Wednesday, December 06, 2023

IWSG: Reading, Reviewing, and an Update

Today, the first Wednesday of the month, is the day that writers share their thoughts, support other writers, and may respond to that monthly question posted by the Insecure Writer's Support Group

Okay. You may have noticed I didn't post anything for November's IWSG. Thank you, IWSG, for not taking me off the list of participating writers. Simply put, I forgot, entranced sideways into participating in National Novel Writing Month, kindly nicknamed NaNoWriMo, or NaNo for short.

 This crazy challenge asks writers to write 50,000 words in one month. That's about 1,500 words a day, a hearty challenge when I write 300 words on a good day. But, celebrate with me! At least until Thanksgiving, I wrote 600 words a day! And then, real life interceded once again. Foot surgery, then a truly nasty cold laid me low until pretty much yesterday, although I'm thankful for that nearby box of Kleenix and the joys of Sudafed.

In fact, today is the first time I've sat down in front of my computer pretty much since Thanksgiving.

What do I take away from this short hiatus from writing? First, I'm truly grateful for family and friends who supported me with phone calls, cards, visits, yes, even bringing dinner, for that recovery period. I can now walk without pain. At first, I thought I was appreciative enough. Then, the nasty cold came, about 6 days of not being able to do anything, no stamina at all. I began to realize this is what people experience when they are facing life changes, those serious illnesses that don't go away. That time when support from family and friends (if it's possible) means everything. Did I say today is my birthday? Today, I am 80, grateful for each day past and yet to come with my husband, family, and friends who are near and those online. I'm still hopeful a few adventures (and more stories) are yet ahead, and I'm humbled by this rich gift of life.

This month's IWSG's question: Book reviews are for the readers. When you leave a book review do you review for the Reader or the Author? Is it about what you liked and enjoyed about your reading experience, or do you critique the author?

The short answer for me is IF I love the book, I will write a review for readers, sharing strengths of the story, hopefully just enough to entice them into reading it. I do not believe in negative reviews. Just because the 'shoe' doesn't fit for me, doesn't mean someone else might take joy in a story. If I have something constructive to say to the writer, I hope to write that person directly. Sometimes the responses make me smile, as in when I let one writer know her work had a lot of typos, 3-4 per page. She wrote back a lovely note, letting me know her readers didn't care about typos and neither did she.

So, in the true spirit of the Insecure Writer's Support Group, let the end of 2023 be a time to celebrate our accomplishments, our bravery, our perseverance, and our hopes for a better world. Maybe I'm not quite ready to "rock the neurotic writing world," but if you play an old tune from the 60s, I'll dance with you, celebrate your success, and cheer you on to 2024.

Please take a moment to visit those wonderful co-hosts for IWSG's December 6 posting: C. Lee McKenzie, JQ Rose, Jennifer Lane, and Jacqui Murray!  And maybe 10 more or so from IWSG's list of participating writers!

Just one more question. I experimented with offering a free read to folks who sign up for my newsletter (see below). The reality is this strategy hasn't worked for me. Should I dump this and list my little collection of short fiction on Amazon? Has something like this worked for you? Any advice?

If you sign up for my occasional newsletter (sent out about once a month), 
you'll receive a free copy of SNAPSHOT,  
a collection of very short fiction.
You can click on the SIGNUP at the side of this page or HERE 
(and, yes, you can unsubscribe at any time).