Is Your #blogging eating into your #writing? : #IWSG


Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for again organizing Insecure Writers’ Support Group along with his wonderful co-hosts Tina Downey, Elsie, Elizabeth Seckman, and Julie Flanders! Go here to see the other participants.

——

Insecure Writer's Support Group

Insecure Writers!

This month, I’m all tuckered out, been sick and missed a lot of writing. That’s not all of it. I’m co-hosting the A to Z Challenge, (the one blog event worth signing up for, imho) and participating in it via two blogs. I have to pre-schedule everything– that’s 52 posts for two blogs, and I’m not done with even one of them yet– though I hope to change that today.

One of them is going to be all done with 26 shiny posts tonight, if it kills me, waiting to go out into the world in April. I had hoped to avoid doing this work in March, but life, health, and everything else has caught up with me.

I’m trying to get the second draft of my WIP finished as well, and feel as if it is suffering due to my involvement in my blogs! Add to that my freelance writing commitments, and we’re talking serious time-crunch here.

Sometimes I wonder whether I blog too much for my own good, but at others, I realize it is my support system as well, a place online I can escape to and meet friends when my fiction is driving me up the wall. Which, let’s face it, is most days!  I have cut back on blogging this month, one post a week per blog in order to fit everything else in, but I shan’t give up on blogging entirely. Have you ever felt this way– that your blog is running away with you and there’s no time to write?

On a good note for my writing, however, I had a flashfiction piece published in an international feminist journal , When Women Waken, so that was a good feeling. My WIP has feminist overtones, so I think my writing is able to reach out, which gives me a measure of confidence.

Has Your Blog ever eaten into your Writing?

———

If you’re a writer clipping away at #amwriting each day, join the Insecure Writers’ Support Group!

On Being an Insecure Writer : #IWSG #amwriting


Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for organizing and hosting this event every month for two long years! Go to his blog to see the other participants.

——

Insecure Writer's Support Group

Insecure Writers!

This month, I’m all tuckered out, been sick and missed a lot of writing. Feel tired and in need of a holiday.

Well, I’m all whine, whine, whine, so I’ve decided to chip away at it..the whole mountain of stuff I’m lagging behind on.

I’m lucky I have all the time in the world this week to recover from the last two, and I’m just going to make the best of it. Right? Yes, right, no whining, because whining never does anyone any good.

What has everyone else in the group been up to in the last month?

———-

If you’re a writer clipping away at #amwriting each day, join the Insecure Writers’ Support Group!

On Being an Insecure Writer : #IWSG #amwriting


Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for organizing and hosting this event every month for two long years! Go to his blog to see the other participants.

——

Insecure Writer's Support Group

Insecure Writers!

I’ve been a pretty inconsistent (insecure) writer.

At times I’ve felt burnt out with blogging and missed the IWSG post, at others been felled by life. Last month I missed the post cos I forgot! Alex has been kind enough to keep me on the list despite my irregularity and for that I’m grateful.

I think blogging brings out the best in writers– we become a sympathetic, helpful community (which sometimes doesn’t happen in real life.) IWSG has become a safe place for blogger-writers on the web, and I personally have learned a lot from some of the posts I’ve read, be it writing advice or publishing tips.

Can’t believe IWSG is 2 years old today! Kudos to Alex and the bloggers who have hosted the group each month– it isn’t easy.

I hope to be more regular from now on, schedule my IWSG drafts so I don’t miss out.

This month I’ve found the Muse elusive, and have had to bring myself out of negative swirls of vicious self-loathing– so I find some of the IWSG posts just what I needed! Thank you to the bloggers on this group who encourage those like me who find it hard going, this life as a writer.

Here’s to many more years of the Insecure Writers’ Support Group!

Here’s to Insecurity Between Drafts


Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for organizing and hosting this event every month. Go to his blog to see the other participants.

——

Insecure Writer's Support Group

Insecure Writers!

I’ve been away for the last two IWSG posts. Too shot down by life to consider blogging about it.

Now that I’m back, I know I have to face the monumental task of rewriting my novel– look that first draft straight in its beady eyes, stare it down, and begin.

Part of me is looking forward to it, the other is like, ‘Are you Crazy? You don’t even know where to begin!’ Which is true. I’m not sure of my story yet, I’m worried my characters aren’t real enough, that the plot is falling apart.

But I’ve been through this with short stories, so if I could get over those blues, I can try and get over this one.

How’ve all the other writers in the group been doing lately? Do you feel Insecure or Inspiring?

In Which I Look Back in Anger #India


The following post is for the Insecure Writers Support Group hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh.

————-

I’ve spent most of the last month of 2012 being angry. It is the January of a new year and I’m angry still. It simmers right beneath the surface, ready to lash out at an unsuspecting victim. I keep it in check, but it seems like it’s waiting in ambush.

In case you’re wondering what this is all about, you might have heard of the gang rape in Delhi (yes, it unfortunately has its own wiki entry), where a woman was raped and sodomized using an iron rod in a moving bus by 6 men, so much so that her intestines fell out and she succumbed to her injuries after a battle lasting almost two weeks. Warning: I suggest you do not read the details if you intend to have a peaceful morning, afternoon, evening, depending on where in the world you are when you’re reading this.

Other people have written about it, some in moving words I myself would’ve chosen to express my very personal feelings on the subject, so I won’t go into the other ramifications here. Since this is an insecure writer’s group — I’ll march straight on, selfishly, myopically, towards my own individual anger.

(As I write this, India still protests against the crime that has left people grasping for words, and made the government and its police beat up its own people. People are angry with the establishment, some of which has been accused of crimes against women, others who advice women that it is their own fault they get molested or raped, and yet others whose commentary on the protesters will make the blood of any sane human being boil.)

Since the incident first came to light, I’ve been wanting to bash something, somebody, getting migraines — my peace of mind poisoned, like a scorpion stinging itself.

Everyday I see the girls and women (and some menfolk) protest in New Delhi’s freezing winters, (initially braving brutality from the very police that’s supposed to protect them), I remember the number of times men have tried to grope me or my friends in buses, passed humiliating remarks, hit me on the road, once causing me a sprain and at another time, a concussion.

I watch the protests become politicized, and I want to drink the blood of those who want to exploit the death of this girl. A girl whose name I do not know, who did not want to be a hero. She only wanted to watch a movie with her fiance’ and go home, and get married this February. That girl could be me, my friends, my sibling. (Yes, it is always the one that resonates with you that makes you angry — hundreds of women get raped in India on a daily basis, but the one I identify with most fuels my anger. I admit the hypocrisy — a writer has to be honest, or give up the pen.)

I want to fly out to New Delhi and get somebody, bash in a few heads. If this is hate speech, so be it.

Meanwhile, the rapes continue, even as we discuss them. Even in New Delhi, even as women protest on its streets. To 3-year olds, 16-year olds, 65-year olds. The protestors themselves are groped and molested.

I’m an angry writer, and after a few days of drought, I’m on a flood of fire. My dialogs spit venom, the guilty are tortured, not merely punished. I fight men on twitter (flouting my own vow of internet hiatus), who blame rape on women’s immorality. I chide friends who make sexist remarks. I debate with people who call it India’s “rape culture”. I even defend India’s men against a mass epithet of “rapists.”

I need to get a handle on this, calm down not only for my own sanity, or validity as a writer, but also because anger needs to be directed to be effective, or it is so much impotent rage. If I want to make a difference, boiling blood won’t help.

Or, perhaps, as an author I respect suggested to me on Facebook, perhaps it is the only thing that would. A writer needs to stay angry.

—-

Have you ever been this angry about something that has happened outside your own personal acquaintance? Has it affected your writing? What have you done about it?

Any Words of Advice for a Scrivener Noob? #IWSG


Insecure Writer's Support Group

Insecure Writers!

It is Insecure Writer’s Support Group time, and I’m at a loss about what insecurity to post about. Which, I suppose, is a good thing.

I’m in this calm place where I can write without hope and without despair (The phrase is borrowed from writer friend Zafar Anjum, my sentiments echo his). I’m okay to just write and become better, let consequences take care of themselves. No expectations, no shortcuts, no anguish.

What I’m struggling with instead is Scrivener. Blog friend Corinne Flynn was one of the first people to recommend it, and I’ve got myself a trial version. But I haven’t taken her advice, which was to patiently sit through the tutorial — so I’m struggling with the simplest of tasks, like compiling documents. About ready to give up.

Anyone else have a (good or bad) Scrivener story to share? Words of advice for a Scrivener noob?

I’m Not Scared of My Novel


Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for organizing and hosting the Insecure Writers Support Group every month. Go to his blog to see the other participants, and understand what the group is all about (well, we writers basically get together and support each other through our posts and comments).

Here’s my post for the support group:

For the last week, I’ve written zero words on my #WIP. Zip.Nada. Zilch.

Yesterday, I wrote about a 100 words.  After a whole day of showing up at the page, mind you.

I know what happens next, so that’s not the issue. I know the characters, so that’s not the issue either.

Or maybe that’s where the problem lies—I know what my characters are about to do next.

A to Z Stories of Life and Death

A to Z Stories of Life and Death

I know I now have to write about the sort of thing that would make me extremely squeamish and horrified in real life– and my way of writing is to be it, be the character and write what comes—and at this point in the novel, I’m terrified to be the character. I can be that character for the span of a flash fiction (those who have read A to Z Stories of Life and Death would know what I’m talking about), not a novel– but the problem is I’ve now signed up for it– and I’ll have to go through it.

And I’ve got confirmation from very good quarters (Anton Chekov, no less) that it is the right thing to do:

the writer is not a pastry chef, he is not a cosmetician and not an entertainer. He is a man bound by contract to his sense of duty and to his conscience. Once he undertakes this task, it is too late for excuses, and no matter how horrified, he must do battle with his squeamishness and sully his imagination with the grime of life. He is just like any ordinary reporter. What would you say if a newspaper reporter as a result of squeamishness or a desire to please his readers were to limit his descriptions to honest city fathers, high-minded ladies, and virtuous railroadmen? To a chemist there is nothing impure on earth. The writer should be just as objective as the chemist; he should liberate himself from everyday subjectivity and acknowledge that manure piles play a highly respectable role in the landscape and that evil passions are every bit as much a part of life as good ones.

Wish me luck, people.

In Which I Confess I’m Insecure


Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for organizing and hosting this event every month. Go to his blog to see the other participants.

——

I signed up on this group when it started, and got kicked out due to non-participation. I simply didn’t post, so the kicking was justified. Somehow, after the first post, I lost steam. I try not to whine on my blog, and this group seemed to require me to whine.

A few months down the line, I’ve realized that if there is one thing about writers, it is that they’re insecure. Even the best writers are– and a look at some of the writers in the 200-0dd IWSG list validates this.

So maybe, it is okay to let my insecurities show once a month. After all, accepting that I have a problem is the first step towards solving it. (I’m well aware that insecurity in a writer is like vanity in a model, it will never quite go away.)

My current fear is I won’t be able to finish my first ever novel. I’ve been afraid of novels for as long as I’ve been writing. I’ve had several short stories published, dozens of them finished, and hundreds of pieces of flash fiction written, but I never quite gathered the courage to commit to a novel.

Well, now I have. And now that I’m in the twelfth chapter, I sometimes find myself paralyzed with panic. This book can’t possibly land on its feet after its gargantuan leap of faith. It is going to plummet into that abyss full of half-formed, shapeless things that perish without seeing the light of day. Unseen, unheard. Only I’ll mourn its aborted attempt at life.

I’m using this panic to jump-start my writing each morning, and hoping it would fuel the neurotic dash to the end of the next scene, the next chapter. By noon, I’ve calmed myself to a certain extent, and written 500 words or so. Sometimes that takes evening, or even night. At night the panic begins again: what if morning brings no new words, what if my characters pull a fast one again?

Swimming against the odds

Swimming against the odds

So far, I’ve given up once at 5 chapters– junked it all, and begun again. Now despite the panic, I have to hit the finish line.

I managed to learn swimming after more than three decades of being afraid of water.  I can do this. Amen.

 

 

 

Are You An Insecure Writer?


Passion is never enough; neither is skill. But try.

Passion is never enough; neither is skill. But try.

I could tell you I’m not insecure, but I guess I’d be lying.

Most writers, even successful, bestselling award-winning ones, have their insecurities….the difference is they’re not worried about their first publication, but whether their next novel would be better, more successful than the last.

Or at least I imagine they should, because after winning the Nobel prize for literature, this is what Toni Morrison had to say to writers, and to herself:

“Stop thinking about saving your face. Think of our lives and tell us your particularized world. Make up a story. Narrative is radical, creating us at the very moment it is being created. We will not blame you if your reach exceeds your grasp; if love so ignites your words they go down in flames and nothing is left but their scald. Or if, with the reticence of a surgeon’s hands, your words suture only the places where blood might flow. We know you can never do it properly – once and for all. Passion is never enough; neither is skill. But try.”

So, as a fledgling writer who has taken to the pen three years ago, I know my craft is not the best it can be, that I still have a million miles to cover before I can bring any mastery to my writing.

And as to life experience, the lifeblood of our writing—who can claim to understand life’s depth, its purpose, its reach? Life teaches us till our last breath. No writer can ever measure up to everything his life has taught him.

So yes, I wear my insecurities like a uniform, they give me purpose, and my place in this world. I wake up each morning terrified of not being able to write, I labor the day away and it disappears, and at night I go to bed dissatisfied with what I’ve written. Inside me I know that no matter how much I learn writing, there will still be that much more to learn—because one lifetime is not enough to learn all the craft, the discipline, the art, the artifice that goes into writing.

An editor told me last week she is including one of my stories for her anthology, which should be in print end of this year. It was a moment’s validation. But along with a pat on the back, it was also a kick on the butt: it reminded me I had to finish a collection of short stories and my novel, and how I still had a long way to go with both. Back to my insecurities, back to the grind.

So to echo Morrison, who in turn has echoed Browning( Ah, but man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for?):

I’ll always be insecure, and I’ll always be reaching for perfection. If nothing else, it would make me a better writer than when I began.

———–

Insecure Writer's Support Group

Insecure Writers!

This was a post for Alex J Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writer’s Support  Group. Click on the link to reach fellow insecure writers!