Reflections on an extremely busy month of April! I decided to wrap all my thoughts into one blog post and make it my IWSG post, too.

Insecure Writers Support Group

Insecure Writers Support Group badge

This is my Insecure Writers Support Group post, in which we share our successes and failures as writers, our insecurities, in fact. Anyone can join in, just sign up at the IWSG Sign-up page, write a blog post on the first Wednesday of the month, and go back to that sign up page to link with everyone else–or a goodly sample. Our host is Alex J Cavanaugh, and his co-hosts for the month are:   Pat Garcia, Victoria Marie Lees,and Louise – Fundy Blue!

Each month there is also an optional question as a prompt. This month:

Has any of your readers ever responded to your writing in a way that you didn’t expect? If so, did it surprise you?

Reflections on my AtoZChallenge will reveal the answer (but you can skip to here)!

Camp NaNoWriMo

Camp nanowrimo reflections

I’m sure all the Insecure Writers know about NaNoWriMo. Camp Nano used to be two Summer Camp type experiences, April and July, where we went to live in virtual cabins next to virtual lakes, chatted to our cabin-mates about our progress in writing (or editing) our novel (or anything else), and reported on our targets and our success or otherwise in meeting them. It was great for social writing with people you didn’t know, and it gave me insight into other people’s writing situations in a way that doesn’t come across in our blogs.

Then they changed it. You can have buddies, but since none of mine camp, it’s just my way of looking after my target, and making me write every day. I like writing every day for short periods because I stay in the fictional world, but that puts other parts of life (and publishing) on hold, so I do it to get through the first draft, or editing the one I’ve done previously.

This year I wanted to finish Zanzibar’s Rings, the third (and last) of the Viridian System series. Since I grabbed the title years ago when I was thinking of potential Z posts for the AtoZChallenge, it seemed fitting to work towards a finished version. And I found a variant at Camp called NaNoFinMo–FINishing your novel MOnth–which included some very useful ideas for getting through a ‘Muddy Middle’ and ‘Elusive Ending’, which I also mentioned in the AtoZ–when I lost the Plot.

Cabin by the Lake #writephoto

I did summer camp as a counsellor a long time ago. It was in Wisconsin, and it had a lovely lake like the photo for this week’s #writephoto prompt (nice reflections, too). Pop over to KL Caley’s blog New2writing.com, any Thursday after midday UK time, and pick up your prompts for the week. It’s good fun. Here’s my offering, another haiku to keep things relatively short! (and yes, this happened!)

The weekly lake swim. 
What nutcase played the Jaws theme? 
Terror and chaos!

© J M Pett 2021

And so to the AtoZChallenge2021 reflections

I’d skipped a year or two; it was too much work and I spent too much time with blogs that really didn’t interest me.

This year I had an idea to post when I normally posted, things I wanted to feature or the new books to promote, on the relevant letter day.

I had about twelve posted before the month began, including three of the four book reviews – titles for C I O and U were really hard to locate in my TBR!

I really wanted to concentrate on my writing, so although I started by visiting a few on the list, and some of my visitors, that fell by the wayside, for which I apologise. It’s why I intend to do the Road Trip, or catch up in other ways.

jemima's flash fiction collection 2021
Greed and Retribution is out tomorrow

But for me this was the best AtoZ for ages. I certainly did less work, yet I filled in all the remaining gaps. By the time I got to J (for which I could only think of J for Jemima), I only had Q, S, V, and Y to do. I was hoping writephoto might come up with some useful prompts for those letters (which is why Saurus was nearly a week late). But most of the fill-ins were genuine comments on the state of my writing, and how I got myself out of trouble with it.

So from a blogging point of view, it was the most satisfying month, sharing ideas and new information I’d found during yet another writing journey.

Reflections for Insecure Writers

For me, the most enjoyable parts were sharing things about writing that I might otherwise keep for my IWSG readers.

What surprised me were the responses to my Rise Up post for the WEP prompt. I knew that my characters would fight back against their oppressors. I was still way short of the actual incident, but it helped to write this as a short story to guide me towards it.

rise up

Very little of that flash fiction remains intact in the first draft, but I can see more places where I gave myself a sort of summary of what was going to happen. And many of those were vastly improved when the final writing came in. Much better twists. Satisfying ways of turning the tables on the baddies 🙂

But I was surprised how many people commented on the soap aspect for disabling the robots. I can’t remember how I thought of it, even. I started thinking: what could they use in a world without much in the way of firepower? I’m so glad you liked it, and hope it isn’t now a huge spoiler for the book!

I hope you enjoyed your AtoZChallenge if you did it this year, and mine if you didn’t! Feel free to hunt back through the month and see if you think my reflections are justified.

Heartfelt Thanks

… to all those who worked so hard to make the AtoZChallenge 2021 a success. I certainly saw posts by J, John and Czenge. Thank you J for guesting here with a wonderful interview. I’m still overwhelmed by your story.

And now… back to work.

If you are doing a Reflection post, please leave a link to it in your comment.

Reflections on the #AtoZChallenge2021, Camp NaNoFinMo, #writephoto and #IWSG
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15 thoughts on “Reflections on the #AtoZChallenge2021, Camp NaNoFinMo, #writephoto and #IWSG

  • 5 May, 2021 at 12:31 pm
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    Glad this was the best year for you for the A-Z challenge. I can’t imagine doing it while doing any NaNo month. You were incredibly productive.

    Reply
  • 5 May, 2021 at 2:06 pm
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    Wow, you were so incredibly productive! I did A2Z too, but not NaNo. I would love to someday though! Oh, I had to chuckle at your lake poem too.

    Reply
  • 5 May, 2021 at 2:11 pm
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    Glad you got such a great response on your WEP post and enjoyed the Challenge this year.

    Reply
  • 5 May, 2021 at 3:24 pm
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    I have to go back and read some of those posts!
    Love the lake incident—that sounds just right for summer camp.

    Reply
  • 5 May, 2021 at 3:30 pm
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    Funny, isn’t it, when readers seize onto some minor aspect of a story that we never gave much thought to? In my undergrad English courses, we’d sometimes discect a poem or story down to the molecular level–and I’d imagine the author laughing at our pointless nitpicking. I wish you happy writing in May!

    Reply
  • 5 May, 2021 at 4:16 pm
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    Love your haiku!
    I barely looked at the master list — just visited those who visited me. It was a busy month where I focused my free time on writing (my new day job takes up a lot of mental and physical energy along with daylight hours) and actually got a couple of books done!

    Ronel visiting for IWSG day Whirlwind Publishing
    Ronel visiting for the A-Z Challenge with A-Z Reflections: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

    Reply
  • 5 May, 2021 at 5:12 pm
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    Congrats on finishing the challenge. This year I’m glad I didn’t take part. There’s so much going on in my life right now that I don’t have the energy to spare.

    Reply
  • 6 May, 2021 at 4:31 am
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    I’m glad your A to Z went well! And your WEP too.
    Camp nano has changed. I don’t try to do the April one. (Can’t imagine why I might be busy that month. Ha ha.)
    And thanks for the interview. The comments were really fun.

    J Lenni Dorner (he/him 👨🏽 or 🧑🏽 they/them) ~ Co-host of the #AtoZchallenge, OperationAwesome6 Debut Author Interviewer, Reference& Speculative Fiction Author

    Reply
  • 6 May, 2021 at 1:22 pm
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    I could hardly get online yesterday, because they replaced my electricity meter with a smarter one on Tuesday – and it didn’t work! I kept having outages and eventually gave up trying to catch my wifi while it was working.I’ll get round you all soon, I promise!

    Reply
  • 8 May, 2021 at 1:20 pm
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    That was a busy April wasn’t it? Thanks for sharing this combination post. As someone who did three of those things, I’m still feeling it and seeing them all together like this made me think, wow, that was a lot of constructive stuff. Hope you have a great, productive May!

    Reply
    • 9 May, 2021 at 7:15 am
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      Hope you’ve recovered now. I think iI need another day or two!

      Reply

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