Wednesday, September 6, 2023

12 Years Ago

This is a special date for us insecure types - twelve years ago our fearless leader, Alex Cavanaugh, stuck his toe in the water and asked other writers if they wanted to chance a group dedicated to supporting the emotional and mental needs of struggling writers. We did! And so the 

Insecure Writers Support Group was launched. After going back through thousands of posts I found that I had not posted proper on that day, although I meant to, and wrote some kind of ramble a few days later mentioning it, that Alex, in his imitable and kind way acknowledged. 

I have not always posted through these years, but in my defense, I've been more faithful to this group that probably any other one I've belonged to. In fact it has lasted longer than a couple of my marriages (ahem). Back in 2010 when I started a version of this blog, I posted a lot. A lot. Like five times a week. I treated my blog as a journal of my life and it thrills me to look back and read what I was thinking and feeling about. Nowadays I generally post at least once a month, and yes it is my IWSG blog that takes me to my chair and sits me down and says "write something, anything" because the words of our peers clang in our hearts in a most encouraging way.

Following is my first post for IWSG (October 12 years ago). Most things are the same as when I wrote this only I am a published writer (and strangely working on about my 12th book, ha - with only one published!). I haven't smoked even once for many many years and I hardly ever eat bank statements any more. Oh and I now use a different font. 

Dear Journal,
Hi, my name is Jan and I'm an insecure writer. Oh, I know you don't believe me. You think I'm just trying to fit in with the new in-crowd, but you're wrong. I am insecure at writing and perhaps even more with revising. You see, I believe that revising separates the sheep from the goats (hi Elspeth's sheep!!!). I don't know if a writer is a sheep or a goat but today, of all days, insecure writers' day, I'm saying that a writer is a goat and not a sheep. Why? Well because goats eat anything and live off of it. Same as writers. Exactly. Why today, just today, dear journal, I ate an old tire, some sh*t (don't ask, won't tell), and my bank statement. Why? You may well ask. The tire is obvious for you alert journals, the second item I've already said I won't comment on, and the bank statement - that was dessert. If I wasn't a writer and a reviser I might have said that it was desert, but that would be wrong. Why would a bank statement be a big sandy hot area with a cartoon guy crawling across it, saying in balloon speak "water...water...just a bit of water..."?  Some other reasons that writers are goats and not sheep. We smell. It's true. I know we don't like to admit it but when we are deep in revisions, showers are just another pesky thought. Plus we eat popcorn with garlicky oil on it (no - not butter, we're on a diet!) and parmesan with that nice old sock odour. And the third reason we're like goats and not like sheep is that we can't sleep. We're always jumping around on mountains trying to find something, anything, to write about. If we were sheep we'd count ourselves and sleep. I can't sleep - that's why I'm writing this in my journal pretending it is Wednesday - oh - it is almost Wednesday - just 13 more minutes and it will be - then I can put the compost out and maybe go to sleep. I might have a cigarette. On the deck, in the driving cold rain. That would make me feel like a writer and I would definitely smell like a goat. Then I couldn't go to sleep and I could work on fleshing out my main character in the revision I'm doing. Good idea. By the way, Mari and Tartlette, I'm not blunking or drogging or any one of those elvish words. I'm just really really really tired. Because I'm a goat, an insecure writing, revising goat and baaaaaah (oh come on - I heard four goats today and that is just how they sound - the sheep copied them - they ARE sheep ya know).
Sometimes when people ask me what I'm "up to" (very suspiciously I might add) I will tell them I'm a writer and go blah blah blahing about 'what I'm working on' and how hard it is to find 'real publishers' these days. But don't kid yourself, journal, I'm still being insecure when I do that. Yes, I am. I'm blowing a lot of hot air. The thing is that when I'm finally a 'published writer' I won't ever say that. I'll slip it in real cool. "Yes, I'm working on my twelfth book. Uh...well only one's been published, but I AM working on my twelfth book. I'll be so secure. Then every first Wednesday of every month I'll write a Secure Writers' Post. Ha! OK, I'm going out on the deck to smoke now. See you tomorrow, I mean today.


Natalie Aguirre said...

That's awesome that you became a member when the group started. I joined sometime before 2014. And I think a lot of people used to blog way more every week and have dropped down to posting once a month for the IWSG.

Liza said...

Like you, it's the IWSG monthly post that keeps me blogging. It's also kind people like you. Your comment today delivered a little mist to the old a good way. Thank you, Jan for all the times you've made this insecure writer feel more positive!

Margot Kinberg said...

Congratulations to all of you on twelve years of supporting each other and sharing your journeys with us. Writing doesn't have to be a solitary effort, and I think it's great that you take care of one another.

Sarah Foster said...

The IWSG is also the only thing right now that keeps me blogging.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I don't picture you as a goat...
You did start in the beginning with us, which is just awesome!

Pat Garcia said...

I am very happy you were faithful to the group and are still here.
Have a happy IWSG month.
Shalom shalom

Carol Kilgore said...

Love this! Took me longer than I thought it would to get here, but I'm happy I came. you made my day!

Heidi Angell said...

I have been so grateful for this group as well. I too struggle with consistency, but I keep striving to get there ;)