Wednesday, 4 January 2017

IWSG: Are you ready?


Founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh, the Insecure Writer's Support Group's purpose is to share and encourage. A place where 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.

Are you ready for the start of another new year? Did you wake up on January 1st motivated and ready to make this year the best ever? I did. 

I've always avoided new year resolutions, because they tend to be negative in nature. I prefer to look back over the previous year and determine what went well, what didn't, and what changes I can make for the year ahead. For personal reasons, 2016 was a year when my writing was put on hold. I ended it knowing that if I didn't make writing a priority from day one of 2017, I might as well give up.We're four days into the year and I've made time every day to write or complete writing-related tasks. I even set the alarm for 6am this morning to write this post. Getting up that early didn't kill me!

To keep myself on track and motivated, I'm using a Self Journal. It's a great tool for planning and reflection, and writing by hand means the process feels more concrete and accountable. I still have doubts. Will I continue to make the commitment to write every day? What happens when real life gets in the way? I have to trust my determination to succeed, but I can also be inspired by the members of this group. If you can do it, so can I.

Now for January's IWSG question:

What writing rule do you wish you'd never heard?

When I first started writing, I had no clear direction. I spent a lot of time reading advice from authors and online writing sites. One thing came up multiple times - write what you know. The problem was I took it literally. What would a retail worker from Devon know about science fiction? About space? I didn't work for NASA or hold a doctorate in astrophysics. How could I even consider science fiction?

It took me awhile, but I learned two things. Firstly, I knew far more than I realised. I'd been reading and watching sci-fi since a young age. I'd read many books and watched countless programmes about space. And if there was something I didn't know, I could easily find the answer. Secondly, write what you know does not have to be taken literally. It can be more about your life experiences and how they influence the stories you craft. I've always been drawn to stories of survival, where characters struggle against seemingly insurmountable odds. No big surprise given I grew up in foster care. Every new home was a survival test. So, in a way, I do write what I know.

Is there a piece of writing advice you wish you'd never heard? Do you feel ready for 2017?

14 comments:

  1. As a fellow sci-fi writer, I agree we can't take the "write what you know" rule too literally. Yes, we may not know what it's like to find yourself stranded on an alien world, or what it's like to fight in an intergalactic war, but we can extrapolate from our own life experiences and the accounts of others to tell a compelling story nonetheless.

    Good luck with your writing!

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    1. Exited to meet another sci-fi writer! Every word you wrote is true.

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  2. I also agree! We can always use those countless hours of movie watching to help us with our science fiction.
    Keep at it with your writing and happy 2017!

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    1. Thanks, Alex. I'm already making a list of sci-fi books to read and films to watch.

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  3. Agreed. The write what you know one can throw anyone starting out into a state of confusion.

    Best of luck in 2017.

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    1. I'm glad I wasn't the only one, not that I want anyone else to suffer the same confusion.

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  4. Good Post, Ellie!!!!

    When I started writing I also heard write what you know, but I liked fantasy and I feel it's best to write outside of the box. Pull it, mangle it, and shape it into something different.

    Happy New Year!!!

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    1. "Pull it, mangle it, and shape it into something different." Fantastic writing advice!

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  5. I have heard all kinds of stories about foster care so I'm glad you're here with us determined to live your life. Setting writing goals and sticking them is very important. Kudos.

    QueendSheena
    2017 IWSG January Co-Host

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    1. Thanks, Sheena. My goals are coming together as I type.

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  6. Way to go! I hope you're still making the "every day" commitment. I've been pretty lame in that regard, but there's a really good excuse... I hope. ;)

    Here's to an epic year, and realizing we know more than we thought. =)

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    1. Thanks, Crystal. I've only missed one day so far.

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  7. I picked the same rule for the same reasons as you. I love reading and writing speculative fiction and we all know more than we think we know.

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    1. I really thought I was alone in the write what you know confusion. I'm relieved it isn't just me.

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