Wednesday, October 2, 2019

#IWSG Lone Wolf-itis

IWSG: a place where writers and friends share woes or hugs.
Welcome to mine!




brown dog near trees during snow
Photo by Jason Abdilla @ Unsplash.com

I have a problem that I struggle with and it's being a lone wolf. I'm the wolf that wanders the wild countryside, feeling forlorn as the rest of the pack frolics in the streambed while I look on. Yet, when I am called to join, I suddenly feel shy and resistant.

Wolves, Park, Wolf, Wild, Nature, Carnivores, Zoo
Photo by Jimoody8 on Pixabay.com

This is the way it is with my writing. On social media, many of my writerly peers gather and share and swap while I look on. I do feel left out as I watch from the borders. However, if I'm invited to join the group as a whole I feel caught and bound.

White, Wolves, Pack, Nice, Animals
Photo by FRESCO on Pixabay.com

Another instance is the critique group: I love hearing about the camaraderie and friendships borne and nurturing that happens there. I watch with envy and yes, you guessed it: The moment I'm invited I have a slew of concerns I'm immediately faced with: 

1- I struggle with just doing 10 pages at a time, especially when I have a stash of completed novels. 

2- Can't we just swap entire books? Because my mind works one book at a time when critiquing, not in tiny segments which drives me absolutely bonkers! (Yes, that means I'm willing to swap entire novels with a single partner as well.)

3- Dividing my work with 2 people or more feels too much for me, especially when I relish the idea of hoarding a single person's attention all to myself (critique partner anyone?).

4- Most of the time, a person in a group doesn't want to meet on an individual basis, feeling it's not worth their time. Really? The power of one is fabulous--think of a tutor with a student. Right?

I'm sure there's more but I can't think of any right now...


Wolf, Lonely, Rest, Sunset, Nature, Animal
Photo by Papafox on Pixabay.com

I realize that I'm an introvert by nature. I thrive with a dedicated writing partner who takes me and my work seriously (and in turn, I am just as loyal and dedicated). I love soundboarding ideas, working through writer's block (I'm good at helping with detangling sticky block messes), cheering and encouraging and carrying, I love the idea of getting together on a regular basis just to write in silence. Ha! I make a good writing coach and partner. Who will take me seriously and not give up? In all the 20+ years I've been writing, I've yet to find someone who fits this. I can't be the only person out there who's this weird!

Am I?


(this video fits me--haha!)

               




How do you go about writing? Are you a lone wolf? Are you a social butterfly? How do you handle 10 pages at a time with critique groups? Do you ever feel the need of having one dedicated writing partner?



21 comments:

  1. I tend to hunker down inside my shell to write, occasionally sticking my head out to see what's happening. Sometimes it's scary to do that, but if I don't at least try now and then, I'll miss out on meeting great new people and exciting opportunities.

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    1. I agree on this! But once you do venture, how do you apply and exercise the excitement?

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  2. Hopefully you can find that one critique partner who is in it for the long haul. I don't go to a writing group either - just use a couple critique partners.

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    1. I think that's a great way to do it, Alex. I need to find a few critique partners who are dedicated. *sigh*

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  3. I'm definitely a lone wolf. I don't have any critique partners and I'm pretty terrified to get one. I think I'm just convinced they'll hate my work and I won't be able to provide good feedback for theirs.

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    1. There needs to be a level of trust somewhere. It's good to get it all out before we publish our stuff because once it's out there, it's too late to fix it--and embarrassing, too!

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  4. I am right there with you when it comes to standing off to the side looking on, and yet mentally rebelling when I'm called over. It's the social anxiety for me, combined with the introvertedness. It's why I have only sporadic attendance at a local writers group that I helped form.

    I agree with your concerns about critiquing as a group too. Our writers group has recently decided to start doing that for each other now and then. I'm not saying I don't expect to get anything out of the experience, but you're right that sharing a chapter (or so) isn't the same as someone getting the full experience of the story.

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    1. That's a good question. I've had some pretty unpleasant experiences when trying to connect with beta readers in the past, usually because of my own inexperience in vetting them. Even recently, I accepted feedback from someone who I thought would have helpful opinions for me, because she is also a writer and reads the same genre books I do, and while I did gain some important insight from her, plenty of her notes were unhelpful (and took me some time to be able to read without getting frustrated), either because they showed that she hadn't really paid much attention to what she was reading, or she contradicted herself in what she said she was looking for, etc.

      I lucked out in the early revision stages of my first book, because after asking my 3 sisters to read it and let me know what they thought, 2 of them had detailed notes, and we were all in the right places in our lives to start up a weekly Skype meeting going over their notes. They helped me with the most intensive revision that the book went through, and I will forever be grateful to them. They're both much busier now than they were then, so I doubt we'll be able to do the same thing again when my next book is ready. So I'll be back to figuring out how to get beta readers, with no real connections, and no money to pay for a professional (unless my first book sells *really* well).

      Sorry for going on so much, but yeah, I totally get your uncertainty! Maybe there's a Facebook group out there for people just like us...but then, I'd hesitate to join, or be unwilling to speak up if I did join...

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  5. Lone wolf--yep that's me too. But I joined IWSG to be part of the writing community. I find beta readers when I need them. I've discovered that we share the same worries and thrills.

    Anna from elements of emaginette

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    1. How do you ask for beta readers? I'm curious because I'd love to have some dedicated ones, too!

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  6. I don't go to writing groups. I've had other authors critique my first 3 chapters and I received some good advice, contradictory advice, and nonsense advice. It just boggled my brain. Now I bounce off my stories to my daughters or one author to see if it's feasible.

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    1. I'm kind of in that same situation as well--I use my kids. My daughter is a real thinker and writer. My son has a great eye for plot. My youngest daughter loves dramatic scenes and knows how to spice things up. I just need a few authors whom I may consult with as well.

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  7. I'm TRYING to be more social (hence, these blog hops), but I'm definitely an introvert. I've been burned by a lot of critique partners. I'll spend a lot of time and energy on a thorough, line-by-line critique of their work, only to have them shoot me a quick message about mine saying "good work, keep it up!", or worse, not bother giving me any feedback at all in return. It's frustrating! I really hope you find a good critique partner. I'm not quite ready to jump back into the critiquing game yet, but when I am I'll drop you a line to see if you're interested.

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    1. I hear ya on that! I'm thorough in my critiques. I love swapping books and helping others. I've helped one friend with 6 books straight and was excited for her to help me with mine, but it turned out she couldn't help me at all. I was disappointed.

      Brigitte, thank you! I'll be here!

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  8. I really enjoyed your post, Elizabeth! I'm a lone wolf too. (Loved your photos, btw.) But with everything else you're handling, some lone wolf time is probably a relief. I hope you find the critique partner you are longing for.

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  9. I write on my own, but have a group of beta readers who give me really great feedback about my finished manuscripts.

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    1. That's wonderful that you have a stable of beta readers who are willing to read your entire manuscript. I need a few good ones as well!

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  10. I think many of us who write are lone wolves at core. I know I like the idea of writers’ meet-ups more in theory than in practice, though I do love a good coffee and long discussion of the current project with a good friend who writes. Which sounds like what you want. Where do you live ;)

    I’ve accumulated several good beta-readers/critique partners over the years of writing and publishing and blogging and participating in things like the IWSG. It takes time, and not everyone who has read for me has offered much help. One thing I do is make sure to put up an ask on IWSG day when my book is nearing that stage. What I also need to do is to make a much more organized record of who has read for me and how it went!

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    1. Rebecca, I live deep in the heart of Texas! :D

      At one point, I had a good system of people but my career came to a halt shortly after my first book came out (long story). Now that I'm starting back up, I'm at ground zero. Everyone who was there for me at the start has moved on--it also doesn't help that I've moved to an entirely different State and left all my "coffee partners" behind. Waaa! It wasn't easy finding a dedicated someone then, either, so...

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