Wednesday, June 5, 2024

IWSG - Atomic Habits, Mountain of Authors, Rich Bennet Podcast, & More

It's time for the June Insecure Writer's Support Group!

Created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, the IWSG exists for writers to get together the first Wednesday of each month and discuss our insecurities while lending each other support and advice. Anyone can join. Simply click on Alex's name and sign up on the IWSG tab.

This month's co-hosts are Melissa Maygrove, Liza at Middle Passages, Olga Godim, and ME!

This month's optional question is: In this constantly evolving industry, what kind of offering/service do you think the IWSG should consider offering to members?

Hm, I don't see anything that I feel IWSG should offer, but some things that I've seen people value in writing groups and at conferences are mentorships (a published member offers to mentor a newer writer), critiques, beta readers (different from critiques), editing, logline practice, and that sort of thing, so it depends on why and how far the IWSG is looking to expand. 

I think that out of all my suggestions, this group would do really well with mentorships. It feels like a lovely way to continue the IWSG, and speaks to the mission.

A few months ago I had a great chat with Rich Bennett at the podcast Conversations With Rich Bennett. You can check out the episode at the podcast website and various podcast apps. I may be on a future episode about autism, so I'll keep you updated! He's a great guy and is doing a lot of really interesting episodes, as well as various panels.

I've been reading Atomic Habits, by James Clear, recently. I was wary, and thought I might be having to figure out workarounds, but his processes are straight forward and pretty simple. Plus, there are items in there that I've long done already. I highly recommend it.

I'm still working through The Artist's Way, but I admit that there are a lot of things about it that don't work for me, as well as others that just feel like trying to fit in a bunch more work on top of what I've already got. I've been taking off my big deadline week each month, which has pushed it out a bit, but I'm still moving forward. The weekly artist dates are something I've had to put aside most weeks, because they were too much of an inconvenience, even though I completely understand the purpose of them. But the more time I spend on exercises, dates, tasks, and writing three pages per day, the less time I have to actually write something real, and I don't have that time to spare right now. Interestingly, it was Atomic Habits and a section on giving anything five minutes and doing what you can, rather than pushing to go beyond that, which is no way to create a habit, that made me realize that instead of spending half an hour or more forcing myself to journal for three pages, I will spend at least five minutes and write what I can. If I have more to say, I'll keep going, but I'm not forcing it anymore. And you know what? That one silly little thing has been a breakthrough in keeping me going. Journaling is not a thing I enjoy or am good at. I'd rather spend five minutes journaling and half an hour writing fiction!

On that note, I decided to go back to tracking short story submissions. It will be less consistent than before, but I'll update when there's something to update. May:

13 submissions

1 personal rejection where they told me about their next call and asked me to submit then

14 total stories currently on submission

On June 22, I'll be a showcase author at the PPLD's Mountain of Authors event from 12-4:30 PM. The keynote speaker is Adrian Miller. It's free to attend and there will be a ton of books for sale by various authors, including me!

Have you ever been a writing mentor or been mentored? What are your insecurities? Have you ever read Atomic Habits? Are there any similar books you'd recommend?

May you find your Muse.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Mentorship is something we can consider. We'll pool together all the ideas from today and see what we can do.
Showcase author - well done!
Thanks for co-hosting today.

Liza said...

I am a fan of The Artist's Way, but when I did it, I wasn't working full time. I can definitely see how completing it could be an issue with a busy life. I have often thought I should start morning pages again, but I already get up at 5:30 am so I can write before work. I will say, back when I did them they were revealing to me and led me to identify and achieve goals I had barely formulated when I started. Best wishes however you proceed.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Congrats on being a showcase author. And your idea of mentorships is a good idea.

Loni Townsend said...

Woot woot! Showcase author! Grats!

I find your experience interesting, because I often find other people's methods don't work for me. It sounds like you are experiencing the same thing with the Artist's Way. Best of luck figuring out what works best for you!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Five minutes is easy. I'll have to get Atomic Habits.

Sonia Dogra said...

Logline practice is a good idea. Never thought of it.

Joyana Peters said...

Thanks for co-hosting today! I've never been mentored formally outside of my MFA program. I think my question would be what kind of mentorship- like at what point in the process? Craft? Journey to publication? Book Launch and Marketing? I think there would be many different ways that could be approached and how it could be utilized.

cleemckenzie said...

Thanks for contributing your mentorship idea. And congratulations on being a showcase author.

Great post today as co-host, Shannon!

Nancy Gideon said...

Thanks for herding we cats this month! Loved your insightful post. Got the ole brainpan spinning. I've tried mentoring through several different groups as a mentor and have enjoyed working with many talented and receptive writers. After all the years I've written, I'm still a sissy when it comes to opening my work (in its enfant stage) to those I don't know. I count upon the critique group I was invited to join decades ago who are all dear friends as well as co-mentors.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Love the idea of mentoring. I'm game, if it's ever considered. I've heard of "Atomic Habits" from several podcasters. Thanks for the recommendation! Thanks for co-hosting, Shannon.

Steven Arellano Rose Jr. said...

It makes sense to start a new habit in manageable bits, rather than in huge bites. When a person starts off with large chunks of time it's too easy not to meet the initial goal and to want to quit.

Steven Arellano Rose Jr. said...

Oh, and by the way, thanks to you and the others for co-hosting!

Kristina Kelly said...

I've never officially been a mentor but at my day job I had several writers want to speak with me to learn more about publishing and writing. I felt I was impactful sharing how I juggle all of life and fit in writing, and would love to do little motivational talks with others in the future.

Lynn La Vita said...

I love your mentorship suggestion! I'd sign up in a heartbeat.

Thanks for co-hosting our June IWSG blog hop.

Lynn @

Melissa said...

Atomic Habits sounds interesting. I need to add that to my craft book TBR.
Thanks for co-hosting.

Fundy Blue said...

Thanks for co-hosting, Shannon. I've seen "Atomic Habits" in the bookstore a number of times. I'll look at it again this weekend. I found "Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals" by Oliver Burkeman very helpful. I do Cameron's morning pages most days, but I don't worry about three pages. If my journal entry is shorter, I just imagine the large page on three smaller ones. The games we play ~ lol! I really believe in incrementalism. Generally doing something for five or ten minutes gets you going. All the best to you!

Pat Garcia said...

I have Atomic Habits by James Clear and have read it. I love it. I find myself making progress.
Thank you for co-hosting.
Shalom shalom

Lidy said...

Thanks for co-hosting this month! And good luck with your submissions!

'Interestingly, it was Atomic Habits and a section on giving anything five minutes and doing what you can, rather than pushing to go beyond that,'...I'm the same. I've found I work best when I write as much as I can until I'm unable to. When I find myself struggling and forcing myself to write more, that when I stop. And pick up where I left off next time. That's why some days have a higher word count than others but it works.

Rebecca M. Douglass said...

I had a lot of the same problems with the Artist's Way, I think. I like your 5-minute solution. Maybe I can use that to get more into a journaling habit--I am typically only regular with that while traveling, and that's a travel log, not a journal :)

Cathrina Constantine said...

Showcasing an author is a good idea. Good Luck with all your submissions! Thanks for co-hosting!

Miffie Seideman said...

I love the idea of mentorships. I coudl have used one when I started writing for sure. It was mostly trial by fire, with a few tips to keep me from burning up. But sharing all our knowledge with newbies woudl be great all around. Excellent idea (and thanks for co-hosting).

Tyrean Martinson said...

I haven't been mentored and I haven't been a mentor, although I have been a tutor. I did have a quasi-mentor one time - she chose me, and I was a bit surprised (I was 13) and that didn't last long because the mentor/mentee thing has to be decided on by both parties to work effectively. Announcing to a 13-year-old that you'll be their mentor is generally not a good way to go about it. I think she meant well, and I knew that then, but... yeah. I have a stubborn streak.
However, I think it could be really cool to try a mentorship. There are definitely people I would love to learn from, and maybe a few things I could "mentor."
I love your updates on story submissions and your events! Way to go with being a showcase author!

Olga Godim said...

Interesting suggestions, especially about mentorship. It could be useful to beginner writers.

emaginette said...

I think I've done both but unofficially. Being part of a critique group, anyone can wear several hats depending on their life experiences.

Honestly, I'd love a mentor. I'm too damn insecure to do it by myself.

Anna from elements of emaginette

Samantha Bryant said...

I've had mixed experiences with mentorship. Generally, time is the issue. @samanthabwriter from
Balancing Act said...

Mentorship is a great suggestion. Congrats on the submission stats!

Shannon Lawrence said...

Alex, I've seen mentorship be popular in groups like HWA, so who knows!

Liza, I think part of it is that I already analyze things as a natural state of being, so I'm not getting any epiphanies or help from the morning pages, so it feels like a waste of time.

Natalie, thank you!

Loni, I also frequently have that issue (which is why I was pleasantly surprised by Atomic Habits), so I'm not shocked, but I also don't want to ditch it without finishing since I'm more than halfway.

Diane, definitely! It's a helpful way to look at things.

Sonia, they do it at a local conference quite a bit and it's always packed.

Joyana, I feel like that would need to be up to the people wanting to get involved on either side.

Shannon Lawrence said...

Lee, thank you!

Nancy, critique groups like yours are so valuable!

Joylene, you'd be a great mentor!

Steven, agreed! He also makes the point that it isn't the habit we should be focusing on. I'll try to put together a post about it once I'm done with the whole book.

Kristina, I frequently have people refer friends and such to me with questions, and it's nice to help!

Lynn, would you be mentor or mentee?

Melissa, it's a good one!

Shannon Lawrence said...

Fundy, I'll have to check out that book and see how it hits me! I tend to be all or nothing, and I've found that opposing that works better for me for sure.

Pat, that's really good to hear!

Lidy, I think that's a great way to do it. Forcing it rarely turns out anything quality.

Rebecca, I'm actually glad to hear that, because everyone else seems to love it.

Cathrina, thank you!

Miffie, I love doing workshops to teach folks, so I can definitely see people enjoying mentorship.

Tyrean, interesting that she just announced her mentorship and thought you'd go with it! I wouldn't have responded well, either.

Olga, I've seen people do amazing things in the HWA through mentorship.

Anna, I think there are a lot of people who could benefit from mentorship if for nothing else but having that dedicated support.

Samantha, I can completely see that being an issue. I know I wouldn't be able to do it, for example, but others might have that ability/time.

Kim, thanks!

Rosemary Johnson said...

Well done on all your submissions 'out there'. This is something I should be doing too.

Personal rejections are good - it means the editor has actually read your work.

Kate Larkindale said...

Keep submitting. It's the only way forward and you get much better at shrugging off rejection. I've been mentored before and it was really helpful. I'd be happy to return the favour and be a mentor to someone else.

Victoria Marie Lees said...

Thanks for cohosting this month's IWSG question.

Mentorship is a great idea, Shannon. You are amazing in all you do. I still reference your Short Story Writing book. All the luck with your June event with Mountain of Authors. I need to get my college memoir book published so I have books to sell at events as well. Have a beautiful day!

Rosie said...

Mentorships can be so helpful. I'm currently a mentor for a 10-month program for new romance authors and it's very rewarding, and honestly I've learned a lot too, even as a mentor. Because we're really always learning! Way to go on the short stories. Thanks for co-hosting!

diedre Knight said...

What an inspiring post! Congratulations on the Showcase, I can't say I'm surprised. You're always amazing ;-)
I've found that allowing myself the time to write is much more effective than expecting a certain number of pages.
I was inadvertently mentored for a time:-) I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and miss her dearly. This is why I think your suggestion is outstanding.
Thank you for co-hosting!

Ronel Janse van Vuuren said...

Thanks for the book recommendation!

Ronel visiting for IWSG day Cantering Dark Horses

Michelle Wallace said...

I always see Atomic Habits in the bookstore window... and now I may just have to get it.

It's inspiring to see that you still have many stories out on submission!
Keep up the amazing work!