Happy birthday to the Insecure Writers Support Group – 12 years old today!

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 cohosting this month are:

A birthday review of the last 12 years

When I read the question of the month, I realised that in 2011 I was preparing to publish the first Princelings book. Having had more rejections than I needed, knowing that this was a niche product, I jumped at the chance to move into self-publishing, and to focus on this new stuff… ebooks.

The IWSG celebrates 12 years today! When did you discover the IWSG, how do you connect, and how has it helped you?

Question of the month IWSG Sept 23

I did discover IWSG fairly early on. I was already blogging, and I become familiar with this group of people who seemed to be everywhere on the internet, and aspired to be there too. The trouble was, I didn’t feel particularly insecure.

That comes later. The more you learn about writing, the more insecure you get! Well, that’s how it is for me, anyway.

Eventually I discovered how to make friends and buddies on the internet, so sometimes it feels all my friends are internet based, and most of them form the bulk of my readers – until recently, anyway. Personally, I never felt this was a problem, and it was a definite bonus during the pandemic.

First IWSG post

I didn’t actually start my regular IWSG posting until January 2018, though. I’m really not sure why. A little bit of wishful thinking? Acknowledging that I was not making it on my own, however many books I had out (probably 9 by then)? Lack of time? That last is an excuse, but once I had substituted the monthly IWSG post for whatever else I was thinking of blogging about, it all came much easier.

How has it helped me? I feel part of something big. I have contributed to some of the anthology calls, although not successfully. Whenever Alex needs me I co-host. I enjoy that, and I am better at getting around everyone to comment when I have a target I have to reach. Like the April A to Z Challenge, I find it difficult touring a lot of blogs and leaving comments about a subject I may not connect with. And when the blog systems are playing up, there’s a lot of typing my name, email, and URL to do.

As you probably know by now, I am having trouble with my hands and wrists (and neck), which ends up limiting the amount of time I can spend at the computer each day. I can schedule in the IWSG visits, but not the April ones. I schedule in my blog posts for my book reviews (since I’m still reading at a rate of knots, as I’m not writing). But that doesn’t leave a lot of keyboard-time each week for anything else. I have seven hours a week to do all my keyboard stuff. Emails, insurance documents, shopping, friends birthdays, hobbies, blog updates (including the art society blog, which I resurrected for them, and don’t feel able to let slide again)…. Usually I end up doing more hours than I should, and pay the price.

Where does the writing new fiction (long or short) go?

Birthday thinking

One thing the IWSG posts have always done for me is allowed me to think. Think about what I’m doing with my writing, how my books are doing, how I might do them better. How I might market them better. I have picked up so many helpful tips from the IWSG resources.

And that’s why I’m not saying I’m not writing any more. I might, if something grabs my imagination. But I have 22 titles on my stall at the craft fairs I go to. I have plans to continue doing them next year (bookings have just opened) but I will cut the numbers down as I find them exhausting. To put another book together involves a great deal more pain than it used to, and I’m not sure whether I need that. Do I need more books out? Last week I did an analysis of sales so far this year. I might talk about that next month.

And now, I’m going to leave it to you. What one thing has IWSG done for you? I’ll read the rest of your thoughts on the question when I visit your blog post!

Happy birthday, IWSG!

Happy 12th Birthday #IWSG
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22 thoughts on “Happy 12th Birthday #IWSG

  • 6 September, 2023 at 10:18 am

    Hi Jemima! I wish you good health always. So sorry about all the trouble you’re having.
    There is so much that resonates in this post … The more you learn about writing, the more insecure you get! Yes, yes!
    One thing the IWSG posts have always done for me is allowed me to think. Think about what I’m doing with my writing – a big yes!
    Happy IWSG Day!

  • 6 September, 2023 at 11:22 am

    So sorry that your writing and being on the computer is causing you pain in your hands and wrists. Like you, I didn’t join the IWSG right away. I’m glad that I finally decided to join. It’s such a supportive group.

    • 6 September, 2023 at 10:28 pm

      Well, the pain is there anyway, and lifting things up has to be managed with care and wrist braces, but I can’t stay away from the keyboard completely, now, can I? 🙂

  • 6 September, 2023 at 1:58 pm

    Every day for a month is exhausting, but once a month is doable, which is why it works for so many writers.
    That is a lot of books you’ve published! Sorry your hands limit you now.

    • 6 September, 2023 at 10:30 pm

      Thanks, Alex. My collections of short stories previously written for the blog and brought out during lockdown worked wonders for the title numbers!

  • 6 September, 2023 at 3:04 pm

    Hi Jemima

    IWSG definitely today’s high point,
    Low ? The oven tried very hard to burn our house down, special friends due to arrive tonight. Now ? Friends called, postponing – till tomorrow
    evening, smoke and charred wood gone, new oven should be fitted tomorrow a.m.

    Tomorrow ? Will I write at all ? ill I dare to say a word about my new book ?
    Probably not – still too busy coughing !

    • 6 September, 2023 at 10:31 pm

      Oh my goodness. I hope you get it all sorted out okay. :O

  • 6 September, 2023 at 3:15 pm

    I hope you can find a solution for your pain, Jackie! But INSECURE? – not you!

    • 6 September, 2023 at 10:32 pm

      Oh, insecure turns up every now and then. Chronic lack of self-confidence is another term for it. I just learnt to hide it from a very young age!

  • 6 September, 2023 at 3:31 pm

    Hi Jemima – getting older is a nuisance isn’t it – but the blogging community is very supportive – amazing you’ve got 22 titles out there … congratulations. I felt insecure about joining – as I was and still am only blogging. Take care and with thoughts – cheers Hilary

    • 6 September, 2023 at 10:34 pm

      Yes, it’s a nuisance, and its also amazing the number of bloggers going through similar problems at present. Thank you to everyone who’s been sharing their tips for coping. And thank you for being one of my most regular friends.

  • 6 September, 2023 at 5:35 pm

    Sorry to hear that the pain has been butting in to everything you want to do. I know that feeling well from before my surgery in 2021. No matter what happens, we’re here for you.

    • 6 September, 2023 at 10:36 pm

      Thanks, Patricia. There are lot of people out there who’ve been through /are going through worse than me. And then sometimes I think I’m having huge problems, but then I work out how to cope. I hope you’re much better these days.

    • 6 September, 2023 at 10:37 pm

      Yeah.. putting five together during lockdown definitely upped the numbers – but they aren’t full length novels – there are only 14 of those!

  • 7 September, 2023 at 12:40 am

    Happy Birthday, IWSG! Another six years and you’ll be legal to be drinking heavily, which I would think would be a job requirement for being an insecure writer! Keep up the good work!

  • 7 September, 2023 at 4:03 am

    I wonder if a speech to text program would help you? I obviously don’t use them, but I know some people who do.
    And maybe keep a txt file open with your name, email, and site so you can copy paste instead of type those? My Chrome browser fills a lot of those in for me.

    The IWSG is celebrating 12 years today, which is so amazing for a blogging community of writers. A dozen years of support! 🎉
    “The only thing you absolutely have to know is the location of the library.” – Albert Einstein quote
    September is library card sign-up month! Get one, use one, and be grateful such places exist.

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

    • 7 September, 2023 at 1:54 pm

      Theoretically Apple has a dictation facility, which I used in February quite successfully, and then it didn’t work well any more. Tori Zigler gave me a tip about the system she uses, which may be much more than I need, but…
      My browser theoretically fills in some of my commenting details, but not on all sites. So I had to add name/URL for your blog. Even for my own, I have to prompt it with the first letter, then it offers me the saved details. A text file is a good idea, but I’d still have to copy/paste two or three pieces of info, and I’m not sure that typing jemimapett.com three times isnt quicker!

  • 9 September, 2023 at 11:07 am

    I agree that the more I learn, the more insecure I get. I feel like I was pretty cocky in the beginning. I’m sorry you’re struggling right now, but I hope you get some enjoyment out of attending the fairs and selling your existing titles.

    (This is Shannon from thewarriormuse dot com, but my WordPress is under my podcast.)

  • 10 September, 2023 at 7:35 pm

    Well, if you didn’t start posting until 2018, I must have gotten the idea elsewhere! Community is the big thing I get from the IWSG, but I’ve also learned a lot about being professional in this work.

    • 12 September, 2023 at 2:01 pm

      Thank goodness I have you looking after me! I have just checked, having had some vague memory of a different badge – the current one is filed in Jan18. It was actually Jan 15 I did my first one!!

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