Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Insecure Writer's Support Group & Links

It's that time again, folks! The first Wednesday of the month means Insecure Writer's gather together to discuss their insecurities. Anyone is welcome to join this support group, created by Alex J. Cavanaugh. You can sign up here.

Do you constantly think about what you want to write, only to sit down and struggle with what to write (as in, which one?) or how to get started? Do your stories and characters run through your head all the time, yet elude you when you try to get them onto paper? Am I sounding a bit like an infomercial right now?

I attended a great workshop led by author Angel Smits this past month, and I wanted to share a bit about it for my fellow insecure writers. It's the second time I attended one similar to this that she's presented, and I always leave feeling inspired. Plus, I always leave with words on the page.

Angel gives us the tools to shut off our internal editor, our voice of self-doubt and criticism, by using improv writing. She gives ideas on multiple ways to get started writing, while evading your internal editor. First off, give your editor a name. Mine is Smurgle.  Next, set a timer for a certain amount of time and start writing. Doesn't matter what you're writing. You can write "I don't know what to say." You can write "I don't feel like doing this." You can write your grocery list. You can write whatever you want, as long as your pen stays on the paper (or your fingers keep moving across the keyboard). This activity disengages your editor and gets you in the writing mindset.

After that, you can use a variety of prompts. Pictures from a magazine, quotes or snippets of writing chosen at random (not necessarily the beginning of a sentence), random words, postcards, anything that may trigger a writing topic for you. Set a timer each time and start writing. Don't edit it as you go (though I will often cross out something I just wrote down and then continue immediately, I'm breakin' the rules). Just write. Write, write, write, until that timer ends.

Would you believe that she has written her novels over a series of Thursdays through the years with her improv group? In the two hours they meet, she takes each prompt as a jumpstart to the next section of her book and keeps it going. Pretty amazing.

I'd like to start doing a bit of this timed free writing when I sit down to write. Maybe it will become part of my writing routine, maybe it won't. But I can't know until I try. I've also joined up with some friends to start an improv writing night we had previously been doing, so I'm looking forward to that.

I accomplished a lot with my writing Monday, but Tuesday I sat there undecided on what to start on. Today I need to get some writing done again.

Yours, in Insecurity!

Now for some links.

Please bear in mind that I am not personally vetting any of these publications. I haven't researched the validity of these offers. Please do your own due diligence before submitting to any publication.

Accepting Submissions:

The Capilano Review publishes "venturesome experimental writing and art" and is looking for submissions. Submission deadline is February 28 for the spring issue. Pays $50 per printed page. The theme is languages.

Workers Write is seeking poetry and prose from the cubicle dwellers point-of-view. 500-5000 words. December 31 deadline. Pays $5 to $50.

Angelic Knight Press is taking submissions for their anthology Demon Rum and Other Evil Spirits. Deadline December 31. I didn't find any indication of payment for this particular anthology, but their overall submission guidelines state quarterly royalties and a copy of the book. More information on this specific publication here.

Infinite Acacia is seeking short stories for a collection, Infinite Science Fiction. Deadline December 31. 2000-6000 words, Science Fiction. Pays $.01/word. They also have a short story collection entitled Mother Knows Best, same deadline. Pays 10 Euros, plus a contributor copy.

Firbolg Publishing is seeking environmental horror short stories for the fourth entry in their Enter At Your Own Risk series. Pays a flat $40 fee. Deadline is December 31.

Crossed Genres is taking submissions of Science Fiction and/or Fantasy short stories with the theme of "Runaway" for their April issue. Pays $.05/word. Deadline December 31.


Suspense Magazine is holding the Terri Ann Armstrong Short Story Contest. Deadline is December 31. Must be in the suspense/mystery/thriller genre. No cash prize is mentioned. May be published online or in their print publication.

21 Peaceful Genders is an anthology on Transgender healthcare being run as a contest. December 31 deadline. First prize is $500. This appears to be run by two individuals, rather than a publishing house, so please do your research before entering.


The Kindle Book Review, along with their partners, is giving away a $500 Amazon shopping spree (HOLY COW!) from now through December 15. This is a Rafflecopter giveaway, with the standard types of tasks in order to earn entries (like x on Twitter, share on Facebook, etc.)

Blog Hop:

Mark Koopmans is hosting the 50 States of Pray Event on Christmas Eve (December 24). The intention is for everyone to post a prayer, a thought, a hope, a regret, a memory, or a wish in about 100 words. It's a simple hop with a lot of heart.

What's your insecurity? What's your inner editor's name? Do you do constant battle with them? Any of these links of interest to you? Anything you'd like to share? Any publication news?

May you find your Muse.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

She used the photo prompt to keep writing? That is really clever.
Smurgle. Is he looking for his Precious? Don't let him find it.

Kimberly said...

Cool name for your inner editor. :

This is a great idea. I attended a SCBWI session once where they had us pull magazine photos and/or newspaper articles for inspiration, it was a pretty cool method.

Michelle Wallace said...

I can vouch for the free writing exercises. Works for me. Every time.
Writer In Transit

Julie Flanders said...

Anything that helps shut off my inner editor/critic sounds good to me. I will give this a shot. Thanks for sharing, Shannon.

Huntress said...

Great tips! I sorely need goaded into writing sometimes.

Already signed up for the 50 States.

D.G. Hudson said...

My inner editor is named Calliope. She's a muse for writers and poets. She's the one who makes me edit like Dean Koontz (as I go).

Free writing for me is working on the blogposts, or thinking up ideas for future material. My best writing workshop was with Don Maass - a master class at a conference.

I'm looking for an anthology to send my mystery novella to in the new year, so that will keep me busy. I'm working on two new novels as well, and shopping around a scifi.

John Wiswell said...

My inner editor's name is 'John.' It's just another part of me that I had to learn to exist in harmony with; he's actually one of the smarter parts of me, simply an unyielding one. He's good to have on the team so long as he doesn't take over everything.

Rosaria Williams said...

Wow! You and Alex are the early Santas this year. Most thankful.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I've gotten better at ignoring the inner editor until I'm through the first draft. Thanks for the links.

shelly said...

Love the improv writing idea. Thank you for the links.

Laura Clipson said...

I've never tried improv writing, but it sounds pretty helpful. I'll have to try it.

Andrew Leon said...

I like my internal editor; he keeps me from having to go back and rewrite and rewrite and rewrite. We're a team!
See, that's how to do it. Make a team!
Maybe, you should offer your Smurgle food. Unless he's trying to steal your precious, like Alex said.

Unknown said...

Sounds like the friends group is an excellent idea. I'm struggling with my present novel but know I haven't planned it enough even though I'm up to the editing. Back to the drawing board!

Tammy Theriault said...

great ideas that you got, just keep writing anything and anywhere!!

Unknown said...

That first part happens to me all the time! My characters will be chattering in my ear all day, "let's do this amazing thing", "oh, that's bloody brilliant","yes, let's kill him off, never like him much anyway". Then, when I'm gearing up to write...damned if they show up. Great ideas to stifle your inner demon, I mean, editor. I'll have to think of a clever name for mine:)

cleemckenzie said...

I find Angel's ability to write her novels that way amazing. I don't think I could do that!

Let us know how the improv group works. That sounds like so much fun.

A Beer for the Shower said...

Smurgle sounds like a body function. God, I just smurgled. So... I'm already a fan.

My inner editor's name is Steve, and he likes to burn things. He also isn't so much of an editor as he is a severe mental health problem that might need addressing at some point.

Trisha said...

I don't usually struggle with what to write - but when it comes to revisions & getting a book or story publish-ready, then I definitely struggle more!

David T List said...

Hahaha Oh Smurgle...
I like the idea of setting a timer and making yourself do it. One can't just wait around for "inspiration." They'll never get anything done. When I was rewriting my first novel I got home from work at about 10:45pm and wrote until at least midnight. No matter what. And I wrote 100k words in a couple of months. It's just a matter of making yourself do it!
Happy late IWSG Shannon