Egotism

IWSG: Writer’s Contract for 2014

Welcome one and all to the blog, for my first post of 2014. With it being the first Wednesday of the month, this is also my entry for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group.

InsecureWritersSupportGroupThis is a double return for me, as due to a combination of distractions and lack of discipline, I’ve not been blogging regularly (I’ve had a 29 day break and a 38 day break between posts within the past 82 days), and this is also my first Insecure Writer’s Support Group since October.

The original purpose of this blog, when I first started out just under twenty-six months ago, was to write things on a regular basis. To get something finished regularly, to give myself some sort of satisfaction from finishing things off. But I think that, at some point, I began to set my standards for myself too high – most of what I’ve written, whether talking about story structure, writing reviews or attempts to start a series that have fell apart after one or two entries, have been around a thousand words. (The exceptions to this have generally been links to things I’ve written for other sites.)

I’d be interested in feedback from others on this – if you’re a writer or wannabe writer who started writing a blog as a way of staying in practice, do you ever feel you’ve set the standards for yourself too high? That doesn’t necessarily mean that I’ve set the standards for quality too high, but I think maybe three or four hundred words – just introducing a concept then playing around with it a bit – can be better than fully exploring it at a length that may drive readers away.

I tend to lose track of the blogs I read when I’m not writing my own. (If I’ve not commented on yours very often recently, this may be why. It may also be because I’m a bit of a jerk.) Just before and just after Christmas I’ve been catching up on emails from the blogs I’ve subscribed to (or deleting, where I’ve been too far behind), and came across an interesting entry by the excellent Robert Bruce of 101 Books, talking about his advice for bloggers.

I found all three of his tips useful, and two in particular – to plan ahead as it can be stressful having only a few hours to sort things out the next day; and to post regularly, to keep in the habit. (If you want to learn what the other tip was, that I personally found slightly less useful, you’ll have to follow that link.)
Bruce argues that getting into a positive routine, where you actually sit down to write stuff, is a major part of writing success, and it’s a habit I certainly haven’t ever mastered for a particularly long period of time.
Maybe the new year will be when I turn over a new leaf…

As a commitment for the new year, I’ll try and write three posts a week, roughly two brief ones around 300ish words in length, and another at my ‘normal’ length of about 1,000 words.
Hopefully that’ll be on top of the links I post to articles I’ve written elsewhere.
Sometimes, when I’ve had a piece of writing slowly stewing away in the back of my brain, it can just be a matter of taking twenty minutes to form the ideas I’ve had into words, effectively more a matter of dishing up rather than having to cook.
If I try and make the 300 to 400 length one of my new ‘defaults’ hopefully that should happen pretty regularly.

I’ve got a few currently on the backburners – thoughts about trying to construct and stick to a writing routine; highbrow fan-fiction; and the way my various ‘works in progress’ that are fighting for my attention between them, and as a result, not really progressing.

Dew_on_leaf by Formulax         Taken from Wikimedia Commons
Not if it’s got water on though. I’m not willing to get my hands wet.

Hopefully by keeping things short and sweet, and posting on a regular basis, my ‘current’ content will interest more readers in the new year…

Happy new year one and all, may your hangovers be bearable!

19 thoughts on “IWSG: Writer’s Contract for 2014”

  1. And I’ll break your legs if you break this contract.

    I’ve definitely run out of steam for my own blog though I couldn’t explain precisely why – I think the ideas have just kind of dried up. I’m happy to say that the ideas and inspiration for my books/stories are flourishing nicely though. Whether the two are related I couldn’t possibly say.

    Good luck for 2014.

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    1. Haha, that should help focus my mind!

      Shame about your blog, you had some high level silliness going on there. I’ve been meaning to read some of your longer stuff for a while – are there any you’re still looking to promote, I could write a quick review?

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      1. You’re welcome to read and review any and all of them if you want!

        If you’ve got an ereader I can email you over the files, or I can get paperback copies sent if you trust me with your address.

        Saying Goodbye to Warsaw is my most recent and what I consider to be my best one.

        Underneath is a thriller. Shades of Grey is three short stories. Jake is a pretty conventional story about a teenage boy. Bits of Cargill is a collection of articles from my blog but isn’t available in paperback.

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    2. Feeling the same as Michael. Running out of steam with the blog but my writing has picked up. I’m wondering now if there is a correlation. Hmm…anyway, I’m digressing. I also wanted to say that shorter is better when it comes to blog posts. Sometimes we can make it hard on our readers when we’re hardly able to read other people’s blogs ourselves. I try to stay around 500. I know it doesn’t work for everyone but I don’t want my followers to feel too bogged down. There’s a lot of great sites out there, I just want to be one of them!

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  2. My issue with blogging seems to be mostly about the time crunch. Between revising a novel, exchanging critiques, and planning another novel, (did I mention I have a full time ‘day job’?) I’m left with not much time to post. I have a lot of half-finished posts languishing in draft, that if only I had enough time, I’d polish and post–but by the time I get around to posting them, they feel as if they’ve become irrelevant.
    I like your idea of keeping the word count down to a couple hundred words. Those shorter posts come together more quickly, and seem to generate as much or more interest as the longer posts do!
    (Glad you’re back with IWSG. 🙂 )

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    1. I have exactly the same distractions – except I’m ‘lucky’ not to have a full-time job distracting me at the moment!

      I tend to find that I suffer from writer’s block a lot, and sometimes, writing something totally different can be helpful in opening me up.

      Glad to be back!

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  3. Reblogged this on noonebutabloghead and commented:

    Today, rather than last week, is the return of the Insecure Writers’ Support Group, intended to help aspiring writers give each other support. After not taking part for a few months, I missed the fact that this month’s edition had been pushed back – I’m reblogging just to make it easier to find.

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  4. Making writing a habit is a good thing. Using your blog for writing practice is also a good idea. I did some catching up and cleaning out of old emails too recently. it’s not always easy to keep up, and sometimes it’s easier to just keep moving forward.

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  5. well looky looky…someone wants to break your legs. Can I provide the cast? Ah yes, blogging can be tricky only if you don’t keep up with it. it’s true! so true… hang in there. don’t lose focus and try to commit. I commit once a week that way I can take a different day solely for commenting. if you don’t comment…people don’t know you. sad, but true! glad I met you though *shakes virtual hand* and now following this soon to br stellar (or that guy up there will break your legs) blog!!

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  6. Hello, Sam. Having some kind of a routine works for me. Blogging takes a lot of time. I love reading other blogs, but it does take away from my writing. I usually keep mine short and sweet. Good Luck and much success in 2014.

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  7. I understand. I’ve been a phantom in the blog-verse this past year (probably longer). I’ve learned, however, that as long as we’re willing to pick ourselves up and try again, there will always be a supportive group here to help us and cheer us along. The IWSG is the best of those supportive groups that I’ve found!

    Best of luck in the new year!
    Jen

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