Living by Faith: IWSG

3:00 AM Elizabeth Seckman 50 Comments

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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!
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"I live by faith, not by sight." 
2 Cor. 5:7


Back in the day...I went to college.

I was the first in my family to go. I made up my mind when I was twelve: I wanted a degree. My dad said fine; get prepared. He took charge of my class schedule. That cool class where kids got to carry around flour sack pretend babies? Nixed by dad and replaced with physics. Choir? Tossed for chemistry. If I complained my dad reminded me...I wanted to go to college. 

In 1988 I left high school behind and headed to Marshall University. Once there, I was encouraged to attend a seminar for "first generation" students.

I wanted to succeed, so I went.

Right out of the gate, the moderator informed us that as first generation attendees, the odds of graduation were NOT in our favor. Quite frankly, we were predicted to drop out...at almost double the rate of our "their parents graduated college" peers. 

Seriously? That was a pep talk? 

Hmmm...

My dad warned me college was work. And he taught me to do that work even when fun called. 

I graduated Magna Cum Laude in 1992.

The truth is: odds don't matter. Persistence, learning, practice...that's what matters.

The same principles apply in the writing world. 

And I can assure you...there are plenty of pep talks from nay-sayers who will assure you of your imminent failure before you even start.

Instead of letting it get you down...

might I suggest you just stop attending the meetings? 

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50 comments:

  1. 100% spot on! If you want something badly enough, you'll find a way... no matter what anyone else says. Congratulations on not dropping out of college, and for following your writing dream too :-)

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  2. Way to go, girl! Yep, writing is work and persistence like everything else. Wouldn't it be nice if something in life came just a little easier? dreaming. :)

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    1. Yes it would be nice. The only thing that comes easily to me is cellulite!

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  3. Such principles will get you everywhere Elizabeth. Love the bible quote and you did a great IWSG post today.

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    1. I think you're absolutely right. And I'm glad you like it. :)

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  4. Interesting! I was a first generation attendee too, though I've never heard it called that. haha. I graduated with upper 2nd class honours, and later did a postgrad diploma too. Guess I showed those stats as well! :P

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    1. You go girl! And yes, we beat the odds...evidently.

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  5. Look at you go:)

    Well impressed - but not surprised - by your drive and I bet your boys aren't either :)

    Keep on trucking, Twinny... don't you stop for no stinking traffic lights :)

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    1. It must run in our blood. You wanted that journalism job and MADE them hire you. You da man!

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  6. I absolutely hate those talks that discourage students instead of the very thing they THINK they are doing. ARGH!!

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    1. Yeah, what are they thinking? Scaring people straight? Straight under their covers to cry?

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  7. I'm a freak about using quotes! I refer to various ones all the time. Great one you used!

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    1. I love quotes too. I hang them on post its inside my kitchen cupboards. Ran out of room on the fridge, I guess!

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  8. The truth is: odds don't matter. Persistence, learning, practice...that's what matters.


    Love this!

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    1. Thanks S.P.! I don't like to hear about the odds. I'm comfortably oblivious.

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  9. YOU are great. I love this because it is true. Odds doesn't matter at all. The only thing that matters is what's inside you. Well said.

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    1. Thank you Mr. Dragon. Makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside.

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  10. I remember sitting in college orientation and getting the "look to your left, now look to your right. One of you will not make it to graduation. Will it be you?" speech too. I worked in higher ed for 22 years and nowadays, they don't give that speech. Retention is too tied into financial success and colleges, like the publishing industry, are in precarious times.

    I remember hearing that little speech and thinking no problem. I'll be the one to graduate. I think the same thing about writing. Most days. ;)

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    1. Good for you! I admit, as I sat there, it did wiggle into my brain a little. As an incoming freshman, it did look like an expensive, uphill climb. But underneath all the worry and insecurity is a chick who is pretty doggone arrogant and she chimed in real quick with a, "screw them, they don't know me."

      Glad they've stopped. I like positive messages of responsibility and delayed gratification better (got that one from an economics prof...he said, "IF you are responsible and IF you delay gratification... you will be rewarded later."

      That was a message I liked.

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  11. What a great post for IWSG! I felt like cheering as I read it. Now I just need to remember it and apply it to myself LOL. :)

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    1. You WILL remember...

      there I attached it to your psyche, you're good to go!

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  12. terrific advice! i understand the naysayers, but i am glad it spurs some, like you, to beat the odds!

    and my fave tour post was your writing style at rena's =)

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    1. Thanks! I suppose it spurred me...after it took the wind out of my sails for a bit...hehe.

      I will cast a vote for Rena on your behalf :)

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  13. Loved this. I was a first generation college student too. I went on to get my masters as well. So yeah, nay-sayers are everywhere.

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    1. Good for you!! I applied for my masters and got preggers...and had a baby...then another, and another, and another. My new plan is: if I fail at the writing gig, it's back to grad school for me :)

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  14. What a great post! Well done, you. I try to close my ears to nay-sayers (e.g. my sister in law saying "You can't earn enough being a writer, you won't be able to give up your job." OK, she COULD be right, but she's BOUND TO BE wrong! LOL! Shoo, nay-sayer!

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    1. A friend of mine just gave up her day job! She's not a millionaire, but she's making enough to support herself.

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  15. I was the first to go to college, too. But I didn't start until my mid 30's. Of course by then I really appreciated what I was doing and studied hard (I graduated magna cum laude, too). Statistics aren't sure-fire guidelines anyway. Just makes you want to succeed all the more, right?

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    1. Maybe it does. I guess I'll never know if I would have succeeded after a positive pep talk...because it is what it is, right? We just make do with the cards we are dealt!

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  16. I keep bumping into you on hops. :) Cool. I think it has to do with attitude more than anything. Either you have the drive and ambition, or you don't. I think it's harder to go to college these days, though. It's so much more expensive.

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    1. I know! How lucky are you? ;)

      And you don't have to tell me about expensive...got one in college and his brothers are right behind him.

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  17. Stop attending the meetings! Awesome advice. And wow, who gives those college talks? I was a few years before you but I don't remember that talk.
    I guess I missed the meeting.

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    1. I think it depends on who is in charge of admissions. I suppose people are different. I just don't dwell in the negative. Heck, I don't even listen to sad songs!!

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  18. The odds may be low, but they're made lower by idiots who have a "you can't" mentality. The sad part is, lots of people believe them.

    Lauren
    lauren-ritz.blogspot.com

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    1. Or people who are insecure. How can you be bold and accomplish things when you're constantly told you can't? You're right...idiocy!

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  19. I'm a determined person who has kicked naysayers to the curb. I can relate to this.

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    1. I'm not at all surprised! You are one powerful lady...you go girl!!

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  20. Yes, so true! Persistence, hard work, always learning. It's the key.

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    1. And as a doc, I'm sure you know LOTS about that!!

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  21. Please explain to me why I'm smarter than you if you actually graduated and I dropped out??? Love ya sparky, queen Elizabeth!

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    1. Don't tell Tammy, but some of the smartest people I have ever met, never went a day to college. And some of the stupidest people I have ever met, have lots of letters after their names.

      See, I ken esplain everthin' sparky!

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  22. I love this post. I love the way you always make your point so perfectly and so . . . just . . . you!

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    1. I tried being other people Lisa, but with my blond brain I get all confused, so I just stick with me.

      But thanks! That's an awesome compliment!

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  23. I have to keep reminding myself that perseverance is what matters. Nothing else. As long as we keep motivated, we can do anything! Awesome post, Elizabeth!

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    1. Thanks Ashley! You are definitely on the right track lady!

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  24. YEAH!!! Whoo, sorry, you got me fired up. This is what I've been waiting for, woman! Not only was this touching, but it was super inspiring. It gave me a glimpse of your dad. I think I would've like him a whole lot. It's sad to think they're more people in the world, who'll try to tear down our dreams than build them up. I'm w/you, stay out of the meetings, lol. Thanks, pal,I needed this. :)

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    1. I'm glad it helped! Now why in the world is a talented lady like yourself feeling insecure?!

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  25. I'm with you on this one! I live by faith because if I lived by sight I would just stay home and do nothing and give up. Gotta have faith!

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    1. Most definitely. The world needs dreamers...dreamers who are willing to get carpal tunnel in order to make those dreams come true!

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