writers / writing

#IWSG–Another bad first draft or the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow?

writers groupThis post is for Alex Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writers Support Group (click the link for details on what that means and how to join. You will also find a list of bloggers signed up to the challenge that are worth checking out). The first Wednesday of every month, we all post our thoughts, fears, or words of encouragement for fellow writers.

This month’s insecurity – “Not with a bang but a whimper”.

TS Elliot’s “The Hollowman” was one of my favorite poems growing up, and this line still sticks with me:

Not with a bang but a whimper.

He wrote it to describe the end of the world, that we will not go out in a blaze of glory, but a dribble of meaninglessness. Right now, I’m praying that my imminent book launch is a road to … somewhere… not a dead end,  that it’s the answer to my dreams rather than just another bad first draft, that the ending is meaningful, not just where I ran out of things to say. If self-publishing is “learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss” (I’ve rephrased Douglas Adams), I so hope I miss.

Thoreau made the observation, “Some circumstantial evidence is very strong, as when you find a trout in the milk.” I hope To Hunt a Sub is fish free.

Any words of encouragement to get me through this?


More IWSG articles:

Should I do AtoZ Next Year?

Is NaNoWriMo Important if I Don’t Care About the Word Count?

Why do I get so few sales through Google Play?

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer,  a columnist for TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her book at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning.

47 thoughts on “#IWSG–Another bad first draft or the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow?

  1. The best thing I can say is to believe in yourself and take that leap of faith. If you love your story and pour your heart into it, then there will be others out there who will love it, too.
    For me, just holding my own book in my hand is satisfying enough. If it sells well or even sells at all, that’s just icing on the cake.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Every part of a writer’s journey seems to be *the* most important part. I care too much too, thinking if I mess something up all my work will be for nothing. The truth is it’s all stepping stones. You learn a huge amount from every try whether it goes well or not. And I’ve made mistakes, sometimes thought I had it all figured out. I didn’t. There are always surprises even if you do a ton of research. Just do your best, get it done, and get on to your next one. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jacqui, this is a long journey for you. You’re already successful. You’ve completed your book – actually, more than one. You’ve built a devoted fan base right here. You’re talented and smart. And you’re a writer – meaning the moment after you wrote the best sentence ever composed, you wondered if there wasn’t a better way to write it. Writing is a bit neurotic. What other career suggests that yo walk around talking to yourself – in voices yet?
    Your journey isn’t complete and that’s the best thing of all.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Best of luck, Jacqui. I have no idea why, but at sometime during the writing of a book, a tsunami of self-criticism knocks me end-o-end. I grouse around for a while mumbling things like: “Who cares?” “Only 3 people will end up reading this.” and the old familiar-stand-by, “I can’t write.”
    A launch has RARELY ever gone as I’d hoped. But after more months of advertising and working on discoverability…slowly but surely… the book always takes off.
    I’d think I would’ve learned by now not to panic. Not to grumble. Not to growl at fellow authors who ask, “Are you writing again?”
    What I’m saying is…it doesn’t really matter how the launch goes. That’s not the indicator of your great book. It is here to stay and it’s available to the end of our digital world. It has plenty of time to grow a heartbeat. With blissful ignorance I encourage you to go on with me to the next tale–because that’s what we do—tell stories then let them breathe into the lives that find them and feel like they’ve discovered hidden treasure.
    Best of luck and may you have peace.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the advice, Barb. I browsed your website, but it appears rather than blogging about the marketing process, you were walking across England (which is where I first met you, you amazing soul). As I wandered your blog, I picked up your first book with the adorable cow on the front. I can’t wait to read it.


  5. The best advice I can give you is put out the best book you can. One that you are proud of. Putting yourself out there is tough. But you shouldn’t run away just because it’s scary. I know its hard, but try and enjoy as much of this process as you can. I rushed through my own and wish I could do it all over again. Good-luck.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Taking that jump is a scary one. Unfortunately, I’m one of the people with whimpers, so I don’t know that I can offer any sage advice. I do believe, with effort, you will be great, so keep at it!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Jacqui!!! You’re a teacher. You know the creative is about the PROCESS, ultimately not about the PRODUCT. You’ve already succeeded since you’ve written a book (or two or three or four or . . . more) even if you never publish or sell one copy – it’s not for others to judge or determine your talent, your accomplishment or your success. I try to measure success in quality not quantity and in taking the leap to simply do it . . . whether we land on the ground or not . . .

    What would you tell your son and daughter?


    • To stop whining. My daughter always appends that statement to any complaint she has because she knows it’s what I’ve said so often. “Wherever you are, be there until you leave”.

      OK. I’m on it.


  8. I often think about an old Faye Dunaway photograph the day after she won an Oscar. Her look is one of exhaustion–or maybe anti-climax. Even if you sold a million copies of your book the joy would be temporary. Just remember that the journey is the reward–everything else is fleeting–fun when things go well–but still fleeting. If your book doesn’t make a big splash right away that doesn’t mean it was a meaningless endeavor. Who knows why some books get really big–even the big publishers get it wrong most of the time.

    The great thing about self-publishing is that you have until the day you die to tinker with your books and your marketing. Think about when you were a kid and did things just for fun. Imagine you have the rest of your life to be a kid.

    Much love,

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oooh thank you so much for reminding me of that: Success is fleeting, the glow is washed away with time. I like watching your progress with your books. You seem to have things well in order!


      • Oh–if you only knew how dis-ordered I am! LOL. I really try hard to savor the kind words that come my way–but like all of us my pride and ego sometimes make me miserable with envy and self-doubt! I think it’s wonderful that you share your insecurities–that is bravery!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Reading your books, I get the sense that you know your characters, deeply. That’s a huge accomplishment. It provides a constant building thread throughout the series.


  9. Jacqui, I think we all, as writers, tend to be on the insecure side. We bare our hearts and souls in our writing. They are like our babies and no one likes their baby to be called ugly. I am sure this is not the case with you.

    “I went for years not finishing anything. Because, of course, when you finish something you can be judged”
    – Erica Jong

    Our fear of being judged in tremendous. Sometimes it is justified, other times we are simply playing mind games with ourselves; letting our insecurities take over.

    Promote your book to the best of your ability. That’s all you can do.

    I wish you all the luck in the world.
    Char Gibb

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Jacqui, best of luck and warmest wishes to you as you set off on this exciting but nerve-wrecking route! We’re all behind you and it is a great achievement to have come this far. With your knowledge, experience, determination and grit you and your book will fly high! Hugs, Annika xx

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Jacqui,
    I can’t tell you how far you will go with your book, but I can tell you that hard work pays off. It takes time, patience, and goal-directed accomplishment of the things that you need to and you have to focus, and you are doing all of these things.

    Maybe it would help if you break your sales down to like milestones of selling the first 100 books, and then the next 100 books and so on.

    Also, even though I like T.S. Elliot, I avoid negativeness when I am trying to accomplish something. When I begin, I already know that the chances are or may be against me, so I search out positive quotes from people who have done it or Bible verses that keep my focus upward.

    All the best, Jacqui. You can do it. One step at time.

    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat Garcia


    Liked by 1 person

    • Good suggestions, Pat. I will set a goal of 100 sales and then have some sort of celebration.

      I agree about the negative quotes–I’m more cozy mystery than horror–but something about that quote stuck with me. Don’t know why, really–and then it popped up as I was preparing this post. Sigh.


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