have to get to the publication part to get to the marketing part. Heh. Sometimes it's nice to focus on the best part of writing--the actual writing. Submitting can come later. :)

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

WILD THING DONNA ~
I would never publicly list names, which would hurt peoples' feelings -- that's not the sort of person I am -- but I will say that the vast majority of wannabe writers I've come across in the Blogosphere are really typists. I don't see a genuine gift with words.

However, I'll never forget the first time I saw a real piece of writing you posted here on your blog. Not just a blog bit but an actual work of flash fiction. I was wowed and surprised. And then I saw more and knew it was not just a one-time fluke.

You, Wild Thing, are a real writer, not just a typist. And my $00.02 is that you should definitely stick with it. He has given you a gift in working with words.

~ D-FensDogG
Stephen T. McCarthy Reviews...

Chrys Fey said...

The business side of writing is always a downer. It's tough after the fun of writing the story.

Gwen Gardner said...

It all comes with the territory I guess. I do enjoy the editing once the first draft is done, when it really begins to take shape. I don't really enjoy the research--probably because I get too side tracked. LOL.

Hang in there!

Happy Holidays!

Elizabeth Seckman said...

Whenever I get discouraged with the process, I daydream about writing and forgetting submitting at all. I fantasize about writing stories, printing them out, stuffing them in manilla envelopes and stacking them in a closet. They'd find them all when I'm dead and I become an overnight success.

Fundy Blue said...

Hi, Donna! I get discouraged when I think about getting published, so I decided that, first and foremost, I'm writing for me. I trust that at some point published will come, and that will be awesome; but right now I'm enjoying the writing process. Wishing you fewer technology challenges in the coming year and lots of enjoyable writing, submitting, and publishing. Happy holidays!

Olga Godim said...

You're not the only one with a similar complaint. This year was slow for me as well: not much writing or submitting. Let's do better next year. I have so many ideas for short stories, but I'm stalling instead of writing them. Hopefully, the next year will be better in this regard, for you and me both. Best wishes and good luck in 2018.

Juneta Key said...

Happy Holidays. Discouragement seems to part of the journey but I can't seem to help myself. If I am going to do it no matter what might as well try to turn it into a career. Have a Merry Christmas.

Botanist said...

Well, I bypassed the submitting process when I decided to go Indie. It's still a ton of work but I love the control. And I may never reach big audiences, but the feedback from the readers I do have more than makes up for it.

dolorah said...

Alex: too true :)

Diane: I bet its as hard to read through all the queries as it is to write one, lol.

Natalie: yeah, the writing is the fun "process."

Stephen: sometimes short stories can seguay into longer works.

Pat: I can be "rich" in the joy :)

Cherie: I shudder at the task of marketing.

Saint Mac: aww, you're making me blush. Thank you so very much Sir.

Chrys: I much prefer the fun aspects :)

Gwen: I can get lost for weeks in the research, lol.

Elizabeth: those are all excellent fantasies :)

Fundy: I need to try that: just write it and be content with the process.

Olga: we may need to prod each other occasionally :)

Juneta: Merry Christmas to you too. Hope the new year brings you many acceptances.

Ian: indie publishing seems like more work than querying, lol. Having a few happy readers instead of lots of bad reviews seems like an excellent trade off.

Diane Burton said...

We're told write more, submit more, promote more. Yes, for me, this is a business. But I write because I enjoy it. I love telling stories. If I didn't, I couldn't keep this up. I'm retired, for goodness sake. I have plenty of other things to do. But writing is my favorite. I hope you find much success in 2018.

Denise Covey - Author said...

Hi Donna. Great that you posted today. You're very honest as usual. I'm hoping this is your non-writing phase and you're going to somehow become inspired and write up a storm. I rarely submit anything I've written, but I'm going to improve/collate my best flashes and shorts and self-publish. I'm not really cut out for rejection letters, LOL! I'm currently doing a massive rewrite on my vampire story, have a new-beaut cover and pen name, and will send it out on multiple platforms in the new year! So methinks!

Happy Christmas!
A glorious 2018!

I wish you would write for WEP about The End is the Beginning. I could just see it! Non fiction!

Denise :-)

dolorah said...

Diane B: lol, I love telling stories too. I'm sure 2018 will be better, if I make it better.

Denise: Non-fiction? Me? Well, we'll see :) Best of luck compiling the anthology. What a great adventure for you.

Donna K. Weaver said...

Yes, there are certainly things I don't like about this, but I'm constantly learning and keeping the gray matter active. That's something, right?

If this is your passion, don't give up on it just because of the hard stuff.

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

I hear ya. Writing more is always a challenge. I think (for me) the pressure is knowing that I will have to edit the work. If I could take that off the table, I'd write more. But knowing that there's all this work ahead, it just seems easier to write blog posts and put those up lol. Plus, I've really re-discovered reading in a big way this year. I've read so many books. It's a true pleasure to just sit down and read in front of the fireplace for a few hours every night. When doing that...who has time for writing? Have a Merry Christmas.

A Beer For The Shower said...

Well, at least you know what you're getting into. There's something to be said for that. So many writers punch out a story, type THE END, and think, okay, that's all I have to do.

Oh, those poor, uninformed suckers.

Maybe it's just me, but knowing how much work goes into pitching, marketing, and selling a novel, I find the writing to be the easy part. It's not until after that that the work really gets hard.

Good luck, though! I really do hope you keep at it. You've definitely got the skill.

Lorelei Bell said...

I definitely enjoy the writing part, plotting, etc. I tried to interest agents for 25 years, and finally, I gave up. The rejection just became like torture. Then, I began to self publish, and it's better. I've now got a self-publishing publisher "Creativia" who takes your book or short story and puts it out there. I haven't looked back since joining this publisher. I'm just too old to be kicked to the side of the road. I wanted my stories to be out there, and this foots the bill.
Happy Holidays!

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I hate that part of the business too even though it has to be done. I think getting two stories accepted is pretty great.

Caitlin Coppola said...

Loved this post.

I empathize with absolutely everything you're saying. I don't write to be published; I write what I WANT to and if people want to read it, then that's great. But to make it a career, you have to push for more publications and really make the whole thing a business and I've never been good at the business part. I wish this was easier for us :(

Lynda R Young said...

Do what you enjoy and avoid putting extra pressure on yourself. That's my advice. What we "should" do isn't always what works for us.

Nicki Elson said...

The whole submitting thing zaps the joy right out of writing. Publication and marketing isn't really my bag either, and honestly, is why I think I'm dragging my feet on my current writing project. In a way, I don't want another finished manuscript because then I'll feel the pressure to do something with it. So, I totally get you.

But I don't think there's no purpose to writing except for publishing. In many ways it's therapy and also lots of fun. So, for those two purposes, I hope to get back to it in earnest in 2018.

Arlee Bird said...

I love the researching process. And the more stuff I research, the more new story ideas pop up.

Lee
Tossing It Out

J.H. Moncrieff said...

Two out of three is a great success rate, I'd say. Congrats!

And I hear you on submitting. It can be both draining and discouraging. To get around this, I've turned it into a bit of a game. I aim to submit my work 100 times each year. Sometimes that means asking for reviews, entering contests, and applying for guest posts, and other times it's more agent/publisher heavy. Everything counts, as long as my work is getting out there.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Donna - well you're writing some ... and I'm sure 2018 will give you a head start with more stories and submissions - but good luck ... sadly the pennies matter - but you can be creative as you travel around ... tape your thoughts and ideas, or speak them into your phone for transmission to your email and subsequent note taking later on - all the best - cheers Hilary