IWSG—Some odds and sods


The Insecure Writer’s Support Group meets the first Wednesday of each month. Participants share struggles, triumphs, quandaries, and fears. This month’s question is:

How do you celebrate when you achieve a writing goal/finish a story?

When there was still an APP-certified piercer in my area, I liked going for a piercing to reward myself. I got my third lobe piercings done after I finished Journey Through a Dark Forest, and I got my navel done for finishing the first 50K of NaNo in 2015.

Sadly, I had to retire my navel piercing 8.5 months later, due to obvious, advanced rejection. It was healing beautifully, and my very honest piercer said I had the perfect navel to pierce (since it had a great shelf to support it), but I suspect my increasing weight gain started the rejection process.

I’ve lost at least 30 pounds since last June, and am almost back to the weight I was when I had my navel done. I’ll definitely be getting it repierced in the autumn or winter! When I’m back in an area with an APP piercer, I’ll resume getting piercings to mark writing goals.

My awesome piercer pointed me towards this purple opal navel bar, since he knew purple is my signature color. The redness has been replaced by white scar tissue.

I spent February focusing on A Dream Deferred, my fourth Russian historical, and am now nearing the final sections of Chapter 38. After the longer than average Chapter 33, my chapters were short and mid-length (by my standards), and now Chapter 38 is on the long side again.

I need to get back to my alternative history, and I plan to divide my writing time between that and A Dream Deferred. If only I didn’t have to go to a library to get most of my writing done. I keep hoping I’ll be out of this place by summer, with my privacy and independence restored.

Obviously, these initial chapter-by-chapter notes are just a working outline. I’ve added many more chapters, storylines, and characters since making these notes in summer 2015.

I think I’ve given up on the biweekly writing group that meets at various local libraries. I felt like I were intruding on an established gang of friends, and no one really talked to me. The critiques are also rather superficial, since people make comments during the meetings instead of annotating the work and sending it back. There’s no chance to give a full, honest critique of any submissions.

Some of them need an editor or experienced critique partner more than praise and light corrections from friends. One guy complained about a woman who only came to one meeting and critiqued everyone’s grammar, punctuation, etc., and someone else said that was nitpicky and should be saved for an editor.

If you don’t have a grasp on basic grammar, spelling, punctuation, sentence structure, etc., I can’t focus on the actual story. I can overlook, e.g., problems with comma usage, its vs. it’s, or the occasional run-on or awkward wording if the overall story is strong, but that’s not the case here.

I miss my writing group back in NY, which meets weekly, welcomes new people, knows how to critique properly, and has real conversations between sprints.

Would you quit going to a writing group if you didn’t click with it?


7 thoughts on “IWSG—Some odds and sods

  1. I’d definitely leave a writing group that wasn’t working for me. It’s time wasted and now you can keep your eyes open for one more suited for your. You’re so brave with the piercings! Best wishes for the next naval piercing to work out much better.


    • My navel piercing was about a 2 out of 10 on the pain scale, though piercing pain always varies from person to person, and even on the same person getting something done again.


  2. I pierced my belly button when I was a teen, but it didn’t heal very well. It took a long time and hurt a lot. I took it out. Years later, I basically repierced it myself. It was doing really good, but then I had to take it out for my spine surgery before it was fully healed and didn’t put it back during my recovery. After that, I just left it out. I kept thinking it’d rip out cuz stuff would hit it anyway, so it wasn’t much of a lose for me.


  3. That’s a cool idea to get piercings when you complete a project. It can be difficult to find the right local writers’ group. I had one I used to go to, and I enjoyed it for the most part, but between the day job and writing, I just didn’t have the energy to go anymore.


  4. A writing group should serve the writer’s need. I was a member of a writing group for years when I started writing. I was learning the craft, taking classes, wanting to get seriously professional as a writer, while the rest of the group did it as a hobby. At first, the group was useful to me, and I enjoyed our meetings. Reading and critiquing others helped my own writing, and the others’ comments were tremendously helpful.
    Unfortunately, after a while, I felt like I stopped belonging. I started getting publications, both as a fiction writer and a journalist, but everyone else just kept tinkering without any improvement. And they reacted to my publications with barely concealed envy. They were very nice people, but lousy writers. So I quit.

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  5. I would and did quit a critique group. Two of us then met privately because we were the most serious and wrote in the same genre. Finding a good critique group is hard. I hope you find one that meets your needs.


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