Renee Writes

Posts tagged ISWG

#ISWG: New Motivation

For those who don’t know, the Insecure Writers Support Group is open to all writers to share their fears, doubts, and concerns, as well as your triumphs. So if you have something to share, visit the link at the end of this post!


 

I’ve been really struggling with my writing recently. As per normal, it’s because of brain fog issues related to Hashimoto’s Disease. It can be extremely frustrating, especially when I’m aching to write, but my brain is so muddled I cant focus.

But I’m always looking for ways around it, and every once in a while the universe comes through for me.

The other day, I got an email from the ProWritingAid crew. For those who don’t know, ProWritingAid is a really good editing tool. I use it regularly (along with a few others). They’re definitely worth checking out if you need help with checking grammar and other issues in your stories.

Anyway, one of the things they had in the email was a competition. They teamed up with BeemGee for the Plot of Gold competition. For 30 days you get a free premium BeemGee membership, and you have those 30 days to create an outline for a new novel. They send 10 emails over the 30 days with tasks you have to complete. The top winner gets a lifetime premium membership to both BeemGee and ProWritingAid, which would be absolutely perfect for me.

But here’s how it’s motivated me to get out of this slump I’ve been in! 

I’ve been working on trying to plan out my new novel series as well as the new serial, and well, when your brain doesn’t want to work, it’s really difficult to focus. The creativity side of things is still there, but I just can’t stay focused long enough to get what’s in my head onto the screen.  It’s also hard to stay focused on any one thing when you’ve got tons of things going on in there.

BeemGee is a browser-based story development tool. The thing that works great for me is it starts with the characters, and all of my stories are built from the characters up. So far I’m still on the first task, which is getting all your characters in there, but they make it so easy. I just have to answer each question… and there are dozens, as well as tutorials for each question to help you answer it. It goes deeper than the general questions you see on character sheets too.

But it also helps you build the plot and everything else involved in planning the story up to and including the outline. Each task in the competition is set to help you work through using their tool so that you get a finished outline in about 30 days. I’m actually going to plan out both stories I’m working on this way, so for the following few months, I only have to focus on writing.

Now that I have something that helps me to stay focused on the little tasks, I can finally get some headway on the big task. Maybe I’ll even be able to take part in NaNoWriMo this year. That’s always the hardest part of planning a story for me is staying focused. If you’re a story plotter, what is your biggest obstacle to getting your stories planned out? CC


Co-hosts for the October 4 posting of the IWSG are Olga Godim, Chemist Ken, Jennifer Hawes, and Tamara Narayan!

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#ISWG: Walking in My Own Shoes?

Hi, everyone! It’s been a couple of months since I did an ISWG post. I’ve been dealing with flu and dislocated limbs (my daughter’s…not my own). I think things are finally getting back on track now.

I couldn’t think of anything to talk about that I haven’t already mentioned on my blog, so I decided to go with this month’s question:

Have you ever surprised yourself with your writing? For example, by trying a new genre you didn’t think you’d be comfortable in??

What has really surprised me most about my writing is in how much people seem to like it. I won’t lie…I never believed people would hate it. I mean, there will always be a few people who don’t like it. I don’t like everything I read either, but for the most part, I figured people would like my writing. I just haven’t expected some of the feedback I get from my readers, and I’m really grateful for it because it keeps me motivated to keep writing.

I also get some great constructive feedback from other authors who have read my work, which has really helped me improve my writing over the last few years.

The biggest surprise for me, though, is when I write something and leave off feeling like it was probably the most terrible thing I’ve ever written. Especially when my brain fog kicks in like it has in the last few months, I just can’t make my brain focus well enough to write well. Or at least I don’t feel like I do at the time. Then a couple days later, I go back to it and I’m shocked to find it’s actually pretty good. It always needs some polishing, but it’s not as terrible as I imagined it was when I wrote it.

Earlier this year, I wanted to expand the genre I was writing in. Dark fantasy is a very small niche, and while I don’t think I can do light and bubbly, I still wanted to try something else to expand my readership. So first, I tried a short story that was more a paranormal thriller, and then I did a sci-fi thriller. I haven’t gotten many readers for those yet, but those who have read them loved them, so I think I did well in expanding a bit.

I’ve gotten a few readers of both stories tell me they’d love me to continue those stories in novels, so it’s a good sign that I’m heading in the right direction.

So I’ve decided instead of branding myself as a dark fantasy author, I might go with dark speculative fiction author. It makes more sense anyway, especially since even my fantasies have elements of science fiction. I do a lot of cross genre writing within the speculative fiction realm, so I think it’s a better description for my writing.

What about you? Have you experimented with anything new? How’s it working for you?


The co-hosts for the September posting of the IWSG are Tyrean Martinson, Tara Tyler, Raimey Gallant, and Beverly Stowe McClure!

 

 

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#ISWG – One Step Forward, Two Steps Back (But It’s All Good)!

 

I missed last months post, and nearly missed this month as well, thanks to the flu. It’s that time of year here in Australia, and I get sick so easily at the best of times. Of course, I scheduled to get the flu shot the day before I got sick, but thankfully by the time I went in my fever had broken, so I was able to get it. I seriously hope I can avoid getting that sick again. I end of falling so far behind.

I still haven’t finished writing Episode 20 of my Shadow Stalker serial and Episode 21 is due out tomorrow… guess what’s not happening?

At least I’ve been writing little bits at a time though, and Episode 20 is nearly done. I’ll just release stuff as I finish it until I’m all caught up. Thankfully, I have a great group of readers who seem to be very supportive when I get sick like this. Happens to us all, I suppose.

Writing for me is always slow between March and August, so I think in the future I need to plan for that…and that’s what I wanted to talk about today.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the stress and anxiety of keeping up with a schedule, especially when you have a chronic illness. For those who don’t know, I have Hashimoto’s Disease, which is an autoimmune disease which affects the thyroid. I’m one of the lucky ones who doesn’t respond well to the treatment, so most days I feel like I haven’t slept for days, my brain almost always feels like mush, and I won’t even get started on the pain.

I used to get very stressed out and feel like a failure when I couldn’t keep up with writing schedules like other authors, but it was very counterproductive. So I started talking about my illness and my setbacks with others, and it was the best thing I could have done. People are quite supportive, which gave me the push I needed to keep going.

It’s important to recognize your limitations and work with them, rather than trying to force yourself to keep up with everyone else. Instead of worrying whether or not I’m keeping up with my schedule, I rearrange my schedule when I need to, and instead I focus on following a routine. Even when I’m not well, I try to write a little every day. I’ve had days where all I could manage was a few sentences, but every little bit brings me closer to finishing my project.

Some days I can’t write at all, but that’s okay too. I use those days to catch up on other things like emails and promotional stuff. If I can’t get out of bed, I’ll even work from my phone (thank goodness for smartphones, right?). Eventually, I always catch up. It helps that I schedule time off from writing during my daughter’s school holidays, so I can use that time for catching up.

Do you have trouble sticking to a schedule? Do you have an illness or injury that makes it seem impossible? What do you do to keep going? I’d love to hear your story.

Check out some other great #IWSG posts by other great authors!

 

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