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Insecure Writer's Support Group

A database resource site and support group for writers and authors. Featuring weekly guests and tips, a monthly blogfest gathering, two Facebook groups, and thousands of links – all to benefit writers! And this is our newsletter! #IWSG

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Fast Five: An IWSG Gift


Patricia Cornwell's Advice on Insecurity by Jessica Strawser

When I was invited to contribute to this group, I was immediately hooked by the name. Because I'm insecure about my writing? Well, yes. But also because I’ve come to see that as a good thing.

Interviewing bestselling writers for Writer’s Digest has always been one of my favorite parts of my day job, and my phone conversation with No. 1 bestselling crime writer Patricia Cornwell was no exception. I was a bit nervous, though. She’d worked in a morgue; she flew a helicopter. What could someone like that know about insecurity?

And then, she told me this:

"I think a little insecurity is a good thing. I’ll be honest: When somebody has written their first novel and they tell me how fantastic it is, I know it’s probably not very good. It’s usually the person who says, 'I don’t know, I’m not sure what I think, but I’m afraid to do much else to it because I don’t want to ruin it,' and then you look at the thing and go, 'Now that is really special.' So it’s not bad to be a little insecure. It makes you work harder and pay attention.

"When people tell me, 'It must be so relaxing to fly a helicopter,' and I say, 'If your pilot says that, do not get in!' …When you sit in [your writing] chair, that should be your cockpit. You should be hyper-vigilant, and alert, and a little bit nervous about what you’re doing, and you’ll do a good job."

To this day, when I start to doubt myself —alone in my writing room late at night, my children asleep upstairs, my screen aglow in front of me— I hear Cornwell's voice. And I take comfort in the fact that feeling that way might just mean I'm on the right track.

Jessica Strawser is the editorial director of Writer's Digest magazine, North America's leading publication for writers since 1920. Her debut novel, Almost Missed You, is forthcoming in March 2017 from St. Martin's Press. She loves connecting with fellow writers on Twitter @jessicastrawser and @writersdigest and on Facebook.

The next Insecure Writer's Support Group day will be on August 3rd.
Sign up here.

AUGUST 3RD QUESTION: What was your very first piece of writing as an aspiring writer? Where is it now? Collecting dust or has it been published?

*Add this question and your answer to your IWSG Day post.

Tamara Narayan
Tonja Drecker
Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor
Lauren @ Pensuasion
Stephen Tremp
Julie Flanders

Please post on Wednesday! It is all right to miss and post a day late, but come the first Wednesday, your IWSG should be front and center.
This is not a platform just to advertise. Or just give advice. Share your struggles, encourage others.

Connect. Visit members. Return comments. And have FUN!
Five Tips For Making Effective Use of Your Blog by Stephanie Scott

The IWSG community thrives on connecting through blogs. Writers today are inundated with social media options, but the gem of blogging is the web domain points back to YOU, the author. Many IWSGers have blogging basics down, but for those newer to blogging or looking to add consistency, here are five tips toward creating effective blog posts:

1. Use a catchy title

When you cross post your posts to social media, think of headlines you yourself would click.

2. Use an image is a free image editing resource. There are sample templates with included images, or upload your own. Make sure the image either belongs to you or is licensed for free use with creative commons.

3. Make the post readable

 Use bolded headings, bullet points, and pull quotes to break up large chunks of text.

4. Ensure your fonts are readable

Black background with contrasting fonts can cause eye strain, as do gray fonts on white. Save fancy fonts for quotes on images.

5. Create a call to action

At the end of your post, ask a question and invite readers to comment.

The contest to vote for the genre for our next anthology ended. The winning genre is:


Stayed tuned, because shortly we'll announce the theme to go with the fantasy genre, as well as information for how you can enter the contest for a chance to be featured in our anthology.

- A common problem with dialogue
- Talking Heads (Top 10 Dialogue Writing Mistakes)

- Why Repeating Yourself in Dialogue Could be a Good Thing
- Dialogue Words: 100 Alternatives

Character Development:
- 4 Types of Character Flaws
- Protagonists: Superman Syndrome

- How to Create Heroines of Steel
- How to Trick Your Readers

- Submissions and Queries
- Querying: When you realize the error AFTER you hit send

 Going from a Small Indie Press to a Traditional Print Deal

- Selling More Books on Pinterest

- Top Email Marketing Takeaways
- Are You on Linkedin Yet?
- 5 Ways to Use LinkedIn Publisher for Business
Hart Johnson is an aspiring author. "Hart Johnson" is her dark face, seeking to do really rotten things to her characters for your reading pleasure. She's also a blogger known as "Watery Tart" and Alyse Carlson, which is her pen name for a Cozy Mystery. The person behind all these faces has a day job doing academic research at a Midwest University. 

Visit her at: Confessions of a Watery Tart

10 Must-Dos on Your Writing Journey by J.L. Campbell

In the writing world, it is not always easy to find our niche, or readers who will become rabid fans, but here's a list of the ten important things to consider on your journey.

Hone language skills. Anybody can write a book, but attempting to do this without a good grasp of the English Language is a recipe for failure.

Learn the craft of writing. This is the biggest favour we can do ourselves. A period of apprenticeship is necessary no matter how good our writing.

Don't get in a hurry to publish. Just as traditional publishers take time to prepare a book for publication, so should we.

Treat writing as a business. While some of us may never make a living exclusively from writing, it is necessary to set goals and make plans. As the adage says, those who fail to plan, plan to fail.

Never stop learning. It is important to stay current on publishing trends, as well as book marketing and promotion. Read as many craft articles and books on writing as you can.

A manuscript is never complete. We'll never cross every t’ and dot every ‘i’, but we should submit the best possible manuscript every time.

Develop meaningful relationships. Most of my online friendships have come through writing networks, hops, challenges and visiting other people’s blogs.

Never be afraid to ask for help. Writers are open and giving. I've never put out a cry for help and not received it.

Practice the principle of Paying it Forward. The blogging world has taught me the value of helping other writers.

Relax and enjoy the ride. While it's important to be disciplined, remember there is life outside of what we do to earn a living.  Creativity is a funny thing. Writing loses its attractiveness for me when it starts to feel like work—even though I’m handling my writing as a business. The point is to find your rhythm and make it work for you.




FREE! The Insecure Writer’s Support Group:
Guide to Publishing and Beyond

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