#IWSG APRIL

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!
Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting!

April 6 Question

April 6 question – Have any of your books been made into audio books? If so, what is the main challenge in producing an audiobook?
The awesome co-hosts for the April 6 posting of the IWSG are Joylene Nowell Butler, Jemima Pett, Patricia Josephine, Louise – Fundy Blue, and Kim Lajevardi!

Not yet! But this question made me think about how I use audio in my writing.

For a short time I played with a podcast. I had been asked by several people to start one and wanted to experiment and see what that iteration of my writing life sounded like. It wasn’t something I promoted heavily because it was play. It didn’t light me up like writing does.

One of the revision techniques I have been remembering to use more frequently is to read my pieces out loud to myself. I can catch a lot that way just by hearing the music of the language. It also helps me fix awkward sentences. I have also been using a Read Aloud Google extension to just be able to listen and not look at the text.

Listening to writing podcast inspires me and lights me up. I have a whole list that I rotate through!

Talking to other writers about writing process makes me happy and fueled as well.

What role does audio play in your writing life?

#IWSG March

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!
Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting!

March 2 Question

March 2 question – Have you ever been conflicted about writing a story or adding a scene to a story? How did you decide to write it or not?


The awesome co-hosts for the March 2 posting of the IWSG are Janet Alcorn, Pat Garcia, Natalie Aguirre, and Shannon Lawrence!

The conflict I have had about writing a story deals with the sensitivity of the topic and if I am ready to write about it or not. If there is something I do not want to write directly about I come at it from a different angle, like telling it through a metaphor or a fairy tale.

It took me almost 15 years to write a story that dealt with a miscarriage I had endured. I did decide to publish the story, but that felt like a big risk. It felt like my truth that needed to be released which influenced the decision.

Most of the time the conflicted scenes are buried in a notebook somewhere disguised as fiction. There is always the writer’s choice to choose whether to share the story or not.

If it is too painful to write, I figure it isn’t time yet to do so. I am sure the time will come.

I never have a shortage of ideas so if it isn’t quite time then the painful story gets tabled. I do a lot of freewriting so I have found that hard topics come out when they need to if I let go.

A scene can be added to a piece, but it has to relate back to the heart of story and move the story forward.

#happyreading #happywriting

#IWSG February

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!
Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting!

February Question

February 2 question – Is there someone who supported or influenced you that perhaps isn’t around anymore? Anyone you miss?

The awesome co-hosts for the February 2 posting of the IWSG are Joylene Nowell Butler, Jacqui Murray, Sandra Cox, and Lee Lowery!


Wow. This prompt for the month hit me like a slap to the face. There were a couple of ways I could answer this question.

First, I lost my husband at the beginning of January suddenly. He was a support for my writing through and through. We had plans to retire early to a cabin the woods. He was my true north. Before he died, we had talked about me going to Nancy Stohlman and Kathy Fish’s writing retreat. I am signed up and am excited to go in August, but it is bittersweet knowing I will not be able to share the anticipation with him. He was funny and had great stories of childhood and career. He would often text me and say, “You should put THIS is one of your stories.”

Second, my first community of writers is one I no longer belong to. I changed and it was not a good fit anymore. As with time, and how things work, the group shifted. For a long while, I kept up with the community from the outside still subscribing to emails. I used to be in the inside circle and am no longer in that role. There is a challenge connected to this community so I still participate in that but it is mostly independent now and I limit my interaction. I am in contact with people I know from the orginial group. There was a magic to the beginning circle of writers that faded away for me over time.

There is no fault or malice. It just is what it is.

#happyreading #happywriting

#IWSG January

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!
Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting!

January 5 Question

What’s the one thing about your writing career you regret the most? Were you able to overcome it?
The awesome co-hosts for the January 5 posting of the IWSG are Erika Beebe, Olga Godim, Sandra Cox, Sarah Foster, and Chemist Ken!

I grew up reading but in my Indiana hometown there were not any writers that I knew of. I found writers when I went to college but did not recognize myself as one of them until much later.

I found out about Iowa Writing Workshop from an interview with Oprah and author of The Twelve Tribes of Hattie, Ayana Mathis. She spoke about her experience there and I stopped what I was doing and listened intently to every word. This was something I had missed – you could go to school JUST for writing. If I had understood it I had blocked it out because of my parents reluctance to see writing as a real career colored my thinking.

My regret is that I did not pursue my MFA when I was young and unattached. I have always written. I didn’t need the MFA for motivation. I found writing community later in life which honed my skills. I wish I would have taken the writing seriously, earlier. I have a fantasy of having a tiny apartment, working in a bookstore and working at an independent press in Minnesota writing when I am not with books or writing friends. There is always lots of coffee.

I know my life experience makes me a better writer now. There is lots of material to mine and use. I have pursued my own style of MFA in this adult life of day jobs and responsibility.

I study with teachers I love and admire and cultivate community.

#happyreading #happywriting

#IWSG December

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!
Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting!

December Question

This month’s optional question:

In your writing, what stresses you the most? What delights you?


The awesome co-hosts for the December 1 posting of the IWSG are PJ Colando, Diane Burton, Louise – Fundy Blue, Natalie Aguirre, and Jacqui Murray!

In my writing, what stresses me most changes frequently. The schedule and not being able to get enough writing time in during the week before work can sometimes be stressful.

Everything delights me with the act of writing. It is my happy place. It is when I was focusing too much on the stuff surrounding being a writer that I was distracted.

The activities that surround writing like promotion are what has stressed me so for most circumstances I have ceased public writing for the moment. I just need the break of all the things I think a writer “should” do.

#happyreading #happywriting

#IWSG November

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!
Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting!

November Question

This month’s optional question:
What’s harder to do, coming up with your book title or writing the blurb?

The awesome co-hosts for the November 3 posting of the IWSG are Kim Lajevardi, Victoria Marie Lees, Joylene Nowell Butler, Erika Beebe, and Lee Lowery!

Honestly, I think they are both difficult!

I find titles difficult to come up with as a whole. I have taken Kathy Fish’s advice and have used deleted lines as titles. I love a title that makes sense only after you read the whole piece. I do feel that type of title needs its own special name. One of the aspects I love about flash fiction is that the title can be much longer than other types of fiction.

I have only had to write a blurb a handful of times and it because it was new it took a while for me to accomplish. For one project, I have refined the blurb over several rewritings but am still not happy with it so the revisions continue. Such is the life of a writer.

This month I am working on two projects at the same time during NANOWRIMO. I am working lightly on a romance novel and also on some flash pieces using Nancy Stohlman’s Flash Nano prompts. I am just having fun with both projects.

#happyreading #happywriting

#IWSG October

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!
Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting!

October Question

October 6 question – In your writing, where do you draw the line, with either topics or language?

The awesome co-hosts for the October 6 posting of the IWSG are Jemima Pitt,J Lenni Dorner,Cathrina Constantine,Ronel Janse van Vuuren, and Mary Aalgaard!

In my writing, I do not censor myself for the most part. If I feel it isn’t something to be shared, then I do not. That is up to me as a writer.

There are a couple topics that I feel I cannot write about…yet. Maybe I need to move to another state again to get more distance. I have been thinking a lot about the stories I retell over and over and to write them down. Some things that have happened in my life I feel I would never write about either because I do not want to relive the memories.

This month I am examining some more of my shadow self and try to examine why I do not want to revisit certain topics. I am paying attention to what I read and what appeals to me and what doesn’t.

I am certain it is a fine line.

#happyreading #happywriting

September Story Challenges

September means the Storyaday challenge I have been doing for years. This year is also means #septembersentences hosted by Caroline Donahue, and the continuation of daily Sarah Selecky’s freewrites.

Potentially, this could mean a lot of writing.

Caroline Donahue is posting prompts for her challenge of writing two sentences each day for September. Her prompts are shared on IG.

Sarah Selecky’s prompts are shared through her community CENTERED. You can find that link here.

For the Storyaday challenge, Julie reuses the prompts from May, so I have been diving into the Google file and revising those stories from 4 months ago. This is the first time I have done this. Usually I write a brand new story and add to the words and drafts in my drive. The prompts from May did resonate with me this year, and I was happy with most of the stories I wrote.

I have been thinking a lot lately about the amount of words and the quality of words I am producing and what to do with them afterwards [if anything.] The revision aspect seems to be working – these first couple of days anyway.

This morning while writing in my notebook I remembered that I had publicly reflected on the challenge!

Here was my agenda for May’s Challenge: If you would like to read my reflections from Day 4 in May click here

  • Reflect about how I approached the prompt – Did it resonate with me? Did I use it? Did I use something else or combine it with something else?
  • Write the story and analyze if it different as an outcome than what I expected when I started.
  • Would I use this prompt again?
  • Reflect if the writing surprised me.
  • Did I learn anything?

Today’s prompt is an ending line from my friend Neha. You can read the whole prompt here and find links to her work.

The story I wrote involved a character who emerged as a Mother Nature like figure and the story involves a magical gate.

Starting with an ending line leads you to where you are going.

Anchors for my May Day 4 story: gate, splinter, time, dark

Are you participating in any September writing challenges? I am certain we will be discussing them in my PUSH group. You should join us. This month we are using The Artist’s Way to drive our discussion. We meet every Wednesday evening at 7:30p.m. Central time.

#IWSG September

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!
Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting!

September Question


September 1 question – How do you define success as a writer? Is it holding your book in your hand? Having a short story published? Making a certain amount of income from your writing?
The awesome co-hosts for the September 1 posting of the IWSG are Rebecca Douglass, T. Powell Coltrin @Journaling Woman, Natalie Aguirre, Karen Lynn, and C. Lee McKenzie!

Over the years, the definition of success has been layered for me. At first, it was just to write and finish stories. Then it became about being published and I began my 100 submissions project. Then it became about teaching and sharing what I have learned.

Now it seems I am back to just the writing. It is what is fueling to me and always what it comes down to. The idea of what constitutes finished is different now though. I have to find a time that I will stick to revision. The ways of the past do not motivate me lately.

I think I bridge revision with submissions and sharing. I am not motivated by sharing my work at the present moment. Even a strict schedule I used to keep for the blog has fallen to the side and that is ok.

If I write, I am a writer and that fact will always be true.

#happyreading #happywriting

#IWSG August

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!
Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting!

August 4 question – What is your favorite writing craft book? Think of a book that every time you read it you learn something or you are inspired to write or try the new technique. And why?

The awesome co-hosts for the August 4 posting of the IWSG are PK Hrezo, Cathrina Constantine, PJ Colando, Kim Lajevardi, and Sandra Cox!

There are so many favorite craft books, but the one I go back to over and over again is Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg.

The chapters are short which encourages me to read a bit and then get right to writing. I have noted how her last sentences are zingers as well and most of them are underlined in my stained and water logged copy.

There is a simplicity to this book that is appealing. Most of the advice centers around, “just write” which is helpful for some reason coming from her.

I am inspired by her prompts like, “I remember..” that is referenced in many other writing classes. I love the idea of her Spontaneous Poetry Booth that she sets up at a fair.

Natalie writes alone, with other people, in notebooks, and for publication. She hikes and is a Buddhist. Reading her stories make me want to write my own.

I am looking forward to reading what books appeal to other members today in the group as well!