I am not quite sure exactly whose blog or what particular link led me to Alex J. Cavanaugh’s supportive and fabulous project, the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. Over the last six weeks I have browsed hundreds of writer’s blogs, writing forums, critique groups, as well as websites of many of my favorite authors whose work can be found at my all time favorite blog Crime Always Pays. CAP follows and reviews the work of a growing number of excellent writers of Irish crime fiction. I am still in the early stage of my own writing and not sure where it will fall genre-wise yet but as a reader really enjoy the work of Tana French, Adrian McKinty, Stuart Neville, Colin Bateman and other Irish and Northern Ireland writers.
Most of the forums and groups I’ve browsed have fallen by the wayside as I try to streamline an activity that lands somewhere between being inspiring and becoming a source of procrastination, often leaning toward the latter. I do find time or rather don’t feel guilty about returning the writer’s forums at Absolute Write Water Cooler and the prompts at Writer’s Digest’s Creative Writing Prompts.
During the last month and a half of perusing and procrastinating I have come up with a dozen or so ideas for posts but not gotten around to posting. Like other insecure writers I find it worrisome to expose myself to the likely criticism that will ensue by sharing my work. Although how else do some published authors acquire critical acclaim? I find it challenging to share bits or excerpts of my work until they are further along. Years ago I took to a writing course and later joined a critique group when I was writing up my thesis and neither worked for me. I later realized that I was joining in entirely too early in my writing process. Everyone in both groups had vastly different perspectives on writing in the course and the in thesis group the others were so focused on copy editing when what I needed at that time was feedback on the work as a whole that neither was as helpful as it could have been. After leaving and accomplishing more with my own writing, I was able to return to find the it more productive.
Aside from writing, most of my time lately has been spent transcribing journals. I never gave myself credit for how much I wrote and have come across notes and story ideas that I would not have remembered otherwise. Compiling it into digital text has also recaptured a lifetime of creative energy that came in bits and pieces and moments and is generating more of that energy. It is an exercise I cannot recommend enough and probably one that fewer and fewer will have as handwritten journals become more and more obscure. Not to discount daily digital journaling. It is the only way I journal now, but spending the time with the transcription, although tedious, gives an added layer of intensity. There is no turning away, skimming over, not completely grasping each sentence and idea of what was meant when it was written. Although there have been couple of occasions when I thought to myself – I have no memory of this!
Now that the first Wednesday of the month has arrived, I have no excuse not to join in. It is important for me to create a routine, although keep it within my own realistic terms. Some writers for example can say I am going to post every other Wednesday and every other Saturday. I find it easier to say I am going to post once a week or twice a month.