IWSG: When the Writing Ends

Logo for the Insecure Writer's Support Group. Picture of a lighthouse with text reading "THE INSECURE WRITER'S SUPPORT GROUP"

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

 

The awesome co-hosts for the July 7 posting of the IWSG are Pat Garcia, Victoria Marie Lees, and Louise – Fundy Blue! If you would like to join us, sign up here.

July 7 question – What would make you quit writing?

Wow. The last year or so has been pretty lean for me. I’m not one of those people who jump into a sea of stress and come out with an earth-shaking masterpiece. I’m still working my way back up to speed. Maybe I’m looking for something that feels meaningful after… everything. So, I’m focusing on short stories for a while. Eventually, maybe one of them will take, and I’ll have a novel going again.

I could envision taking some time off and writing just for myself–no editing, no submissions, no marketing, no business end–but I’d still be writing something. I could write rhyming poetry about parrots and farts, and spell everything however I please… or even… not at all. I could stop at the end of the first draft and not worry about the fact that the main character married the handsome prince, and also ran off to Hong Kong with her childhood sweetheart. I could stop logging rejections, and stop worrying about submission turnaround times.

But stop writing? Do people do that?

I know they say they do… but do they really?

I’m not sure I could.

So, where am I, right now?

I’m grappling with that “You have to finish what you write” thing. I have about 55,000 words of short stories since the beginning of the year, and somehow, that amounts to… huh… About a dozen finished stories? Is that right? It depends on what your definition of finished is, but if you mean ready to pack up and send? A dozen might be a little generous.

I’m also grappling with what I want my stories to look like. There are a few on the list that I’m not so sure about. They might belong in a trunk somewhere… or possibly a burn barrel.  Or under a pen-name. They’re not dinosaur-walrus bondage porn or anything, but they’re also not what I’d typically do. They’re also a little tricky to categorize. (Especially if I want them to fall into categories where people actually get paid money.)

And other thoughts…

The idea of accountability partners is becoming more appealing. Not critique partners. Not someone who has to take time out of their busy schedule to tell me what they think, or how to spell schedule. Not necessarily even someone who has to read what I send them. Just… In all the weirdness of my drifting mind… someone who fully expects me to email them story parts on a regular basis, and who sends letters saying, Are you hurt? Are you sick? DID YOU DIE IN A FIRE?!! if they don’t hear from me. (And vice-versa, but of course, I’m sure everyone else on the planet is much more responsible than I am.) I think it would be incredibly useful to have someone who expects something.

I’m still working out the details in my mind.

Thoughts? What are the most unusual arrangements you’ve heard of for that kind of thing?

6 Comments

  1. Reply

    Accountability partners can really help. I have a friend who just asks me how many words I wrote today. It’s a small thing, but it does help.

  2. helenmatheyhornbooks

    Reply

    I think I’ll go looking for an accountability partner, although I don’t like being prodded, sometimes it is necessary. 🙂

  3. Loni Townsend

    Reply

    I used to have an accountability partner, but then life overwhelmed us and we stopped checking in with each other every Tuesday like we were. Neither of us have finished anything since then, but that’s due to life too, not a lack of accountability. Having a critique group helps me because knowing I have to submit something in 6 weeks prompts me to make sure I have something to submit.

  4. Reply

    It doesn’t sound like you’ve got a shortage of ideas, which is great. I’m sure there’s a lot of good in those short stories that you could take further. I used to think, if I said I would do something on social media then I needed to do it, but that seems a bit arbitrary. Having one person to be accountable to is a nice idea.

  5. Reply

    LOL at, “dinosaur-walrus bondage porn!” I could also use an accountability partner. I’m trying to get involved in some local writing groups (I moved to a new city late last year), but it’s harder to connect over Zoom than in person.

  6. Diane Burton

    Reply

    Sometimes you need a break from writing. I called it hiatus, and that’s where I’ve been since covid hit. The pandemic alone didn’t do it. Life itself horned in. The desire to write will be back. Good luck with those short stories.

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