Wednesday, October 2, 2013

IWSG: OWN WORST ENEMY




It's that wonderful time again, the first Wednesday in the month, Insecure Writer's Support Group day, compliments of our very own fierce and noble Ninja Captain, Alex J. Cavennaugh. If you think this group sounds like a good place and you'd like to join, click here.



It's a simple process: 
 

"Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time. Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post." 

Our Twitter hashtag is #IWSG 

IWSG co-hosts this month are Julie Luek, Rachna Chabria, Beverly Fox, and Ilima Todd

Please stop by and thank them for their time and effort. Yay, Julie, Rachna, Beverly, and Ilima! You guys rock!


News:

I'm excited and thrilled to announce we've created a new website for Insecure Writers Support Group. Lots of wonderful things are going to arise from this site, co-created by my fellow admins, in no particular order: 

Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh
Lynda R. Young 
Joy L. Campbell
Michelle Wallace
Susan Gourley/Kelley
L. Diane Wolfe
and me - Joylene Nowell Butler


We have a Facebook page HERE

 
Our own special banner!


(drumroll, please) Check out the link for our INSECURE WRITERS SUPPORT GROUP's very own website!

 





Now for my post...



 Eden Robinson, Giller Prize nominee
Laura Robinson, award winning journalist
Daniela Elza, poet

I attended the Rural Writers in Residence retreat this past weekend in Smithers. During a poetry workshop given by Daniela Elza we had 5 minutes to answer the question: Why do I write?

After spending most of the time staring at the blank page, I finally wrote: Why do I write? I wish I could add something poetic and profound but in truth I write for the same reason I move, wake, breathe. I do all these so I can write. And I write so that tomorrow I may wake breathing. 


Daniela then asked us, "What haunts you?"  

Five minutes later I had written: One particular eagle flies by our window en-route to and from ... I have no idea. The first time we made eye contact it was a fluke. Or maybe not? I was standing at the upstairs window in the right spot at the right moment. His eyes met mine. Maybe he saw me as a predator? I don't think so. For three seconds our eyes locked and at once I sensed a familiarity, the belief that someone I knew was looking back at me. Since then when the leaves fall and the bare branches provide a clear line of sight, I wait for the eagle to glide past so that I may ask again and again, "Dad, is that you?"



In retrospect, my answers don't surprise me. I'm lost if I don't write. And if I can't write, I'm doomed; like a child grieving for parents who can no longer keep the monsters at bay.

What does surprise me is I thought I had my fears under control. I joined IWSG to help others overcome theirs. Yet, I attend a retreat and--through no fault of anyone's--suddenly my insecurities return with a vengeance. I was like a twisted pretzel, inspired by those around me yet thwarted by a sense of inadequacy. Who are you, Joylene, to be here among these gifted writers?

Since returning home I've been kinder to myself and my inner child. But having reared its ugly head, this feeling of ineptness has woke the monsters I was so certain were gone, and I'm left feeling wounded. Not a sensation I wanted to remember. Especially since I am a grownup. A writer. I have two published novels. A publisher. An award ... .

I'd forgotten how easily it is to be my own worst enemy. 




* Please return Sunday, October 6th when Phyllis in her column ASK PZM answers the following questions:

Q. What are the advantages of being your own publisher if you buy back the rights to your book? Do you buy all your books back? How do you distribute the book without the help of the publisher?

Q:  Have there been changes on Wattpad for publishing works-in-progress?







54 comments :

  1. Those are some tough prompts. Made you go to a place you didn't even realize was there. Acknowledging the fear is tough, but then we can see it and deal with it.
    Very glad to have you on the team! Couldn't have put together the site without your help.

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    1. Alex, being part of the process with you and the others is an honour.

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  2. How simple and how true. We are our own worst enemy. We have to shut off that darn internal editor. Easier said than done. :)

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    1. I totally agree, Diane. We need to be kind to ourselves.

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  3. Isn't that the way of it - you go to a conference to network with like minds and come home thinking I'm not adequate - and I'll bet 90% of the attendees feel the same way.

    I read a comment today written by R T Freeman that the term "insecure writer" is like saying "burly lumberjack" or "graceful dancer." I read it over on Cruising Altitude by D L Hammons!

    So true, so very true!

    Oh, and Joylene you won an ebook copy of Murder, Madness & Love - send me your email address and I'll get a copy over to you - do you have a Kindle or a Nook? yolandarenee@hotmail.com

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    1. Thanks, Yolanda. I already got MM&L. Thank you for picking me! I love the idea of the book and will read it as soon as I catch up.

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  4. I'm definitely my own worst enemy. The IWSG site is AWESOME!

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    1. Thanks, Susanne! Your support all these years has meant a lot.

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  5. This post really resonated with me Joylene!
    I often feel so inadequate... for example, how on earth can a novice writer like me, work alongside an award-winning author like yourself, who has published 2 novels...?
    But then I have to remind myself that it's more than that... we are all different... actually unique... we all have something valuable to contribute...

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    1. And there's something very strong that brings us together and connects us in a special way. Thanks, Michelle. Though I had to laugh at the award-winning part. LOL.

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    2. Oh dear... is that a boo-boo... you did win an award, didn't you...?

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    3. Yes, but it sounds so wow seeing someone else state it.

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  6. Just yesterday I was ready the reviews of a successful writer (her short story collection) and most were affirming remarks, but then there were several ugly remarks. I told my daughter I'm not sure I can handle the uglies. She said, yes you can. You have to put the harsh critiques where they belong and not make more out of them than they deserve.

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    1. Wow, that would have blown me away, having a daughter so wise beyond her years. Course, you look like a teenager so I'm guessing your daughter is young. LOL. Teresa, sounds like your girl is pretty awesome.

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  7. Cycles. We cycle through confidence to insecurity, eh? There are definitely times I've been terribly vulnerable, and others where I'm clad in rock armor. I think the thing to keep in mind is that we're always moving toward one extreme or the other, and if we can regularly pause to focus and get our bearings, we'll keep traveling the right way. (With the occasional detour.)

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    1. Oh, I like that, Crystal. So true. The important thing to remember is we're constantly moving forward even during those bleak moments.

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  8. Love the IWSG site! The picture of the of the retreat site is gorgeous.
    I know I can be my worst enemy. Luckily I am blessed with a wife who supports me no matter how I feel.

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    1. "An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels." David you are truly blessed. Thanks for visiting.

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  9. Hi Joylene, Love the IWSG site. Its super. Thanks for all the effort in reaching out to other writers and doing all the admin's hard work. At this moment I am my own worst enemy as I am procrastinating a lot as well as second guessing my characters.

    Rachna Chhabria
    Co-host IWSG
    Rachna's Scriptorium

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    1. Thanks, Rachna. Looking forward to what comes next. Happy IWSG.

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  10. You are Joyleen. And that's what give you the right to be there. Because you're a talented writer too!

    I loved your answers by the way, and the new website seems like it will be a great resource.

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  11. That looks like an awesome retreat. Comparisons are joy and confidence killers! Great questions, and responses. I think I'll journal about them as well.

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  12. I would have loved being in that place with you. It looks wonderful. I'm back from my break just in time to enjoy the new IWSG website!

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    1. Your timing's perfect, Lee. Welcome back. And thanks for visiting! BTW, I love the your webpage.

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  13. Thank you so much for all that you're doing for the IWSG members. It's wonderful we'll have a site dedicated to all of us. Having a place to go -- and people like you to ask -- to help us with the daunting world of writing/publishing will be fantastic! :-)

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    1. Lexa, thank you for that. And know that you are most welcome.

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  14. What haunts you - that is a powerful question. I'm not sure I could answer it right this minute.

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    1. It was a tough answer to read once I'd finished. The fact I wrote so quickly still startles me.

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  15. Wow. You really dug deep to answer those questions.
    Great post!

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  16. I will tell you what I tell myself: no one can write a story precisely the way that you would. That sometimes eases my fear when I get all bundled up with my own insecurities.

    I particularly enjoyed your answer to the What Haunts You writing prompt. Exquisitely written. I savored every word.

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  17. Hi, Joylene,
    Those niggles never let us go, do they? I find that if I don't focus on the positive, it is so easy to forget all that's good and dwell on the negative, which only does harm.

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  18. Grownups and writers definitely aren't exempt at feeling inadequate and wounded. Most often it is when we encounter other writers when we suddenly feel less than perfect. But every writer is unique. Every writer is good. Every writer is a human, which means we all feel inadequate from time to time.

    I loved your answers to the questions. And this: "Dad, is that you?" gave me chills. That would haunt me too!

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  19. wow, the location of that retreat looks gorgeous. Very inspirational.
    And yep, fears have a way of slipping from our control. That's why we need groups like the IWSG!! ;)

    Wonderful working with you getting the IWSG site happening.

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    1. I feel the same way, Lyn. Thanks.

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  20. I wanted you to come back from that retreat rejuvenated and inspired!!!! But I do understand what it feels like to mingle with greatness and wonder what I'm doing there. I just told someone else the cure for those feelings of inadequacy is to recognize that old enemy Mr. I.C. sitting on your shoulder breathing lies into your ear... and to visualize knocking him off, booting him out the door and locking it. I know, it's easier said than done. But in our
    Writer Unboxed FB group almost everyone, published or not, mentioned that they've had those same feelings. Joe Morgan said, "If it helps...I remember Robert McKee saying, 'Most bad writers pretty much love everything they write. But the really excellent writers I know think everything they write is shit.' So. There's that."

    You have a wonderful support system in the IWSG. I just hopped over to check out the new website and I know I'll be going back often. An excellent resource!

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    1. Thanks, Carol! If I've learned anything, it's that things aren't always as they seem. I'm sure there were others there who felt the same way. Ha, I can't believe you said shit. LOL.

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  21. Some lovely answers, and yes, I've joined the new website, Joylene.

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  22. I really enjoyed the part about the eagle, Joylene. Thank you for sharing! :)

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  23. I don't really understand this IWSG thingy (nor do I want to - sorry!), as I can be horribly insecure without having to join a club!

    Hope you are well, Joylene! Take care :)

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    1. Thanks, Wendy. And thanks for those paraprosdokians. Still chuckling.

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  24. Dedicated a little something to you on the Thursday post. Hope you like it:)

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    1. thank you for mentioning our new IWSG site, Robin. That was great.

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  25. Hey Joylene,

    The main thing is that you write from the heart. You take a special moment such as the eagle and you know there is symbolism within it. It guides you.

    I know that within the group dedicated to me. Ignore that. I know that the IWSG group can be a vital resource for you and it can make all of you writers inspire each other. Make you realise you can share your experiences. Show your vulnerabilities and your hopes, your dreams, your realities.

    When it comes to writing, I'm under no pressure and just write when I want. Or let Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet superstar take over.

    Be well, Joylene.

    Gary

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    1. Thanks, Gary. What I appreciate best about IWSG is knowing that I'm not alone. Hundreds out there feel the same way. That's reassuring.

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  26. Hi Joylene - you've always had clarity of vision .. and how fantastic you could see your father in the eagle's eyes ... lose yourself in your environment - your lake area is gorgeous.

    What a great chance to be able to go to the Conference and have fun participating ... love the way you answer too ...

    I'm sure your book "Dead Witness" is an excellent read .. and I'm ashamed I have yet to read it ... for some reason I can't easily sit and read - must try and correct that soon ..

    Cheers for now - Hilary

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    1. Of course I would love if you read DW, Hilary. But if you don't, that's absolutely alright. Reading it isn't a requirement in any way. Hearing from you is quite fine.

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