Insecure Writer’s Support Group

Hey everyone. It’s the first Wednesday of the month, which means it’s time for another Insecure Writer’s Support Group post. For those of you who don’t know, the IWSG is the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. Once a month, we share our insecurities, then visit each other and encourage each other. You’re more than welcome to sign up. For more information and the entry list, please click here.

This month’s question actually ties in quite nicely with my insecurities… 

In terms of your writing career, where do you see yourself five years from now, and what’s your plan to get there?

I’d actually like to be writing (and doing writing-related activities) full-time by the end of next year. (Actually, I’m basically working as if I’m full-time already, but it’d be nice to actually make a living from it.)

Five years from now, I’d like to be making a very comfortable living from my writing.

As for my plan to get there:

I’m using my writing skills to freelance as an editor/beta reader/article writer on Upwork and Fiverr. I’m also working on building a Patreon following, and obviously I’m selling books. Right now, I’m putting all of the money I’m generating back into making more money (E.G. through marketing, or through paying for products that aid me in writing, editing etc.)

Eventually, I’ll hopefully be in a place where my writing earns enough for me to make a living. And actually, it’s not all that impossible. The lucky thing is that I live in South Africa, which means I’m earning in Dollars and living in Rands. So, if I managed to make $500 a month after expenses, I’d actually have the same income as a good starting office job salary. (And 2.5 times my country’s minimum wage.)

My insecurity right now, though, is my life at the moment. I’m not going to go into exactly what’s going on right now, but every time it feels like we’ve finally clawed our way out of the shit we’d been dragged into, something comes by to shove us back in.

So at the moment, I’m trying not to feel like I’m never going to get anywhere again, but the thing is, the thought is there. It exists. And the only way for me to make it go away is by pushing through and working anyway to build up the life I want.

It’d just be nice if I didn’t need to worry as much.

How are you doing? Do you set five year goals? 

Looking for Critique Partners for the IWSG Competition

Even though I despaired of ever writing anything related to The War of Six Crowns in fewer than ten thousand words, I’ve managed it.

This weekend, I finished the rough draft of The One Who Would Wield the Sword in about 5000 words, although I’ll probably be adding a thousand more in edits. (I’m the consummate adder-inner. You know… the kind of writer who adds in words while editing. As supposed to the bodily organs of a snake. That would be weird.)

Wow. Let me rein myself in and get back onto the topic before I digress way too far (as happens when I blog this close to my bed time.)



I’m going to do rewrites and edits this week, but I would ideally be looking for some extra pairs of eyes on my works (metaphorically.) before I submit my entry to the competition.

Which made me think I probably wouldn’t be the only one.

So if you’re looking for someone to trade short stories with, get in touch with me at mishagerrick(AT)gmail(DOT)com. I’ll make the exchange on a first-come, first serve basis.

And, if you don’t have time to read my short story but still want me to critique your story, I’m currently doing full critiques of short stories for $5 (and a service review) per story on Fiverr. It’s a sale I have going to build up my track-record there. Fiverr accepts PayPal, and you can change the price into your own currency.

To qualify for the sale, you have to be one of my first 100 customers there (which is a distinct possibility.) and PM me from the site I linked you to. (There’s a big green button that says “Contact me.”)

Anyone entering the IWSG competition? Looking for critiques for your work? 

Insecure Writers’ Support Group: Like a circle within a circle…

Goodness! I’ve been so busy lately, I almost lost track of time! Today is actually the first Wednesday of October, which means it’s time for my Insecure Writer’s Support Group post. For those of you who are familiar with IWSG, it’s a monthly bloghop hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh, where we share our writing insecurities and encouragements with each other.

For more information or to sign up (you’re more than welcome!), please click here.

Also, if you’d rather read this post on WordPress, please click here.

My Insecurity

My biggest insecurity this month is one I’ve been able to push aside for the most part, but once I’ve started looking at it, it’s actually a big one. 
See, recently I decided to take this writing gig full-time. (Long story, but don’t worry. I didn’t quit the day-job either.) The biggest difference that this decision has made is that I’m actually devoting most of my day to either writing or marketing in an attempt to bring in money. 
The thing is that I started doing this with $100 in the bank, which is currently stuck there because Payoneer has a $200 pay-out limit. 
So. Paid marketing platforms are out for me at the moment. As is basically anything I want to do to my books until my money is out (because I need to pay for my Adobe programs.)
And while my advertising for beta-reading, mentoring etc on Fiverr by far gets the most clicks, I think people might be scared of booking me when I have no reviews. (Annoying, because I’ve done six years’ worth of critiques for my blogging buddies already, so I have the experience.) 
Which means that right now, I’m pretty much stuck. I want to refresh two of my three books to get more readers for those… But… I either have to pay a formatter (which I can’t.) or use at least Adobe Acrobat. (Which I can’t.) 
I have $4 stuck in Fiver at the moment (because they have a $50 pay-out limit) and I can get $1 more to try out a $5 marketing spree (I can use the $4 as credit). But there’s little point to doing that until my books are updated. I need every dollar to go to maximum effect. So I can’t just spend $5 on something I don’t think will make a difference until I have everything in place that I need in place. 
So it’s a vicious circle. Because without effective marketing, I’m not going to sell more books, which means I won’t be getting $100 anytime soon. 
And EVEN if I make $100 in book sales, it’ll take at least two months before I get the royalties. 
Right now, the quickest way for me to get that $100 would be to make it on Fiverr, or if people pledged support on Patreon. (Because that would take until the end of the month.) Both will take time building up, though.
So yeah. It’s a vicious circle. 

Now for the IWSG Question…

When do you know the story is ready? 

Depends on what the story is supposed to be ready for. 
I know a story is ready to be written when I know the climax and ending. 
I know it’s ready for editing when I no longer feel as if every word in the draft is precious and needs to be protected at every cost. 
I know it’s ready for publishing when I spend an hour moving a single comma around. (Or some such.) 
What about you? When do you know a story is ready? Thoughts on a way for me to break my vicious circle?

IWSG: A Little Perspective Change…

Today is the first Wednesday of September, so it’s time for another round of Insecure Writer’s Support group. For those of you who are wondering, IWSG is hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh. A whole lot of us have signed up for this bloghop and once a month, we share our insecurities and our encouragements.

If you would like more information or to sign up, click here
I’ve been mostly quiet, lately, and you don’t need to scroll back far to see why. Things haven’t been going well. It’s been so bad, in fact, that I’ve started to think that my dreams of making a living as a writer will never come true. 
I’ve been completely without hope for weeks now, because it just seems that everything I’ve tried (including finding a job, or doing anything to build up my business again) comes to nothing. 
Which means that, all in all, my dreams of turning writing into a day job seemed so far away.
And that just made me sad. 
Something’s been happening, though. A tiny seed of a thought have been planted by various friends saying various little things. A tiny thought that’s been growing more and more every day until a tiny royalty payment put things into perspective for me. 
And the thought goes something like this. 
Suppose that, for all the hours I’m putting into my business, I just am not able to get to the point where the business stands on its own. Or suppose that it’s just a few months away, but nothing I can do now is going to make it happen faster. 
Suppose I’ve done everything I could to find and contact possible clients for my available products and now it’s a matter of waiting for them to come back. 
Do any of the hours I’m currently wasting waiting for feedback help me? No. 
Do I have to sit there staring at nothing while I’m waiting for feedback? No. 
Do I have anything else I could be doing that could actually add value? 
The fact that I’m getting any income at all from my writing means that it’s actually adding more value to my life than hours spent at the office. 
In fact, this income, small as it might be, actually could be what pays the Internet so we can keep doing business. It could be a small bit towards trying something that could become something bigger. 
It could be a start. 
And I’ve been overlooking all that for the stupid reason that my year just didn’t look the way I wanted it to.

I keep griping and moaning about not writing full-time, but if I keep in mind the idea of flexi-hours, I could have worked 40 hour weeks as a writer for WEEKS now. 

But I haven’t, because somewhere in my head is this idea of all-or-nothing. And also, the idea that I needed to stabilize my business so I could use that to pay for my writing in order to become a full-time writer. 
Which is great in theory, but not if my writing income actually out-strips what I’m actually getting out of my business. 
Because if that happens, doesn’t it make more sense to double down and figure out a way to 1) write more and 2) generate income for writing-related activities and 3) generate income to fund further writing and publishing endeavors? 
To me it does. 
And to me, it means I’m actually a card-carrying full-time writer as of now. 
Since “Staving Artist” is a bad look on me, I need to be more than a writer. I need to be a businesswoman who writes. 

And as a business woman who writes, I know I might have some products and services that might interest you: 

1) My writing.

If you’re a reader, you might be interested in my books. Right now, all of my available writing is speculative fiction of some sort. But I have a wide variety of other genres waiting to be released as well. My books are also available at iTunes, Kobo, Barnes & Noble and other places.
Want exclusive sneak-peaks of my writing? Then there’s Patreon, where you can find out first if there’s any publishing news from me, see any excerpts I post first, and even read stories I post there, all for as little as $1 a month. 

2) My knowledge.

As part of my writing and publishing journey, I’ve gathered about 15 years’ worth of experience in what works and what doesn’t in a story. 
I’m sharing advice on Patreon when asked for (as part of my $1 subscription reward) and will be posting regular vlogs about writing, which you can watch and enjoy while I (eventually) earn revenues from advertising. 
Then, I am also offering my services on Fiverr. I am offering critiques of short stories, novellas and novels. I will also help you polish your query or back-of-the-book blurb. Or your synopsis. I can even go through your query package (query, synopsis and up to five chapters) to help you find possible weaknesses in your submission. 
Right now, I’m trying to build a track record on Fiverr, so I’m offering Query/Blurb, Synopsis or critiques of up to 10,000 words, all for $5, even if you need one of the premium packages on offer. All you have to do is go to my profile, click on “Contact” and follow the instructions to get in touch with me. 
So yeah. I actually have a lot to offer people. Now it’s a matter of getting the word out… 
How are things going on your end? Have you had a bit of perspective change for one reason or another? 

Insecure Writer’s Support Group

Hey everyone! Before I get started, I just wanted to mention that the lovely Crystal Collier is hosting Endless on her blog. So if you’d like a chance to win an e-copy, please head over there and guess which one is the lie. 
Hey everyone! Today’s the first Wednesday of the month, so I thought I would stop by and give a bit of an update. For those of you wondering what The Insecure Writer’s Support Group is about… We’re a group of writers who come together on the first Wednesday of the month to share our insecurities. The idea is to be encouraged, but also to visit each other and find that no, being insecure as a writer really isn’t all that strange. If you’d like more information or just to sign up, please feel free to visit the awesome Alex J Cavanaugh (he’s the host). 
So. Why am I so quiet? 
Long story. Mostly, I’m busy trying to change up the way my whole social networking strategy works. I know what I want to do and why. The issue is that right now, I just don’t have as much time as I’d like. 
Another long story. If you’re really interested in what’s going on in my life, please feel free to go check out my previous two or three posts. 
So. Big deal that I don’t have so much time left, right? (Pun not intended.) 
See… I have this one thing left where, if I manage nothing else this year, I want to see book 3 in The War of Six Crowns published. We’re already past half way and because of my consistent lack of time, I’m nowhere near where I want to be with it. 
So. I’m cutting back for the next month or so just to get myself on some sort of track, because as it happens, I belong to the school of thought that the best marketing to do is to publish a new book. 
Which won’t happen if I’m more obsessed with my social networking than… you know… editing my story. 
Speaking of edits… I sent book 3 to my first CP last month. Usually, I send to more people at a time, but right then, I needed someone to tell me if my sneaking suspicions about the book were wrong or not. They weren’t. 
Which isn’t much of an issue, except that the issues I had been avoiding until now require that I basically re-do the first third of my book to get more information in. 
Except, I’m currently somewhat stuck on the subject of exactly how I’m supposed to manage it without turning book 3 into a 200k word monster. Right now, it’s at 90k because I already split it in two. Now I have to add a third to it. Which means I’m looking at a book that’s twice as long as The Vanished Knight. 

And I’m worried that that extra third will throw off the pacing. 
I’m worried, yet again, that this series is just too… big for me. Yes, this has been a reoccurring theme from the first time I started writing the first books. But I don’t always think people realize just how big this series is set to become. 
Somehow, I’m supposed to manage the scope of the story while still keeping the pace to at least a reasonable pace. 
Which is just… not something I’m dead sure I can do right now. 
So for now, I’m rereading The Vanished Knight and The Heir’s Choice, trying to see which strings I’d left untied and if I’ve forgotten anything that can be worked in. Or just if anything in the story shakes loose something that I might use to bridge the gap between the end of The Heir’s Choice and the start of the main action of Book 3. 
Long story short, I’m super insecure about finishing Book 3 for publishing this year. How are you doing? 

Insecure Writer’s Support Group

Today’s the first Wednesday of June, which means it’s time for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. For those of you who don’t know, this is Alex J. Cavanaugh’s brainchild, where a whole lot of us get together to share our insecurities and encouragements. Any writer is welcome to join, so if you’d like more information (or to sign up), please click here
Last time around, I shared the huge insecurity that cropped up over the few days before then. 
I’d like to say that I’m back to my usual preppy self, but… 
If I said that, I’d be lying. 
The sense of anxiety that had been dogging me didn’t let go. It’s still there, and it’s still keeping me from writing. (I’ve managed to finish a round of edits, though, so at least I wasn’t rendered completely useless.)
On top of that, there has been some more upheavals in my life that’s constantly turning around in my mind. I’ll probably talk about it in a while longer, but there’s a lot that I need to come to terms with first. That, and I need to see if this month leads to better things or if I’m just going to chalk it up to the stuff I mentioned in the previous list. Yeah. It sucked that bad, at least for the first two weeks. 
(Which is also the reason why I’ve been scarce lately. Sorry!) 
Anyway, I’ve been limping along for the past month and really need to do something to get back on a writing track. 
Problem is that I don’t know what. 
But it seems to me that clearing most of my social networking activities for a week or so won’t be a bad idea. Just one guest post tomorrow and then I’m going to take a blogging break until Monday 13 June. 
Hopefully I’ll get some writing done then. 
How are you doing? 

Insecure Writer’s Support Group: This is a big one.

Hey everyone. Today I’m a bit all over the place. (Okay not really. Just here and three other blogs.) 
I’ll get to this month’s insecurity now, but first, let me just warn inform you of my whereabouts. 
First, I’m visiting Denise, sharing a story of the insecurities I faced when I started writing Endless. She cross-posts to two blog platforms, so if you’re on Blogger, click here. WordPress: here
Then, Jessica interviewed me on Author Tracker and Ken interviewed me on My Hogwarts Sabatical
But it doesn’t feel like to skip the Insecure Writers’ Support Group (and boy, do I have a doozie today), so I thought I’d leave a post here too. 
Okay so this is going to be hard. Because today I’m going to share a bit of a secret. Or not. I’m pretty sure I might have mentioned this once or twice before. 
The thing is, I don’t like talking about it. 
But hey, as I said, it’s a doozie of a cause for insecurity and I’ve been struggling with working through my feelings. So, since writing is a good way to do this (and posting gives me motivation to actually do it…) 
*Deep breaths* Warning. This does occasionally go into ranting territory. 
So on Saturday, I woke up to the thought that nothing I ever do is enough to actually succeed. 
Which, on its own, might seem like a rather silly little issue. 
Except I have an anxiety disorder. 
Yeah. I do. Had a psychologist who diagnosed me in my third year of university. Maybe I’ve had it forever. I know I had my first (and oddly enough last) panic attack when I was in sixth grade. People didn’t handle it well. I suppressed it and thought that it had gone away. 
But yeah. My second year of university wrecked me. So badly that my mom made me go to a psychologist because she thought I either suffered from depression or did drugs. Yes. My emotional state had gradually darkened and grew so bad that my mom thought I had taken a control substance because my entire outlook on life had changed. 
I had gone from being a go-getter with huge goals and the daring to get it to someone who no longer felt like there was a point to trying anymore. 
It took me an entire year (and an existential crisis) to find myself again. During which I almost ran away (and I’m purposefully using the phrase) to the navy because I couldn’t deal with my fears that I’d get trapped in a job I hated because of a degree I no longer even wanted to get.
But I clawed my way out. Step by step. First by realizing that I didn’t actually have to do what people expected of me. Then, but proving to myself that I could get ahead and still write (which is actually one of the key aspects to my dealing with my mind.) 
And boy. I got ahead. I finished a shit ton of books. I got a publishing deal at 24. At exactly the same time, I was a co-owner and shareholder of an 8-digit turnover company.
It’s easy to function through my insecurity when things are actually going well. 
That was 2013. 
In 2014, everything went to hell, basically, except for my and my family’s health (which I’m grateful for). 
But materially speaking, we lost everything. My whole life went into a dive and I’ve been fighting to pull out of it ever since. 
In January 2015, I was determined to pull out and just. 
It’s May 2016 now. And yes, I’ve made progress. At the moment I’m touring the third book I released in two years. My mother and I started a business that we merged with another. 
But it’s also May 2016, and after months of hard work, most of which I’ve spent working 12 to 14 hour work days (you know, not writing). 
And, except for the fact that I’m not able to write for vast majorities of the time and risking burn-out by writing in literally every available moment of time when I’m not sleeping, (I’m serious. Except for about eight hours of singing in total and maybe four t.v. days, I’ve done nothing but working, writing and sleeping since December.) I’m no better off now than I was last year this time. (In fact I’m worse off, but explaining that will probably stretch the post too far.) 
I can’t describe the mixture of fury and hopelessness welling up within me as I write this. 
So on Saturday, I guess I came to the point where my anxiety would no longer be ignored. But if I give up, I’m fucked. And I won’t be the only one. 
Somehow, I have to ignore the patent evidence around me to say that there is a point to this. That it must break at some point — hopefully before I do. That yes, doing all the right things and working hard will bring me success again. 
That this time, my success won’t be stolen by another asshole that I will see on t.v. with my fucking business that was also a casualty of 2014 (not kidding. Happened yesterday.). Or someone else I will probably hear of in my day-job due to (yep, you guessed it) anther 2014 casualty. 
Somehow, I have to fool myself into believing that all this will happen so that I can at least write again. Because if I stop writing, there’s no point to hoping I’ll become a writer, is there? 

Insecure Writer’s Support Group: AAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrghh!

Internet is still down, but I have a quiet moment at work, so the race against time to finish this post is on.

For those of you who are very VERY new to the writing bloggosphere, the Insecure Writer’s Support Group gets together on the first Wednesday of every month to share our doubts, fears, insecurities and encouragement with each other. For more detail and to sign up, click here.

Time is still the biggest cause for insecurity for me. I have so much to do, and yes, I know that I gave myself a ton of this stuff in the first place. But the fact that it’s a lot of stuff doesn’t mean that I didn’t have a reason to put so much on my plate in the first place. 
In fact, the opposite is true. My five year project (see the goal statement at the top of this blog) will be half-way through in June. Which means that the most important phase, where I should be most productive when it comes to setting up my career, is right now. 

Simply put, I can’t afford to let up or pull back. But my life is consistently eating into my productive time, which means that I have less time than before in which I need to get more done. 
I have no idea about how I’m going to do that. 
So I’m going to do the only thing I can, and that’s to keep checking off everything I can do in my available time and see how far that gets me for the next few months. 
How are you doing? 

Insecure Writer’s Support Group (AAAAAaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrghhhhhh!)

It’s the first Wednesday of the month, which means it’s time for Insecure Writer’s Support Group again. For those of you who don’t know, IWSG is a monthly bloghop where we share our writing fears, doubts and insecurities and then go around encouraging each other. You’re welcome to sign up! Click here for more information and to sign up.

My biggest insecurity this month comes from the sheer bloody amount of stuff going on in my life at the moment. I have a book coming out. I have to prepare to move house. I have to work longer than usual because it’s the busy season for me at the dayjob. I have to… I have to… I have to… 
You get it. And as some of you know, I keep track of all this. So I happen to know that I have 30 major items for me to finish in this week alone. 
I mean seriously. What happened to starting slow in January and working one’s way up? I’m seriously hoping that my year ends up working in reverse, or I might end up going crazy by June. 
How are you doing? Is your year running mad like mine? How are you keeping yourself together?