The Insecure Writer’s Support Group ~ No#56

insecure-writers-groupPurpose: 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.

A big thank you to our co-hosts for this month’s posting: Tamara Narayan, Tonja Drecker, Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor, Lauren @ Pensuasion, Stephen Tremp, and Julie Flanders! Don’t forget to visit them and thank them for co-hosting!

Our Twitter hashtag is #IWSG.

And we’re revving up IWSG Day to make it more fun and interactive! Every month, we’ll announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG Day 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.

AUGUST 3rd QUESTION: What was your very first piece of writing as an aspiring writer? Where is it now? Collecting dust or has it been published?

My first fictional piece, written in early 2011, was a drabble which is a 100-word story. That first drabble is published on my blog but it’s a bland and mechanical piece of writing. 

I’m a flash fiction junkie – the shorter the better. For a long time, I thought I’d only be able to write 100 words at a time. I think I convinced myself that I wouldn’t manage more words in one sitting. The thing is, I’d write the 100 words and then edit the piece to death, until I had no energy or inclination to write more words. At that stage, I was enjoying the 100-word stories so much, that I didn’t give myself a chance to think beyond that.

Fast forward to July 2016… AND GUESS WHAT?


My FIRST CampNaNo and I WON! If you can remember, I always complain about being a slow writer! That’s the main reason I shied away from the challenge. On June 30, I decided to sign up. It wasn’t really planned. The only thing I knew was that I would write a collection of stories. My goal was 500 words a day which equals 15 500 words for the month. I managed a total of 15 607 words. 

My month went something like this:

01st – 541 words…deep breathe and exhale…I have NO IDEA what I’m doing!!!
02nd – start second story and write 501 words but this story is not working… needs to change…so I start third story and write another 525 words
03rd – 594 words…this seems to be going okay…fingers crossed…
04th – 505 words…
05th – 513 words of a fourth story…
06th – blank! What happened? Story four is a no-go zone…
07th – back to story number three… 507 words
08th – blank! Not again!!
09th – 560 words on story number three…
10th – blank!
11th – blank! Not a good idea…what was I thinking…?
12th – 512 words on story number three…it seems to be the one!
13th – 286 words…
14th – 338 words
15th –blank again! Now what?
16th –blank! Should I give up? No!!!!!!
17th – 284 words
18th – 607 words…YES!! A BIT BETTER.
19th – 564 words
20th – 871 words
21st – 709 words
22nd – 720 words
23rd – 710 words
24th –blank! OH NO!!! JUST WHEN I WAS ON A ROLL!
25th – 320 words
26th – 230 words
27th – blank! NOOOOOOOOO!
29th – 1020 words…feeling chuffed!
30th – 594 words
31st – If I want to win, then I need to write 3 500 odd words in a few hours!? Eeeeeeeeeeek! LORD HELP ME!

On the last day, I wrote 3615 words of a brand new story from a set of thirty word prompts. But the writing flowed on the last day! I felt so inspired. It confirmed my belief that I write better from word/picture prompts.

CampNano was a great experience, one that I MAY repeat sometime in the future.

                                       *          *          *          *

Coming soon from fellow IWSG member and administrator Lynda R Young!

Cling To God by Lynda R YoungCling to God: A Daily Devotional.

Release date: October 18th, 2016
Published by Freedom Fox Press

Cling to God in the chaos of life…

Cling to God is a book of devotionals for every day of the year. The aim is to encourage Christians in their faith, to help them think about their beliefs and learn more about God. The devotions are short and inspirational so that people with busy lifestyles will still be able to spend time with the Lord each day. It will appeal to a wide Christian audience, to those new in their faith as well as those matured beyond milk and honey.

Author Bio: Lynda R. Young, a Christian first, writes devotionals, articles, and speculative short stories. In her spare time she is also an editor, game developer, artist, and dabbles in photography and all things creative. She lives in Australia with her sweetheart of a husband. You can find her here: Blog, Twitter, Facebook,

So what happened to your first pieces of writing? What was your first CampNano experience like? If you haven’t done CampNano, why not?


  1. Mina on August 3, 2016 at 2:40 pm

    I’m so excited for you about CampNano! That is amazing and not easy to do. Congrats!

    • Michelle Wallace on August 8, 2016 at 6:16 pm

      Thank you, Mina! It was a last-minute decision…and you’re right, it’s not easy!

  2. Crystal Collier on August 3, 2016 at 2:47 pm

    Yay for accomplishing NaNo! You rock! I find when I force worddage, it gets ugly.

    I’m so stoked for Lynda’s book.

    • Michelle Wallace on August 8, 2016 at 6:18 pm

      Thank goodness I didn’t really have to force worddage…well, not all of the time…on the last day, the vibe was fantastic!!! 🙂

  3. Jacqui on August 3, 2016 at 2:50 pm

    Congrats on NaNo–Woohoo! You like short (short) stories. You seem perfect for Twitter novels. Yeah, they’re really short.

    • Michelle Wallace on August 8, 2016 at 6:20 pm

      I LOVE short-shorts…the shorter the better. When I write short-shorts, I feel exhilirated! I haven’t heard of the Twitter novel. I must google it.

  4. Susan Gourley on August 3, 2016 at 3:04 pm

    Congrats. I never seem to write much in July. Too busy enjoying the sun.

    • Michelle Wallace on August 8, 2016 at 6:21 pm

      July is winter on my end of the globe. That probably explains my productivity, eh?

  5. Tamara Narayan on August 3, 2016 at 3:16 pm

    Wow, that’s a lot of writing in one month. Amazing what you can do when you try.

    • Michelle Wallace on August 8, 2016 at 6:23 pm

      For me, that’s a HUGE amount of writing in one month. Yes, it’s amazing what you can accomplish when you put your mind to it.

  6. Stephanie Scott on August 3, 2016 at 3:25 pm

    It is a real skill to write flash fiction. I have tried and failed! I also failed Camp Nano, but I wrote 4k of a 20k novella, so that’s better than 0k! I’ve never written a novella before so this was a new challenge.

    Here’s my August IWSG post on my first novel attempt (note I said ATTEMPT). YA Author Stephanie Scott IWSG August

    • Michelle Wallace on August 8, 2016 at 6:27 pm

      I always imagine that it’s easier to write flash fiction. I mean, if you can write a 50K novel, then flash fiction should be easy, shouldn’t it?
      Writing 4K of a 20K novella means 4K words you didn’t have before trying CampNano 🙂

  7. Anna on August 3, 2016 at 3:48 pm

    Outstanding work, Mish. 🙂

    Anna from elements of emaginette

  8. C. Lee McKenzie on August 3, 2016 at 3:49 pm

    You are one brave Nanowrmo writer! And then you won. That is an award-winning move.

    Congrats again to Lynda on her new book.

    • Michelle Wallace on August 8, 2016 at 6:32 pm

      Is jumping in at the deep end TOTALLY unprepared an award winning move?
      Brave? I didn’t feel too brave on the last day…
      Well, at least I proved to myself that I can do a CampNaNo. Though I may start preparations for the next one well in advance…

  9. Hilary on August 3, 2016 at 3:56 pm

    Hi Michelle – that’s great – well done on NaNo … sounds like you’ve found the ideal way of moving ahead and writing more. I too love Lyn’s cover – the photograph is just wonderful … cheers Hilary

    • Michelle Wallace on August 8, 2016 at 6:33 pm

      Hilary, I know that prompt-writing is the way to go. For me.
      The last day of CampNaNo just confirmed it.

  10. L. Diane Wolfe on August 3, 2016 at 4:12 pm

    Congratulations! You just proved you could do it. Not every day flows but when the words do, it’s pure bliss.

    • Michelle Wallace on August 8, 2016 at 6:34 pm

      Yep. I proved that I can do it. It feels great!
      I’m so happy that I acted impulsively…it’s been a great learning experience. 🙂

  11. Diane Burton on August 3, 2016 at 4:28 pm

    Congrats on Camp NaNo. To set goals and accomplish them takes energy and perseverance. Something we all need in our work.

    • Michelle Wallace on August 8, 2016 at 6:36 pm

      Yes. Working towards a goal is the best way to move forward.

  12. Alex J. Cavanaugh on August 3, 2016 at 4:56 pm

    Congratulations, Lynda!
    And big congratulations to you, Michelle. Bet you’re not as slow a writer as I am.

    • Michelle Wallace on August 8, 2016 at 6:38 pm

      I still think that I’m a slow writer. The thing is, instead of moving forward non-stop, I tend to go back and edit as I write. That slows me down. *sighs*

  13. Tonja Drecker on August 3, 2016 at 5:36 pm

    Huge congrats to NaNo! I’ve entered several times but never got through all the way. So you’re a speed demon compared to me. Congrats to Lynda too!

  14. S. L. Hennessy on August 3, 2016 at 6:47 pm

    It’s so great when we step out of our box and write more than we could have imagined!

    • Michelle Wallace on August 8, 2016 at 6:40 pm

      Yes! It’s been an eye-opener. It’s amazing what you can do when you really challenge yourself.

  15. Chrys Fey on August 3, 2016 at 7:00 pm

    Congratulations on your CampNano win!!!!!! I’ve never done NaNo but want to try one year. Maybe this year? Hmm…

    I need to try writing 100 word stories. They are so much fun to read. 🙂

    • Michelle Wallace on August 8, 2016 at 6:43 pm

      You’ve never done a NaNo? Really?
      I never thought I’d do NaNo…not the way I did…jumping in at the deep end on the 01st of July TOTALLY unprepared.
      You must try the 100 word stories. They’re loads of fun! 🙂

  16. Ryan Carty on August 3, 2016 at 7:03 pm

    You have the skills of an artist and the fortitude of a champion. Congrats and well done.

    • Michelle Wallace on August 8, 2016 at 6:44 pm

      Thank you for the wonderful compliment. Much appreciated.

  17. Julie Flanders on August 3, 2016 at 7:19 pm

    Hooray!! So cool to see you NaNo victory!! And I’ve no doubt your novel is as fantastic as all your short pieces.
    Congrats to Lynda!

    • Michelle Wallace on August 8, 2016 at 6:44 pm

      What a lovely thing to say…thank you, Julie! 🙂

  18. Carol Kilgore on August 3, 2016 at 7:39 pm

    Congrats to you on Camp NaNo! And congrats to Lynda on her new book!

  19. Madeline Mora-Summonte on August 3, 2016 at 7:55 pm

    Congratulations on Winning Camp NaNo!

    Now, go ahead and set your sites on November and regular NaNo…. 🙂

    • Michelle Wallace on August 8, 2016 at 6:48 pm

      Regular NaNoWriMo? That’s 50K words! Too much in one month. *shivers* Or does it allow less than 50K words? 🙂

  20. Lynda R Young on August 3, 2016 at 10:01 pm

    Congrats on completing your first NaNo!! It’s a huge accomplishment. I love your journal too on how it came about. So Awesome.

    And a HUGE thank you for helping me spread the word about my new up-and-coming devotional. You are so wonderful!

    • Michelle Wallace on August 8, 2016 at 6:48 pm

      I’m glad I could help, Lyn! Congrats once again. 🙂

  21. Michelle on August 4, 2016 at 3:04 am

    Great job on the Camp NaNo! I have some vague plans of writing a bunch of short stories in November for NaNoWriMo. Hopefully, the novel draft will be done by then.

    • Michelle Wallace on August 8, 2016 at 6:50 pm

      Sounds like a good plan.
      IF I attempt the November NaNoWriMo, then it would HAVE to be a whole lot of different stories…about 20 of them.

  22. Angela Wooldridge on August 4, 2016 at 6:20 am

    Hurray for you on camp nano! Well done for pushing through and succeeding, I loved reading your day to day experiences 🙂

  23. Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor on August 4, 2016 at 11:45 am

    Your recap on how Camp NaNo went is hysterical! Congrats on being a winner!!

    • Michelle Wallace on August 8, 2016 at 6:51 pm

      Thanks Ellen! I was stressed for the whole month. 🙂

  24. Michael Di Gesu on August 4, 2016 at 3:23 pm

    YAY, YOU!!!!

    I am so proud of you, Michelle! You have come such a LONG, LONG way. Give yourself lots of pats on the back.

    I so admire your drive. UGh. I wish I had it. LOL.

    My first piece of writing was my MG fantasy. After HUNDREDS of revisions, I still can’t get an agent for it. SOO… maybe another round.WE’ll see.

    Never did Camp NaNo…. Three A-Z challenges was enough for me… lol. I’m a pantser and can only write when I am pushed to by other…. as in blurbs/taglines, and creative editing. That has been my writing for the past few years…. I did start a PB… we’ll see how that goes. Maybe I’ll work a bit on it today. Just finished reading the New Harry Potter book…. Good, but not Great….

    Congrats again!

    • Michelle Wallace on August 8, 2016 at 6:56 pm

      Michael you are such a FANTASTIC writer. Plus you’re the Blurb King. A win-win! 🙂
      Hang in there with your MG fantasy. Somebody is out there just waiting to connect…as you say, all in good time.
      You should focus some of your energies on the PB. I’d LOVE to see that. Your artwork is soooo good.

  25. Mary Aalgaard on August 4, 2016 at 3:29 pm

    Great job on writing all those words and stories. You are an inspiration. Keep going!

    • Michelle Wallace on August 8, 2016 at 6:57 pm

      Thank you, Mary! You’ve just inspired me to keep on… 🙂

  26. Anne on August 4, 2016 at 3:54 pm

    Huge congrats on getting through the Nano sprint! I love 100-word flash too so I definitely hear you there. It gives you a chance to really hone the craft and then to move on, I think. Where novels are like … when is this ever going to end?? What did I call that character’s first fraternal sibling three chapters ago? Oh, right, they are an only child and I can’t change that now. Happy writing Michelle and thanks for all you do.

  27. Pat Garcia on August 4, 2016 at 7:13 pm

    Happy for your Camp NaNo experience, Michelle. That was a big plus and a large booster for your writing and it’s a good feeling to have. The first time I did NaNo, I didn’t make it through. The second time I made it because I had planned and actually wrote more than fifty thousand words. That’s a book sitting in my computer that I have to work on some day. The third time, I dropped out. That was last year. I had too many things going on and overestimated what I could do, but I love NaNo and maybe this year, I will participate again.
    All the best.
    Shalom aleichem,

    • Michelle Wallace on August 8, 2016 at 7:01 pm

      Pat, whether you made it through or not, you got words written down that you didn’t have before the NaNo attempts. That’s another way to look at it.
      Maybe I shall join you folk for another NaNo…just maybe.

  28. Jemi Fraser on August 4, 2016 at 7:44 pm

    Yay!!! I love NaNo but haven’t been able to do it because of the real world the last year or so. Good for you on finishing – love that 3600 day! So much fun when the words flow 🙂

    Yay for Lynda too!

    • Michelle Wallace on August 8, 2016 at 7:03 pm

      Yes, it’s amazing when the words flow. 🙂 I’m really scared that I may not get to experience that again…

  29. Elizabeth Seckman on August 5, 2016 at 6:02 am

    Way to go with the words! I love your short stuff. Shorts, I think, are the hardest to write. I bet you’re just as good at the longer stuff.

    Love devotionals. I’ll have to check that out.

    • Michelle Wallace on August 8, 2016 at 7:04 pm

      You’re the second person to say that shorts are the hardest to write. Thanks, Liz!

  30. Leandra Wallace on August 5, 2016 at 12:48 pm

    Wow, that’s awesome! Especially that last day. There’s nothing like hitting a deadline under pressure. =)

    • Michelle Wallace on August 8, 2016 at 7:05 pm

      On the last day, I was really under pressure and so I grabbed a set of prompts and just wrote…it was a bit like magic! 🙂

  31. Melissa Maygrove on August 5, 2016 at 2:57 pm

    I love that daily NaNo log! LOL

  32. Carrie-Anne on August 5, 2016 at 8:06 pm

    Congratulations on winning Camp! I started participating in 2015, after discovering the local NaNo group in November 2014. I’ve always won, though I tend to write very prolifically very quickly. I’m one of the two overachievers in the group. This July, I set my Camp goal at only 30K, since I’d had a really hard time making 50K in April and in JuNoWriMo. Having a humbler goal actually worked to increase my daily wordcounts, and I ended up getting 60,220 words total during July, more than double the goal I set out for.

    • Michelle Wallace on August 8, 2016 at 7:08 pm

      Wow! How awesome! You are a writing machine! Please share your secret…. 😉

  33. Cherie Reich on August 5, 2016 at 8:51 pm

    Even at 100 or 500 words at a time, it all adds up. Congrats on your Camp NaNoWriMo win! The first win is pretty special. 🙂

    • Michelle Wallace on August 8, 2016 at 7:10 pm

      I’m really excited about the win. 🙂
      I didn’t really think that I would be able to write more than 200 words a sitting. I was wrong.
      You’re so right – all the bits add up.

  34. Annalisa Crawford on August 5, 2016 at 9:54 pm

    Wow, 30 prompts! Congrats on winning. It’s so hard to write a lot when you’re used to short pieces, but it makes a great experiment. I love your little comments, especially the ‘NO’s 🙂

    • Michelle Wallace on August 8, 2016 at 7:12 pm

      Using the 30 prompts in one sitting was a great experiment. It helped me to discover more about myself…and what kind of a writer I am. 🙂

  35. Denise Covey on August 6, 2016 at 1:24 am

    Hi Michelle! I think it’s great that you had such a success at CampNano. It’s great to have that motivation/excuse to write more than usual. That’s why November is high on my calendar each year. Always get a lot done!
    Hope all goes well.
    Denise 🙂

    • Michelle Wallace on August 8, 2016 at 7:14 pm

      After my experience last month, I think that July will be high on my calendar. The bonus is that we’re on 3 weeks school holiday from end of June into part of July. 🙂

  36. Kathleen Valentine on August 6, 2016 at 7:12 pm

    I have no idea where my first bit of writing is! I wrote a play for the kids in our neighborhood to perform when I was 10. I bet those kids are still not talking to me.

    • Michelle Wallace on August 8, 2016 at 7:18 pm

      Kathleen, you’re a fantastic writer. I’m sure your play written as a ten-year old, couldn’t have been too bad…maybe the other kids were in awe of you, even then… 🙂

  37. Yolanda Renee on August 6, 2016 at 11:11 pm

    Congratulations! You are truly the master of the flash! Your 25 word pieces are proof!

    I’ll have to tackle that Camp Nano, but I let real life become my excuse for not meeting the goal. Summer is especially hard, but for some reason November it’s different. Hmm! Seasonal?

    Lynda has accomplished an amazing project! Congratulations!

    • Michelle Wallace on August 8, 2016 at 7:19 pm

      Thank you, Yolanda!
      I love my FF…not sure about the “master” part of it. I still have a lot to learn. 🙂

  38. Murees Dupe on August 7, 2016 at 4:44 pm

    Congratulations, Michelle! I knew you could do it. You are really awesome, you know that right? Congratulations to Lynda.

    • Michelle Wallace on August 8, 2016 at 7:20 pm

      Thank you for the vote of confidence, Murees! Much appreciated. 🙂

  39. Diane Weidenbenner on August 7, 2016 at 8:07 pm

    Congratulations on completing your goal. I am like you in that I am inspired to write by photos. It’s a lot harder for me to write and then find a photo for my blog. I found you through the IWSG – I’m #256, In my own words. You words are encouraging. Have a great rest of the weekend.

    • Michelle Wallace on August 8, 2016 at 7:21 pm

      Ah, a kindred soul. 🙂 Thanks for visiting, Diane.

  40. Lidy on August 8, 2016 at 11:56 am

    Congrats on winning Camp NaNoWriMo! I’m a slow writer as well but I take part in NaNoWriMo (this November will be my 3rd attempt). I’m not in it to win but more to write just as many words I can to work on, flesh out later. I did do Camp NaNoWriMo once but I took part during April which was not a good idea. April is National Poetry Month and I was doing a 30 day poetry project on my blog. And writing 30 poems, 1 a day, for the NaPoWriMo challenge. Plus my laptop charger shorted out and my laptop went dead until the new one was finally delivered. I wasn’t able to get any traction at all.

    • Michelle Wallace on August 8, 2016 at 7:24 pm

      That’s a great way to approach any NaNo…with the aim of writing as many words as possible!
      I’ve seen the NaPoWriMo challenge. Sounds like something I might try one of these years. But April is the A to Z Challenge too.
      Thank you for visiting, Lidy!

  41. J.H. Moncrieff on August 9, 2016 at 4:11 am

    Congrats, Michelle! I’m so proud of you.

    Funny that we’re complete opposites when it comes to length. I always was sure I could write a novel, but when my publisher asked me to write a 100-word horror story, my first thought was, “I can’t do that.”

    Turns out it was a lot of fun. I think it’s good to step outside of our comfort zone now and then.

    • Michelle Wallace on August 19, 2016 at 7:59 am

      Thanks, Holli! 🙂
      Yes, it’s good to step outside of the comfort zone…stretch the creative muscles even further…

  42. Julie K Pick on August 10, 2016 at 5:26 am

    Hi Michelle! Congrats on winning CampNano! That is a huge accomplishment, and as a
    fellow “slow writer” I’m so excited for you! I don’t know how you managed with work and all you do for the IWSG. Hope you’ve had time for a well-deserved celebration. Your talent shines through in all that you do!

    • Michelle Wallace on August 19, 2016 at 8:01 am

      Thank you for the wonderful words, Julie! 🙂
      I’m really trying to balance everything. Sometimes it works, other times…? Well, let’s just say I’m still hanging in there!!

  43. Tyrean Martinson on August 11, 2016 at 11:06 pm

    Way to go with Camp NaNo!!!

  44. Medeia Sharif on August 12, 2016 at 7:11 am

    Yay, congrats on winning!

    I don’t do short short fiction myself, but I enjoy reading it.

    • Michelle Wallace on August 19, 2016 at 8:03 am

      I think you’ve found your fictional niche. The stories you write are amazing.

  45. Loni Townsend on August 24, 2016 at 3:53 pm

    Grats on winning! And how the heck did I miss posting on this post? I’m pretty sure I read it at the beginning of the month. >_<

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