IWSG: Swimming or Sinking?

10:22 AM Elizabeth Seckman 48 Comments

               < photo credit: HikingArtist.com via photopin cc />


It's another Insecure Writer's Support Group!!

Insecure Writer List
Started by the Ninja Master, Alex J. Cavanaugh, to support writers around the world. Posts appear the first Wednesday of every month in an attempt to save your sanity. You can check out other pieces by simply clicking HERE.

Now...here's my thoughts on this October ISWSG day...

Back in the day, I had a real job. The kind where a secretary took my calls when I said I was busy, and wrote messages on little pink slips of paper (yes, it was a loooonnnngggg time ago!), and I would return them at my leisure.

If I was at work...I had absolutely no guilt in not answering that phone. Not a single second thought in saying, "Busy. I'll have to do that later."

But, as a writer...some days, I'm like those fish in the bowl with no better daily plan than swimming in circles. I expect results, but all I get is frustration.

Let's be honest...I know what I need to do. I know what separates the published from the unpublished, the sellers from the non-sellers...and it's not always talent (cause fishy buddies, there's lots of that in the literary tank!)...what differs is the dedication, the determination of some to GET. THE. JOB. DONE.

I think we all know it. How many of us wonder when the Ninja Master sleeps? Yes, he may have a clone, but I'm betting he has a plan. And a job. A job he takes seriously.

So, why is it so few of us do the same? Why aren't we setting working hours? Why don't we have the kahoonas (by which I mean gonads) big enough to start saying NO to some things so we can get our work done?

How many writers quit after trying for years, but maybe only spent months actually working?

I've seen it more than once...talented people who went belly up in the bowl because they just got tired of swimming in circles.

Don't swim in circles.

You want to succeed at this? It's a job...maybe even your second...or third job. So, to squeeze what you're going to have to do into a busy life, you're going to have to *gasp* start saying no to some things. And you're going to have to look at all things writer-ish as "work" and stop feeling guilty...you have a job to get done.

Here's just a few things that you should be doing GUILT FREE and why:

The study of the craft? educational
Blogging...facebooking...tweeting? platform building
Reading? also educational
Conferences, seminars, webinars, etc? business trips
Staring at a computer screen, some days only spitting out 100 words? it's reality & what you live for

Distraction is a drug...Just say no!





48 comments:

  1. I really needed to read this today. Great timing!

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  2. Fabulous post, Elizabeth! I wish I had something profound to add, but I think you covered everything! :D

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    1. Let's just say I left you speechless and pat myself on the back. ;)

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  3. I was able to get rid of the kiddo today and plop myself at Starbucks to write. I'm getting stuff done, not just today, but all week! Feels sooooooo good.

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    1. Yay!!! And I feel special that a visit to me was on your agenda. :)

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  4. Nicely put. And it's funny how many of these this month are about getting to it. (maybe the Zeitgeist *is* real!)

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    1. Must be that fall, back to school, back to business feeling in the air.
      (and I'm not ashamed to admit, I had to look up Zeitgeist...and I think it is totally among us!)

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  5. Great post. Sometimes it's so tempting to just sit in front of the tv but I know if I want to be a published writer, I actually have to sit down and write.

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    1. Then you give up TV and don't know what everyone else is talking about in casual conversation...oh, the sacrifices we make!

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  6. Holy crap! I LOVE this! Hahaha... Distraction is a drug! Just say no!

    And you're right. It does just come down to doing it. It really does. :)

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    1. It's the most work I've ever done for so little money...that's for sure!

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  7. The thing I love about IWSG is coming across things that I am feeling to. Only this week I've come to the conclusion that I have to start saying no to silly things that take me away from my writing.
    A great post, thanks.

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    1. Best of luck to you! I had a long losing streak on solitaire that distracted me for a half a year, so I understand silly things!

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  8. Great entry. Reminds me of one of my favorite Stephen King quotes: “Sometimes you have to go on when you don't feel like it, and sometimes you're doing good work when it feels like all you're managing is to shovel shit from a sitting position.”

    I keep shoveling....

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    1. Stephen King is so wise. I've trained myself to keep writing...even when it is all crap...sooner or later it turns to something like fertilizer. :)

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  9. Great post. I shouldn't feel guilty about all the time I spend reading, blogging and of course writing it's a job just like my day job. Now all I have to do is convince those around me. Yikes!

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    1. I'm lucky enough not to have a day job...my hat's off to you guys who do it all!

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  10. Excellent post - and thank you for helping me to justify all the things I love doing!

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    1. You're most welcome...and honestly, it's all truth. I have learned so much from blogs and bloggers. I look back to where I started and I am amazed I was ever so naive. It's def time well spent!

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  11. Great post, you are so right. We have to prioritise these things and not feel bad about doing so.

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    1. Thanks. And you said it perfectly...we have to make it a priority.

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  12. I love how you ended this post. I don't know how the Ninja Master does it. I'm convinced he has a workshop of Ninja elves to help him with blogging.

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    1. Ninja elves!!! That's the secret. Can I hire some from Wal Mart or are they special order?

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  13. Amen! I have the hardest time setting time for writing...been on two paragraphs since last week! what?? yep, I'm terrible!

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    1. But maybe they are an awesome couple of paragraphs. I read an interview with Isaac Asimov and he said he spent an afternoon writing...he put in a comma, then took out the comma. I've had those days!

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  14. Wow! I really needed this. Thank you for an amazing post!

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  15. Did you really have to bring up the word distractions? Great, now I've got something else to rant about this month. Grime encrusted distractions!! hehe!

    This was such an awesome post! Thanks so much for thinking of others!

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    1. I have tons of grime covered distractions! Some of them call me mom. :)

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  16. This is an amazing post. I'm glad I stopped by. We work hard and every step and task has importance.

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    1. Thanks Medeia. I'm always glad to have you stop by. :)

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  17. OH how I miss your posts! Seriously - you always put things so perfectly! I can totally relate!

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    1. I miss you too Leigh! I've had to double my ! usage just to keep myself cheered up without your !'s sprinkled about cyberspace. :(

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  18. Fantastic post Elizabeth! I recently wrote a guest post about 'how I balance my life with writing' and this was my exact answer. Treat it like a job. A super fun one. One where WE are the boss. But a job nonetheless :)

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    1. You need to link it here! I think I missed that post and sure could use it! I mean, I know it needs done...but getting it done is sometimes impossible.

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  19. I am trying to say no to the distractions. I should be trying much harder.

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    1. I think we're all guilty...well, maybe not all of us, but most!

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  20. I try to say no, but I keep failing. I'm so distractable!

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    1. Me too. I preach better than I practice.

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  21. Ahhh, I can so relate to this! I try my best to say no to things but when I say yes, I don't regret it. I get so distracted every single day by the blogosphere that I don't get any of my writing done. It's the truth but the fact remains is you writers are so supportive of each other, it's hard not to stare at the computer screen for hours and only get 100 words written. Yes, I've gone through this before...long before I was in the blogosphere. I wrote memoirs and sure, I could never get anything written because I didn't have the encouragement from all of you and now I do, now I do and hopefully, I'll get back to writing my memoirs!

    Despite I have a life outside the computer screen, yes I do swim in circles all day long wondering what will happen to my writing future. I just wish I could time travel to my future!

    Great post IWSG post! I'm a member of IWSG so I'm here for ya, Elizabeth! Nice to meet you! *shake hands*

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    1. I'm always glad to help a fellow writer! And I've learned so much from other bloggers that I no longer consider time on the blogosphere as wasted. But, since we can;t spend all of our time here and not writing and it is sooooo addictive...I set a timer. I read as many blogs as I can in that time, then I drag myself on over to word and start writing!

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  22. THANK YOU! I needed to read the Guilt Free list. I've been telling myself this for months. It is WONDERFUL to find someone who agrees with me.

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    1. You're most welcome. Ever need a reminder, just give me a shout and I'll gladly review the list again!

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  23. Love your guilt free list! I need to take that and post it on my fridge!

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  24. Such a fabulous point! Distractions are evil. They'll stop you from reaching your goals.

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    1. I must say, your post about taking advice and being willing to learn was also excellent advice. Devotion also needs an open mind to succeed.

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