Wednesday, November 4, 2015

IWSG ~ I'm Down To Four Toenails, But It's All Good

If you're interested in participating in the Insecure Writers Support Group, we post the first Wednesday of every month. You can go HERE to join the list. Thank you, Alex J. Cavanaugh for starting this whole thing!

I'm writing this on Tuesday morning (in preparation for tomorrow). Until last night, I had no idea what I would write about for this installment of Insecure Writers. Even I've got a bit tired of listening to me saying that the process is endless. I get sick of my own work. When I do go back and read for the purpose of editing, there's always *so much* to edit. It's discouraging.

For the record, all of those things are still true.

Another truth is that when you're doing something hard, it takes practice to get it right. The people who succeed are the ones who have endurance. The ones who are relentless.

I got a glaring reminder of that on Monday night watching Dancing With The Stars. It's interesting (to me) to see how people hold up when they're completely outside their comfort zone. Some stars are younger, have more talent (right from "go") and make it all seem effortless. This season, Bindi Irwin (yep, Steve Irwin's daughter) has done all of that. Every week I say something resembling this to my mom: "Her dancing is incredible, but I don't know how she radiates that positivity. She is effervescent." And she does/is.

My mistake was in thinking that it came easy for her. I found the clip of her presentation from Monday night on YouTube. I hope you watch it. There is a lesson in here for us as writers and as people.

Did you see those feet? 4 toenails left, which she is superglueing on, so it's all good!

Are you working that hard on your craft? I know I'm not. I get discouraged, and I walk away from my computer. You know, because I can. There aren't cameras watching my progress. But, maybe I should treat my writing like there are.

How well do you do when you get 9s when you deserve 10s on your work? Do you smile and say, "That's great. I'll just work harder!" or do you go sulk in the corner and say they don't know what they're talking about? Your characters are rounded, your plot flawless... all in all, possibly the best thing ever written!

As Derek said before the dance, "She's relentless. She never stops until she gets it."

So, what about you? Are you relentless? Even when it hurts, do you carry on? When you find yourself way outside your comfort zone do you hammer through it?


  1. Disney wouldn't let me watch it :(

    My mom loves that show.

  2. I couldn't watch the video either. She sounds like she has perseverance and discipline down pat.

  3. We can edit ourselves into oblivion if we beat ourselves hard enough. I will push myself hard if I'm doing it for someone else like for my job for example, but when it comes to something that benefits me I can easily get discouraged.

    I wish you well. We seem to be in a similar place at the present time. Birds of a feather in a sense?

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

  4. I'm pretty darned tenacious, so yes, I guess I do persevere. I also know I need to be gentle with myself in the process. Good luck, Robin.

  5. Hey guys, I deleted the old video and grabbed another one. Thanks for commenting.

    I really need to work on my Discipline!

  6. Robin-

    I work from home a few days a week, and it takes a bit of discipline. I have my computer set up at a desk upstairs, and I go up there and am "in the office." I tried being downstairs at the kitchen table, and it was just too easy to get distracted by other things. The office area is one I usually only go into when I am working.

    I wonder if, as a writer, you need to do the same thing. Make it your job, and for X hours a day, you will work like you did have a boss (or cameras) watching.

    I was a fan of Robert B. Parker (Spenser novels), and he practiced something like this-went into his office for five hours a day, every day. In fact, he passed away at his writing desk.

    Not that I would suggest you follow precisely in those footsteps....but if you treat it like a job, you may even find you get through the minor writer's block because you don't let yourself walk away.

    My $0.02....


  7. It's never easy. We have to work hard. We have to be relentless. Even when I feel like giving up, I can't. So it's safe to say I'm relentless. ;)

    Don't let your discouragement get you down!

  8. I praise you for your clarity - despite life's mess, you know what you need to do. I do too. Sometimes, we have to stop and collapse, but then we persevere. Because we are relentless.

    I want to say, too, that I hated, hated, hated editing my work. But now that it's a pretty book, I love, love, love re-re-re-reading it. AND I am still editing it, if only in my mind.

    Keep writing, Robin.

  9. I always find myself wondering what I'm going to write too. But I never give up, I never surrender. When I'm working on a task, I'm relentless. I work through whatever I need to. In the end, everything tends to work itself out.

  10. Ow, ow, ow, ow.
    I never expect writing to be easy, but I'm not sure I'd keep going if my fingernails were falling off. Rejection, discouragement, despair ... Yup. I'm used to those things. But I'm a bit squeamish about things falling off my body. Go, Bindi!

  11. She grew up to be a pretty young lady. And such a hard worker.
    Don't let the edits get you down.

  12. Thanks for sharing your experiences. I am relentless and don't give up easily (I don't think I ever have, come to think of it). However, the journey is tricky and testing at times which demands more perseverence. Wishing you a great November.

  13. She's a great example of wanting something bad enough. Whew! I'm inspired.

  14. Oh my goodness. You're so right. That was well worth the 5 minutes to watch. She is amazing. We take for granted how hard people work to get where they are.

    And no, I don't work that hard at my craft. I've never even lost a fingernail!

  15. I wish I could be relentless about the right things!

  16. I've always been a bit of a hammer. My children are too for most things. Never giving up is the secret to success in anything, not just writing.

    Susan Says

  17. Hi Robin,

    A story of dedication and perseverance. I consider my comfort zone to be an uncomfortable comfort zone. We need to challenge ourselves and sometimes the challenge is more inspired by adversity.

    Keep embracing your passion for the written word. An integral part of your life, Robin.


  18. I heard something a long time ago that always stuck with me and have heard many others say it as well. Writing is a marathon not a sprint. Endurance is surely the key.

  19. Relentlessness, positivity, and toughness--I recall her father being like that, at least with his on-air/on-screen persona. So, she came by it naturally.

  20. I missed this! You can do it! If you had to perform and show your work or else, you would be just as determined. You may not be like Bindi(few people are, I'm not) but you will persevere. I love this show and watched this part again-She is a bright spot among the clouds and she is relentless. I am certain she has her down moments but only her brother and mom see it I bet. She is a true professional


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