February 4, 2015

Goals & Renewed Focus: #IWSG

The Insecure Writer's Support Group (or IWSG) is a wonderful group put together by the amazing Alex J. Cavanaugh (which now has an equally cool Facebook group). 

The first Wednesday of each month is the perfect opportunity to share my insecurities on the #IWSG therapy couch, get encouragement and support about such insecurities, and to read how other writers are faring.

I've rescheduled my normal Wednesday programming -- Grammar & Writing Tips -- to bring you my #IWSG post. Reading others' pieces and reflecting on my own writing dilemmas and insecurities has been an invaluable experience for me.

Oh, and I totally missed that we were supposed to introduce ourselves in January, so I'm doing it here.

I write young adult and women's fiction. My fourth novel, Fractured Glass (which is one story written by five authors), came out December 24, 2014, and I have a novella in my young adult paranormal series coming out next month. In addition, I'm an editor for Indie Books Gone Wild. I love everything about words, even when my teenagers are hurling them at me. All kidding aside, I have three amazing girls (14, 13 & 9) and my husband and I will celebrate 20 years of marriage next month.

Last month, I talked about the importance of Defining Me. To accelerate my progress, I signed up for a course by the amazing Janet Wallace, she of UtopYA awesomeness: StandUP. StandOUT. Rake It In. More information can be found here. We just had our first class on February 2, and it was amazing!

There's something I've realized on this journey... before I can define myself, I have to first let go of the things holding me back. I've discovered two major things get in my way:
Comparing Myself to Others
Focusing on the Negative

These should be simple to stop, right? Yet, not so much. I love seeing my fellow Indies succeed, but then the insecurity monster creeps in. Why am I not reaching that level of success? Why am I not selling as many books?

In addition, I spend more time worrying about the few negative comments about my books than focusing on all the wonderful compliments I've received. 

I have no doubt writing is part of who I am. Now, I need to put the time and energy into...

Defining My Own Success
Focusing on the Positive and Striving for More

How to do this? Oh, that's the part I'm still figuring out. Janet's course is a huge step in the right direction, but it's going to take a lot of soul searching and setting attainable, but challenging, goals. I'm pushing fear back--knowing I'll still have days where it takes over--and moving forward.

Do you set goals for the year? What do you base them on (e.g., sales, production, reader enthusiasm, etc.)?

I look forward to catching up with this awesome community (although I admit to just getting around to January's #IWSG posts in the last few days).


Cathrina Constantine said...

That awful insecurity monster likes to creep too much!! We all have him slinking around, plaguing our brain cells. Don't worry it's normal. Setting goals, even if they're not hit, are good things. Perseverance is a must with writers, and patience. Good Luck, Tia.

Stephsco said...

HI! Thanks for visiting my blog. I set goals and I also struggle with comparing my progress to others, which never leads anywhere. I think all you can do is work toward changing those attitudes and keep working on what you want to accomplish. I'm also taking time to celebrate the smaller victories along the way, which I often lose track of.

Terry Lee said...

Only my second month to IWSG. You must have been perusing my brain or I'm channeling yours! All your "topics" are MY topics and challenges I face everyday. In fact, after reading your post I am going to reinforce these ideas on a poster board (or maybe smaller, my wall space is getting a bit crowded).
*define my own success
*focus on the the positive
*stop comparing myself to others (big one)
*stop focusing on the negative (is this human nature?)
Enjoyed the post, I needed it!

J.L. Campbell said...

Focusing on the positive and not comparing ourselves is a great first step on the journey.

Here's to your success!

Rosalyn said...

Oh, I hear you on the insecurity thing. It's easy to fixate on what isn't working as well as we'd hoped. But I admire you for putting your work out there--I think that's the hardest part about being a writer. (Well, that and waiting. :) )

VR Barkowski said...

I do set goals, but I never set a goal where I'm not in control. It's too easy to work hard, do everything one is supposed to do, then fail. So while I can't control sales, I can control my productivity, and that's where I focus my attention.

It is so hard to stop comparing ourselves to others. I wish I knew the secret, but thinking positive is a great place to start!

VR Barkowski

Anonymous said...

I have some goals set for this year, but I'm not much of a planner. Panster all the way. Still, I know that some things work better with a plan, so I'm attempting it.

Shah Wharton said...

Hi Tia. I forgot to introduce myself last month too! Whoops.

As for comparing myself with other's success and focussing on the negatives - I hear that horn-a-blowin!

Best of luck with fighting those two issues. If you find any tips do share them :)


Michelle Athy said...

Hi Tia! Thanks for the visit! Those are some important goals, but they can be awfully hard to tamp down (not to mention inconsistent--I don't always compare myself to others, but it does happen from time to time).

For this year, I have a reading goal and I want to finish the novel draft I'm working on and get it beta read and maybe do another draft. Hopefully I'll get it polished enough to query by the fall.

Unknown said...

I do set goals for myself but I don't get too upset if I don't accomplish everything I set out to do. Plans change midstream sometimes and opportunities present themselves. One thing I am making myself stick to this year is maintaining a daily word count.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

We each have our own path so we should have our own definition of success.
Good luck with your release next month!

emaginette said...

You're living the adventure. :-)

Anna from Shout with Emaginette

Lidy said...

Oh Tia, I'm the same. I'm glad when see other author friends succeed but then there are times when that green eyed monster comes out. And I'm all 'why aren't my sales like this,' and 'why isn't my book as successful.' Or 'why can't I write like that.' It's hard but sometimes it's just best to acknowledge your own writing strengths and just keep writing.

Donna McDine said...

Letting go and focusing on the positive is essential! Congratulations on your latest release!

Diane Burton said...

Excellent post. You're right about learning about oneself first. Good for you!

Anonymous said...

I agree it's so hard to push away the doubts and fears. Got to keep on with that positive thinking! Congrats on your upcoming book release!

Spanj said...

Attitude changes are always far easier said than done. But I'm sure you'll get there. Those little negative voices if something we all suffer from, we just need to learn how to argue with them!

Shannon Lawrence said...

I do set myself goals for the year, but I try to keep the realistic. It feels crummy to not meet them at the end of the year, but great when you do!

Michelle Wallace said...

We need to constantly remind ourselves, that each writer's journey is unique... we are individuals with differing writing skills, goals, abilities, etc. and we're all at different stages in the writing game, so it's actually SILLY to compare ourselves with others, yet we continue to do so.

Thanks for the visit!

Georgina Morales said...

I don't do yearly goals. Instead, I revise my goals as I move forward. The more I accomplish, the faster I set new goals, that way I feel like I'm knocking things out of my to do list. Great post!

Anonymous said...

This is the second IWSG post I've read about not comparing yourself to others' successes. It's so important!

I did make a goal for myself for 2015 to put myself back out there. The past couple of years, I started getting a little depressed that my manuscript wasn't getting picked up, but I didn't realize how unready it was, either. I feel it finally is. :)

Jo Michaels said...

Something Alex said above about defining your own success. I think that needs to be your next goal, honey. Decide what success will mean for you, and go for THAT with every iota of your being. :)

Hugs for you!


dolorah said...

Too many authors get trapped in that "comparing myself to others" mind set. Just remember you are unique, and can learn from others without being them. You sure have a great list of accomplishments.

J.H. Moncrieff said...

I definitely set goals for the year, but they involve things I'm personally in control of. It's great to have stretch goals for sales, etc., but you ultimately can't control how many sales you have--there are too many factors at play.

Maybe that competitive aspect can be used in a positive way. If you're envying another writer's success, what does she or he do to market her/his books? Is there anything you can emulate?

I try to let others' success inspire me to greatness. I'm way behind where I'd hoped to be in my writing career, but if I dwell on that, I don't get anything done.

Good luck!