Wednesday, June 3, 2020

IWSG - Secrets & Discouragement

It's the first Wednesday of June, which makes it time for the Insecure Writer's Support Group!

Created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, the IWSG exists to seek and provide support for our insecurities. Anyone is welcome to join. Simply click on Alex's name above and put your blog on the linky list. Then hop around and visit other insecure writers like yourself!

The co-hosts this month are: Pat Garcia, J.Q. Rose, and Natalie Aguirre!

Before I get to the optional question and my post, just a reminder that today is the LAST DAY to get Bruised Souls & Other Torments at a discounted price! The e-book is only $1.99 today until 11:00 PM MT. You can purchase a paperback copy for $15.00 (this includes the shipping cost). All proceeds from book sales through midnight tonight will be donated to Team Gleason and the ALSA, with me matching the amount of profit, personally. This is a tribute to my dad, who died a year ago. You can read more about this on last week's post. THANK YOU SO MUCH to those of you who already purchased the book, either during this fundraiser or any time since its release. I appreciate you.

The optional question this month is: What are one or two of your secrets, that readers would never know from your work?

Here's a secret: I'm highly empathetic. Stories of abuse, rape, murder, animal abuse, etc. hurt me deeply. I can't stop envisioning it, even if it's a picture I gleaned from the written word. If a horrific video auto plays on Facebook, it sticks with me for a long time. I also pick up the mood of those around me, which can mean anything from joyfulness to being dismally down in the dumps for no good reason.

My word for this month is: Discouragement.

I'm feeling today as if the last year I've been scrabbling at this writing/publishing thing with my fingernails, barely holding on, just trying to get purchase. I thought of this as something that would continue improving, albeit gradually. A graph line increasing exponentially over time.

At this point, it feels like it's going down, down, down.

I realize that's a gloomy way to look at it, but it's certainly how it feels right now. I'm throwing spaghetti at the wall and it's not sticking. It's been too long since I got an acceptance, and I'm starting to think I've forgotten how to write or my writing's gotten crappier. Is it possible to devolve in your writing? I had a surge of short listings, then got rejections (or the publications shut down), then nothing but rejections. It's frustrating. It's disappointing. It's depressing.

More likely, it goes more like this:

Maybe I'm just there at the 26th (or so) of September. There are probably a bunch of reasons for these. I haven't been submitting nearly as much as before. I'm still building up the stockpile since putting out the last collection (which feels like a year ago, but it was just back in March!). I've got a stack of stories I need to finish editing (got them edited on paper; need to edit them digitally and submit). It's taking me a month or so to get stories resubmitted once they get rejected.

So yeah, I know I'm not working the business as hard as usual, but I'm pretty certain the average is down. I'm on the verge of walking away for a while, but when I try to imagine it, I can't. I'm also trying to remind myself that these are hard times, I already know I'm suffering depression, and that these things are likely shaping how hard I'm taking things right now, but knowing that doesn't seem to help.

This seems like a natural time to segue into my submission stats for the month. I did get two stories edited, so they're out on submission now. Finally! I've been writing when I'm able, but avoiding editing since it's my least favorite part. I'd rather be creating!

May Stats:

Rejections - 3
Submissions - 4
Withdrawn - 1 (Submitted back in September, queried in February, withdrew when I received no answer)
Currently on Submission - 8 (I'm trying to get back up to 10 on submission at any given time, if not more)

I hope everyone is doing as well as possible right now, that you're hanging in there and taking care of yourself, whatever that means for you. Keep writing, keep submitting, keep creating.

What are your current insecurities? What secrets are you harboring (that you're willing to share)? How are you doing right now? Is there anything I can do to help you?

May you find your Muse.

**Parabola Clip Art, OCAL,
**Graph Crash Clip Art, OCAL,
**Graph Clip Art, OCAL,


  1. Most writers are really struggling right now. Just hang in there and don't give up. Try not to take on the world's problems. Focus on you at the moment.

  2. Hang in there, Shannon! It WILL get better. I keep telling myself that, and even though some days it's harder than others, I believe it. I have to.

  3. I was doing well writing until the last two weeks when my daily word count plummeted. It's hard right now.

  4. The world is a mess right now and as another highly empathetic person I can tell you it is wearing me down. I'm continually stressed and exhausted. My writing has slowed and stalled in some cases. To give you a bit of a boost, you pointed me in the direction of Flash Bang Mysteries and I had a story accepted there in April - thanks to you! It will get better

  5. Sorry to hear you're in one of those down times in writing. Looking at your blog, it seems you have done well. You still have it, but the dark days at the moment are overcoming your writing focus. I know there are seasons in my life that have been productive and then times when I quit writing completely to concentrate on family, work, etc. No rush to write. You will with time.
    JQ Rose

  6. It is always so hard to keep up with the business side of writing. Put your stats along with what is happening around us these days and it's easy to understand depression. I suggest you get out. Regularly. Take a walk. Look for all the things that still exist that are beautiful, and do your best to concentrate on them. It could improve your writing, which then may improve your desire to submit.

  7. Hi Shannon - life is so troubling at the moment ... take care and try to ignore all those things that immediately upset you ... it's a habit isn't it ... I'm sure you can do ... take care and all the best for everything including your writing - Hilary

  8. My chart looks similar. I have about 6 outlets for my books. Every time one seems to pick up, another implodes. But I keep writing.

    There's a word for that...

  9. LOL I lost $1500 publishing my last book. Amazon ads cost $200 and I earned from them $217. So I totally understand where you are! I'm right there with you.

    I write because I have to. So I'll continue and I'll publish what I write, but I won't throw anymore money at it. It's not worth the expense. Not with free books the rage. Stay tough, you're a great writer with loads to offer. From a fellow empath the worst pain is rejection and while it feels that way when sales don't materialize. Well, I imagine my children and grandchildren living off my success. All great artists are only recognized after they're gone. :)

    That was supposed to make you smile!!!!

  10. It's an uncertain time and getting a rejection in the middle of it doesn't help. Just remember, life is full of ups and downs. This down will eventually turn up and something good will come. When that happens celebrate it and make a note to remember it when life downturns again.

  11. I can relate to being very empathetic in this respect too. Most people don’t know this about me either, because I am not very aware of how to help people when I sense their emotions.

  12. I'm also empathetic and yesterday after two pictures/videos of horses hurt in the riots, I had to shut it down. It's hard to feel motivated with everything happening, so don't be hard on yourself.

  13. I think a lot of us have the downward headed graph. If I charted just about anything I have going on right now, I'd find the arrow going same direction. Down. But that will change for you because you're moving on with your submissions and your goal. I'd say you're doing the right thing.

  14. It's okay. Give yourself a break right now. Don't ride yourself too hard. Tell yourself struggling is normal. Say everything will be okay with time. Believe it. <3

  15. I understand how you feel. It's impossible not to be discouraged with the world seemingly devolving into caveman-esque brutality and wanton cruelty. I cling to the hope that good will win out in the end. As far as writing goes, I think we're all struggling with finding the words and finding the time to get them down. I believe things will get better. We just have to ride out this storm and not let the current horrors of the world defeat us. Hang in there. We will get through it.

  16. How surprising that you're so empathetic and yet write the genre that you do. Writing right now is hard, but I have no doubt things will turn around again. The world always swings back and forth.

  17. Life is like a zebra, Shannon, with white stripes following black ones. You just hit the black, but the white is coming next. Don't let your depression win. It will be better.

  18. I know I'm struggling a lot with just being able to write. At least you're still working towards it. I hope you find a lot of properity!

  19. I think everyone is struggling right now. Give yourself permission to be a little less productive. You are still writing, editing and submitting--and that's a huge triumph in these times. As for the success rate... I bet that's never all that constant, and what's down will go back up.

  20. Sorry to read that you’re down, Shannon. I think it’s understandable based on everything going on these months. My first thought was that it might be time for you to do something else than writing and editing for a while. But, when I kept reading, it seems like you can’t live without! The next best thing is keep going and splurge yourself a bit more. :-)

    I’ve been submitting an article for two months without success now and want to give up on that. After contacting over ten outlets and not hearing back from any, its demotivating. And, the article was a timely one that now might be rejected, because it’s ”old news”.

    Like you, animal cruelty stays with me forever. Even when I see a dead animal along the side of the road, I can’t stop thinking about it for a long time. And, it makes me hate humans...

  21. Hang in there Shannon. If what goes up must come down, than the reverse is true as well. Don't beat yourself up too much.

  22. I'm pretty much in the same place right now, Shannon. Good for you that you are still submitting your work in the face of any/all discouragement. Good for you!

    Anne from

  23. Being an empath myself, I understand what you're going through. With all that's happening in the world right now, I'm overwhelmed by the emotion of it all. It's hard to be creative. Take care of yourself, and go easy on yourself. The whole world is in crisis.

  24. Thank God we have IWSG. I feel the same. I even go so far as to remind myself that I can't change what I'm seeing and I have to let it go. Had insomnia last night because my self-talk didn't work. Not good.