Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Hosting IWSG: My Fears, and Encouragement


We're an insecure bunch, aren't we?  I mean, look how many of us there are in this group Alex started.  Published authors.  Multi-published authors.  Best selling authors.  

We also represent a variety of genres, of avenues to get our work out to the masses - both traditionally published, small press published, indie published - yet we all share this one trait.  Insecurity.

Do writer's just need more pats on the back than others?  Are we an egotistical bunch seeking validation and then kinda whining about it when we don't get it?

I don't know.  I've been pondering it lately, because one of the facets of my writing I've been insecure about lately is kinda silly, if I really think about it.  I guess I want just that little pat on the back from non-blogger friends and family.  However, I do know that they don't fully understand what I'm doing and how much it means to me.

They don't understand that getting a gig with a small newsletter for a column every other month is a big deal.  That selling even one story is a huge deal.  Maybe they don't understand the changing nature of today's publishing industry: it's going on-line, it's going increasingly more indie and I think there's no stopping it.  Do they think that because those (to me huge) successes have happened in on-line publications, they aren't as "real".  Guess what?  They are.

That is my personal opinion, though, and I do not in any way mean to say that 

a) everyone in this group feels that way or 

b) that this week's co-host feel that way.  I feel that way.

Therefore, I've decided to focus on other aspects of my role in the current events in my writing path as it unfolds, and to think about the positives of what's happening.

I'm doing here, at Life is Good, what has helped me in the past to get through tough times: helping others.  When we change our focus from what we're lacking  to one of gratitude and reaching out to others, then our insecurities don't matter as much.

I have one of the best gigs in town.  I got picked, chosen, invited three years ago to help organize and run the grand-daddy of all the blog-hops: The A-Z Challenge.  Yes, lots of work.  Yes, non-stop emails that I can't seem to keep up with.

Along with that though, the satisfaction of seeing a new blogger build his or her readership.  The feel-good of I'm so tired I literally fell asleep on my keyboard (last night, writing this at 11 pm) because my day, though a completely stressful day on the personal level, still involved many hours spent on this project.

I get to help promote friend's new blogs: go check out Julie 2 Jules.  Brand new blog, friend of 15 years, met at church, she's just starting out, and yes of course she signed up for the A-Z Challenge.  As should you.  Look up.  Tabs.  Click the Challenge one and join the collective.  Your blog will never be the same.

Sometimes you also get to help out at the last minute to fill in for another friend, to help out a mutual friend.  See how many friends we have as writers?  What a wonderful network we're building and part of? 

When MJ Joachim had a sudden death in the family and had to go out of town, Alex asked me to step in and help co-host THIS gig.  Of course I said yes.  Not because my name will be mentioned in the blogging newspaper (that's kinda how I think of Alex's blog: all the info you need about our community, and little pages of fun stuff like trivia and links to happenings) but because two friends needed me.

Being needed feels good when you're feeling insecure.  Reach out and help someone.  You'll feel better.  I do.

~Tina



Today's co-hosts are also Elsie, Elizabeth Seckman,  and Julie Flanders! 

Alex “Ninja Captain” Cavanaugh  is our leader for this wonderful, supportive group. Don't forget we even have our own website now.  Be sure to check it out if you haven't already, and "like" our facebook page, too. I'm so impressed with what these talented folks are doing to promote this group! Encouragement month long is now just a click away! 

57 comments:

Terri Rochenski said...

What a great outlook to have, Tina. It's easy to forget how important / refreshing it can be to help others. Totally takes our minds off the crappola hanging around our shoulders.

Thanks for the reminder!!

Best of luck with the A-Z this year. I'm just too busy this year.

Terri @ Scribbler's Sojourn

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Blogging newspaper - maybe I should start one?
Sometimes the people on the outside don't get it. But here, we do. We support one another. It's enough to keep us going. And both sides of the equation are awesome.
And you are going to rock as a co-host today!

Jo said...

Way to go girl. Great outlook on life. As I keep saying, I am so glad I am not an author.

Elsie Amata said...

Where to begin? I have so much to say but I'll do my best to keep this short. =)

First, I'm excited to co-host with you. You are such a gem and I'm so glad I found you a few weeks ago through the A-Z Blog.

I couldn't agree more about people not understanding writers. Especially those of us still struggling to publish their first book. I'd be uber excited to write a newsletter. To me, that's confirmation that someone likes my writing.

I love your outlook on life. Like you, I struggle with health issues, and I find helping others, having the ability to look outside myself, really helps me not sink into despair.

Rock on, my friend!

Elsie
AJ's wHooligan in the A-Z Challenge
co-host IWSG

Patsy said...

I don't think writers are more insecure than other people, we're just better at expressing it. We're also more likely to do so as we're more likely to get help as writers are generally a very supportive bunch.

Cathrina Constantine said...

I agree with Patsy. As I sit here all alone, I crave support. My hubby rolls his eyes if I talk about writing. He doesn't get it. I'm thankful I have this wonderful, supportive group. Book publishing is changing and it's a good thing for writer's starving to get their stories out there!

Stephen Tremp said...

It's all about perspective. Love your outlook. Life is too short.

JoJo said...

Great post Tina!!!! I wish there was an insecure craft bloggers group (don't tell me to start one....I'm not really a leader...), where we could talk about the paralyzing fear of doing shows and self promotion.

LuAnn Braley said...

Very cool of you to help others build their following. I didn't know IWSG was on FB - thanks for that info! Checking out the text links too.

Diane Burton said...

Thanks for hosting this month. I agree that helping others makes us feel good. Best wishes.

lilicasplace.com said...

Hi Tina, I love this post and thank you so much for always going out of your way to help us newer bloggers out. I try my hardest to be as consistent as possible, but it's difficult when I don't know what each new day will bring. I'm learning though, so I've learned to blog a little ahead of time and schedule them in advance. As much as I would love to be a part of the A-Z Challenge this year, I don't think I would be able to finish it and that would make me sad. Anyway, thank you for co-hosting the IWSG this month; awesome job! :) Lily http://www.lilicasplace.com

Bob R Milne said...

Very well said - thanks for helping make life good for others, and thanks for agreeing to co-host this month. :)

Huntress, aka CD Coffelt said...

Validation. What an important word it is in our business. Thanks for c0-hosting this month. Heaven help the person who tries to do it during A to Z though, LOL.

Author of Wilder Mage at Spirit Called
Facebook Wilder Mage

Jane Jazz said...

A thoughtful post and as writing is such a very lonely business it's good to hear from others who share our insecurities.

Cheryl said...

I don't think writers are more insecure, egotistical, or even better able to articulate their fears and insecurities than any other group of artists. Because your medium is words, it's natural that you'd share your insecurities on your websites and blogs.

Photographers tend to share these same feelings behind the scenes out of the spotlight of our sites because most of the people who visit us aren't photographers.

In both cases, we all want our work seen in broader contexts and figuring out how to do that is very different for each group.

I'm so happy that you've find a group that's so supportive of what you're doing and where you want to go. Finally, I couldn't agree more that helping others is one of the best ways to help myself. Wishing you better health, my friend.

Doreen McGettigan said...

My daughter said something to me one day when my feelings were hurt because my friends and family do not comment on my blog.
She said Mom that is your job. Do you come to my job everyday and tell me what a great job I did directing railroad traffic?
She has a point...
Good luck with the challenge, it is coming up quick!
doreenmcgettigan.com

MollyMom103 said...

Thanks for stepping in. I believe in the blog as a creative space to grow -- wholly. Happy IWSG day!

Kim Van Sickler said...

Yep, you nailed it. Even supportive friends and family don't really get it. And if they sort of do, they think we're crazy! Rejection is such an integral part of our process and it does get easier, but that doesn't mean that it ever gets fun, and it sure is nice to know that we're not alone on this wild ride.

Silvia Villalobos said...

We put ourselves out there through our writing, for the world to see, dissect, criticize. The creative type understand one another, so true. But for the outside world, looking in, I bet the picture looks different. And that's okay.
Great post,Tina. Thanks for all the reminders here. And the encouraging words.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Wish I could give you a big hug, Tina. Mostly because I understand exactly how you feel. Thanks for c0-hosting.

Natasha Hanova said...

Congrats on your recent successes! You are so right about people outside of this industry not truly understanding the significance of our accomplishments.

Crystal Collier said...

Yay! Here's to ISWG and the wonderful support of an amazing community! I watched this group basically from its conception, and didn't hop in until a few months ago because I like to focus on "helping" rather than my own insecurities. It's been great to be a part and offer support where support is needed. =)

A Beer For The Shower said...

No, it's totally true, non-writers don't get it. We've posted about this before, but it always sucks when someone says "I'm writing a book" and the automatic response always seems to be, "Cool, so when's it coming out? Can I find it at Wal-Mart?" Like, once a book is written the book fairy just magically publishes it and puts it in major stores. No blood, sweat, or tears required. No years of rejection and hardship. Yeah, if only if were that easy.

This is why I'm glad to have writer friends that understand. It's more than just a friendship. It's a support group.

Chemist Ken said...

Your non-blogging friends and family will understand eventually. Right now, that's what the IWSG is all about.

Thanks for co-hosting this month.

Michelle Wallace said...

Thanks for being such a gracious host Tina.
And yes, I totally agree with the philosophy - reach out and help somebody... and being needed DOES feel good when you're insecure...
HAPPY WORLD READ ALOUD DAY!!
Writer In Transit

Jeremy [Retro] said...

if i haven't told you enough you are awesome... well then

YOU ARE AWESOME! [now repeat]

Dean K Miller said...

Tina; I think we write as an act of reaching out, either to pull others in and help ourselves, or to extend the olive branch to others who find our words comforting, exciting, scary or whatever they want/need. Which is almost diametrically opposed to what haunts us...that insecurity about our writing (ourselves?)

We are all connected, in many differing ways, so helping others is equivalent to helping ourselves.

Thanks for co-hosting...and reaching out.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

It is true about the pat on the backs. Mostly you get them from other writers. My husband gets excited about the paychecks though they in no way reflect the amount of work involved.

Gail M Baugniet - Author said...

Tina, I really like your comment: When we change our focus from what we're lacking to one of gratitude and reaching out to others, then our insecurities don't matter as much.

Thank you for co-hosting today's #IWSG

Beverly Fox said...

Tina- you rock my socks off. You really do. Co-hosting next month, jumping in to co-host here, being generally awesome to pretty much every blogger you encounter- you just rock.

Ah-hem, had to get that out of my system. Thanks for co-hosting!

J Q Rose said...

So THAT's why noone but me is over-the-moon when a book is released or I am asked to make a presentation at the library or someone says "I read your book and liked it (hopefully she adds she liked it.) Wow, do I feel better now that someone else deals with the same feelings as I do. And yes it its more blessed to give than to receive. Thanks for co-hosting this month!

Caffe Maggieato said...

Thanks for this post. What a wonderful perspective. It's not everyone who will understand or appreciate what you do but I think you have plenty to be proud of.

JNC said...

I think we do need more pats on the back than most around us, but I don't believe it's ego. We leave ourselves naked and our innermost selves open to outsiders for a living. That's a pretty vulnerable life. No wonder we need more encouragement!

Andrew Leon said...

Actually, I'm not insecure. Even if I have randomly firing insecurities from time-to-time, I'm not really insecure. Mostly, I'm just in the group to post the helpful stuff.

Julie Musil said...

Blogging newspaper! I love that! Thanks so much for co-hosting this month :)

Julie Cunningham said...

Thanks for the shout out, Tina. I am probably most excited about the opportunity to hang out with you digitally and get to know this side of you through the A to Z Challenge. Where we can talk and share ideas without silly things like oxygen and crazy schedules getting in the way.

You are awesome. Love ya!

Toinette Thomas said...

I can really ramble on when I want to, but I don't think I need to. I just want to say that I agree with almost every point you made in this post and that I've found that helping other authors does make the process easier. If you're not being appreciated by friends and family, it's nice to be appreciated by your peers.

DAVID WALSTON said...

I love First Wed!
Your successes is yours to enjoy!

klahanie said...

Hi Tina,

I understand and your blogging friends understand how much your writing, your passion for the written word, means to you.

My family hardly knows I do a blog. Which does hurt. Still, I'm not insecure about writing. That would be because I have no pressure and I just write when I feel like it. Just therapy that I share.

I know all those groups you are involved in mean a lot to you. I admire that. You might say that I'm a non-conformist who'd rather remain discreetly in the background.

Take care, dear friend,

Gary :)

Kimberly said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts -great perspective and I'm so glad I joined this group. Thanks for co-hosting too. :)

Chris said...

Hi Tina, just stopping by to say how delightful your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris
http://chelencarter-retiredandlovingit.blogspot.ca/

Samantha Geary Jones said...

If compassion is a measure of success *which I feel it should be* than consider yourself the Oprah of blogging, my friend:) You've a heart of gold!
Cheers!

WriterlySam Join the A to Z Theme Reveal Party!

Lara Lacombe said...

Great post! You're so right--it's hard to focus on your own issues when you're busy helping someone else! :)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Tina - one of the benefits are the friendships we all make and the support .. so I'll be over to Jules and to MJ ..

Also because we're here .. we are learning all the time - of the opportunities, and of the way we can improve our writing and in due course get noticed .. and we have loads of supporters ready to go once our work is out there ..

Cheers and enjoy the A-Z hosting and co-hosting here .. you do so much for us .. Hilary

SittieCates said...

Very inspiring outlook! Sorry for the late visit. Thanks for hosting! All the best!

SittieCates

The Musings of a Hopeful and Pecunious Wordsmith

Carolyn Brown said...

Nice outlook to have. Thanks for co-hosting this month!

J.L. Campbell said...

Hi, Tina,
We tend to mainly feel validated by a paying gig, but as you pointed out, that's not all this writing gig is about.

The best part is being part of a community that's fueled by a common interest and the desire to see others succeed.

Julie Flanders said...

A big Amen to everything you said. One thing I love about the IWSG is the opportunity to support others in the blogging world. It feels great to be able to offer a kind word to someone and possibly make a small difference in their journey. At the same time I feel so fortunate to be part of this community and be on the receiving end of that support as well, sometimes it can be such a boost! Hope you had fun co-hosting, Tina!

bemuzin.com said...

Tina - I share many of your thoughts. I was surprised when I started blogging to find that most readers are ... other bloggers. And that friends/family don't relate what we do to the columnists they used to follow faithfully in magazines and newspapers that have disappeared. Good suggestion about helping someone else when you feel neglected or unappreciated. Keep up the good work. You should know that you have make blogging more fun and easy by giving us your personal attention and helpful insights. Sammy D at www.bemuzin.com

LD Masterson said...

"Being needed feels good when you're feeling insecure." Yup, that about nails it.

Scribbles From Jenn said...

You are AWESOME! It's bloggers like you that make all of this work.

Congratulation on your new gig and you're right, Alex's blog is kind of like our blogging newspaper.

Loni Townsend said...

Thank you for co-hosting!

I've found most of my support comes from other bloggers too. I know my friends have picked up my book, but I have no clue if they read it, or if they even enjoy it. Ah well...

I signed up for the A to Z challenge and boy, does it seem daunting!

Loni

Claudia said...

interesting thoughts... we all need attention and encouragment.. and there's always a risk if it becomes the main reason why we're doing something - no matter if it's poetry or serving in a community - ha - it can be exhausting...smiles... my daughter who is in costa rica right now reads my poetry when she feels homesick cause she finds me in my poems she says - and that is the best thing i have ever heard about my poetry... smiles...
re your question if i have a book - my poems are published in several collections and magazines and i was about to do a book with just my poems with a new york publisher but put it on hold for the moment..it just wrecked me to go through all the editing and the thousand decisions that are to be made..

Kittie Howard said...

Well said! Supporting one another is crucial to nurturing our growth. But I sometimes think we're more intense than insecure, a juggling act of emotions.

Al Diaz said...

I admire you. So many things to do! But you are right, when you help out others your own concerns are forgotten. And I am sure you will do a great job!

Mary Aalgaard said...

You're doing a great job. I commented on your above post as Primo Art Spa. I'm back to being myself how. Looking forward to the A to Z. It will be a delicious experience! (wink, hint)
Play off the Page

Anna Nordeman said...

March 9th, 2014

Kära, kära, Tina!
Dear Tina,
Thank you so much for visiting my IWSG-post for March. I'm celebrating one year of posting for IWSG!

I will definitely read your A to Z about Sweden, but alas, I will not have time to post for A to Z myself this year. I am writng a paper for the university and need all the time I can get for that. I need to get my teaching degree in order to get a job. I have been out of work too long.

Thank you for writing about your cat allergy and asthma. We don't want Elisabet to develop asthma, but Erik feels it is unfair that his cats had to go.

I love it when you write to me, but I know you are very busy, so I am always happily surprised when you do have time to visit.

Thanks for your encouraging words about my novel. I'll let you know how it goes.

Hjärtliga hälsningar och stora kramar från Anna
oxoxox