The Insecure Writer’s Support Group ~ No#22

Welcome to the IWSG post. This is a place where writers can come together and express doubts/concerns and offer assistance/guidance… the ultimate writers' support structure.

For more info go HERE First Wed of Every Month



The Insecure Writer’s Support Group website is now open!!!

Many thanks to our very own Ninja Captain and the IWSG Admins who helped put it together – Joy Campbell, Joylene Nowell Butler Susan Gourley/Kelley, L. Diane Wolfe,  Lynda Young. and myself.

So hop on over and take a peek!

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And now… onto my writerly insecurities————

I can remember a time when all I did was write.

There was nothing else to worry about.

Sit down, pen in hand, read the prompt… and away you go!

At that stage, I was oblivious to Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Google+ and the myriad of other social networking platforms… talk about ignorance being bliss! I've since discovered that, in this digital era, you are encouraged to develop a writerly presence via social networking. But I'm not opening that can of worms…

I would wait… excitedly… for the next flash fiction prompt. Without fail, I sat down and wrote my weekly flash fiction piece. And discovered the beauty and magic in free writing exercises. Just 15 minutes a day. Just read the prompt and let it take you away! I didn't worry too much about anything, except the free flow writing and following the direction in which the prompt would take me. I look at some of that early stuff and wonder, did I really write that?

That phase produced some of my best flash fiction pieces.

I long for that time. To write with that sense of freedom… uninhibited….

Now I'm too caught up in the technicalities of writing. Too many rules and regulations.

Far too aware of my writing… if that makes any sense…? And this awareness has a way of blocking creativity…

Too many things buzzing in my head! Do that, don't do that. Write what you know. Know your point of view. Avoid long descriptive paragraphs. Show don't tell. Multiple POV but quit head-hopping. Adverbs are a no-no! Blah, blah, blah… it goes on and on. And it doesn't help that I'm a slow writer plus the kind of person who has a natural tendency to edit as I write… that's a double whammy!!

I long to recapture the spirit of that time… that uncluttered mental writing space…

But we have to move along… there's no going back… 

Every day we learn something new… we grow as writers… and that comes at a price…

Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could capture the magic of that simple abandon and blend it with the knowledge and experience acquired after some time has passed?

So what are your insecurities for this month? Please share with us…

And don't forget to check out the new IWSG site!


  1. J.L. Campbell on October 2, 2013 at 11:09 am

    We all go through this. Even now, I have to be careful to stay within certain boundaries for fear that what I do is too edgy and won't be understood or accepted. My two cents worth. Have fun with the writing. It's the thing we love. Let yourself go. The editing will take care of the technicaliites.

    • Michelle Wallace on October 6, 2013 at 11:09 am

      Thanks Joy. The keyword should be FUN. You are spot on with that!

  2. Elise Fallson on October 2, 2013 at 11:39 am

    Great reveal! I saw it here first! 😀

    And I know exactly how you feel about being too aware of our writing…I still feel that way and would love to write free again. Maybe one day we'll find that place again…. (: 

    Off to check out the website! 

    • Michelle Wallace on October 6, 2013 at 11:12 am

      I suppose that extra awareness is a direct spin off from the growth and empowerment. So I think that I'll take it as a positive sign… but at the same time, try not to let it be an obstacle… 🙂

  3. Alex J. Cavanaugh on October 2, 2013 at 11:55 am

    Know how you feel. Between knowing too much and higher expectation, it's now difficult to begin writing,

    Write something you will never post and never share – just something fun for you!

    And thanks for being a member of the team. Couldn't have done the site without you.

    • Michelle Wallace on October 6, 2013 at 11:13 am

      Thank you Alex… and to all the other admins as well! Team work is the best!

  4. L. Diane Wolfe on October 2, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    Sometimes I think back to those days when all I had to do was write and I miss it. No pressure, no inhibition. Then I remember where I am now and see how far I've come. And I know I can find that spark again.


    Happy to be part of the IWSG team with you!

    • Michelle Wallace on October 6, 2013 at 11:15 am

      Pressure and inhibition is part of the learning process… the growth… more awareness of what one is doing…

      Thanks for the awesome work you've done, to make the IWSG site a smashing success! You rock Diane! 🙂

  5. Pat Hatt on October 2, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    It can be a pain indeed, just act crazy though and away the expectations flow.

    • Michelle Wallace on October 6, 2013 at 11:16 am

      Craziness? I can do that! Actually, I have some super-crazy ideas for one or two upcoming bloghops!

  6. Teresa Coltrin on October 2, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    There came a time when I didn't want to write just for myself, but for others, and THAT is scary.

    • Michelle Wallace on October 6, 2013 at 11:17 am

      Writing to please others at the expense of your own satisfaction? Whoa! Really scary! At least you recognised it and acted accordingly…

  7. Sydney Aaliyah Michelle on October 2, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    Hi Michelle, I had that same issue and decided to go on a solo writing retreat in hopes of giving myself some uninterrupted writing time. It worked and I hope to incorporate that into my schedule every year. If your able, it helps to get away to re – focus.  Good luck. 

    • Michelle Wallace on October 6, 2013 at 11:19 am

      Solo writing retreat? Sounds like bliss. I'd LOVE such an opportunity. As it is, I don't even belong to a physical writing group… I only have online writerly buddies!

  8. J. A. Bennett on October 2, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    I've felt this soooo many times. But in the end it's all worth it. I rather struggle to make something great than continue to practice bad writing. And still my writing is far from perfect. You said it right, there's always more to learn. Good thing we have such a great support system to help us through it all!

    • Michelle Wallace on October 6, 2013 at 11:26 am

      I feel the same way you do. I'd rather struggle to create something as close to greatness as possible. No quick-fix schemes for me…

  9. Melissa Maygrove on October 2, 2013 at 4:07 pm

    Congrats on the new IWSG site – it's awesome!!! 😀

    "Every day we learn something new… we grow as writers… and that comes at a price… "

    This is so true. But what we turn out has got to be better, even if it doesn't feel as freeing to write.

    And I'll dip into the 'can of worms' for a moment. I've decided I'm going to thin out my blogging schedule soon, to give me more time for writing. What good is a platform if I never get around to publishing a book? LOL

    • Michelle Wallace on October 6, 2013 at 11:36 am

      What we turn out has GOT to be better… I agree 100%.

      And with regards to the can of worms… I'm also leaning in that direction… writing time has to take priority over everything else… BUT I love my blogging…. *sighs*

  10. Michael Di Gesu on October 2, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    HI, Michelle,

    BREATHE…. Yes, we all learned those HARD rules, but we can brake them when needed. I LOVE description, mood, and atmoshere, without it, a story feels dead to me. Action all the time is HIGHLY overrated! If you don't LOVE what you write, how will anyone else?


    As your repsonse to your comment at my blog… just because you started writing late in life… DON'T panic. I am almost a hundre percent sure I started way later than you. Four years ago with my first novel. HA! Talk about a grammar and punctuation fiasco… try learning all those rules at my age! I had three other careers before writing. Which has now become a part time income with cover designs and blurb writing. 

    Just remember writing is ageless. You can write into your 90's as long as your mind is alert and OPEN. Keeping your mind open to new ideas and LIVING will give you that fresh excitement you crave. FEEL, WRITE in the moment. Your subconcious will keep your rules in check,but perhaps the free spirit will take over and convince strinct side ot loosen up!

    • Michelle Wallace on October 6, 2013 at 11:37 am

      Thank you for this boost of inspiration Michael! You are a STAR! 🙂

  11. C. Lee McKenzie on October 2, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    Maybe writers all share some pre-historic masochistic gene. It's so much more than I ever expected, and–like Diane–I really miss those writing-only days. They were the best. I'm glad to be back from my break. It's lonely without my writer friends.

    • Michelle Wallace on October 6, 2013 at 11:39 am

      I'm so glad to have you back C.Lee! And I sometimes wonder, why on earth did I start writing? But then I quickly brush that aside. I do love it! And I'm not giving it up… not for anything!

  12. Rachna Chhabria on October 2, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    Hi Michelle, to write with a sense of freedom is wonderful. Hugs to all of you for all the hard work in building the IWSG site with Alex.

    Rachna Chhabria

     Co-host IWSG

    <a href=""> Rachna's Scriptorium</a>



    • Michelle Wallace on October 6, 2013 at 11:40 am

      That's why I love the free-writing exercises! They're the best!

  13. Al Diaz on October 2, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    If you find out how to do that and combine the two, please by all means let me know. I would happily trade half the dwarf staff for that secret! Dragon hugs!

    • Michelle Wallace on October 6, 2013 at 11:41 am

      Al, the person who discovers that formula, will be RICH! LOL.

  14. Mary Aalgaard on October 2, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    I love the graphic for the new website, the lighthouse. It's been a beacon in my own life. Maybe it would be good to journal, free write, and let some of your inner child play with words.


    • Michelle Wallace on October 6, 2013 at 11:43 am

      That's why I love your place Mary… you have a knack of tapping into that inner child, which is so refreshing… I'm going to make it a point of indulging in "playful" free-writing! Thank you. Actually, I have a great "playful" idea for an upcoming blogfest!  🙂

  15. Susan Gourley on October 2, 2013 at 5:48 pm

    Your descriptions of 'back in the day' fits exactly my dream of what being a full time writer would be. Instead, I have to spend part of each day with promotion. It is so relaxing to just write after I finish all that.

    • Michelle Wallace on October 6, 2013 at 11:44 am

      Imagine if we had the means to hire people for marketing/promo/ etc.? Wouldn't that be wonderful? We could just write…

  16. Suze on October 2, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    'Far too aware of my writing… if that makes any sense…? And this awareness has a way of blocking creativity…'


    There's this book called 'Choke,' I think, and it's all about how ball players who once were almost supernatural in their abilities all of a sudden get tripped up with this self-awarness that just about paralyzes. I sympathize with what you say here. It's a rotten place to be when you're there BUT I don't think it's permanent. I've always said writing in that sweet spot is a bit like climaxing. You can't do it with the spotlights on and being told to thrust just so.

    Turn the lights off, girl. Get comfortable and shove all the non-integral parties out the door and lock it! Then remember what it was like when it was great. It'll probably be better, now. You're far more experienced. 😉


    • Michelle Wallace on October 6, 2013 at 11:46 am

      I LOVE this Suze! What a great analogy… switch off the lights… cut off from all distractions… get in the zone…

  17. Lexa Cain on October 2, 2013 at 7:04 pm

    I'm feeling exactly like you are. Nothing I write is coming out the way I want it to, and nothing's as easy as it used to be. *sigh* But we have to just keep on going, hoping there's a light at the end of the tunnel. Good luck! 🙂

    • Michelle Wallace on October 6, 2013 at 11:47 am

      Yep… just plod along… and at least you're not plodding alone… you have company… we can plod together! 🙂

  18. Murees Dupé on October 2, 2013 at 7:51 pm

    I think you should just write what ever you want, let loose. Don't care about what you are writing, just write. So what if no one else sees what you write, do it for yourself. Just so that you can feel that connection agian. Unplug for a few hours if you have to. Best of luck. 

    • Michelle Wallace on October 6, 2013 at 11:48 am

      Yes, good advice Murees1 Thank you! 🙂 I appreciate it.

  19. S. Katherine Anthony on October 2, 2013 at 9:11 pm

    That actually is part of my issue lately. I have to let go of all the rules and just lose myself in the words… easier said than done :-/

    But you will be just fine, I know it 😉

    • Michelle Wallace on October 6, 2013 at 11:49 am

      I suppose it too shall pass.. 🙂 Time will tell…

  20. Mary on October 2, 2013 at 9:33 pm

    I use the editing/revisions to hone and layer what I've learned. But I hear you, I'm more selective than I used to be even at the begining phases. I'm happy to be where I am. I'm hoping, I won't have to think so much about what I've learned in the future.

    • Michelle Wallace on October 6, 2013 at 9:13 pm

      Mary, you are awesome! Such a go-getter… and always pushing yourself a little further.

  21. Crystal Collier on October 2, 2013 at 10:23 pm

    I bet you're just being too hard on yourself. Honestly, I bet your stuff is WAY better now than you're giving it credit. I look back at my early stuff and there's so much heart, but whew! The actual prose? Now I can't write quite as innocently, but I still find myself writing for enjoyment–and in those rare moments the magic happens. I think the more we foster those moments, the more they happen.

    • Michelle Wallace on October 6, 2013 at 9:15 pm

      I'm going to think of different ways to foster those moments… and then let loose!

  22. krystal jane on October 3, 2013 at 2:03 am

    I think freedom IS possible again. I was so fed up with it, that I just decided to screw it. I'll skim it and if it's important, I'll remember it. This may be flawed, but I tell myself I can do whatever I want. And instead of worrying if I'm doing things "right" I worry if I'm telling a good story. What's missing, what's lacking, where can it be stronger. It's a lot less stressful. ^_^ I just didn't believe I could write a good story if I focused on anything outside of it. Maybe some people can. I can't. 

    • Michelle Wallace on October 6, 2013 at 9:17 pm

      The essence IS telling the story… that should be the main focus… I know… it's just that other things get in the way too…

  23. Lynda R. Young on October 3, 2013 at 6:04 am

    I think that's why I like writing first drafts so much. They capture 'the magic of that simple abandon' as you say. In first drafts it doesn't matter if it's not perfect. Later I get into the nitty-gritty.

    • Michelle Wallace on October 6, 2013 at 9:18 pm

      I need to move away from worrying too much about the "finnicky" things in the first draft…

  24. Catherine Noble on October 3, 2013 at 6:48 am

    Michelle, I SO know what you mean! I tied myself up in knots trying to figure out how to write well. I spent so much time analysing writing craft that I left my heart behind. Now I just write from the heart and it always reads better than a sterile piece that adheres to all the "rules".

    I love this quote from Ira Glass (taken from Goodreads):

    “Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”


    • Michelle Wallace on October 6, 2013 at 9:21 pm

      I love that quote from Ira Glass. I used it once in an IWSG post. Thanks for the reminder! Nice to see you around Catherine. 🙂

  25. Julie on October 3, 2013 at 6:58 am

    The IWSG website looks fantastic! Congrats to you and the rest of the team! I also think that you should keep doing what you like best. You have created your own niche by being the Queen of Five Sentence Fiction. Michelle, I'm sure that you will find a way to incorporate this strength into a novel.

    • Michelle Wallace on October 6, 2013 at 9:22 pm

      Thank you Julie. Such an awesome compliment! I will work on incorporating that flash fiction strength into a larger body of work..

  26. Shannon Lawrence on October 3, 2013 at 7:44 am

    Hear, hear! The more I learn, hopefully the better a writer I am, but it has also become harder and less free for me. I'd like to get back to that place of joy and freedom.

    Shannon at <a href="">The Warrior Muse</a>

    • Michelle Wallace on October 6, 2013 at 9:24 pm

      We simply to persevere… we'll get there at some stage…

  27. Medeia Sharif on October 3, 2013 at 10:27 am

    I used to write with abandon. I still do, but I have everything I've learned on the surface. Sometimes that gets in the way, yet I'm glad I know more than I used to. 

    • Michelle Wallace on October 6, 2013 at 9:25 pm

      So true. I know ten times the amount of stuff than I did before. I'm glad I do.

  28. Morgan Shamy on October 3, 2013 at 3:42 pm

    Oh gosh… I wish I could go back to those times too… everything was so magical then! I wasn't tainted by the world and the difficultly and the business… sigh… 

    Spot on post, Michelle. I'm right there with you. 🙂 

    • Michelle Wallace on October 6, 2013 at 9:27 pm

      Even though I haven't reached that stage, the thought of marketing/promo and all that jazz is quite daunting…  🙂 It gives me mental fatigue…

  29. Arlee Bird on October 3, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    The internet and social media allows writers to get noticed more easily I think and for me encourages more writing.  I've never been much of a stickler for the technicalities so I don't think my writing has changed much, but I do write a lot more than I used to thanks to blogging.



    • Michelle Wallace on October 6, 2013 at 9:39 pm

      Maybe the trick is to write first, and then worry about the finicky things… after all, that's why there's revisions/edits etc.

  30. melanie schulz on October 3, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    Went to your new site. Love it.

    • Michelle Wallace on October 6, 2013 at 9:40 pm

      Thanks Melanie. A reminder that it's for ALL writers from all walks of life. 🙂

  31. Sherry Ellis on October 3, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    Sometimes the more you learn about something, the more you overthink things.  I think there's truth to the saying, "ignorance is bliss."

    • Michelle Wallace on October 6, 2013 at 9:42 pm

      Exactly! To a large degree, ignorance IS bliss! Oh… to recapture that ignorant, blissful state…

  32. Beverly Fox on October 3, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    I envy that you ever had that time.  I myself never did.  Writing never came freely to me- I was always judging, always questioning whether or not something was "good", always concerned and anxious.  Which isn't to say that I never lose myself in it- I certaintly do.  but that care-free feeling of writing effortlessly?  I don't know if I've ever had that.


    But I still write.  And at the end of that day I think that's what being a writer is all about- being stubborn enough to keep going.


    Thanks SO MUCH for all the work you've done/are doing/will do on the IWSG site!  It looks SO good and i'm going to be frequenting it for all the resources available.

    Write on!



    • Michelle Wallace on October 6, 2013 at 9:45 pm

      If you want to experience something close to "effortless" writing, then try free writing exercises. It's more writing with abandon…

  33. Robin on October 3, 2013 at 8:50 pm

    Right now, all of the social networking concerns are eating up my writing time.  The awareness that a publisher expectst the writer to do more than ever before of the publicity has kickstarted my need to be more of a presence online.  However, developing those relationships requires so much time.  I am really looking for a way to balance it all.  AND figure out how to do be effective online without it becoming overwhelming.

    • Michelle Wallace on October 6, 2013 at 9:47 pm

      The writer has to be a Jill-of-all-trades… blogger, tweeter, Facebooker, marketer, promoter… plus you must also master the writing trade… it never ends!

  34. Mina B on October 3, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    So true. We were on the same page this week. Lol! Love the site. Congrats!

  35. Carol Kilgore on October 3, 2013 at 10:07 pm

    Oh, gosh! I remember those carefree days, too. They were wonderful! On the plus side, my writing is better now 🙂

  36. Nicki Elson on October 3, 2013 at 11:26 pm

    Oh man, I so get you on this. I call it my bubble—when I happily wrote and wrote and wrote in complete, blissful ignorance. *sigh*  I still get it back sometimes, for chunks of time when I write and tell myself that I never, ever have to show it to anyone…

    Congrats on getting the amazing IWSG site up!!

    • Michelle Wallace on October 6, 2013 at 9:50 pm

      Those "bubble moments" are sooooo satisfying…  (I know that I've said it before… love these pink shoes!)

  37. shell flower on October 3, 2013 at 11:44 pm

    Thanks for the link to the new IWSG site, it's amazing. As for your insecurities, I wrote a similar post long ago. It's so easy to lose the magic when you are trying to incorporate all the advice. I'm right there with you and hoping it goes away once I have truly assimilated all this new info. Nanowrimo might help, just because it's all about words and it's okay to have a crap first draft. Good luck!

    • Michelle Wallace on October 6, 2013 at 9:51 pm

      I'm sooooo terrified of NaNoWriMo! I write toooo slow! My first draft would be really, really crappy…

  38. Lara Lacombe on October 4, 2013 at 3:23 am

    Congrats on the IWSG website–I'm very excited about this!

    I can relate to your topic this month–there are a lot of times when it's very hard (or nearly impossible) to turn off my internal editor and just write.

    • Michelle Wallace on October 6, 2013 at 9:54 pm

      The internal editor is always regarded as the bogeyman. But if it means less revisions/edits, then surely that's not a bad thing?

  39. Trisha on October 4, 2013 at 6:39 am

    I can relate to what you said, in that I feel that I have definitely lost a lot of my connection to my creative "avalanche". I have been rather prolific in the volume of writing I've done in the last few years, but this year it has really tapered off. Even if I did complete one entire novel already & plan to start another one in November, I usually would have done a lot more than just that stuff in a year. 🙂

    • Michelle Wallace on October 6, 2013 at 9:57 pm

      That's my problem… I need a creative "avalanche"… to aim for volume! I find it difficult to just write on and on without checking something

  40. Annalisa Crawford on October 4, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    My secret is… I ignore the rules… ssshh, don't tell anyone 🙂

    • Michelle Wallace on October 6, 2013 at 9:57 pm

      You have the perfect attitude! That's why your voice is so distinct! 🙂

  41. Deanie Humphrys-Dunne on October 4, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    Just write what makes you happy and concentrate on the subjects that you are most passionate about. You'll be inspired and so will your readers.

  42. Philip V Ariel on October 8, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    Hi Michelle,


    Though I am a bit late here at this page, i joined in this group few months back and now i am happy to see the new developments taking place at IWSG with relentless support of the team members like you. Wonderful work you all are doing. 

    Keep it up!

    Keep inform



    • Michelle Wallace on October 8, 2013 at 4:12 pm

      Hi Philip. *waving* Welcome to my place. It's nice to meet you.

      The success of the new IWSG website is the result of solid team work, and I'm honoured to be a part of the inaugural team. It's a special website… a great place for all writers from different walks of life, in various stages of their respective writerly journeys.

      Thank you for the visit!

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