Wednesday, 3 August 2016

My First Insecure Writer's Support Group Post


It's the first Wednesday of the month and I've finally joined the Insecure Writer's Support Group. I'd planned to sign up back in January, but for a myriad of reasons it never happened. So, today is my first post.

What is the group's purpose? To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds.

Before I answer this month's IWSG question, I'd like to share what's making me insecure at the moment - finding time to write. 

My life has radically changed in the last three months. I've gone from living alone, and with plenty of time to write, to living with three housemates and my new partner. It's always busy. There is always a list of jobs around the house and garden that need completing. I still have family commitments. I still need to make time for friends. All of those things need to be fitted around work. 

I get frustrated when people with an abundance of free time fail to understand how little I have, and then angry if they try to guilt me into doing things. Of course, I'm always too polite to say anything. You see I've never been good at saying no. I feel guilty when I'm unable to make time for friends or family. When something needs sorting or cleaning in the house, I feel like it's my responsibility. Yet I know that saying no occasionally and expecting others to take on tasks is what I must do to make time for my writing. Will I still feel guilty? Yes. Will I let that stop me? I have to answer no, because the other option is unacceptable.

Do you struggle with balancing writing with all the other parts of your life? Do you have trouble saying no?


August's IWSG question:

What was your very first piece of writing as an aspiring writer? Where is it now? Collecting dust or has it been published?


The first piece of writing I was serious about has to be a science fiction novel I started in the mid to late 1990s. I can't remember the year. It was written on a rented computer and each chapter saved to a floppy disc. It was called All Systems Go. It was terrible. So, I threw the discs away. You can imagine how much I've regretted that decision. Even though I'm sure it would be cringeworthy at best, I'd still like to read my earliest novel-writing effort.

The lesson to be learned here is never throw away your writing. It doesn't matter that you think it's crap or hate it. It was part of your writing journey. You puts words to paper. You created something. And think how exciting it will be to re-read those efforts years from now.

28 comments:

  1. I know exactly how you feel, Ellie. You are so wise. Yes, it's too bad you threw the disc away. But maybe that frees you to rewrite from scratch. Happy IWSG Day. From one who also has trouble saying no.

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    1. I'm glad I'm not the only one who has trouble saying no, though that probably sounds wrong. We'll learn to say no together!

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  2. Sometimes you have to tell people no, although I get the guilt of doing so. I've had to carve out a time to write and be dedicated to it. The fear of missing one day keeps me going.

    And that's a great lesson, although one learned a hard way.

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    1. That is a great lesson, Cherie. I know what my problem is - I put the needs of others above my own most of the time, rather than some of the time. I need to be a little selfish and be okay with it.

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  3. Yeah, always save earlier writings because you don't know where they might lead.
    I think learning to say no comes it age. But once you start saying no and keep at it, the guilt dwindles.
    Welcome to the IWSG, Ellie! Glad you could join us.

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    1. Thank you, Alex. I should have joined IWSG a long time ago!

      I'm working on the saying no and not feeling guilty. It helps when someone tells you they have so much time they're bored and then fail to understand you're not there for their sole form of entertainment, and thus make you annoyed enough to not care about saying no.

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  4. I wrote my very first post today too! We're newbies together! And YES finding time is very difficult. I'm a teacher and mother of three, so I always feel guilty when I sit down to work on my fiction. There's always cooking, cleaning, laundry, and play time that should be getting taken care of instead! And when school starts back up...gah. Best of luck to you as you find that balance that works for you! <3 Christy

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    1. Another newbie! I feel guilty even moaning about finding time as I don't have children to look after. It takes real dedication to find the time to write when you have a young family. I'll be cheering you on.

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  5. It's really hard for me to say no as well and I can relate to your struggle to balance writing time with life. Hang in there!
    I think I just assumed you've always been in this group! LOL glad you decided to join in. :)

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    1. Thank you, Julie. I'm glad I finally got around to joining. As for saying no, I'm learning to be stronger and not feel guilty. I'm also learning the house does not need to be spotless or every household task up-to-date. It's helping.

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  6. Welcome to the IWSG!
    That's too bad that you don't have your first novel. Some of my older stuff is definitely cringe worthy, but it is nice to have. You never know what ideas will come from older works!

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    1. Thank you, Sarah! It does make me sad not being able to re-read my first attempt at a novel. I've learned the 'don't throw anything away' lesson the hard way.

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  7. Welcome to the group, Ellie! I feel your pain on the lack of time issue. All of us with day jobs know what it's like. For me, housework was the first thing to go. LOL. It's all about priorities. My house is in a constant state of disarray. I do the dishes daily and clean the bathroom once per week. I could plant potatoes with all the dust in my house. The yard is weedy. As much as I'd like everything to be done, I can't do it. Oh well. LOL.

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    1. You have the right attitude, Gwen. Does dust and disarray really matter? No. If time is limited, why not spend it doing the things we love. I'm feeling less guilty already!

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  8. Hi Ellie - lots of changes and it takes time to settle those down - good luck though, relax and ease into things ... do what you need to do for you - so you can feel satisfied. Get help at some things perhaps ...

    But as you say re writing ... it's what you love - so make time for that, and fit others in around your writing ... perhaps use a dictating machine ... get your jottings down as you walk or travel around ... good luck and you've been welcomed with open arms here .. cheers Hilary

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    1. Thank you, Hilary. I always love reading your comments. It's like being hugged by a great friend.

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  9. Hi Ellie. Nice post; here's my thought regarding the time issue (it's worked for me in the past) have you and your housemates considered employing a cleaner? If you haven't you might be surprised at how affordable it will be with a group of you and also just how much difference having a designated time and person to do these tasks (and you can build in things like cleaning the fridge, loading / unloading the dishwasher, emptying the bins etc). You could even have someone come in a couple of times a week. LLAP ;-) Dawn

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    1. Thanks for dropping by, Dawn. You are wise. We've discussed employing a cleaner, and are considering using one once a week and seeing how it goes. The cost isn't as much as we'd thought. I've also decided to stop worrying about things in the house being up-to-date. It's not easy, but I'm getting there.

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  10. Dawn's reply is more or less what I would have suggested. The cost of a cleaner divided amongst all of you would not break the bank. I am a closet fiction writer and have never dared published more than one short story. All of my published works were technical and not exactly exciting reading and so do not count. I have one and a half completed novels and myriad ideas with no real talent for getting them down on paper. All more of a hobby than a serious attempt to get them in print.

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    1. I would love to read some of your fiction, Snafu. And you should make the time to work on at least one of your myriad of ideas. We can motivate each other!

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  11. I can't count the number of times I've wished for more time for writing. My family is supportive of my writing, but I still have trouble fitting my writing schedule around family obligations. Usually it means getting up early or going to bed latw.

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    1. Thanks for dropping by, Ken. I can never decide which is better, getting up earlier or staying up later. I suspect the former is the better option, as I'd be too tired by the end of the day. I'll have to experiment.

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  12. Welcome to the IWSG, Ellie!
    Ooh, I feel you on the "saying no" issue...I'm the same. The thing is, we were raised to always help others where possible. Over time, I've learned how to say no.

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    1. Thanks for making me feel welcome, Michelle. You're right about being raised to help others. I do feel like I should be saying yes to everything, even when I'm not obligated to say yes. I shall keep reminding myself it's okay to say no.

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  13. A lot of women have trouble with this. A freelance writer said recently, "No is a complete sentence." I've been thinking about that a lot!!! I feel like I always have to give some excuse...but "I'm working" is a complete sentence, too! Set a schedule and tell people that's your writing time and you can't do anything else during that time. You'll be surprised how much they respect it!

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    1. Wow. I need to write "No is a complete sentence" on a post-it note and stick it above my desk. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this. No more feeling like we have to make excuses!

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  14. My first novel was written on an Apple IIe. It was the cutting edge of technology.

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    1. I had to google Apple IIe! Do you still have it? I wish I had my first word processor. It was a faithful companion.

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