Beth Camp Historical Fiction

Wednesday, May 04, 2022

IWSG: Balanced between the best of times . . .

Today marks the first Wednesday of the month with a writing challenge, the Insecure Writer's Support Group. Nearly 140 writers, including me, post our thoughts today to celebrate writing in some way -- maybe sharing doubts or concerns, maybe celebrating our writing achievements, or offering encouragement to each other.

If you'd like to participate, please sign up, post your own thoughts on your blog, check out the guidelines on the IWSG LINK, and visit about 12 other writers! Why not start with our co-hosts for this month: Kim Elliott, Melissa Maygrove, Chemist Ken, Lee Lowery, and Nancy Gideon.

Now, here's the May 4 question: It's the best of times; it's the worst of times. What are your writer highs (the good times)? And what are your writer lows (the crappy times)?

The best of times: Spring. I can almost truly believe that winter's snows will not reappear this year -- at least not until Thanksgiving. Every day, new flowers bloom, trees greener than yesterday, and the sun a little warmer, a little more present. 

The best of times as a writer, for me, are when:
  • The words simply fly off my keyboard into scenes that truly work.  
  • A reader sends me a note, even about a typo, that connects to my story's intentions. 
  • I can see steady progress towards my writing goals.
  • I finish a major project and hover over the new story, researching and building possibilities.
  • I write in the morning so the echo of ideas and new information follows me all day.
And those worst of times are when:
  • I wait and wait and wait for feedback from beta readers, wondering if my story really works the way I hope.
  • I doubt every marketing decision or step taken (and not taken).
  • I accidentally delete that new scene.
  • I can't write because my 'to do' list is far too long.
When I don't write, I almost feel as if something important is missing. I have so many blessings to enjoy that I don't need to write. I could quilt, instead. Or read, or plan a family dinner, or play with the grandkids (we've downsized, so no garden to nurture). Yet the writing anchors me. There's some small kernal of stubborness that says: I will write because it truly gives me an excuse to explore ideas, create something new, and connect with others in unexpected ways.

Given our current political arguments, the war in Ukraine, global warming, I find much that is depressing. Yes, I feel helpless to 'fix' or 'change' much of anything at that level. And so I write, paragraph by paragraph, and quilt, block by block, just because it helps me find meaning. In the process, I try to cherish each day, cook meals, clean house mostly, and  love my family. What more is there?

Block 3 of Jason Yenter's "Enchanted Garden"

May the coming month be good to us all. Write on!
And just a little plug: If you enjoy reading art crime mysteries,
check out The Seventh Tapestry, set in Scotland.


  1. Oh, I love those moments when the words are flying off the keyboard and you can actually see/feel progress being made. And yeah...I hate the panic that follows me accidentally deleting a scene. Or chapter. Or an entire manuscript that one time. The "undo" function is occasionally my very best friend. :)

    1. Ditto! I still remember when my hubby lost his mss back in the day when every page was typed! Hooray for backup.

  2. Love the idea of morning writing echoes following me around ;-)

    1. Thank you, Diedre. I think our unconscious works on our writing more than we realize. :)

  3. It really is nice when the words flow easily on to the paper!

    1. Thank you for stopping by . . . may your words flow easily as well.

  4. That's great your writing anchors you. It's been a great comfort to me in handling hard times now that I'm writing again. I could relate to your lists of highs and lows of your writing.

    1. Hello, Natalie. I'm glad you are writing again. Makes me think we can share snippets on our blog. I'd love to see a bit of what you're working on!

  5. Deleting a scene - ouch!
    There is a lot out there we could stress over - inflation, border crisis, etc. - but I choose to worry about what I can control as well. Less chance of going nutty!

    1. Thanks, Alex, for reminding me that we can choose what we worry about; otherwise, at times, the world really does become a bit overwhelming.