Holy Crap I Forgot It’s IWSG

I wish I was kidding, but sadly, I’m not. The first of the month always catches me for some reason, because my brain seems to believe that the first Wednesday for the month must be the third or later. *facepalm*

No idea what I’m talking about?

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group is a monthly bloghop taking place on the first Wednesday of every month. About two hundred writers are part of the IWSG, sharing our doubt, fears, insecurities and encouragement to let everyone else know that actually, they’re not all that alone after all.

You’re more than welcome to join, if you’d like. Click here for more information or to sign up.

So.
Because I already eloquently explained myself last week by vlog, I’m going to re-post here. I did try to keep a brave face on everything, but by the end of the first third or so, I’m basically going into where I really am in my life at the moment.
Spoiler alert, it’s not pretty. (Also, this isn’t family rated. Just so you know. And yes, the f-bombs I dropped actually did make me feel better. My mom always asks me that. No idea why.)

Since I’m just going to let that do the talking for me instead of writing again (because I’ve *just* managed to not burst into tears at the thought and writing about it again would open the scab, so to speak), I figured I’d answer this month’s question for those of you who’d rather not see/hear me.

Have you ever pulled out a really old story and reworked it? Did it work out?

Yes, I have. A long long time ago, I finished a rewrite to a book shortly after I finished rewriting Doorways. For those of you who weren’t visiting my blog at that time, The Vanished Knight + The Heir’s Choice = Doorways. 
 
It wrote like a dream. I backed up.
I was backing up the file for the last time when something (and don’t ask me what) went wrong. The entire file disappeared, replaced with an empty one of the same name.
I was heartbroken. So much so that I decided to just shelf the whole project until I could look at it without mourning the project I’d had.
It took about five years before I decided to look at that thing again, and by then, I’d grown so much as a writer that I ended up redrafting the whole thing from scratch, keeping only the characters and about half of the concept.
Any you know what? I love it even more than I loved it before. I’ve started editing it and working on it with critique partners and they’ve enjoyed it too.
But… it’s still a to be continued when it comes to knowing if it worked out. It’s not shelved per se, but because of my lack of time and the abundance of crap in my life as is mentioned in the vlog above, I just haven’t been able to get to it when I’m supposed to be finishing the sequel to The Heir’s Choice. But one day… Hopefully in this year…
What about you? Did you ever rework an old story? Any good news to share? Really in need of some good news. 
 
One update I should mention: the business plan is in with the possible investor, so prayers would be appreciated. 

Insecure Writer’s Support Group

For those of you unfamiliar with the Insecure Writer’s Support Group… A couple of hundred writers from around the blogosphere have signed up to this bloghop, which is hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh. Then, on the first Wednesday of every month, we share our insecurities and/or encouragements.

This month, I’m co-hosting the IWSG Bloghop along with LK Hill, Juneta Key, Christy, and Joylene Butler.
Before I get into my post, though, I just have two more spots of admin to get through.
First, I’m also visiting Ronel Janesen van Vuuren today, sharing some of my thoughts on Patreon.
Then, if you’d rather read this exact same post on Blogger, please click here.
Right. Now that’s done, let’s get into it, shall we?
As you may or may not know, I’ve recently started taking this being-a-writer thing seriously. Like… really really seriously.
Like… I’m-being-a-writer-for-90%-of-my-time-and-using-my-writing-skills-to-earn-99%-of-my-income seriously.
And how’s it going?
Surprisingly well, money wise. I basically started from scratch in September. And in January, I’ve made my country’s minimum wage for the first time.
Which is AMAZE-BALLS. You guys can’t imagine how happy I am with that.
Except.
Most of that money’s coming from me freelancing as an editor/formatter/cover designer (which I totally see as writing skills, because all of the above are needed for me to make it as a writer.)
Not so much from selling books.
But that’s okay, because I always knew I should start of making money as I can and spending money on marketing etc for my books in order to grow my readership.
Here’s the thing, though… Growing my readership will actually happen when I have my next book out. Which I can’t get to when my freelance list fills up out of nowhere.
And I can’t market my old books until I have them updated. Which some of you might now be chortling about, because I’ve been saying I’ll update the books since May last year. And the cause of the delay?
Newsletters. Website. I have no money to pay someone to design either, and because people are hiring me for a ton of stuff they don’t have time for, I don’t have the time to do either of those two myself.
And I can’t link to them unless I have them set up. So I can’t update my books to include the links.
See? One giant bowl of I-really-have-no-time spaghetti.
So now, I’m trying to make writing time, which is making me feel bad, because the whole reason why I decided to go full-time was that I WANTED TO HAVE TIME TO WRITE!
*gasp gasp gasp*
How do you deal with everything trying to steal your writing time? Any advice for me? 

Insecure Writer’s Support Group: It’s Never as Good as You Remember

It’s the first Wednesday of the month, which means it’s time for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. The brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh, IWSG is a monthly bloghop where writers can share their doubts, fears and insecurities. In supporting each other, we can then see that we’re really not alone.
You’re welcome to join. All you have to do is click here for more info and to sign up.

As I’ve been mentioning lately, I’m busy updating (and in a lot of ways, upgrading) my first two books in The War of Six Crowns. Since I’m a bit of a perfectionist, I couldn’t leave things at changing the covers and fonts. Oh no, I decided to give the books another proofreading pass.
After all, it’s a well-known fact that mistakes slip through the finest of nets. So it couldn’t hurt, right?
Well.
I finished reading through The Vanished Knight yesterday with a growing sense of insecurity. Not because it was bad, but because it was good. The characters’ voices sing in this story. There’s a sort of poetry to the way it’s written.
It’s just… amazing.
Almost to the point where it’s shocking to think that I wrote it.
And Book 3… just isn’t on that level.
And that got me down.
 
But then I gave myself a mental slap. 
 
See, I first published The Vanished Knight in 2013. And before that, I spent two years struggling to get through writing it and the sequel. In fact, it was such a pain in my ass that I almost quit writing altogether. Gasp! I know it’s hard to think that I’d seriously contemplate quitting.
But The Vanished Knight and The Heir’s Choice were so hard to write that it damn near convinced me I couldn’t write for shit.
Fortunately, I had a lot of awesome blogging buddies (including you guys in the IWSG) who could talk me down, and I didn’t give up.
After that, The Vanished Knight alone when through over 30 (count them. THIRTY) revision and editing rounds to get it into the shape it’s in now.
And I guess I forgot about all that because one doesn’t remember pain.
But the history is there.
The struggle was there.
And expecting myself to draft out the sequel to the books that almost made me quit while expecting it to look like The Vanished Knight looks now is lunacy.
So this is a reminder.
 
Don’t ever compare your drafts to books that have been published. (Be they your own or someone else’s.)
Those books look so good because of a huge amount of work that went into polishing them. Work that you still need to do, but that you can’t do if you’re crippled by the idea that you’re a bad writer.
So.
Stop moping because a book is soooooo much better than yours, and just write yours. Who knows? The book you’re working on right now might just be good enough to send someone else moping later.
Do you get down when comparing the quality of your writing to published works? 
 Before you go, the Mni Wiconi Bloghop in support of Standing Rock has been extended to 7 January, if you’d still like to sign up. There are prizes to be won too, so check it out. 🙂

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.)

Ahem.

Okay.

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.

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.

 

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.

 

*Headdesk*

 

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?