IWSG – 10/14 – How to be a Better Writer: For the Fearful

Hello writers! It’s the first Wednesday of the month and we know what that means: It‘s time for another meeting of the Insecure Writers Support Group – #IWSG! 

Click on the Image to Join!

Click on the Image to Join!

  My hero, the amazing Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh founded this amazing group and this month is the IWSG’s FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF THEIR WEBSITE!! How awesome is that?

 

 

The awesome co-hosts for the October 1 special anniversary posting of the IWSG will be Kristin Smith, Elsie, Suzanne Furness, and Fundy Blue!

 

Title: How to be a Better Writer: For the Fearful

Topic: Writing

Bio: Lily Eva Blake aka Eva E. Solar, former EMT, brain hemorrhage/stroke survivor on a quest to become a published author. Blogs: lilicasplace and My Miracle Life

Permission Granted to include post in IWSG Guide to Publishing and Beyond.

Even though I’ve written since the age of seven, the only people who ever read my work were my parents and my teachers. The teachers were a requirement! It didn’t matter I was an A student in English and Writing. I always felt I could’ve done better. I waited until the last-minute to hand in any writing assignments so I could continue working out any kinks. A tweak here. A word there. I was always afraid my work was never good enough. Sound familiar?

Then you’re like how I used to be – one of the fearful ones. No, it’s OK. There’s no shame in it as long as you can admit it to yourself, accept it, and find ways to defeat the fear that chokes you, imprisons you, like I did. It’s not about our work not being good. It’s about letting fear take over our lives to the point where we hoard our stories so that they never see the light of day. We may not be great writers when we start but we sure can get better as we continue our journey!!

I had folders full of stories that had gone unnoticed for years, until recently. A major life event had to happen to put the fire under me to finally pursue my dream with vengeance. I’m working on a lot of them now. I submitted my first flash fiction story for an online Halloween meme contest in 2013. 2013!! This is someone who’s been writing since the age of seven; I’ll be 50 next year, God willing. I was petrified, but I entered. I didn’t win, but I placed. Please don’t let that be you. Don’t let fear steal your dreams from you like it almost did mine. Below is a short but simple list of things that can help you on your journey to becoming a better writer, especially made for the fearful.

  1. Practice, practice, practice
  2. Take a writing class (Coursera and Open U offer free classes every so often from basic grammar and sentence structure to fiction writing). Worth the look. You can have them alert you when classes will be upcoming.
  3. Start a Blog. This will be your personal space to write, meet other bloggers with similar interests. It’s a wonderful opportunity to find other new writers who are just starting out on their journey. It was through my blog that I was fortunate enough to find the Insecure Writers Support Group.
  4. Join a writer’s group that you’re comfortable with. If you’re like me and have trouble with transportation, find a good online group. They’re out there. You just need to look.
  5. Read, read, and read. Yes. In order to be a better writer, you have to read books by various authors. It will show you different styles of writing, points of view, scenes and settings, etc. Plus you’ll open your mind to all sorts of new genres and sub-genres, and niches. Since reading outside my norm, I’ve never looked back.
  6. Even when you’re afraid, submit work. It’s ridiculously difficult for someone who is fearful, I get it. Start small if that’s what makes you comfortable. When my piece placed in that Halloween meme contest, I was so stoked, I entered NaNoWriMo that November, and won. Need I say more?
  7. Expect rejections. It’s going to happen; that’s just life. Don’t let it dampen your spirit or bring you down. Some of the best known authors could wallpaper rooms of their homes with the rejection letters they received the years before becoming well-known. Growing a thick skin is a MUST. It will take time. I haven’t fully grown mine yet, but it’s getting there.
  8. Believe in yourself and in your talent, but remember success is not going to be handed to you. Be ready to work for it. You will get out of your writing what you have put in to it.

Best of luck in your writing journey.

 

 

 

 

IWSG-I Believed, and I Achieved-NaNoWriMo Winner-2013

InsecureWritersSupportGroup

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I cannot believe this is my first post in almost a month, and it happens to be the first Wednesday of the month, which also means… (Drum roll please… It is time for another post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, founded by the über awesome Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh! The Ninja’s Associates for this month’s meeting are: Julie Flanders, Heather Gardner, Kim Van Sickler and Elsie is Writing. Thank you so much for assisting Alex this month! Everyone appreciates and acknowledges your time and efforts!

For those of you who are not familiar with the IWSG, it is a safe haven where writers of all levels and experience can go to discuss and post their innermost thoughts and fears without fear of embarrassment, mockery and other such tomfoolery. We are here to motivate and encourage you, not to belittle you, make you feel inadequate or weak. If you would like to become a part of this amazing group of writers, please, please, please, I encourage you, to click on the image posted beside these words and we will transport you to the IWSG website, where you can sign up.

With that being said, I must apologize to one and all for my absence these past few weeks from my blog. I thought I would be able to squeeze a few short posts in between working NaNoWriMo, but during the first week of November, I also found a place to live, so I had to pack! Anyhoo, I do apologize and will catch up at some point this month, between the move.

The bigger news is: I GOT MY WINNER BADGE ON NANOWRIMO! I know you can’t see it, but you can try to visualize me doing some crooked jumping jacks and yelling HUZZAHHH! across the room! 🙂

I validated my novel at 50,091 words, and although it is not done yet, I have a good idea of where I am heading with it and after I let it rest for a couple of weeks, I will go back and rip it apart with the editing and revisions. Realistically, I will probably only use about one-third of what I actually wrote. Ah, well, at least I have some good characters.

I cannot tell you how many times I wanted to give up during the month because I kept falling behind in my word count, at one point I was behind almost 12,000 words. Of course, we all need to motivate ourselves to keep writing and doing what we need to do, because it is work, hard work, but do you ever feel that if it were not for the push of some very special people, you would not have been able to accomplish that one very important thing you did not think you could do on your own? I know I do. For helping me get through and winning NaNoWriMo and NEVER letting me give up, thank you goes out to:

My best friend in the cyber-world, Marilyn, http://onbecomingawriter.com,

and my fellow NaNo participants and mutual winners!! Huzzahhh!!

Melissa Janda at http://melissajanda.wordpress.com, Leanne Ross at http://readfaced.wordpress.com and Catherine Lumb at http://nowrittenwords.wordpress.com or http://www.catlumb.com. Without you, I would have been a mess, and for everyone else whose blog I visited and gave boatloads of useful advice, I thank you too! That is all I have for this month’s post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. I am going to finish my Dunkin’ Donuts Pumpkin Coffee now, visit a few blogs, enjoy a good read, sleep, finish cleaning out my cottage tomorrow, and start catching up on some posts already!

PS – Have I told you all lately how very much I have missed you this past month? Oh my God, it has been torture! Until next post, I love you guys.

NaNoWriMo and IWSG-Perfect Together!

Hello to all my wonderful blogger friends and family! It’s the first Wednesday of the month, so you know what that means, right? It’s time for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (ISWG)! This totally amazing group was founded by none other than the fabulous Ninja Master Alex J. Cavanaugh. It’s a safe haven for writer’s like me to share our fears, insecurities, thoughts and even triumphs with one another without the worry of ridicule or shame. It’s a place to give and receive encouragement, praise and advice. This month’s IWSG co-hosts are C.D. Coffelt, Tina Downey, Isis Rushdan and Michelle Wallace. Thank you so much for all your efforts!

InsecureWritersSupportGroup

Click on the image to join. Come on, you know you want to!!

It couldn’t have come at a better time for me this month. I am currently in the midst of doing my first official NaNoWriMo. I tried Camp NaNoWriMo earlier in the year, but fell short of my word count. I was briefly upset by it, but refused to let it get me down for long. This month, I’m going for the whole shebang. 50,000 words in 30 days. Just looking at it frightens me. The past few months have been really tumultuous in many ways, and I almost didn’t register. At the last-minute, I decided to go for it; no outline, no plan, no nothing.

Guess what? I’m doing pretty well. Almost a week in and I’m only a few hundred words short of where I should be. Today I will be buckling down hardcore with the writing and hope to get in at least another 2,500 words, which will put me ahead of where I should be. I wasn’t able to write on November 1, which is what put me behind. Since then, I’ve been slightly ahead of the game. So, I hope you guys will root for me, come visit me, cheer me on, and do whatever it is you guys do for each other during NaNoWriMo. 🙂 I’m still so unfamiliar with the workings (of course, it’s ME we’re talking about) of their site, I can’t even figure out how to put the word count widget on my blog so you can stay posted on my progress. A couple of people did buddy me on the site because I didn’t know how to do it myself. Ugh. If any of you insecure writers are doing NaNoWriMo this year, feel free to buddy me, my user name is lilicasplace . It would mean the world, since I know that come week three, I’m probably going to need a heck of a lot of cheer leading.

Anyhow, on another note, I submitted my very first ever piece of flash fiction for Spooktoberfest about a week and a half ago and it made runner-up. It is the first time I’ve ever put a piece out for real people to see! I forced myself to sign up for it because I knew that once I committed to it, I had to follow through. I’m so happy that I did. I’m still worried about showing work to people, but I truly believe that completing this piece is what has given me the courage to go after NaNoWriMo with the determination I have now.

This is my post for the month. For next month’s IWSG, I am hoping to be able to let everyone know how I ROCKED NaNoWriMo and sport my Winner badge on my blog.

Until next time… love you guys!!

More Award Nominations!

I’ve been so caught up with things over the past couple of months, my Stroke Journey telling and some unforeseen circumstances, that I’ve fallen behind in accepting new Awards I’ve been nominated for.  Some of them go back to August!! (Looking down at the floor in shame)… I am so very sorry. I was going to address the Awards in one post and cover them all in one shot. Some are duplicate Awards, but out of respect and gratitude to the person(s) that nominated me, I wanted to fulfill the Award requirements. I can’t accomplish that in one post, unless you want to read one gigantic post. . . I didn’t think so either. 

What I am going to do instead, is work my way from the oldest to the newest and have them done no later than Tuesday. Expect two or three Award related posts within the next two days. 🙂

Going all the way back to August;

https://lilicasplace.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/wordpressfamilyaward_22-e1379198235352.jpg

WORDPRESS FAMILY AWARD

I must thank my adopted WordPress daughter Briana Vedsted over at http://whenibecameanauthor.wordpress.com for nominating me for the WordPress Family Award. This is a big one for me. Once again, she has made me feel so blessed and humbled. I didn’t forget you Briana!! 😀

The rules for accepting this Award are as follows:

1. Display the Award logo on your blog

2. Link back to the person who nominated you.

3. Nominate ten others you see as having an impact on your WordPress experience and family.

4. Let your ten family members know you have awarded them.  That’s it! Just make sure these people have taken you in as a friend/family member, and then spread that love!!!

I know some of my nominees already have this award. I don’t expect them to go through the procedure, but I nominated them anyway because they have helped me so much since I started blogging and getting more serious about my writing. I only ask that they accept it in the spirit in which it is given.

My nominees for this award are:

  1. Marilyn Parel, my BFF over at http://onbecomingawriter.com, who has been with me from my very first days. I don’t know what I’d do without her. Check out her blog when you get a chance. She’s a great Twitter resource, an up and coming screenwriter, great short story writer and is now into the Undead too!! Yup. That’s my family!
  2. Janet K West over at http://janetkwest.com, Can’t help reading her blog. I ask most of the very same questions! 🙂 Check her out sometime.
  3. Karen Soutar over at http://karensoutar.wordpress.com . My rock chick/sister/cheerleader is always there for me! Love her!
  4. Deanie over at http://deanieblog.wordpress.com . Amazing children’s author, into books, horses and is always checking up on me. 🙂 Definitely family right here.
  5. Rebecca Bradley over at http://rebeccabradleycrime.com who has a wonderful blog with author interviews, book reviews, writing tips and even a crime book club that I’ve recently joined! If I could only figure out time zones and Google + hangouts. Definitely doing November! Already bought the book! 🙂 Rebecca, you’ve got to help me figure this out!
  6. Catherine, whose blog Cat Lumb: The Struggle to be a Writer that Writes can be found at http://catlumb.com. It’s a wonderful blog with all sorts of writing tips and stories. She’s gonna help me get my Nano badge! 🙂
  7. Melissa Janda over at http://melissajanda.wordpress.com . She’s got an amazing site too with great reviews, resources, word of the day and she’s doing Nano this month also. 🙂 Definitely check out her site.
  8. Sandy over at http://sanderellascrochet.wordpress.com . Sandy is amazing and has offered to help me in so many ways. Check out her sites when you have a sec. The one I’ve listed is only one of several (a crochet pattern site).  She’s a thoughtful and caring person.
  9. Jennifer over at http://jenniferzeiger.com who’s got a really cool site with reader participation story creations, great short stories and other info. She just released a book on Halloween ‘Midnight Abyss’, which was a collaborative effort between her and eight other great writers who met at Writers Carnival, a great writers group that I am proud to say I am a part of.
  10. My friend over at http://lifeconfusions.wordpress.com . She’s a wonderful young lady with a great new blog, and posts things I love, like ‘A song a day keeps the sadness away’ 🙂 Check her out sometime! Oh, and she’s studying physiology too. Hello!!

That’s going to be it for this Award post. Congratulations to my nominees! Until next post, love you guys!

My First Post for The Insecure Writer’s Support Group

Hi, my name is Lily, and I am an extremely insecure writer…

Um, so I should mention that I recently joined what I hear is an awesome writing group called ‘The Insecure Writer’s Support Group’ founded by the wonderful Alex J. Cavanaugh. The Group meets the first Wednesday of every month. If you’re interested in joining, just click on the image below and the image will direct you to Alex’s page to sign up.
Click Here to Join!I need to get a bit of history out-of-the-way so we can focus on my insecurities as a writer aspect of my post. 🙂 Most, if not all of my followers know that I suffered a stroke in November of 2011.  Mine was hemorrhagic in nature; meaning that I ruptured an aneurysm in my brain, causing the excess blood to cause damage to my nerves and tissue. Because of the sudden onset of this type of stroke, mortality rates are usually very high. Fortunately for me, I survived and made tremendous strides in my recovery.

Some of the residual problems (as it pertains to my writing) I still face from time to time are problems with my short-term memory, inability to focus for long periods, finding myself unable to find the right words (even though they are right at the tip of my tongue), and general feelings of frustration and being overwhelmed.

I have read posts by other stroke survivors who I have come to admire for the way they write and how easily their words seem to flow. Towards the end of my speech therapy, my therapist said that I was performing at the highest level possible. I will admit that I still need to practice every so often because when I find myself becoming overwhelmed or flustered, I tend to stutter slightly and find myself unable to find my words.

I think I have become so afraid of failing because of everything that has happened, that I haven’t finished any of my projects. I have several in the works. I even signed up for NaNoWriMo in April. Came close to finishing my word count. Didn’t quite make it. I was practicing for November’s big event. I am full of ideas; they usually come from the weirdest places… My imagination runs wild. It always has. That’s why I’ve loved writing since I was a little girl. It’s why I started this blog; to get out there and fulfill my dream. Whatever it takes, I will do this and so many people have helped me get out of my shell little by little. I need to build up the confidence to finish my projects and hopefully get some good stories out there.

I do a lot of reading on the subject of writing as well and am aware of what writers go through. I understand all about the writer’s block, the stories laying dormant in drawers (or computers in my case) for months or years at a time, and the fear of rejection and ridicule. It’s what I go through all the time.

So, I guess what I’m asking is, am I more irrational than most? Do you think my problems are due to whatever residual effects I had from the stroke or is this what most of you have gone through as writers?  I really don’t know. I haven’t personally met any writers to ask. Please be honest. I don’t offend easily as long as you’re not malicious, rude or crude! Lol.

Thank you all for listening and again, my name is Lily and I am an extremely insecure writer…