Wednesday, October 1, 2014

IWSG Co-Host, Anniversary, and Anthology

The first Wednesday of every month is reserved for the Insecure Writers Support Group (also known as the IWSG). If you are interested in joining this awesome group where we post our insecurities and triumphs, as well as offer encouragement to fellow writers, you can sign up HERE. Created by the amazing Alex Cavanaugh, the IWSG is a wonderful group to be a part of.

I am honored to be a co-host for the IWSG this month! My other amazing co-hosts are: ElsieSuzanne Furness, and Fundy Blue. You should stop by and say hello!


Also, HAPPY 1st ANNIVERSARY to the IWSG website!!! As part of an IWSG eBook anthology to assist other writers on the journey of writing, publishing, and marketing, my post for this month will include my submission for the writing section of the book. I had big plans to give some brilliant writing tips, but when I sat down to write this excerpt, this is what came out instead. I was inspired by a friend of mine who desperately wants to write a novel, but is so scared she'll fail, that she refuses to try.
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So you want to write a novel?

After all these years, you're finally ready to do it. Don't be scared. Don't think you'll fail, even though at times you might. Don't be too hard on yourself, you are, after all, still learning.

Allow yourself to be inspired by the things around you—conversations you hear, people you meet, songs on the radio, maybe even a perfect sunset. That's what will make your writing unique—everything YOU see, hear, experience, feel, will be different from someone else. The story you have to tell, will be different.

Hour after hour you will plug away at your laptop. You will fill pages upon pages of words that only you will see. Line by line, page by page, a story will unfold. A story that captivates you, leaves you sleepless and longing for more hours with the characters you've created. And then one day, it will be done—and yet, far from finished. You will spend hours, days, weeks, even months polishing your manuscript. Rewriting scenes, taking out characters, adding motivation and ensuring there's a visible character arc. You may find that you need to step away from this novel for a while and come back with fresh eyes and a new perspective. Do it. That time away will be invaluable.

In the end, you may think your writing is no good. You many want to burn that manuscript or erase that document, but don't. Celebrate what you HAVE accomplished—you finished a novel. Something many aspire to do, but few are able to achieve!

Now is the tough part. You have to let your baby go, out into the world for other eyes to see. You need other's perspectives. You need to know what works, what doesn't, and where lie the plot holes, and the lack of characterization. Don't be offended if your best friend or critique partner has a very strong opinion about your main character. Don't get upset if your spouse or beta reader thinks your story "needs some work." Take the advice, thoughts, opinions of others and sit on them. For a while. You'll know what advice to take and what to leave behind. Think about what feels right for your story. And don't forget, most importantly, that this is YOUR story. Not theirs.

And after all that polishing, all that work, your manuscript will finally be ready. Will you choose to query agents? Or will you submit to publishers? Or perhaps the indie route is the way for you. Whatever you choose, you will celebrate the moment you can share your work with the world.

In the end, it comes down to one thing, and one thing only. If you want to write a novel, then write.

66 comments:

  1. It's nice to meet you through the IWSG, Kristin! I hope this inspires your friend to start working on her novel. Maybe she'll want to get her feet wet by joining in an anthology. It's a wonderful way to get published. Thanks for co-hosting the IWSG!

    Julie

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    1. It's great to meet you too, Julie! I hope she's inspired as well. Especially when she reads ALL the awesome excerpts in the anthology! It will be a great resource!

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  2. Yup! If we want to have a novel under our name, the first step we have to take is to write it. :-)

    Thanks for co-hosting! Lovely to meet you.

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    1. Lovely to meet you too! Thanks for stopping by!!

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  3. Great advice! And it's hard letting your baby go and hearing what others think but it helps you improve and that's important.

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    1. It is hard, but totally necessary and worth it! :)

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  4. Your final line echoes one of my favorite quotes: If you wish to be a writer, write! Thanks for co-hosting this month. It is an exciting one!
    Play off the Page

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    1. That is a great quote! And yes, this was a great month to co-host. So much wonderful advice flying around! I've really enjoyed it!

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  5. So many times the story swirls in my head, and I just HAVE to sit down and write. Your advice to your friend is right on, sit down and write. Wishing her all the best.

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  6. So many unanswered questions. If only one could see the future, then we'd know what to do.

    Thanks for co-hosting this month's IWSG!

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  7. Definitely! Also, the only way you get better is by writing, so if you're worried your writing is terrible, the only way through that problem is to continue to write

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    1. Exactly!! You can't improve if you don't write.

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  8. =) I've known way too many people who say, "I always wanted to write a book." I just give them a look and say, "Then write one." Truth, I think the first one is the hardest, but once you get over that hump, it definitely gets easier. And yes, every first book is trash, but it's also a huge milestone that can be revised and eventually turned into gold.

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    1. Yes, I agree. The first one is definitely the hardest! And the worst. :)

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  9. Hi Kristin and thanks for co-hosting this month. My first novel's first draft is now printed out for a read through. It's been sitting for almost a year, but the time away has been good. I know I'll find some gosh-awful pieces of writing in it, but I do still believe in the story and know the road ahead will bring vast improvements. Your words above are spot on.

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  10. I'm glad I started here today for IWSG. Very encouraging post.

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  11. Great post, Kristin. Thanks for co-hosting!

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  12. Thanks for co-hosting today! I know this post was written with a new writer in mind, but I found it good for me to read as well, to remind me why I do this and what I must do to continue on toward my goal. Thank you.

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  13. Kristin, that's perfect! Excellent contribution to the book.
    Thanks for co-hosting today! Sorry, taking me a while to get around to everyone...

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  14. This was fantastic! Letting my baby go was definitely hard. But, I have a fantastic CP so he's making it way easier than I ever imagined. Thank you for co-hosting!!

    Elsie
    co-host IWSG

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    1. I forgot to tell you how much I LOVE the name of your blog. It rocks!

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    2. Thank you, Elsie! Great to co-host with you! :)

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  15. I loved this! There had been many times when I thought my writing was no good just because I'd read work from another author that was amazing, but I soon learned that my writing is good enough and that every writer is different. :)

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  16. This is great advice for someone just starting out, what a great idea for the anthology! Thanks for sharing :)

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  17. Great post! Love the advice. Listening to people around you is great research.

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  18. Fantastic advice for new writers! :)

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  19. Great advice...even if I never complete another book, I am proud to have three published novels. Really surprised myself! You just have to do it....

    Thanks for stopping by my blog for IWSG.

    DB McNicol

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  20. Thanks for the inspiring post, and thanks for co-hosting IWSG today! Writing is what it's all about. No Fear. Just Write.

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  21. You give great advice and the last would be the most difficult especially for creative sensitive souls. I have other projects in the fire but I do want to write a bio on my mom's life and the main thing stopping me....i feel I am not a great writer...oh please-even good one. I am stretching when I say great. All the teachers who told me how much my essays sucked (grammar, long-winded sentences blah blah) come back to me

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  22. What a motivational post and a perfect addition for the anthology. Fear of failure can hold us back but if we embrace that fear and allow it to challenge us, the possibilities are endless.

    Thanks for co-hosting as well today :)

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  23. Thank you for co-hosting IWSG for this month, Kristin. The hardest part of producing a novel, for me, is the critique process, opening my work to the eyes of the public. My blog post for this month stresses this insecurity!

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  24. Thanks for co-hosting!! This is a great IWSG post. Full of good advice - and after all that good advice, the best and simplest piece: WRITE.

    Thanks, Kristin :)

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  25. Excellent advice and I found myself nodding my head, more than once, at your words of wisdom. Thank you for co-hosting this month and best of luck!

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  26. Look at you, all co-host and all. LUV it! You are really moving up the blogging ranks. Thrilled for you. I finally joined, BTW. And, yes, I did actually write a contribution to the anthology. I wasn't sure if I had time, but I hammered it out on Monday in between soccer and ice hockey games, making dinner, and doing laundry. LOL I know you understand that.

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  27. Write. Write. Write.
    It's the only way!
    Great post.
    Thanks for co-hosting!
    Heather

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  28. Yes... write, write, write! Great inspirational post. Thanks for co-hosting. =)

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  29. But then one wants to write but nothing comes out. Ah, work issues with the muse.

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  30. What a great post. It's scary to send your baby out into the cruel world. But so rewarding.

    Thanks for co-hosting this month.

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  31. Great advice! I can certainly relate, especially to the part about letting go. So hard to do! Thanks for co-hosting:)

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  32. Inspiring post and advice. It's difficult to say the least to let our "babies" out into the world. I'd delighted to be a newbie to IWSG!

    Best regards,
    Donna McDine
    Award-winning Children’s Author
    Ignite Curiosity in your child through reading!
    Write What Inspires You Blog

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  33. What a wonderful article and advice. Even as a writer who's been at this for a while, I can appreciate this message. Thank you for sharing and thank you for co-hosting.

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  34. That's a great post. You have to just do it. I'm at the stage where mine is completed, but I think it's awful! So I've been slogging through rewrites but it is hard to stay motivated some days.

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  35. This is a great post! I wrote mine about becoming a better writer for those who are fearful. I didn't become brave enough to start putting my work out there until late last year! Talk about a late bloomer. I'm still polishing and adding things from last November's NaNo and I'm ok with that. Plus I'm getting ready for this year's as well. Great advice. Thanks for co-hosting this month!

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  36. It is so nice to meet you Kristen and thank you for hosting the #IWSG!
    This advice is perfect and I hope it gives your friend the courage to sit down and write.

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  37. Awesome post, Kristin! To be a writer, there is only one rule: one must write. True, it can be a daunting prospect. Writing isn't easy, but it can be a tremendous joy.

    VR Barkowski

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  38. Oh my gosh, great advice! Love this!!!! :D

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  39. Fantastic addition to the anthology- simple, straight forward but passionate and inspiring. Thank you so much for co-hosting this special anniversary month, Kristin!

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  40. This is so true. The only way to get better is to do it. I always say that I learned more writing a novel then any other form of information. Great post.

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  41. Thanks for co-hosting. Great post. Great advice.
    Juneta at Writer's Gambit

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  42. Hi Kristin, very sage advice. For me the letting go and letting other people see your baby has to be one of the scariest bits, but it's one of those things that you have to let happen eventually.

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  43. I agree it's an achievement just to get a novel finished.

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  44. Hi Kristin, nice to meet you. Thanks for the follow, I am following you back.

    This post is so true. "Line by line, page by page, a story will unfold." That's how we writers write. Each book is a huge accomplishment that we want to celebrate.

    Thanks for co-hosting IWSG. Its always a pleasure to meet the co-hosts.

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  45. Fantastic advice Kristin! Very inspiring post! Thank you for visiting my blog and for co-hosting this month :)!

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  46. Great advice. Too many people just don't start.

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  47. Starting a new story is the hardest for me. The first time just sort of happened by accident; now i try it on purpose. This was an excellent synopsis of the journey. Thanks for co-hosting.

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  48. Beautifully written!!! I usually don't have any problem starting a story--it's when I get to the middle and realize I have no idea where I was going with that start that I get into trouble!

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  49. I think 'letting the baby go' is the hardest for me... Almost finished a draft and about to face that! Many thanks for your supportive words.

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  50. Incredibly moving post. Have you considered becoming an inspirational writer? You do well at it.

    Thanks for co-hosting this month!

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  51. Great post! I read this after I put mine up, which is about who you should query and look at for publishing. It is such a scary and exciting time when your book is ready to be launched into the world. I envy the people who are able to let any future critiques about their baby just roll of their back. I think that is why many of us writers are scare to put our work out there; it may be like someone criticizing our child and those of us who are parents/guardians know how that makes us feel!

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  52. You know I read Stephen King put the 'Carrie' manuscript in the trash because he didn't think he had the female POV down and his wife pulled it out of the waste can. We all have self doubts.

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  53. I love this post - I wish I had started when I was really young and knew I wanted to write something - at least I finally did. :)

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  54. I love your point about celebrating what you've accomplished:) No feat is too small, and with so much rejection out there, you need every positive bit to keep going...or so I always tell myself:)

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