The Insecure Writer’s Support Group Works Hard

The purpose of the IWSG is to share and encourage. To gently prop you up when you’re falling down, and allow you to offer that prop to other authors as we go. The first Wednesday of every month we meet (online) to share stories, air insecurities, and lend a helping hand. Come join by clicking here.

The awesome co-hosts for the October 7 posting of the IWSG are Jemima Pitt, Beth Camp, Beverly Stowe McClure, and Gwen Gardner!

And the October 7th question is: When you think of the term working writer, what does that look like to you? What do you think it is supposed to look like? Do you see yourself as a working writer or aspiring or hobbyist, and if latter two, what does that look like?

When I think of the term “working writer”, it immediately makes me picture someone who a) writes regularly and b) is always getting better at writing.

A) Let me clarify, first thing, that by regularly I don’t mean every single day for hours. We can’t all be Stephen King, alright. For various practical reasons, what I mean by ‘regularly’ is ‘as often as possible in as productive a manner as possible’.

B) The main criteria for working writer, in my mind, is someone who treats writing as actual work. Like it’s any other job which requires time and effort. There are always ways to develop the profession, to improve, to stretch and grow. Great Literary Gods, the topic of marketing ALONE is enough to keep me burning the midnight-Google-oil. There is always something new to learn.

Whether I see myself as a working writer depends entirely on how well I think I’m fulfilling these two criteria. Some days I feel like I’m doing pretty good, getting into a writing routine, actually finishing some manuscripts. That’s a good day! On the other hand, there are days I’m pretty sure everyone knows I’m a huge fraud sitting on a throne made of lies. (Everyone including, for some reason, my high school English teacher whom I have literally not spoken to in fifteen years. Go figure.) I’ve fallen out of my routine, I’m doing a terrible job, and NOTHING is getting finished. Those are not-so-great days.

I feel as if writing should go exactly like this:

Everything ticking along, falling softly into place, the words flowing like pure, perfect Writing Clockwork

When a lot of the time, what the writing actually feels like is this:

Yes, including the Ron Swanson mustache. It’s that kind of a day.

Some days go along just like this:

And then there are the days when the ideas are landing like bird splats, the house is filthy, the kids are whiny and hungry, there are 800 errands to get done and it’s just:

I suppose it’s all a matter of balance, and reminding myself that I’m always learning something from my mistakes.

10 thoughts on “The Insecure Writer’s Support Group Works Hard

  1. Perfect criteria. I’m in a routine for now, I hope it can stick! Otherwise, I’m calling Ron Swanson to come get this crappy laptop and dispose of it.

    1. It seems appropriate for nearly every day in 2020, if I’m being honest. Well, some days are calmer than others.

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