Wednesday, August 5, 2015


Today is IWSG Day because it's the first Wednesday in August.  IWSG stands for Insecure Writers Support Group and was founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh.  You can follow other IWSG members here or on twitter using the hashtag #IWSG. We also have a Facebook pageThe purpose of IWSG is to share and encourage, so today I plan to encourage.

I want you to take a look at what you've accomplished since our last IWSG day. Maybe you should jot a few notes to organize your thoughts. Accomplished a lot? Great! But what about all of you who have done nothing because of vacations, kids being home, sickness or surgeries? Don't feel bad. Life gets in the way sometimes, but honestly, we shouldn't let life get in the way ALL the time.

Ask yourself this question:

What do you truly want to achieve with your writing? Be realistic when you answer. Being a best selling writer is a realistic goal for someone who writes daily, wins contests and is actively studying and learning, but being published by one of the top five might not be  realistic for someone who only writes a few times every few months, never enters or wins a contest and doesn't revise according to critiques or feedback. We always need to learn and grow.

I'd like to suggest a writing/learning plan for those of you who aren't accomplishing anything.

Settle on one goal. You might want to finish your novel. When you reach the end, go through it again, do a little tweaking, then find beta readers or someone willing to critique. You can revise according to those comments you get from your readers. Oh, wait... you don't agree with any thing they said? Then Houston, we might have a problem. Put your pages away for a few weeks or even better, a few months while you delve into a really good how-to book. When you go back to your critiques, I'm certain you'll view them differently.

Or, your goal might be to write a few short pieces and get them out there. That's great: Identify your markets--print magazines or online literary journals. Study them by reading several months of back issues, including their guidelines. Then write. Find someone to read and give you a critique. Believe me when I say feedback is helpful. Revise accordingly.

I know I've said this to you a thousand times: making up our mind to do something is half the battle. We can be our own worst enemy or we can be our hero. We just need to decide on what we want to accomplish and let nothing or no one stand in our way as we plod toward our dream.

Here's an interesting quote from Natalie Goldberg. Take it to heart.

This is your life. You are responsible for it.
You will not live forever. Don't wait.

~ Natalie Goldberg

On another note, I'm speaking at the Texas Gulf Coast Mini-Conference on Saturday. Here's the link if you'd like to check it out:

Also, my novella, The Last Daughter, is only 99 cents. If you haven't read it, I'd love for you to grab a copy and then leave an honest review.

Good Writing!


emaginette said...

I want to escape into something far from my life. A staycation of sorts.

Anna from Elements of Writing

Nadine Feldman said...

I'm pretty happy with the previous month. I've even learned to get up early when company is in the house to get my work done! I'm marching forward on two books and did some work on a third (though I set that aside for now and am okay with that).

Stephsco said...

Yes! I'm a huge proponent of setting tangible goals. While I have a goal to get a contract with a big 5 publisher, I can't control whether that happens. I CAN control steps that get me there. Completing manuscripts, writing commercial fiction, submitting my work etc. Goals have helped me complete 3 "sellable" manuscripts and 3 others in various states of editing in the past 4 years. I don't go out to movies. I am strategic with my time. You can do this!

(sorry if that derailed a bit, this is your blog!)

Here is my August IWSG post. It's the second post on my blog today because my Pitch Wars mentor bio needs to stay at the top. Thanks!

Diane Burton said...

Good advice, Jessica. Make realistic (accomplishable) goals then work toward them. Emphasis on work. At the same time, we have to allow time for life. Not to use as an excuse but to be flexible.

Best wishes,
Diane IWSG #95

Nancy Gideon said...

I'm a firm believer in goals (I'm ADD/OCD - I'd never find my way to my car port if it wasn't for a plan!). Realistic is the keyword. Many a great plan has crumpled under the weight of too much expectation and not enough time for application. Thanks for the reminder, Jess.

Lexa Cain said...

You mean I can't just throw my words on the screen when I feel like it, query and have it accepted by one of the Big 5, and make a gajillion dollars?? lol It's actually a little shocking how many believe they can. For those with a more realistic view, you gave great tips!

Jess * Jessie * Jessy said...

emaginette - I'm with you!

Nadine - Getting into the habit of writing every morning is the key to success! Congrats!

Stephsco - Long live tangible goals!

Diane, I know way too many people who use life as an excuse, when they could use writing as an escape!

Nancy - Loved your comment! Written plans help me reach my goals.

Lexa - Good to see you here, and yep, lots of naivete out there.

Zan Marie said...

Taking hold of our options is a great way to set ourselves up for success. Even little steps help.
Glad I dropped in to see you, Jess. ;-)

Charles Gramlich said...

I started out being unrealistic and wanting eventually to make my living from writing. That will never happen, I can see. But I still would like to make a bit more money for all the work I put into it.

Doreen McGettigan said...

This is such good advice! I have been a summer slacker in all areas and now I am frantically trying to catch up and prepare for my fall schedule but I really just want to go back to the beach.

Nissa Annakindt said...

This blog post really speaks to me. To pick a goal and accomplish it--- that's so important. So I don't get caught up in jumping from goal to goal and not getting anything done right.

Thanks for the good advice.