The Insecure Writer’s Support Group ~ No#71

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 October posting of the IWSG are: Tonja Drecker, Diane Burton, MJ Fifield, and Rebecca Douglass!

Don’t forget to visit them and thank them for co-hosting!

Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG.

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Every month, we announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.
Remember, the question is optional!

NOVEMBER 01st QUESTION: Win or not, do you usually finish your NaNo project? Have any of them gone on to be published?

I’ve attempted two CampNaNo’s: July 2016 and July 2017. I won last year… but this year was disastrous!
I don’t think I’m a NaNo person. I know that the aim is to get those words down on the page and sort them out later. But I can’t get myself to write words for the sake of writing words. To me, that’s duplicating the work.
If you are a creature of structure and habit, then write structurally and habitually, and the reader will appreciate the structure and habituality underlying your work.
If you can’t write every single day, then write when it feels right. You’ll find that when you get into the mood to write, you’ll sit down and write for two or three hours straight. It won’t feel forced or like a chore, it just feels natural.
I’d say that my writing style is more that of a blended writer… organic and linear. I like to know where I’m going, but give myself, or rather my characters, room to wander about… go off at a tangent… and then hopefully find their way back to where they’re supposed to be. I’ll coax them along the way, as well as leave them to their own devices when necessary.
I’m now at the stage where I’m writing the end of the story and working backwards as I try to knit the story from either end to the middle. It’s important to try new things and see what works.
That’s how we grow and become better writers!

Good luck to all the NaNoWriMo participants! Are you doing NaNo?  Have you ever tried to knit your story from either end to the middle in an attempt to cut down on the “sagging middle” syndrome?

Happy IWSG Day!

76 Comments

  1. Pat Garcia on November 1, 2017 at 12:23 pm

    I so agree. Trying new things is what helps us find out the best method for ourselves as writers. I’m not participating in NaNo this year and for however long it takes me to get the three manuscripts I wrote there on the market.
    Wishing you all the best in your writing.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

    • Michelle Wallace on November 2, 2017 at 2:43 pm

      Good luck with the polishing of those three NaNoWriMo scripts, Pat!
      Happy November! 🙂

  2. Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor on November 1, 2017 at 12:51 pm

    I’ve decided to do NaNo this year. I was on the fence about it, but I figure why not since it will give me some focus and discipline to start churning out an initial draft for my next novel.

    • Michelle Wallace on November 2, 2017 at 2:46 pm

      Good decision to use NaNo as a means of churning out a first draft. Why not? Exactly. Enjoy your NaNo experience!

  3. Nicola on November 1, 2017 at 1:23 pm

    Congrats on your previous NaNo success! I don’t think I’ll ever even attempt it. I’m too set in my ways and enjoy my own pace and method. Have a super month, Michelle.

    • Michelle Wallace on November 2, 2017 at 2:46 pm

      I don’t think I’ll be doing NaNo again. 🙂 Super month to you too, Nicola!

  4. L. Diane Wolfe on November 1, 2017 at 1:28 pm

    Knit from the ends to the middle – LOL. I like that was of describing it.

    I can write fast but blocks of 2-3 hours where I could produce that many words a day just aren’t going to happen.

    • Michelle Wallace on November 2, 2017 at 2:48 pm

      I’m actually more of a crochet gal… so I should have said: crochet from the ends to the middle! Haha!

  5. Hilary Melton-Butcher on November 1, 2017 at 1:50 pm

    Good luck Michelle – it’s definitely not something I’d get into .. but I hope you can knit your stories together for publication … and start some new stories … cheers Hilary

    • Michelle Wallace on November 2, 2017 at 2:49 pm

      I’m more likely to crochet the stories together… see the comment above yours! 🙂

  6. Rachna Chhabria on November 1, 2017 at 1:51 pm

    Hi Michelle, I’ve never done NaNo but I would like to do it once. Unfortunately too many things happen in November wherein NaNo and I just do not meet.
    Like you even I to like to know where I’m going with my story and characters, though I do give my characters the freedom in many scenes, but I like to hold the reins where the major plot points are concerned.

    • Michelle Wallace on November 2, 2017 at 2:58 pm

      Makes sense to give characters liberty in the less important scenes…but keep control at the major plot points.

  7. Tamara Narayan on November 1, 2017 at 2:09 pm

    I’ve only written from beginning to end. Then I edit a billion times (or so it feels). Sometimes I’ll get ideas for good scenes, but I won’t touch them until I get to that part of the story. I guess I worried that tangents might change things so much, that writing out of order would be a waste of time.

    • Michelle Wallace on November 2, 2017 at 3:00 pm

      In the strict sense of the concept ‘beginning to end’, I can’t write like that. It just doesn’t work for me. 🙂

  8. Megan Morgan on November 1, 2017 at 2:52 pm

    I completely agree. It’s when writing feels like a ‘chore’ or a ‘duty’ that I do my worst writing. I would much rather enjoy the process and make the writing better!

    • Michelle Wallace on November 2, 2017 at 3:02 pm

      You don’t feel the time going or experience major blockages when you’re really into the flow…and enjoying the writing session!

  9. Tyrean on November 1, 2017 at 3:03 pm

    I think we each have our own writing strengths. Trying new things – NaNo or knitting a story together from the middle – helps us find our strengths and conquer our weaknesses. I happen to like Nano. I’ve succeeded and failed at it in the past. I have a story that feels ready this year – it feels like it’s begging me to write it, so I think it will be a good year. Plus, I discovered I can “write” with a talk-to-text program and if I mix this with some typing, I think I’ll find the word counts not too daunting. However, I probably won’t hit the count daily – I never have. Some days will be 50 word days and some will be 3,000 word days. There’s always and ebb and flow.

    • Michelle Wallace on November 2, 2017 at 3:05 pm

      Tyrean, you are an amazing ‘everyday’ writer who is always moving onward and upward.
      Good luck with NaNoWriMo! 🙂

  10. Suzanne Furness on November 1, 2017 at 3:43 pm

    What an interesting post and I totally agree . . . writing to schedules and rules doesn’t work for everyone. I have occasionally tried knitting the middle of a story together as sometimes the end seems much clearer than how you get there! Happy writing.

    • Michelle Wallace on November 2, 2017 at 3:11 pm

      Exactly. The end is clear… but I still need to plod through the murky middle!
      Thanks for the visit, Suzanne.

  11. Alex J. Cavanaugh on November 1, 2017 at 4:09 pm

    Just don’t let your characters wander into the desert. They really won’t return.
    I plan extensively before I begin to write, so NaNo works for me.

    • Michelle Wallace on November 2, 2017 at 3:12 pm

      Perhaps I need to plan more… can’t harm the story, surely?

  12. Mary Aalgaard on November 1, 2017 at 4:37 pm

    Writing/editing backwards is a great tool.
    Planning and plotting helps, but the story has its own power.

    • Michelle Wallace on November 2, 2017 at 3:14 pm

      Yes, that is my thought too, that the inherent power in the story has to be given an opportunity to manifest… 🙂

  13. Krystal Jane on November 1, 2017 at 4:53 pm

    I’m the same way! I always have a plan, but I also give my characters plenty of room to grow and stretch out while I write. They know what they’re doing, I think. 😀

    I tend to burn out when I write every day so starting NaNoWriMo with a new project doesn’t work for me. I start slow to give myself time to get situated in a new story. Once I get to the 20k mark, I can move fast enough to keep up, so that works for me, but I still won’t write every day. It’ll stress me out.

    • Michelle Wallace on November 2, 2017 at 3:16 pm

      It’s amazing what you learn about characters when you give them room to grow… it can be quite surprising!

  14. Michelle Athy on November 1, 2017 at 4:58 pm

    I’ve done NaNo. I’ve had fun doing it in the past, I’ve won a few times, but last year, I tried and it didn’t work for me. For one thing, there’s a lack of time. I’m also really tired of having a 50,000 word mess on my hands at the end of every November.

    • Michelle Wallace on November 2, 2017 at 3:17 pm

      The idea of a 50,000 word mess is totally unappealing!!

  15. Rebecca Douglass on November 1, 2017 at 5:31 pm

    Writing the way that works for you is what’s important. Maybe NaNo helps writings find that out–even if what they find is that it doesn’t work for them!
    —Rebecca
    My IWSG Post

  16. J.L. Campbell on November 1, 2017 at 6:38 pm

    Yes, it is true that NaNo is not for everybody. Halfway through the month I start feeling crazy, but it works for me.

    • Michelle Wallace on November 2, 2017 at 3:18 pm

      You are such a writing machine, Joy!
      Happy NaNoWriMo to you! 🙂

  17. Christine Rains on November 1, 2017 at 7:16 pm

    I’ve never tried that tactic, but it is interesting. Sometimes I know the beginning and end of stories, but not the middles. So it might help. I’ve done NaNo and won, but now November comes with too many events for me to find time to write enough to get that word count.

    • Michelle Wallace on November 2, 2017 at 3:22 pm

      I think you’re the type of writer that can forge ahead… NaNo or not.
      Just my impression. 🙂

  18. Olga Godim on November 1, 2017 at 7:22 pm

    Great post. I can sign under every word. That’s why I never participated in NaNo, but I wish all the luck to the people who can do it.

    • Michelle Wallace on November 2, 2017 at 3:23 pm

      Yep. NaNo isn’t for everyone. Good luck to those who have signed up.

  19. Cherie Reich on November 1, 2017 at 8:04 pm

    I do recommending trying different ways to write to find what works best for each writer. For me, I need to know how the story will end so I can figure out how to write it. Sometimes I will look to the end to fill in from the end to the middle and see if my effects and causes line up. 🙂

    • Michelle Wallace on November 2, 2017 at 3:25 pm

      Trying different approaches is a good way to grow as a writer…. and see what works for you and what doesn’t work. 🙂

  20. C. Lee McKenzie on November 1, 2017 at 8:49 pm

    I know I’m not NaNo material. It’s exactly the opposite of how I write, which happens to be
    s. l. o. w.

    • Michelle Wallace on November 2, 2017 at 3:25 pm

      Both you, and me.
      Together In that slow boat. 🙂

  21. Nick Wilford on November 1, 2017 at 9:11 pm

    I understand your attitude on NaNo, but some interesting tangents can come up during that month. Some of them can lead to something more even if the original story is a no-go. Meeting in the middle – that sounds interesting. I have been known to suffer from a saggy middle!

    • Michelle Wallace on November 2, 2017 at 3:28 pm

      Saggy-middle syndrome attacks loads of writers! It’s an epidemic! LOL

      You’re right about the tangents, Nick. It might just be the spark for another project.
      Mmm, food for thought. 🙂

  22. Anna on November 1, 2017 at 9:26 pm

    Way to wrap it up. The NaNo is not for everyone. it can bring out the best in some and the worst. I’ve won, but am not participating this year. Simply because I’v found my stride and don’t want to lose it. 🙂

    href=”http://emaginette.wordpress.com”> Anna from elements of emaginette

  23. Carol Kilgore on November 1, 2017 at 10:57 pm

    I’ve never participated in NaNo at all. November is always a super busy month for me. Plus, I’m not a fast writer either. Happy November, Nano or not 🙂

  24. Erika Beebe on November 2, 2017 at 12:07 am

    You have the best words of advice Michelle. Everything you put together is point on and poetic. Happy IWSG Day! I love your positive enthusiasm. 🙂

    • Michelle Wallace on November 2, 2017 at 3:31 pm

      Thank you!
      Such a wonderful compliment, Erika! 🙂

  25. Lee Lowery on November 2, 2017 at 12:59 am

    I haven’t done NaNo yet (possibly next year). But my concerns are mirrored in your comments. I don’t tend to start at chapter one and move forward. I write whatever comes to mind and piece it together. But I’m still finding my way in terms of a working process.

    • Michelle Wallace on November 2, 2017 at 3:33 pm

      As long as you’re moving forward, Lee!
      The working process will fall into place…all in good time.
      Nice to meet you! 🙂

  26. Heather M. Gardner on November 2, 2017 at 1:14 am

    I tried NaNo once. I don’t like being told what to do…not even by me!

    Have a great day!
    Heather

  27. Sharon Himsl on November 2, 2017 at 1:45 am

    True. We need to try different approaches. I see myself trying the working backwards approach as well, but right now need to get a rough draft out. The NaNo just may work for that. I have a rough outline and will need to recheck as I go, applying the 3 act structure. If it takes two months, I’m okay with that too. Just don’t want this dragging into months. Been there, done that!

  28. Michelle Wallace on November 2, 2017 at 3:35 pm

    Good to have that two month cut-off goal or else it can drag on indefinitely. Good luck with NaNoWriMo, Sharon!

  29. Lynda Dietz on November 2, 2017 at 7:50 pm

    I find I write best when I’m in the mood. If I try to write because I have a deadline of any sort, the words are a struggle to pull out of my brain and the same amount of writing takes twice as long.

    I think NaNo is terrific for those who need to have that structure and the freedom of breaking down a small task into manageable portions.

    • Michelle Wallace on November 9, 2017 at 10:18 am

      I think that when you’re inspired and on a roll, then it shows in the writing. The trick is to try and re-capture those moments… 🙂

  30. Patricia Lynne on November 2, 2017 at 8:21 pm

    I’ve never tried to knit a story together. Usually, I have an idea for the ending when I start, but I don’t write it down until I get there.

    • Michelle Wallace on November 9, 2017 at 10:22 am

      I’m trying different approaches to see what happens.
      Hopefully, I can find out what works for me.
      Interestingly, I’ve heard an author say that her books have all been written in different ways, so one approach/method may work for a single book… but not for others?

  31. Susan Gourley on November 2, 2017 at 10:37 pm

    I’m not a NaNo type writer either. I write enough garbage without hurrying the process.

    • Michelle Wallace on November 9, 2017 at 10:23 am

      You? Garbage? I don’t believe that for one second. 😉

  32. Far Away Eyes on November 3, 2017 at 12:02 am

    Im not a NANO kind of writer either. It takes a kind of discipline that I don’t possess, My hats off to those who struggle through and go onto publish their NANO novels. It works for some,

    • Michelle Wallace on November 9, 2017 at 10:24 am

      Yes, it does work for some. Hats off to those people. 🙂

  33. Tonja Drecker on November 3, 2017 at 12:48 am

    I agree. Writing can’t be forced. It shows if it is, and writing should be fun.

    • Michelle Wallace on November 9, 2017 at 10:26 am

      For me, writing flash fiction is *always* an exciting and fun process.
      Maybe I find a way to write an entire novel in this manner??

  34. Toi Thomas on November 3, 2017 at 12:50 am

    Thank you so much for stopping by my blog. It really meant a lot. Sorry I didn’t respond sooner; life got in the way.

    I get that Nano isn’t for everyone, while it’s not for me, I know others who swear by it.

    I like your thoughts on when and how much someone writes and like the idea of trying new things. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    • Michelle Wallace on November 9, 2017 at 10:27 am

      No worries, Toi. I understand that life gets hectic and we can’t always respond in time.

  35. Damyanti on November 3, 2017 at 3:33 am

    All the best with knitting that story together, Michelle. You’re a fantastic writer– can’t wait to read what you come up with next!

    • Michelle Wallace on November 9, 2017 at 10:30 am

      Thank you for the compliment, Damyanti… though the words ‘fantastic writer’ make me nervous… and excited.

  36. ChemistKen on November 3, 2017 at 1:11 pm

    It’s hard for me to speed write when I know most of the words will end up being throw away. I’d rather take my time and fix problems as I go. Moving on to the next chapter when I know I have problems in the current chapter doesn’t work for me. So even during the first draft, I’ll stick with a chapter or scene until I either feel good about it or (more often) I just can’t stand to look at it any longer. Having a couple of critique groups that expect monthly submissions is a good way to force myself to tie things up and move on.

    • Michelle Wallace on November 9, 2017 at 10:31 am

      I also like to stick with a scene/section until I’m happy enough, then move on to the next portion.

  37. HR Sinclair on November 5, 2017 at 1:02 am

    I’ve tried writing the last paragraph or so to give me direction but it changes more than the beginning. LOL

    • Michelle Wallace on November 9, 2017 at 10:33 am

      I’m sure that’s a problem if you like the ending you already have. LOL
      I hope it doesn’t happen to me.

  38. Natalie Aguirre on November 6, 2017 at 1:15 am

    I don’t think I’m a NaNo person either. I don’t write that fast and need to do some revisions as I go. That’s great that you were successful with it once, but recognizing that it’s not for you is good too.

    • Michelle Wallace on November 9, 2017 at 10:35 am

      Yep. They say you have to try NaNo at least once in your lifetime. If you don’t try then you’ll never know.

  39. Crystal Collier on November 7, 2017 at 6:24 pm

    I hear you. NaNo is not for everyone, including me. But. There is something to writing with a deadline. I’ve done that enough that I see the value and that there is a process. However, NaNo tends to induce the panic gene in me, and stress is never a great muse.

    • Michelle Wallace on November 9, 2017 at 10:36 am

      You’re right. Stress is never a great muse.
      Doesn’t cheese solve panic issues?? 🙂

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