To push myself forward as a writer, I recently joined, IWSG, the Insecure Writers Support Group.
IWSG was started by Alex J. Cavanaugh in an effort to assist writers from all stages, those unpublished to bestsellers, with overcoming their writing fears, struggles, doubts, and concerns. IWSG helps writers build confidence, something I’m in dire need of, through encouragement, and community support.
The first Wednesday of each month IWSG posts an optional question to its members. Each months question has several amazing co-hosts. Toi Thomas, T. Powell Coltrin, M.J. Fifield, and Tara Tyler are September’s co-hosts. Feel free to drop by their blogs and see what they are up to.
September’s question of the month: What publishing path are you considering/did you take and why?
My Answer: Truthfully, I’ve not looked that far ahead. Just getting my butt in the chair and writing proves to be a major challenge for me. Have I mentioned IWSG is a group that helps us overcome our writing fears, doubts and struggles? Just focusing on writing my story is enough for me. Publishing is not even on the table yet, but, in my dreams, I’m working with a major publishing house, and my breakout memoir is about to land on the bestsellers list. Of course, a movie will be made and some, yet uncast, award-winning actor will play me.
So, you might ask, what’s this memoir about? Fifteen years ago, at age 50, I decided I wanted to train for the 24 Hours of Adrenalin mountain biking race. After finding a trainer, and four other riders, ages 15 to 27, our all-female team of novice mountain bikers embarked on an amazing journey. My memoir is about what it took to get us to the race, self-discovery, inspiration, lasting friendships, teamwork, and letting go.
August Progress Report-
August became less about writing and more about researching and studying memoir. I started by taking a step back in time looking at old photographs, reading saved emails and journal entries not only to kick start my memory but to ignite my creative juices. I’ve also been hiking the trails we trained on all those years ago. I immersed myself in photographing, reminiscing, and summoning the past. My mountain biking journey started in the gym, so I took my first cycling class in over 15 years.
To learn more about writing memoir, I began studying The Art of Memoir by Mary Karr, an excellent book suggested by IWSG, along with Old Friend From Far Away, The Practice of Writing Memoir, by Natalie Goldberg. I now have two wonderful guides, in these women and their books, to help see me through.
August was productive, but when it came to actually writing it was less than stellar. Words flowed when I was out on a hike, but when I got home and tried to write they eluded me. I felt like a second grader writing home from camp. “Hi. How are you? I am fine. The food at camp is really crummy.” This made it difficult to face the page. I tried giving myself permission to write badly, but then my inner critic made its way into my head. “This is stupid. No one is going to want to read this. Why bother?”
I know others struggle through the same thing. Doubts, fears, lack of confidence. That’s what the Insecure Writers Support Group is all about. Writers helping other writers get past the crap so we can someday publish in whatever format we chose.