The Insecure Writer’s Support Group virtually meets the first Wednesday of each month, and gives participants a chance to share struggles, triumphs, quandaries, and fears. This month’s question is:

Besides writing, what other creative outlets do you have?

I’d never pretend to be professional-level, but I enjoy drawing with colored pencils, watercolor pencils, and pastels—Derwent’s Coloursoft, Artbars, and Inktense; Caran d’Ache Pablos and Neocolor II; Faber-Castell Polychromos; Koh-I-Noor woodless coloured pencils; Crayola’s Portfolio oil pastels; about a dozen Prismacolors; and Sennelier oil pastels. The lattermost were created for Picasso in 1949. When I have the money, I want to buy the complete set of Sennelier soft pastels, which were created for Degas.

My passion is for abstract and geometric art.

I also do cross-stitch and embroidery.

My mother started this for her parents after my uncle died in 1988, but put it away for years. (She made a few mistakes!) I finished it while recovering from my last leg surgery in 2006, and my grandparents were thrilled with it. They framed it and hung it on the wall of their condo. My grandma, now my only living grandparent, brought it with her when she moved to a retirement home.

I made a few mistakes of my own on this (Buddha should’ve been taller, and some objects should’ve been in slightly different spots), but no one would tell unless I explained my miscalculations.

Since I won a free title setup on IngramSpark for winning NaNo, I decided to make a hardcover for my first Russian historical. (I’ve long since had a block of five ISBNs for it from Canada’s IndieBookLauncher; this service is sadly no longer offered.) I went through it to make sure it’s as perfect as can be for this the fifth edition, and mostly made tiny tweaks and corrected a few typos that were created during the edits for the fourth edition.

At one point, I began to seriously wish I’d rewritten the first six chapters much more radically during my endless edits, revisions, and rewrites in 2011–14. I junked or radically rewrote 99% of the original 1993 material, but it still didn’t seem like I did enough.

Eventually, I stepped back and realized it’s better to bring my improved writing skills and lessons learnt into current and future books, not waste time frogging part of an already-published book and rewriting those chapters almost entirely from the ground up.

I’m very proud of how I wrote the first draft from ages 13–21, and how it reflects my writing voice, style, and abilities evolving through the years. The scant remainder of the original material is also a poignant reminder of my 128K Mac, on which I began it so many years ago.

Had I begun this book as an adult, I would’ve started it closer to the October Revolution, perhaps even in 1918, not soon after the February Revolution. I also probably would’ve set it in Petrograd, not Moskva. But it is what it is, and it wouldn’t be the same story if I suddenly changed things that are so integral to the overall story.

I’ve finally got Word on my newer computer, but decided to go back to Pages for my WIP. I might try again later, but I’ve grown so used to setting up Pages documents. When I C&Ped the one Word chapter back into the master Pages file, there were a bunch of formatting specs that needed fixed. I’ll use Word for new documents, but will keep Pages as my primary word processor.

My older computer uses Word 2003, so I’m quite out of step with the newest version!

Have you ever had late-coming doubts about a story? Would you be more forgiving of shortcomings in a book if you knew the author had written it at a very young age? Have you had difficulties adjusting to different word processors?

11 thoughts on “IWSG—February odds and sods

  1. Mistakes are ways we learn. I like to say that because I like to tell people I’m learning every day when they point out some “small” errors I’ve made. As to writing, I doubt everything I write until the end, and then I doubt some more.


  2. Your pastels kit is giving me series envious feelings right now. lol

    The first stories/eBooks I published could probably use some editing, if I was to try to bring them to my current level, but I like how they show my progress. 🙂


  3. I don’t usually re-read my earlier stories. If I do, I want to edit them, sometimes severely, but I think my time would be better spent in writing new stuff.
    I always wanted to be able to draw and paint, but never could. Now, internet and image-editing software give me the ability to create new images without being able to paint.


  4. The pictures of your cross-stitch items are lovely. I used to do that. Used to do a lot of crafts, but writing took over. I went from Works document to Word back in 1999, I think. Tried Scrivener and found the learning curve too much. I love Word (I use Office 365) and I’m sticking with it. I think once you find something that works well for you, stick with it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m still adjusting to Scrivener after decades using Word – plus another piece of novel software briefly. I wrote my debut novel in Word – current one in Scrivener – but I released an edited second edition after I found mistakes in that first debut edition.


  6. I miss the older versions of Word with less options and menus. Simple was so less confusing. I guess they have to employ people to keep tweaking things and offering new options so they can sell product. Sigh.

    I love the bonsai tree and the book cover with the swan. So beautiful.


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