The Insecure Writer’s Support Group Celebrates a Bootleg of a Year

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To sign up for the group yourself, click on over here. The IWSG is also on Twitter @TheIWSG and Instagram, as well as under the hashtag #IWSG

It’s time for the first Insecure Writer’s Post of the new year. So happy 2020 to you!

And can we all admit right now that the complete absence of automatic glitter, tacky gilt ornaments, alcohol, and Charleston step instructions falling gently from the sky at midnight was a huge disappointment? I mean…all we got was plain old fireworks. (Well, since I live in Nevada USA, we got sporadic gunshots all night SO THAT WAS FUN.)

roaring 20s
Is this a Charleston? I think I could actually learn this.

The co-hosts for the first month of this breakaway new year are T. Powell Coltrin, Victoria Marie Lees, Stephen Tremp, Renee Scattergood, and J.H. Moncrieff! Don’t forget to go hand them a dazzling digital thank you in real 1920s style. (What does that mean? Yeah I have no idea either. I’m working this theme for all I’ve got, okay. My grandma was born in 1920, I sure wasn’t. Give the co-hosts the right to vote or make an arbitrary rule that’s as enforceable as the 18th amendment, I dunno.)

The question for this month is: What started you on your writing journey? Was it a particular book, movie, story, or series? Was it a teacher/coach/spouse/friend/partner? Did you just “know” you wanted to write?

To answer this question, let’s go all the way back to 1997 and a ten-year-old SE. Yep, I was the universal author origin story, writing what was basically adoring fanfic of Patricia C. Wrede and Tamora Pierce. We could call that the start of my writing journey.

Or we could move ahead to the remedial math class I took in college (2005) which I limped through until our professor threw us non-maths types a break by assigning a creative writing essay about the relative usefulness of what we’d learned. Which finally got me a paper back with a big A+ on it. The professor’s clear enjoyment of my nonsense gave me a big dose of hope that the story splinters I still etched into random notebooks could be…well…entertaining. For someone else, not just me.

No. Probably we should zip right along in some kind of split-scene montage. (I get to pick the music.) Imagine This Life, by Vampire Weekend jaunting around in the background as SE graduates college (2009), she gets a job, her son turns 4 with a cute Spiderman theme party, she gets another job, moves to Carson City, becomes engaged, gets married, has two more children, and leaves the job to becomes a stay-at-home mom.

There we are. There’s the real start of my author journey. Up until this point (2016), I was a devoted reader, a total nerd, an enthusiastic bookworm, a scribbler of small private bits of stories, but not a writer. Writing my own book and, even more terrifying, trying to publish it stayed a vague “someday” idea in the back of my mind for all of those years.

Then one day I was reading a novella on my Kindle, which shall remain nameless, and it was awful. Giant plot holes, badly written sentences, stiff dialogue, random scene transitions…this novella had it all.

And I can’t even describe the huge, electrifying, hopeful shot it gave me as I read. This was a real, formatted, published book. With a cover. And with buyers. As in, people like me expended actual money on it (whether they enjoyed it or not, I can’t say). If this could get published…why couldn’t I? What did I have to lose, right? Only my own time, and I wouldn’t consider it lost.

That was kind of the watershed moment, where all these tiny streams came together to lift up my foot and push it into that first step. There were plenty of other little impetus moments I haven’t described here, but these are the ones which stood out to me for the purposes of this post. And somehow, four-ish years later, here I sit. A writer.


otter gif
As a thank you for making it all the way to the bottom of this very long post here; have a cute otter snuggle.



8 thoughts on “The Insecure Writer’s Support Group Celebrates a Bootleg of a Year

  1. I had a history professor who enjoyed my writing style in college. He couldn’t attend lectures on Rome that our college was presenting and gave extra credit to anyone who went and wrote about it. So I did. As the semester wore on, I found I didn’t need extra credit, but the professor asked me to go to the lectures anyway because he enjoyed my write-ups.

    More power to you, S.E. I wish you all the best in 2020!

    1. That’s so awesome. It’s an incredible boost to feel like someone, even one person, *wants* to read what you write, isn’t it? Wishing you the best as you finish your memoir this year!

  2. It was my mother who met a writer at an event who told her of the indie writing avenue. My mom bought the book. I was still a book snark and assumed the book would be awful, but it wasn’t. There were some flaws, but as far as story went, it was one of the freshest stories I’d read in ages, I was intrigued to see that indie books could be worth reading.

    1. That’s great! There are a lot of indie books worth reading, for sure. I especially like Marie Landry, when it comes to indie authors.

  3. Love the otters, and loved the story. You told it well. (As a co-host this month, I’m reading a lot of blogs, so if one stands out the way this one did, it’s very well written.)

    Thanks so much for dropping by my own blog today and leaving your awesome suggestion. It’s very much appreciated.

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