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? 

Advertisements

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? 

How to Get Back Into the Writing Groove

Lately, my advice posts have fell a bit to the way-side. Mainly, I blame a bit of a writer’s burn-out that I suffered from since mid-November.

It’s hard enough to write a thoughtful, useful post without feeling like I’m sipping yogurt through a thin straw. (Don’t know what I mean? Try it sometime. The feeling compares remarkably well to writing while burned out.)
The only thing I advise people to do when burned out is to rest. But what to do when the burn-out is gone and you just can’t get into the writing groove again? 
Oh, I’m glad you asked. 
I know that everyone is different, but I’ve found that the following steps work for me: 
Step 1: Find a big enough stick. 

I’m serious. Resting during a burn-out is all about spoiling ourselves rotten and doing all those things we usually do to procrastinate without feeling guilty about it. This is a good thing in its time, but now that time is over. But why promise yourself a reward when you’re already in the zone of instant gratification? 
It just won’t work. So find what will really make yourself feel crap if you don’t do it within a certain time, and commit to it now. I picked saying yes to two anthologies and setting up a book for pre-order. 
Of the two, the pre-order thing is worse. I like having the pre-order option. And Amazon will take that option away for a year if I don’t submit the finished work in time. See? Pretty big stick. 
And already, I’ve started making sure that I’ll have everything done. Just make sure that the big stick won’t be falling too soon. You’ve got to be reasonable. Setting something up for pre-orders a week from now isn’t reasonable unless you were close to done to begin with. 
Step 2: Get into the habit of delayed gratification.

You used to do this before. It’s not so hard. Say: “Yes, I want to watch TV, but first I need to finish this chapter.”
This is a tricky thing to do, because the excuses are a dime a dozen. But if you want to get that book done, you need to say: “Later.” to everything that isn’t finishing your book. 
Except, you know, your family needing your attention or something like that. Family is important. Writing is important. Sometimes, friends are important. TV…. not so much. 
And be careful of the social networking you “need” to do. Not that important either. 
Step 3: Find a nice, juicy carrot. 

That’s the nice thing about delayed gratification. Telling yourself you’ll do something after finishing a chapter means that you’ll want to finish that chapter even if it’s only to get to a guilt-free session of that other thing. 
I go a bit bigger, though. I’ve promised myself something really nice and expensive if I publish my book on time. Actually, that was a new laptop, but the old one broke. So I’m going to have to think of something else. 
I’ll probably feed my addiction to pretty notebooks. (NOTE: if you’re ever a die-hard fan that wants to send me stuff for Christmas or my birthday… NOTEBOOKS. The beautiful hard-cover kinds with the high quality paper.) 
In the short term, I promised myself a decadent chocolate and banana smoothie once I’ve finished this post. 
Step 4: Actually write, nitwit. 

You know? It’s kind of important. 
And that’s pretty much it. Simple, right? 
How do you get back into the writing groove after a long break? 

Back to the subject of putting books on pre-order. I’ll be putting Endless up on Amazon this weekend. It’s already up on B&N, Kobo and Apple. In the meantime, though, I’m looking for people who’d like to help me spread the word in May after the launch. If you’re interested, please click here. Thanks! You’re awesome.

Insecure Writer’s Support Group

For those of you who are new to this blogging thing, the Insecure Writer’s Support Group is a group (no kidding!) of writers (yes, really!) who share their insecurities on the first Wednesday of the month. The idea is to visit each other and leave encouragements, and also to feel better when we realize we’re not alone in our doubts and fears.

Anyone is welcome to join, so if you’d like more information, please click here.

So what am I insecure about? Well…. Lots.

See, in October last year already, I had this genius idea to push myself to be more productive. It was a good idea. It still is a good idea. In theory.

In theory, I shouldn’t have any problems of devoting about two hours per day on editing or writing. The idea is to write 60k words or edit for 60 hours every month (or some combination of the two.)

The thing is, this should have been easy, since I’ve just come off my lovely, month-long writing break.

Except.

It’s so hot here that I can barely sit in my room (it’s been 40degC almost every day for the past week, and it will remain this way until next Tuesday). Which means that even if I have a quiet moment to sit and write in, my brain is feeling like someone soaked some cotton in boiling water before stuffing it into my head.

On top of that, I haven’t been without visitors since Christmas. Which means that now my writing time is curtailed. And WHILE my cousin and her boyfriend is visiting, I have to go on a business trip that’ll take up all hours of my day from tomorrow (this is Monday. Yes, I have now resorted to scheduling posts.) until Friday. So my life is pretty much double booked at the moment. Triple booked if you count the pool time I’m taking to… you know, not die of the heat.

As if that’s not more than enough, I’m worrying about one of my cats, because he went off on the day after my birthday (29 December) and as of this writing (4 January, almost midnight), he still hasn’t returned.

Then, there’s just this… realization of the scope of what I’m trying to do with my writing goal. Not only do I want to meet and beat the NaNoWriMo goal by 10k words, I want to do it every month. It’s a HUGE undertaking. Especially when I’m struggling to find time.

So yeah… if you pray, please do me a favor and ask that my cat finds his way home safely. In the  meantime, I’ll be here, trying to juggle my writing goals with my insane life.

What about you? Set any huge goals that you’re wondering about now? What has you feeling insecure this month? 

Before you go, I’m looking for news items and guest bloggers starting next week, so if you’re interested, please click here for more information.