Insecure Writer's Support Group

Being an Insecure Writer – And Happy About It #IWSG

It’s the first Wednesday of a new month, whether I can believe it or not, so it is time for another round of the IWSG.

Let’s start with this month’s question.

Besides writing, what other creative outlets do you have?

Well, we covered that one a while ago with my sewing post. Lessons in Writing from Sewing

I also like to knit, but that makes it difficult to write later, what with carpal tunnel and all. I do have a couple of lovely scarves.

For my folklore posts, I’ve started to draw what I think that specific creature/place/thing looks like and adding it to my posts. Take a look and tell me what you think.

Results of last month’s survey.

Regular visitors will remember that with last month’s IWSG post I had a reader survey. I also asked my newsletter readers to answer them. Thanks to everyone who participated!

Here are the results (shortened!):

What is one of your favourite books?

  • The Mars Room. Voice and research.
  • The Archived. Great story and unique format.
  • The Highway Man. Native American Mythology and friendships.
  • On Writing. The autobiographical parts.
  • Bitter’s Run. Reason reading Westerns!
  • Stephanie Plum series. Humour.
  • Galileo’s Dream. Fascinating blend of science fiction, history and biography.
  • The Dresden series. The mythology believably weaved into the real world.
  • To Say Nothing About the Dog.
  • The Hunger Games. Gripping and intense.
  • The Martian. Humour mixed with drama.
  • The Lord of the Rings. Inspiration to become a writer.
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Detailed world-building, favourite characters (Lupin and Black), lots of twists and turns.

What do you look for in a book before you decide to read it?

  • Voice!
  • The opener.
  • Humour and compassion.
  • Intriguing character or fun plot.
  • Action and interest.
  • Mystery.
  • Cover, blurb, sample page.
  • Cover, title, blurb, reviews.
  • Sample pages, reviews, favourite author, interesting blurb.
  • Gripping story line, humour, professional cover, price.
  • Author know/support. Excerpt. Length, if time-strapped.
  • Unusual storyline, reviews.
  • Unique/unusual premise, mythology that isn’t widely explored, magic/mystery, diverse cast of characters.

Where do you spend most of your time online?

  • Social media and blogosphere.
  • Creating online graphics.
  • YouTube.
  • Instagram.
  • Email.
  • Writing resources.
  • Blogosphere.
  • Amazon/Goodreads.
  • Twitter.
  • Facebook.
  • Twitter, blogosphere, email.
  • Email/Facebook – researching!
  • Facebook and Twitter.

What is one of your favourite things to do in your free time (besides reading)?

  • Yoga.
  • Playing with kids.
  • Writing.
  • Writing, blogging and cooking.
  • Playing with the dog.
  • Gaming.
  • Travelling.
  • Playing with the dogs.
  • Photography.
  • Playing with the grandkids.
  • Be in the forest.
  • Gaming.
  • Writing.

Amazing! I learned so much about what people like to read and why, I was able to tweak a few things on my current WIP to make it better 🙂

The toll of publishing a new book every two weeks.

The books.

I only mentioned the one book in my previous post…

But I also published two more books in January:

I decided to publish non-fiction books this year, too, because of all I learned about the shifts in the publishing landscape. You can read all about that here: Things Every Authorpreneur Should Know for 2019.

Next week, a new book will be released. It’s already up for pre-order.

How do I do it?

With difficulty.

The spark for the idea came from something Nick Stephenson wrote in an email about making the best of what you already have, combined with what I read in Write With Fey by awesome blogging friend Chrys Fey, and my compulsive need not to waste anything. The non-fiction books were born. And the two flash fiction collections. Yes, it needed a lot of rewriting and editing, but it was so worth it.

And by repurposing short stories that had been published in anthologies (I have the rights back, don’t worry) and others that won competitions, I have something to publish in ebook format every month. Amazing blogging friend Tasha Duncan-Drake did a guest post about ebooks that inspired me to get more of my stories published. You can read the guest post here: Ebooks: The Future or a Mistake?

I’m also going through my notebooks and binders for ideas, combining them into something unusual and writing like crazy. I’m currently doing rewrites on a novella for May – it will go to beta readers and an editor as soon as possible (in the right order and with more rewrites, of course).

Everything is planned out. Everything is on a schedule. Everything is terrifying. Everything is exciting.

I am running out of internet, though. Today I’m using my tablet’s card in the dongle to do a bit of commenting and retweeting from my desktop. I’ll probably do a proper run through the list next week when I get my monthly data bundle… After I’ve made sure the book for the 26th is up and all the blog posts for the month.

Expectations.

My own? Probably too high. And too low. And… I’m listening to a lot of Linkin Park. (That says it all.)

I’m not making a big thing out of it: no blog tours, no ARCs, no real announcements (a tweet on release day that is missed by most everyone isn’t really an announcement, is it?).

Why?

Because last year with the huge blog tour for my debut, I was too exhausted to do much writing. And if I want to stick to my publishing schedule for this year, I cannot afford to be too exhausted to think.

My back-up plan with almost no publicity is to sell the ebooks for 99c. The print books are more expensive, but most of that is just printing costs. (Scary.)

And I also have The Fae Realm set to free on all stores – it’s a great lead magnet (getting people to recognise my name, my writing, sign up to my newsletter, etc.). Since this book has been out there, sales of my backlist have gone up. I don’t think that’s a coincidence.

You should check out this great review by marvellous blogging friend J Lenni Dorner about The Fae Realm:

“I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fantasy, especially fae stories with a fun take on the legends. Speculative Fiction is my favorite genre, and this book falls into that category. It was stimulating to read because I didn’t know all the myths, so I wasn’t sure where the stories would go. I would read another book from this author.”

You can read the rest of the review here.

The toll.

So the publishing is going fine, the reviews are good, the plan solid. But it feels like I’m constantly running, reaching the finishing line only to have to run to the next one and the next. I have several projects in different stages in the works all the time. I’ve escaped into reading… I’m already ahead in my Goodreads challenge.

It’s exhausting. I can’t seem to shut my brain off. It’s like playing a video game, running off on all the side missions between each big mission in the storyline to make sure that I’ve completed all the challenges and collected all the medals/shields/badges. It’s addictive.

Thankfully, I don’t have to blog or do anything social next month or in June. And it seems we’ll be having scary thunderstorms every afternoon for the foreseeable future (just like the past week and a half). Which is great: the electricity goes off when the first scary lightning strike hits the earth. So no working. Maybe a bit of writing in a notebook – while huddled in the closet with the Rotties. (Though they have no issues with the weather.)

And I am getting in my 10k steps every day. Which mostly means walking early in the morning with Caitlin and Callum, and again in the late afternoon on the stoep with Caitlin chasing me if I slow down – even during a storm. Good thing there’s a roof… (Yeah, she was probably a personal trainer in her previous life.)

Caitlin.

If you follow me on Instagram, you would know that Caitlin had been ill this past month. The nightmare: an abscess on her kidney. She was only nine months old when it was diagnosed – and this sort of thing doesn’t happen! Luckily I’m an obsessive mom who insisted on a full ultrasound of the abdomen. They wouldn’t have caught it otherwise.

We spent most of the month at the vet – I didn’t want to leave her there, so we went every day for shots, tests and scans.

The abscess went from 5cm to 1cm in a week with antibiotics. Then to 5mm. And now… there’s nothing on the scan that worries her vet. Yes, she has to go back every ten days for a new scan and meds, but that is just to make sure that she is fully healed. We’ll know by the end of the month.

Spending so much time at the vet, meant getting a new idea for my blog: Adventures with Rottweilers.

Basically, I’m looking at how to raise your puppy, and various diseases and life stages I’ve been through with my own Rotties. These posts will appear in months where I have place on my blog schedule to fit them in (I have one folklore post, one IWSG post and one Authortoolbox post that have to appear every month when I’m online). It looks like the next one will appear in May… It doesn’t fit with the theme for my April A-Z Challenge posts.

Why? Because I’m interested in dogs – especially the stuff you cannot really Google and get answers for, like Caitlin’s renal abscess – and I think it’s a great way for readers to connect with me. (Branding, people. The formula for a brand: name + product + emotional experience.)

Being an insecure writer.

Oh, I know: my life sounds so exciting! But honestly? I haven’t been so insecure in a while. And for some odd/off reason, I’m loving it. Maybe it’s the coffee talking. Or the green veggies. Or Nickelback… right now “How You Remind Me” is playing in my writing playlist mix.

Go on, take a listen:

It might just be stress and exhaustion talking 😉

So, are we having fun yet? How is your month going? Do you have any creative outlets outside of writing? Do I sound a little hyper?

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67 thoughts on “Being an Insecure Writer – And Happy About It #IWSG”

  1. I love much about this post (especially that your pup is recovering) but I’m really impressed with the publishing schedule. I have over a hundred resources out–nonfiction–and know what it cost to get those done. I usually did them in batches rather than onesies. The covers, yikes! I bought ISBN’s in bundles of a hundred. Kudos to you!

    1. Thanks, Jacqui 🙂 Yeah, the experiment is costing a bit — but luckily we get free ISBNs in South Africa. Caitlin is doing really well — we went to the vet yesterday and if she doesn’t relapse, we won’t have to go back 🙂

  2. Goodness, you’ve been extremely busy! I’m very impressed! And I agree about the time- and energy-sucking properties of book promo. With only one novel out and another on the way, I’ve been spending at least as much time on promo and other writing-adjacent chores as on writing. I’m working to correct that, as the best way to sell a book is to write more books. I wish you happy writing in February, Ronel.

  3. Hey… that’s my name… <3
    😉
    It was a pleasure to read your book. Glad you liked the review.

    Wow, you've been busy!

    Wait, you *do* want to write at least one post next month! Because next month is March, and that's the theme reveal month for the A to Z Challenge.

    Yeah, I'm already longing for June, too. Can I get a break?
    (So help me if someone hands me a Kit-Kat.)
    (Wait… is it a chocolate strawberry Kit-Kat? Because those are better than expected.)
    (Oh man, now I'm hungry.)

  4. Ronel, I am in awe. I’m feeling overwhelmed by the (very few in comparison) things I’m trying to achieve, but you are so hitting a home run there. Really impressed by your drive, determination and single mindedness. Whether it’s coffee or something else, may it keep on doing its thing – and may you keep on achieving your goals and providing us all with such inspiration.

  5. You more than deserve the happiness, Ronel. You’re amazing! This has been one of the most inspiring posts I’ve read in quite some time. I plan to save and savor the enrichment of your tips and the motivational encouragement you provide through outstanding application – Wow!
    Way to seize the journey!

  6. I believe you’re not insecure only because you are too busy to think never mind worry. Sounds like a great month. Keep taking your vitamins and running. It works for you. 🙂

  7. “But it feels like I’m constantly running, reaching the finishing line only to have to run to the next one and the next.”

    Yeah, I’ve been feeling this too. Reaching the finish line doesn’t really feel like a victory when you just have to keep running and running. I’m trying something a little different this year, though. Something a little more leisurely. Seems to be working so far, though I’m nervous that I might start falling behind on my bigger writing goals.

  8. I love your scarves! I have been working on a little scarf with a mini loom for about a century now! I am not a very quick worker when it comes to crafts.
    You are a very prolific writer, even if coffee is your secret partner. It’s mine too! 😉

  9. You have been so busy! And it sounds as though you will continue to be busy writing and releasing. That’s wonderful. I’m glad that I was able to inspire you in some way. That makes me really happy. Thanks for sharing that. 🙂

    I’m glad Caitlin is doing well. I hope she doesn’t relapse and stays good and healthy.

    Don’t forget to take care of yourself during all of this. Find time to relax and breathe. 🙂

  10. Wow Ronel! You are one BUSY writer! Congrats on all your works! So exciting! I’m in rewrites at the moment and hadn’t a chance to drop by and visit… glad I took a few moments today to say HI!

  11. Thanks for stopping by my blog.
    It’s cool that you like sewing.
    It was interesting to see the results of your survey. Good insight there.
    I’m impressed by your dedication to releasing so many ebooks this year.
    Sorry to hear about Caitlin, but glad she is doing better.

  12. Holy cow, Ronel! How on earth do you do it? I’m exhausted just reading all the things you do and accomplish! Walk 10,000 steps, enjoy time with your dogs, blog at least once a week, visit other blogs, comm up with new ideas all the time, read, run your life, manage to create new stories from old ideas and notes, on top of all the publishing you’re doing!! How much do you sleep every night? Two hours? And, those scarfs are lovely. Incredible! It must be the adrenaline that keeps you going…

    1. LOL. Lots of coffee, Liesbet 😉 And some of the work was done last year, so that helps. Two hours of sleep won’t cut it, though, my brain would stop working if I don’t get at least six hours in, but cuddling through the night with Caitlin (she insists on sleeping on the bed with me) actually increases my quality of sleep so I’m refreshed and ready to work the next day. To-do lists, goal setting and lots of butt-in-chair work is what’s getting me through. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  13. So even if I didn’t have another job there is no way I could publish two books a month. You’re so prolific, a force of nature, Ronel! 😍 Don’t forget to breathe!

    1. Thanks, Pam 🙂 I fell a bit behind on publishing so much with Caitlin being so ill the first couple of months (not much time to write and edit), but I’m catching up on the writing! And whenever I forget to breathe, Caitlin bites me (that’s her way to say it’s time to play outside. Teenagers!).

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