IWSG March 2, 2016 – Admitting That You Are Good

Today is IWSG day. Come join Alex J. Cavanaugh and all the other writers who support each other, make us all smile and think in this monthly hop. No one is mocked or sneered at. All are welcome. We have all been there:


The awesome co-hosts for the March 2 posting of the IWSG will be Lauren Hennessy, Lisa Buie-Collard, Lidy, Christine Rains, and Mary Aalgaard! 

The 2016 Ossian award, named for the legendary Seannachie of Finn McCool, will be awarded this night to one of the finalists in the year-long contest.

It is the night everyone has been awaiting. One hundred and twenty-five authors have gathered, along with two thousand people, to learn who will be the winner…  You see the happy fans crowding at the border of the red carpet…  The flash of cameras…

The Ossian Award

Who will it be?  The entries have been read and shared and judged.

The Master of Ceremonies, resplendent in an Irish kilt with the O’Shaughnessy tartan (Shaughnessy being the Irish name for ‘Seannachie’ or ‘Bard’)

The name is announced…  The sudden silence is shattered by waves of cheering as the winner steps up to the podium.

She exchanges a ceremonious embrace with the MC, takes the award, a bust of the Seannachie, Ossian, looks at it, sets it down, and steps up to the microphone.

“Ladies and gentlemen.  It is with great pleasure that I accept the Magical Words award!” she says as a wave of applause fills the amphitheatre.  

She continues, “There were so many entered in this contest, seeking this prize, so many years of dreams and endeavors, reams of printer paper and gallons of ink, ballpoint or otherwise…   The sheer work that lies behind all those who entered this contest, whether or not they made the final few…”  

The audience murmurs appreciatively as the winner takes the award between her hands, looks deep into its eyes, and says, “And it’s about time that you came to me!”   

She said What???

The murmurs stop as though they have been cut off.   People stare, papers rustle, frowns begin to deepen.   …And she stands, the statuette in her hand, smiling imperturbably while various people resolve never to read a thing she writes, ever again.

So… what’s wrong with this picture?  Too brassy?  Demeaning?   In what way?   Was she speaking the truth as she knew it?  And if she did, what was wrong with that?

Well, there are ways and ways of saying things.  Arrogance is  never a good idea, but it is as big a lie as overdone modesty of the ‘Gee, it wasn’t any good at all’ sort.

I remember once hearing a talk that moved me profoundly.  When next I saw the professor who was the speaker, I told him, shyly, that his talk had meant very much to me, that it had given me much pleasure and comfort, and made me think of things in a different way.  All of this was earnestly sincere.

I remember that he stared and said, “Well, it really was not one of my better presentations…”  (Did that make me a liar, or simply tasteless?)

This is my thought for this month’s IWSG:   Are we wrong to acknowledge our own abilities?

I don’t think so.  We shouldn’t be shouting about how great we are, but by the same token it is fine to admit that maybe we are good enough for someone to entrust hours of his precious time reading our work.  

And it isn’t such a bad thing to be happy with ourselves even as we continue to try to improve.


Insecure Writers – ‘Do I have it in me?’

Today is the first Wednesday of the month, which means it is IWSG day. The once-a-month blog hop started by Alec Cavanaugh . IWSG = Insecure Writers’ Support Group We share our insecurities and support each other with empathy, sympathy or practical suggestions. 2011 NaNoWriMoAs others have commented, it is NaNoWriMo time. That time when we are expected to crank out fifty thousand words in thirty days. If you prefer numbers, that is 50,000 words in 30 days. (It doesn’t look quite so frightening when you are looking at numerals rather than words, does it?)


Well, speaking as an insecure writer, I will say that something that we all fear has come to pass.  No, nothing tremendously horrific.  I just somehow, in adjusting the spacing in my post (I tend to get grumpy about spacing) I managed to delete the whole thing.

I clawed back the beginning paragraph from the preview, and I am giving a brief run-down of my post.  I have learned something as an insecure writer:

If you mess up your manuscript (or blog post) you can carry on.

Here is what I said:

2011 NaNoWriMo

We are supposed to put out 50,000 words.  Will they be any good?  Can we write under that much pressure?  This is my third time participating in NaNoWriMo, and since my big problem with writing is to just let the ideas flow and make myself Wait to edit.  In otherwords, initial output does not have to be perfect.

This is a lesson I have learned.
My first NaNo (2011) is now a book called Mourningtide:

Last Year’s effort will be coming out at some point in 2014.  I am currently working on a fable or fairy tale involving a rather large crocodile that comes to stay with a struggling family.

I tried an experiment where I just wrote.  I turned on my laptop first thing in the morning (morning composing seems to be the time when my work seems the best) and I typed with my eyes closed. I had contemplated a scene involving the local busybody who was going to come bustling over, encounter the croc, and after some humorous histrionics go tearing out of there mouthing threats.  It came out nothing like that.  It was, in fact, rather moving to see where the story went and how it went.  And it was all from me.

2013 NaNoWriMo

I think there comes a point where we have to admit that we do have ability, that it is there to be tapped, that we have to nurture it and not be so bossy.

It isn’t hard, is it?  We see others as gifted and capable.  Why is it so hard to see ourselves so.

(And, this second time around with this @#$! post, it isn’t such a bad things to let things be, is it?)