IWSG: Thoughts and Prayers Appreciated

Since it’s the first Wednesday of the month, it’s time to do another Insecure Writer’s Support Group Post. If you’d like to join in or just see more information on what this bloghop is about, please feel free to click here.

Today’s title deals with neither writing nor an insecurity per se, but I thought I’d take a moment to ask those of you who pray to shoot a quick prayer up for me and my family.

As some of you might know, I live quite close to Cape Town, which is currently facing something of a dystopian-level event in July, namely where the water levels in our dams will be so low that the city will be turning off the water supply to homes, and people will be required to queue for water at a few hundred water points.

Well… what you guys don’t know is that my family business (and me) have basically been quietly but slavishly working on offering the City a possible band-aid to help stave off Day Zero. I can’t give you guys precise details just yet, but to tell you guys it’s been a Hurculean effort on the part of our small business is a bit of an understatement.

But people said we wouldn’t be able to approach the City… But we did. They said that we wouldn’t be able to get the resources together to make the business work, not even on paper. But through God’s grace, that’s done too.

Today, we submitted our pitch to the City government at their request, and now we have to wait to hear whether or not they give us the Okay Go.

At the moment, my fingers are shaking as I type this, as we have literally done every single thing we could do to make this happen. It all depends on a yes or no from the City of Cape Town. But I can definitely say that if we get a yes, this will by far be the biggest thing I’ve ever been part of in my life.

So if you pray, please ask God that His will is done, and that if it is His will, that He would continue to supernaturally intervene in this business in order to help us pull it through.

Okay… Bringing it back to the point of IWSG…

Given that this business thing has basically consumed my thoughts lately, I’m a bit low on writing right now to even think about being insecure over it. So… Today I’m going to answer this month’s question:

How do you celebrate when you achieve a writing goal/ finish a story?

Usually, I just dance around a bit and brag about it on social media. Overall, though, I don’t see this as a major achievement yet. The big celebration is for when I actually publish something.

What about you? How do you celebrate finishing a story?

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Insecure Writer’s Support Group: …….. Already?!

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group is a monthly bloghop where writers can share their doubts, fears and insecurities with each other. It’s a nice way to vent, but also to realize you’re not alone. If you’d like to sign up, click here.

You know, you’d think that starting fresh for the New Year would leave me fresh and renewed and at least a little less insecure than usual, but alas… No.

What’s the problem? Oh, it’s an old one. I have it frequently…

Namely, the sheer staggering amount of items I have on my to-do list. Except this year is worse. Why?

Last year, I kept track of my list with a diary and pens, which meant that I had at most 20 tasks on a given day. But I switched to Trello last year, which is the same thing, except digital, which means I can set myself an unlimited amount of tasks.

And it seems like my life has taken it upon itself to meet that challenge.

On January 1st, I cleaned up all my lists, starting from scratch with only my goals as a starting point.

Then I started adding the little tasks I have to do from day to day. And added… and added.

And in two days, my list of things I need to do today shot up from 0 to 30. Count them. 30 items.

*Cue maniacal laughter*

To be fair, I can shift a lot of them out to other days, but for some reason, I’m just not getting to the ones I deem to be essential, like having to spend at least 20 minutes today on editing my book. I literally can’t figure out where I’m going to squish that in yet.

And this is supposed to be a day off.

Whelp!

How are you doing? Do you also feel like 2018 is starting like an avalanche?

Insecure Writer’s Support Group: Dun dun DUUUUUUUUUUUUUUNNNNNNN!

Hey everyone. On the first Wednesday of the month, it’s time to post updates to the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. The point of this bloghop is to share your writing insecurities, but also to encourage others. There’s also a monthly question you can answer if you’re not feeling all that insecure. For more information, just click the link.

So right in time for Halloween, I think my current WiP is cursed.

Why? Well. It was the first concept I ever started writing when I first decided to be serious about writing books. In other words, I’ve been working on it for sixteen years.

The first time I started it I saved it to a floppy disk that malfunctioned. (Yes, it’s that old.)

The second time, I saved it to my computer. And then one day, my grandmother (the writer) had a computer malfunction and needed another computer to save her work. So while I was at school (yes, it’s that old), my mom ripped the insides out of my computer and installed my grandmother’s. And also, because she thought I was only playing minesweeper (that. old.) on my computer, she just trashed the insides.

The third time I tried this book, I finished the rough draft. This time, because I made the point of saving it to Dropbox. It had been written on Ywriter (which is relevant, bear with me.) and I got into the rewrites. I wrote all of the rewrites. And when I finished it and did my final backup, something went wrong, and the entirety of my rewrite disappeared as if I had never written it.

Fourth time I wrote it on Scrivener and finished the rewrite. Yay! Then I discovered I had to rewrite it again. Awe.

And now, on the fifth try, after sixteen years, Scrivener lost me everything I had written on the weekend. Which doesn’t sound that bad, but oooooooohhhhh is it bad. Because I had shifted the focus this time, and this chapter had been the moment where the momentum picked up. And Scrivener has successfully gutted it.

And yes, it’s them. I save the file to my computer, and then save a copy to my dropbox. So the original file on my hard drive should be stable. And if you’re wondering why I don’t just get the back-up file Scrivener backed up for me… Did you know that Scrivener’s default is to back up only five versions? And did you know that back-up happens every time it autosaves? Yuuuuuuup. In the time it took me to figure out that no, it didn’t back up to my dropbox either, Scrivener had overwritten the back-ups from the day.

So yeah.

Cursed.

Have you ever worked on a cursed project? Did you ever manage to finish it?

IWSG: I’m Back and Boy Am I Feeling the Insecurity

Hey all!

Heads-up to everyone wanting to support Hurricane Harvey victims: There’s a charity auction going on right now here
If you’re planning to self-publish, you can bid on my ebook and paperback formatting offer.

I’ve been away from the Insecure Writers’ Support Group for a while, but yesterday I decided to get right back onto that bandwagon.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with IWSG, it’s the brainchild of Alex Cavanaugh, where us writers can go to share our fears and insecurities once a month, on the first Wednesday. In addition, there is also an optional extra question for those of us who just don’t feel that insecure at the time.

I have a huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge insecurity this month, but I stupidly made that my vlog post for Friday.

Lucky me, I also have another, smaller, niggling insecurity that I’ve been trying to ignore. And that big insecurity has just made that feeling much worse.

In short, I feel like nothing’s getting done.

Which is a stupid feeling for me to have, as I literally have a list every day, where I’m checking off task after task that I’ve finished.

But.

There was once a time when I was capable of rough drafting, rewriting and editing a manuscript in six to eight months.

That’s a lovely pace to maintain. And I did it while having a day-job.

But since then, all of my projects just seem to be stuck in mud. Book 3 in The War of Six Crowns has been two years (!!!) in the making and it’s still not done. And now I’m having problems with another project that will be setting me back for some more months on that. (This is my big insecurity.)

That’s not the worst, though.

The worst is that I’ve made the decision to become a full-time writer a year ago. Did that help me speed up?

Nope. Because now that I have more time for writerly things, I somehow also have less time to actually write, because to be a writer who isn’t also a starving writer, I have to do other writing-related jobs for money. This part is surprisingly successful.

But actually writing?

Uhm….

Uhm….

Uhm…..

I haven’t been able to write in more than a month, now. Mainly because of the crippling insecurity around that other book. But also because I conveniently have a million other things to do, which makes it so easy to procrastinate.

Sigh.

Anyone else feel like they’re stuck in mud with their writing? I’d ask how you get over that feeling, but I already know the only thing to do is actually stop moaning and start actually working on something again. 

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. 🙂