Wednesday, October 6, 2021

IWSG-October Thrills

 It's the first Wednesday in October, so it's time again for the Insecure Writer's Support Group.

Created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, this group serves to seek and provide reassurance for our insecurities. Anyone can join. Simply click on Alex's name and put your blog on the sign-up list.

This month's co-hosts are: Jemima Pett, J Lenni Dorner, Cathrina Constantine, Ronel Janse van Vuuren, and Mary Aalgaard!

This week's optional question is: In your writing, where do you draw the line, with either topics or language?

I don't have many hard and fast lines. In writing horror, there are lines I'll cross that others might not, but there are also places I don't want to tread, such as pedophilia. In terms of language, I won't say words I wouldn't say in real life, such as racist terms, and I don't aim to put in a bunch of profanity, but I do cuss in real life, so it will show up in my writing some. I tend to keep it mostly clean except for the lesser cuss words, though. Short version: I try not to set too many hard limits in advance. If I write something that makes me too uncomfortable or that won't sell, I'll remove it.

As far as insecurities, October tends to be my busy month for appearances (horror and all...), and this year is no different. But I've found that being home for a year without really going anywhere or seeing anyone undid all the progress I'd made with being around other people. It doesn't come naturally for me to be outgoing and be able to talk to people. I'm very introverted, though I enjoy presenting, which makes no sense. So my insecurities are about whether or not I can still pull off the appearances and make them look natural, rather than being stressed. I think I did well at my first appearance of the month this past weekend at MileHiCon, so that's good.

Speaking of which, I had three panels and one reading. The reading was in a genre I don't write (utopian), so I wrote a flash piece that was utopian, but still had a touch of horror (utopia gone wrong). I was nervous all weekend until I read it, but got positive feedback, so shew. The panels all went well. I was moderator on two of them, and we had some good conversations about overused tropes, short stories, and revisiting childhood favorites.

I've got two more online appearances this month, so if you're interested you can attend from anywhere. I'll be doing a reading (story TBD) online via Stories Live Wednesday, October 20, at 7:00 PM, along with several other people. This is FREE on YouTube! You can access the page on my appearances tab, and I'll post about it on my Facebook that day. It does stay online, so I'll add the video to my appearances tab once it airs, too. Also, I'm doing a horror panel Saturday, October 16, from 12:30 to 3:30 PM with some awesome horror writers, but this one is $20 and will be via Zoom. The link for this is also on my appearances tab, if you're interested. It's put on by Pikes Peak Writers.

Time for stats! I post my submission stats each month to keep on top of things. In September, my stats were:

10 submissions

10 rejections

Sent 2 queries on stories that had been out for a long time

Pulled 1 story after not hearing back on the query (the other one was a rejection)

Currently have 24 submissions out

Not a ton to report, but it feels good to be back in the groove. Work is progressing on my NF WIP and I finished one short story and one piece of flash fiction. I'd like to get a short story done each week on top of the non-fiction book work, but there's been a lot going on, so I'm not going to beat myself up.

How about you? Are you getting work done? Any submissions? How about acceptances? What are your insecurities?

May you find your Muse.


  1. I'm one of those people that gets socially anxious, but love to present. It is an odd combo. Sounds like your first step out went well. Just keep on keeping on!

  2. I'm an introvert too. It's one of the things that makes trying to get published harder to consider. Glad your event went well. I think taking it one step at a time when opportunities emerge will help you feel comfortable again.

  3. Big introvert here! Hopefully you'll slide back into the process.
    Cool about the con and the upcoming ones. Is that seven Mountain time?

  4. It feels like we're all starting over after the pandemic. I finally pushed the "restart" button on a WIP and doing my 1st book event. Feels good. Best wishes on your restart.

  5. Getting back in the groove is hard!
    I'm an introvert as well - but I can present as an extrovert. Just need a lot of gearing-up and winding-down alone time! You'll be great!

  6. I'm sure you'll back up and running/writing ASAP. I could use a kickstart on some of my projects, so I understand 100%.

  7. Years ago I saw a film where a best selling author couldn't bring herself to attend book signings or readings. She was classic anti-social, so it wasn't just shyness. I think about that movie every time I have to appear in public. It's never a pleasant experience, but I fake it. LOL.

  8. Sounds like you're working well - and using a great approach to cuss words.
    Many (most?) introverts have a 'performance' mode, so it's not surprising you can enjoy presenting; in a way you're in a bubble then, and usually talking about something you know better than anyone else! Many actors are introverts. I saw a great description of it recently; something like "yes, I'm an introvert, acting like I'm not. Then I have to go and recharge for a few days before I see anyone again."
    Happy IWSG day!

  9. We managed to do five live events this year, plus I've several online seminars. It was weird setting up for the first con this year, but it was busy and we fell into the rhythm.

  10. It feels like the whole world is waking up from the long COVID break. It's not over yet, but hope is raising its head.

  11. Actually, it does make sense. I'm a huge introvert, but loved being in the courtroom. I think it has to do with having a sense of control about the presentation and being confident in a professional sense, rather than trying to manage a bunch of inane chit chat.

    Your approach to drawing lines makes a lot of sense - very practical. Oh, and Utopia always goes wrong!🤣

  12. Meeting new people and making conversation is difficult for me however, I like to pitch to agents at conferences. Doesn't make sense. Glad you're back in the swing of things...but you do so much...and I admire you.

  13. I still jump back when someone gets too close, and this includes children. I do wonder if I'll ever go back to what I was.

    Anna from elements of emaginette

  14. Seems it is always struggle to get started again, wishing you the best of luck and happy writing.

  15. Hi Shannon - sounds like you've got the balance right. Great you're on so many panels and helping others, let alone receiving help yourself. Good luck with getting back out and about - you'll be fine - you've lots of stories to tell - cheers Hilary