Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Insecure Writer and the End of The Year

Today is December's contribution to Alex Cavanaugh's Insecure Writers Support Group.

Why am I an Insecure Writer this month? 

Because  it’s December and it’s pretty obvious I’m not going to meet my goal of finishing my story by Christmas

It’s not even going to be close.

I’ll admit I had high hopes for this year. I learned so much about writing in 2014, I was positive that if I dedicated myself to the task there was no way I could fail to meet my goal. I concentrated on not letting myself veer off on writing-related tangents. I forced myself to submit something at (almost) every writer’s group meeting I attended this year. Just put my nose to the grindstone and write. Turns out that wasn’t enough.

Part of the problem had to do with structural issues within my story. As my storytelling skills developed, it became clear many of my chapters needed to be scrapped and/or rearranged to keep the pace going, and as is typical for me, that process took far more time than I would have liked. But ultimately it all came down to the simple fact that although I thought everything I’ve learned about writing would make me a faster writer, all it’s done is make me a better writer. I’m happier with my scenes and chapters than I’ve ever been, but it still takes just as long to write them. Sigh.

Oh well, I suppose quality is better than quantity.

At least I do have some good news to share.  The new book in M. Pax's Rifter series is now out.  If you want to help support another insecure writer, then pop on over to M. Pax's blog and pester congratulate her.

With the rift closed for the season and no more monsters to fight, Daelin Long gets bored as librarian in the podunk town of Settler, Oregon. A job interview and her brother’s arrival present a tempting opportunity to escape, until her brother and her best friend, a ghost, disappear.
While Daelin searches for them, more mysteries pile up: dead people coming back to life, portraits of the town founders replaced with strange white trees, and people on the other side of the rift returning. It’s impossible. The portal that allows monsters from other universes to come to Earth is sealed until next summer.
The Rifters, a secret group protecting our world, believe the troubles are nothing more than the tantrums of an offended ghost. Daelin disagrees. If she’s right, the evil hell-bent on destroying Earth has new technology making the rift more deadly.
Before the monster summons the next apocalypse, Daelin must find it and destroy it.

AmazonUK / AUS / CA / DE / FR / ES / IT / NL / JP / BR / MX / IN
iBook / Nook / GooglePlay / Kobo / Smashwords / inktera / Scribd

Need to catch up? You can read books 1 & 2 in the Rifter series for free by becoming an M. Pax Reader.

M. Pax is author of the space adventure series The Backworlds, plus other novels and short stories. Fantasy, science fiction, and the weird beckons to her, and she blames Oregon, a source of endless inspiration. She docents at Pine Mountain Observatory in the summers as a star guide and has a cat with a crush on Mr. Spock. Learn more at


  1. Congratulations to Mary!
    A better writer is... better. I don't think anything can make us faster. I still write at a snail's pace and I doubt that will ever change.

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  3. LOL, reading your post was like preaching to the choir for me---DITTO--Maybe 2016 will be our writing year. Hang in there!! I already have my copy of M. Pax book, Sometimes its hard being a muggle.

    Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

  4. LOL, reading your post was like preaching to the choir for me---DITTO--Maybe 2016 will be our writing year. Hang in there!! I already have my copy of M. Pax book, Sometimes its hard being a muggle.

    Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

  5. LOL, reading your post was like preaching to the choir for me---DITTO--Maybe 2016 will be our writing year. Hang in there!! I already have my copy of M. Pax book, Sometimes its hard being a muggle.

    <a href="> Juneta @ Writer's Gambit </a>

  6. I hear ya on the writing pace issue. I thought when I retired from teaching and had (theoretically) all day to write, I would write faster. Turns out that's not the case, at least not for first drafts. They still have to emerge slowly, with frequent breaks between chapters as I grope my way forward in the story. It's just the way I write.

  7. Yay for Mary!

    I'm not a fast writer. I'm not. Granted, I do have a family, we home school, there's a baby in the house, I lead a choir and handle multiple monthly musical events...but that's life, right? I think we do the best we can around everything else, and it's enough.

  8. That's actually a good lesson, Ken. Better writer this year, faster one next year. That'll work.

  9. I think you've accomplished quite a bit if you've discovered how to dig in and revise and scrap. You may not have finished your novel, but at least you've made it better! That's something to celebrate. And don't forget, there's always next year! :)

  10. Quality is most important. And faster takes practice too. You don't get that with your first book. The discovery and learning how to write takes a ton of time. Editing can be even longer.

    Congrats to Mary!

  11. Hi Ken :)

    The fact that you identified chapters that needed to be cut, tightened scenes, and kept writing shows great progress. You shouldn't beat yourself up because you didn't finish the novel. And I believe it's more important to be a better writer than a faster writer. You want to wow your audience right the first time, and everything you are doing now will ensure you do just that.

    Happy Holidays!

  12. Quality is better. We must always keep learning to improve on what we do. Yay for Mary! I have my copy. :)

  13. I agree; quality is better. I get so aggravated reading books that don't have good stories, let alone an editor. I enjoy your writing! And kudos to Mary!

    BTW, for anyone who can't comment like I couldn't for months, I found out it's Chrome browser's fault. Even deleting history doesn't always help. Use Firefox or another browser when visiting blogs.

  14. At least you made progress. I'm currently in the trenches of revising as well, and it *does* take a long time! I've been working on it for three days and am all of 40 pages in to significant rewrites. But it's better to make sure the book is a good one.

  15. I'm not a fast writer. And I view that as a good thing because I can spend more time perfecting my story. Making progress is what counts. I'm rewriting half a book, but it's all going toward a book I can be proud of so it's worth it. :)

  16. Grats, Mary!

    I totally feel ya on the writing, Ken. I've written and scrapped so many words that it seems like I'm not making forward progress. But I'm happier with it now than I was earlier. That counts for something, right?

  17. Quality is definitely important. Do you want to be remembered for one great book? Or known for a dozen so-so books?

    That's an honest question. I'm not saying one or the other is better.

    IWSG December

  18. Thank you, Ken. You rock!

    We keep learning as we go. There's nothing wrong with that. I spent years, maybe 7 or so, on my first series which has never seen the light of day. I spent a year writing the next series. Also shelved. But I was learning. So it's not wasted time. 3rd series did see the light of day (Backworlds).

    I take the time to keep learning, too. In the end, please yourself, because you will never make everyone happy. Never.

  19. Getting better at writing should be everyone's goal. To me this is a great success. :-)

    Anna from Elements of Writing

    PS I'll be contacting over the weekend about the blog tour. Sorry about taking so long.

  20. Quality is better! It still sounds like you've made great progress. I draft fairly quickly but editing takes a lot longer, and often involves a lot of restructuring. I wish I could write fast without losing quality, but I can't seem to do both at the same time. It's always a learning process!

  21. Better is definitely better than faster. And seeing those structural issues is a huge leap forward. Many writers don't see the big issues because they are so focused on getting those little things right. But it's the structure that will make or break your story, not the little things.

  22. I've had a good writing year this year, but I still hope things get better next year. Next year I want to actually self-publish a book!

    I think the best way to achieve a goal is to make it realistically achievable, and then create a plan of action that you know you can follow. Make sure to plan it in actual dates on the calendar, etc. If it stays sort of vague and airy, it will NOT get done. That's a proven fact. Good luck in 2016, Ken!

  23. Quality is definitely better than quantity. Do your best. That's all we can ask of ourselves.

  24. I think a better writer is ultimately more saleable than a faster writer. Hope 2016 is a great year for you, Ken!

  25. You'll get there, Ken. What matters is the finished product.

    Congrats, Mary. Love that cover!

    1. I'm so glad that you're making progress, Ken! Whenever I stop by your blog and read about your writing journey, I'm inspired by your attitude. You will finish, Ken and your book will be great! :)

  26. No matter what people say, I believe it's better to be a good writer than a fast one.

    I've seen so many people who screw up their books because they put publishing by a certain time before making sure the story is up to standard.

  27. Quality over quantity. Every time.
    I also write slow. Throw in an internal editor that refuses to be silenced = snail's pace slow, actually.
    As long as you are happy with your scenes and chapters, that's half the battle won!
    Congrats to Mary! She's a writing machine!

  28. You succeeded in submitting things to your writing group, got feedback, and learned a lot. I'd consider that a win! It sounds like your story would have been finished, except that you wanted to improve it. Rewriting takes time. No way around that. You've done great -- don't short-change yourself. :)