Wednesday, August 1, 2018

IWSG: Danger! Writing Pitfalls Ahead!


This month’s Insecure Writers Support Group question is: What Pitfalls Would You Warn Other Writers to Avoid on Their Publishing Journey? A no-brainer for me – Insecurity - the heart of our blog gathering. Writers are solitary beings, lost in our own thoughts within our own worlds, safe and secure and strong . . . until we venture outside. The second we step into the vast unknown of other opinions, we tend to lose the very thing that makes our words so valuable – our individuality. Newbie writers (and a lot of times, even we old dogs) tend to be slaves to doubt when we leave our own private realm. We compare, compete and worst of all – comply. We join critique groups, submit to contests for feedback. Desperate to please those to whom we entrust our words, especially in our early formative years, we think their opinions are correct and thus, we must bend to them. That results in a flurry of rewriting to please every suggestion until we lose the original passion for our project. It becomes a collaborative of every vision but our own. In trying to appease everyone else, we lose the one thing that makes our work unique – we lose OUR voice.



Now, I’m not saying don’t submit your work for outside input. There’s not a writer among us who can’t learn from the opinions of others. But we need remember that they’re just that 
 opinions  and opinions, though valid, are NOT absolute (even when it comes to our editors!). It takes strength as a writer to pick and choose what’s best for our project, and by the same token, maturity to accept that our every creative choice isn’t perfect.

The biggest pitfall for writers – in my opinion – is not valuing the ownership of our ideas. No one sees things the same way. No one sees through the same lens of experiences. What makes us unique gives our writing its beauty, and though we all could use a tune up or a touch up, we’re behind the wheel of our creativity, so don’t leave the driving to others. Steer your own course once you know the direction you’re taking. Give suggestions due consideration. Take what works – FOR YOU – and graciously set aside that which doesn’t. You don’t need to argue your decisions or apologize for them. You take them to benefit your work, not to make it into someone else’s.

Hone your voice, fellow IWSGers, and sing out loud and proud to the creative tune only you hear. Countless others will enjoy listening to the unique music you make.



Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time.The awesome co-hosts for the August 1st posting of the IWSG will be Erika Beebe, Sandra Hoover, Susan Gourley, and Lee Lowery!

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Twitter hashtag is #IWSG

14 comments:

  1. Thank you, Nancy. I needed to read your article today because it hit home. Thanks for this timely piece of advice.
    By the way, I purchased your new release Chased by Moonlight and I am looking forward to reading it.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

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    1. Glad I could be there for you! Chased by Moonlight is actually the second book in the series so I'd suggest starting with Masked by Moonlight. Hope you enjoy!!

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  2. Wow, Nancy, what an inspiring post. I totally agree. Listening (with an open mind) to critiques or beta reads or brainstorming will help. But it's your story not theirs. Don't let others change your voice.

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    1. Thanks, Di! I have to remind myself of that every time I critique - I'm a tad, ummm, enthusiastic when it comes to my opinions and have to be careful not to overwhelm the author. I love to plot and have to remember it's not my story.

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  3. Great post! It would truly be boring in both real life and our writing worlds if we didn't each express our unique voices. Thanks for the continued inspiration and advise.

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    1. Thanks, Sandra, oh co-hostest with the mostest.

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  4. I completely agree! As writers, we need to get input, but still retain our own voice. If three people read a draft and have three different ideas on a point, the writer should stay true to his/her voice. If three readers are confused or lost on the same point, the writer should give serious consideration to revision. But don't leave the driving to others is exactly right.

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    1. Exactly. Suggestions are subjective, like how much salt to add to a recipe. Tastes differ but it's up to the cook as to what to serve.

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  5. Take what works for you - I like that.
    And that sign is hilarious!

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    1. Thanks, Alex. Nothing like a good illustration!

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  6. Nancy, you said it so much better than I did! I'm so glad you tackled the question, and I completely agree. Learning to decipher what to take from the opinions given to me in feedback and what to let go has made the greatest difference in my happiness as a writer.

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    1. Thanks, Charity! Learning HOW to give your opinion in a helpful manner is the other toughy to tackle.

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  7. Great advice. I like your take on the question. Happy belated IWSG

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