Thank goodness January is over. I’m not sure how much of my attitude for the last couple of weeks has been down to the start of the year, Covid, hiding away in my little lockdown space and wondering what the rest of the world is doing… And feeling guilty for feeling bad when so many people, including friends, are in a situation so much worse than mine.

Insecure Writers Support Group badge

IWSG Question of the Month

Yes, this is my Insecure Writers Support Group post this month. Once more I can thank Ninja Captain Alex Cavanaugh, ably support by the co-hosts Louise – Fundy Blue (again) , Jennifer Lane, Mary Aalgaard, Patsy Collins at Womagwriter, and Nancy Gideon, for providing us writers with a space to hang out and support each other through the ups and downs of our writing lives.

Thank goodness for the question…

Blogging is often more than just sharing stories. It’s often the start of special friendships and relationships. Have you made any friends through the blogosphere?

Yes. And you know who you are!

It’s surprising, though, just how far friendships reach. Not just physically (worldwide), or through writing efforts, like beta-reading, or ‘last check before the final check – mark 2’. Several online friends are as close as any others I’ve made over the years, whether they live nearby or not.

Who am I kidding? None of my friends live near me. I sometimes wonder about myself on this. Am I only able to make friends with people a fair distance from me? What went wrong after I left university that I don’t have friends to hang out with? No, I hung out with friends after that… until…. well, until I went to Norfolk, actually. And here I am now, in Hampshire, with no friends nearby because of lockdown. My neighbours have been great. Although I am gradually finding people who are part of the social scene I would have joined had lockdown not happened–the gardening club, for example.

So it’s no wonder my online friends have been a more constant source of back-up and encouragement, or just people to talk to. Thank you. Big Hugs.

Thank goodness January is done

So what’s been going on in January that got me down?

Well, I read a (middle grade) book that garnered several awards. I thought it started badly and ended in several tropes. I couldn’t see why anyone would give it awards. It made me think that my ideas for writing middle grade books must be all wrong.

I’ve been putting together a collection of middle grade stories. I’d got to the point of sending it to junior beta readers. And now I read it and think: what’s the point? It’s total rubbish. I’m kidding myself to think that it’s worth putting these things out in the public domain when I obviously have no idea what middle grade readers want.

And that spiralled into those short stories I was struggling to write, and the third book in the Viridian series. I did get a new idea for the start of that, driving back from a walk in a lovely bit of countryside. Hmm, yes, driving. That used to be nice. Or sitting on a train, gazing out of the window. I used to get most of my story ideas doing that. It’s like going for a walk to sort your head out.

Instead I’ve had at least five nights out of the last ten with difficulty getting to sleep, or bad dreams, or waking up several times. Well, I’ve certainly had two nights without any of those.

It’s called lockdown-itis. And writing about it helps.

Entirely normal

Now it’s February. Deadlines for the short stories this month might help focus the mind. And getting them done would help my sense of achievement. In fact I got one done on Monday–and enjoyed writing it!

I hope you’re feeling okay. At least reading things like this helps you know that you’re not alone, and in fact it’s entirely normal for the strange times we’re living in.

Sending hugs.

Thank goodness it’s February #IWSG
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30 thoughts on “Thank goodness it’s February #IWSG

  • 3 February, 2021 at 10:49 am

    The world is smaller than it used to be. Your friends are just a short post or quick comment away. Stay healthy and keep on writing. Your books are your legacy.

  • 3 February, 2021 at 11:08 am

    Hi Jemima – it’s a strange old world … I like being my own person – and thank goodness for that at the moment … I’ve been able to cope … I’ve joined a few groups … U3A and various others in E/b … take care and at least Spring is slightly nearer. We will come through – and thank goodness for blogging (in my case) friends and contacts … stay safe and all the best -Hilary

    • 3 February, 2021 at 4:19 pm

      Now that more groups are getting tech-savvy, it’s getting easier. And one of my lovely neighbours passed on the newsletter from the local gardening group, which was top of my list for joining.
      Like the kids, it’s just a year’s delay… we’ll make up for it eventually.

  • 3 February, 2021 at 11:12 am

    Sometimes, people win who we think didn’t deserve it. We live in an unfair world. But try and not let it bother you. When I think of all the rejections I have received from some of my entries and the comments afterward from the editors, I wanted to ask them why didn’t I win? So, I understand the misery. I’ve learned to pick out the roses and keep marching. It’s not easy but you become stronger.
    All the best.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

  • 3 February, 2021 at 12:11 pm

    Most of my friends live far away – partly that’s because I know longer live near where I grew up, and partly because I met some online.

    • 3 February, 2021 at 12:21 pm

      That’s the same with me… and then I moved around a bit more 🙂

  • 3 February, 2021 at 1:24 pm

    It’s very hard right now to stay upbeat when we have to be alone so much to stay safe and healthy. I’m glad you’re finding a few avenues for friends near where you live. I’ve had to make new friends since my husband died, and it’s hard. I really value the small group of friends I have.

    Maybe you could find a local critique group that meets on Zoom during the pandemic. Have you thought of connecting with SCBWI since you write for kids? It’s a very supportive group. Sending hugs to you.

    • 3 February, 2021 at 4:17 pm

      One of my friends, and she’ll doubtless read this, was surprised to find so many friends had lost husbands and partners. They gave her a lot of support. But everybody’s situation is different. I’m glad to meet you – the start of another beautiful friendship maybe?

  • 3 February, 2021 at 2:45 pm

    I’m glad it’s February and spring is closer – but then I feel guilty for wishing my life away and not being content with the here and now.

    • 3 February, 2021 at 4:14 pm

      Whatever you feel, don’t feel guilty. You of all people don’t need that on top of everything else.

      For me, seeing a few of the snowdrops I brought from Norfolk surviving and flowering is really helpful. And this morning I saw something coming up in the front garden which I don’t remember planting. There’s no sign of my hollyhocks, though, and they were still surviving at Christmas. Well, I have more saved seeds…

  • 3 February, 2021 at 4:25 pm

    Hey, your blog stopped making me sign in every time!

    I, too, have friends at a distance, and none where I am. A lot of those friends were met on line, and while some I’ve met in person, others I’m just happy to know! This writer community is amazing.

    After leaving school, I couldn’t figure out how to make friends until I had kids, and met people through them. Now I’ve moved again, and my kids are grown… and I’m back to having no idea how to make local friends, especially in a lock-down. So I’m extra grateful for my on-line friends and colleagues.

    • 3 February, 2021 at 4:30 pm

      I know, it was driving me crazy. We had a Jetpack (WP extras) upgrade yesterday, so I double checked the settings and put them right again. It was driving me even crazier!

  • 3 February, 2021 at 6:54 pm

    Our online friends have become our support group during this shutdown. I can’t imagine what I’d be like right now without being able to reach out to other writers this way. I certainly can’t sit across from any of my local writer friends. Let’s hope for a big change this year for the better.

  • 3 February, 2021 at 8:15 pm

    Covid definitely has changed all of our lives in one way or another. I too, miss my social life and get what I can online. I’m glad you have somewhere beautiful to walk!

  • 3 February, 2021 at 9:25 pm

    I’ve definitely been suffering from the effects of being unable to do any in-person writing events, both during NaNo and with my local writing group. Though even if lockdown ever ends, I’m not sure I want to return to the local group on account of a former friend who said some very nasty things after discovering I support J.K. Rowling against the angry mob wanting to burn her at the stake.

  • 3 February, 2021 at 10:45 pm

    I’m an introvert and have handled the pandemic really well – until January. Everything seemed to throw me for a loop and I haven’t slept properly for week. Lockdownitis sounds about right! Here’s to February looking up and having everything work better! Wishing you all the best!

  • 4 February, 2021 at 12:09 am

    Thank you for sharing your troubles with us! It sounds like a very tough time, but perhaps the new month will be a success. Best wishes!

  • 4 February, 2021 at 3:24 am

    My blogger friends mean the world to me, too. There was a time that I had traveled to meet up with them all over the US and also in Canada. When I get to Europe, I hope to meet up with my pals there, but in the meantime we have we have our computers to keep in touch. You are certainly not alone with having friends so far away. I moved out of the big city and to the country last year, and since COVID, I had to shy away from the lovely new people I met in my small town. We wave on the street and casually talk from a distance, but it saddens me that we can no longer have dinners together or a glass of wine. Hopefully by the end of the year, the Christmas holidays will be a joyous occasion again. I hoping and praying that is is so… Hugs to you, too, Jemina.

  • 4 February, 2021 at 3:55 am

    Hi, Jemima. My blogger friends mean so much to me too. They have been a godsend during this pandemic. I have a few close in-person friends, but some of my closest lifelong friends have died in the past few years. I think our on-line friends may understand us better ~ a lot of people don’t get writers ~ LOL. 36 years into marriage, and my husband doesn’t get it. But he loves and supports my efforts, even as he still asks, “Are you sure you’re having fun? Isn’t there something else you’d rather be doing?” Listen to your heart and write what is important to you. Don’t worry about what others are writing (or getting rewards for). It’s out of your control. I’ve had a lot of trouble sleeping. I just hold on to the hope things will get better soon, including sleep. Sending a BIG hug to you!

  • 4 February, 2021 at 5:33 pm

    My blogging friends kept me sane this past year – between the lock down and moving. I got moving brain in October and am just recovering!

    • 4 February, 2021 at 10:50 pm

      You did well, Noelle. Hope the house is nearly straight now – I’m just getting the second wind, girding my loins to throw out the stuff I don’t know if/when I’ll ever use it again!

  • 6 February, 2021 at 1:28 am

    The stress of pandemic life has hindered a lot of writers. Here’s to getting our mojo back.

  • 6 February, 2021 at 6:07 am

    The hardest part of Covid for me has been seeing a different picture out my front window than in my digital window. It’s hard when there’s such a disparity between my online reality and my physical reality.

    • 6 February, 2021 at 10:22 pm

      I hadn’t thought of that – but yes, you’re right. Or maybe I’ve been doing that for some time anyway, in the ivory tower I’ve moved from 🙂

  • 6 February, 2021 at 7:05 am

    Lovely photo! As for books that have won awards: most of them are overrated and not given awards by the readers they are intended for. Just write the story that wants to be told — it’s better than anything thought out by a formula (and a computer).

    Ronel visiting for IWSG day The Great Pretender

    • 6 February, 2021 at 10:23 pm

      That’s a wonderful thought, Ronel… thanks!

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