Wednesday, January 6, 2016

IWSG - January Edition

Welcome and Happy New Year! It's the first Insecure Writer's Support Group post for 2016! Click HERE if you want to know more about the IWSG or sign up to participate in the coming months. As always, a huge THANK YOU to our fearless leader and the creator of the IWSG Alex Cavanaugh and a great, big THANK YOU to our wonderful co-hosts this month: L. G. Keltner, Denise Covey, Sheri Larsen, J. Q. Rose, Chemist Ken, and Michelle Wallace. xo.

Well, here we go! Another year, another opportunity to clear the slate of what-might-have-beens and start looking forward to what can-be. For YEARS I have looked forward to January as a time to "finally get things right". I make lists, make plans, post sticky notes all over the house with DO THIS highlighted and emboldened. And you know what? It never, ever, ever works.

Goal setting is important. It keeps us focused and helps us define our plans and dreams. Sometimes, however, I think our goals are inconsistent with where we are in life at the moment. How many times have your New Years' Resolutions resembled this:

1. Get Published
2. Write six novels
3. Finish two dozen short stories and 63 essays
4. Get invited to speak at BIG DEAL Publishing's next conference
5. Win an Oscar

Yes, I'm being sarcastic...mostly. And yes, for some folks, two dozen shorts and 63 essays are a walk in the park. Something done every year for years. Yes, some of you will be published this year and, heck, someone reading this just may win an Oscar next month.

The point I'm making is this: perhaps this year we should try something a bit different with our goal setting. Put more of LIFE into our life goals. During that past three months I've come to terms with something, something that has driven my life my entire life. The pursuit of FAME and RECOGNITION. And those things, Friends, are NOT why we should be doing anything we do.

We are writers because we write, not because we are published and not because we win awards. Those things are WONDERFUL and, yes, I want to be published. I have something to say and I want to share it with others. THAT is why we should be pursuing publication: the share, to be heard, and to connect.

I've taken a big step back this year. I've decided to focus on three very simple actions that will force me to pay attention to each day as it comes:

1. Write something everyday. No word count, no specific task, just put words on paper in ways that make me smile.
2. Make something beautiful everyday. Either through sketching or my new-found love of stitching, I want to make time for art everyday, no matter how simple or how small that time is.
3. And this is a big one: ONTOLOGY. This is a word I learned years ago and it's finally settled in that deepest part of my gut. The very act of BE-ing. To BE is to be present, to be at peace with yourself and your surroundings. This doesn't mean resigning yourself to wrongdoings or the negative. It means allowing yourself to just BE - for a few seconds, a few moments, or for one, blessed entire day.

I want to refocus and regroup. I want to remember why I first started putting pen to paper and forming words into tales. I want to remember the sheer joy of creating something beautiful just to look at it and say, "Hey, I did that!"

Happy New Year to everyone! Congratulations to each and every one of you who were chosen to be published in the IWSG Anthology. Congratulations in advance to everyone who WILL find their work published this year. Who knows? It could be me, it could be you. The point is, we need to WRITE first, HEAR our voices and SEE our own beauty. THEN we'll be set to fly.



  1. Mine are simpler than yours. I break my goals into small increments of a bigger goal and take one step at a time. It seems to work for me, although I don't always achieve the bigger goal. :-)

    Anna from elements of emaginette

  2. I love your post! Your suggested goals (the second set, not the Oscar, haha!) are inspiring. I am going to fold that into my other writing goals.

    Make something beautiful every day resonates with me. I recently got hooked on the bookstagram community on Instagram. Readers and bloggers take pretty pictures of books. For real. I love it. I scroll through them on my work breaks. I joined a challenge in December and started taking my own pretty book pics. I'm getting better and sometimes i take pics of other stuff too. My goal is only to make and share something lovely for others to enjoy. (oh and also when I eventually promote my own book it would be nice for some good karma to come from all these posts!) But I like doing it and it connects me with people, so I want to keep going.

  3. Wait...where'd you get a copy of my goals? I'm totally going to win that Oscar this year!

    Joking, of course.

    Your true list of goals is great, and I wish you all the best with them!

  4. Yes, sometimes we do aim really big. I try to be realistic and yet still aim pretty high. I love your advice to put more life into our goals. This year, my husband and I want to take our family camping at least twice. We didn't get to go at all last year, but now we have a new and bigger tent and supplies. We're ready! :) Have a great 2016.

  5. Those big goals can become really frustrating. And they won't necessarily make us happy. I think the ones you've selected will do just that.

  6. Though I have many projects planned, my biggest goal is to simply write. It's been missing, sometimes for good reason, mostly not. thanks for the reminder of what's important.

  7. A LOVELY post, Jen...

    Happy New Year! And may you find joy in creating every day as little or as large as it may be. If it brings you happiness it was well worth the effort... We should all thing this way. The world would be a beautiful place.

  8. "Write something everyday. No word count, no specific task, just put words on paper in ways that make me smile.? Simple and manageable! That's the way to go.
    Happy New Year!
    Thanks for offering your pair of eyes to peek at my work. Will keep you posted.

  9. You totally had me up until the Oscar part. lol Not that you couldn't win one, but... ;) I'm not into the fame part, but the recognition of being an author is important to me. I know what you're saying, though. It can't be the driving force. For me it's more of a thorn that the only way someone recognizes you as an author or write is if your work is out in the big bad word. Some people write beautifully for family and friends, but have no desire to get published.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. All the best to you during 2016!


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