IWSG: rough drafts

Happy IWSG day! IWSG stands for ‘Insecure Writers Support Group’ and hundreds of writers participate every month, blogging writerly posts on an optional question or going rogue on other writing topics. Inkslingers of every kind supporting each other and building community. You can click here to see the other blogs and perhaps sign up yourself.


A story is born in my mind and scribbled out on the pages of my notebook.

I tingle with excitement. I love this.

Words get crossed out. Notes appear in margins. Something is circled – should I delete this? Characters disappear. New ones take their place, or not.

I suppress a thrill. This is becoming an excellent story.

I type it into a document. Hmmm. That part doesn’t sound right. Words get rearranged. A new sentence replaces an old one. A plot hole is revealed. I fill it in and try to smooth the edges.

Oh, I don’t like that. This is awful. What was I thinking?

I put the story aside, but I still think of it. My subconscious mulls over possible solutions. It might be days, or weeks, or… months.

I know it will come. I acknowledge it might take a long time. Deep down, I worry. How will I build a body of work if the quality I’m working toward takes this long? When will my process come faster? Surely it doesn’t take other writers this long.

It does, though.

I work, I read, I follow my favourite writers. Quite by accident I come across a dozen statements in a single day, writers I admire mentioning the few years it can take to birth a story from start to finish. From that first draft to the one which gets accepted. I am normal, I realize, surprised. I am on the right track.

Keep writing. Keep going. We’re all doing fine.

IWSG: How to Survive the Apocalypse by Writing

Welcome to the first Wednesday of December! Its time for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG), a blogging group created to support and encourage fellow writers. If you’d like to join in and/or see other IWSG posts, click here.


This month I’m feeling insecure about this whole Climate Change Apocalypse. What’s the point of honing my writing craft in the face of mortal peril? Scientists can land Insight on Mars but they can’t make people save their damn planet. Ugh. We should have focused our collective imaginations on this apocalypse instead of the zombie one. Why are we still struggling to gain an audience, write our stories, and put them out there if we’re all going to die?

Here’s the thing: we’re not all going to die.

Some of us will live, and when we’re holed up in our bunkers, a dirty collection of bored, dispirited individuals waiting for the world to end or maybe, just maybe, NOT, you know what’s gonna get the survivors through? Canned tomatoes, Spam, wool socks, and stories. Stories are going to pass the time and remind your fellow survivors to be heroes, that life has meaning, and everyday is another chance to save the world.

When the Spam runs out, your story skills might save you from getting eaten, too.

grey skulls piled on ground
Photo by Renato Danyi on Pexels.com

Let’s be honest. You’re going to have to find a way to be more important than say, the surgeon sitting across from you when its cannibalism o’clock. You can provide escape via stories on the daily, she can what? Fix a ruptured spleen? Pssh. How often is that going to happen? Think about it. Humans have been screwing up basic evolution in favor of the short-game for generations now. Ruptured spleens are long-game thinking. A story can make tonight bearable. Who cares if you’re screaming over a kidney stone in four or five years and it attracts starving predators that wipe out your village? Right now everyone misses TV and if they close their eyes, stories are kind of like TV without the pictures and the human brain will hold tight to something that feels like normal.

See? You can survive this apocalypse, but you’re going to have to nail your hook and build tension like a pro. I suggest you start practicing now, while you still have the internet to tell you when you’re doing it wrong.


batch books document education
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

You should also become a story prepper right away. That’s right. Stockpile concepts, practice whipping out a killer first line when you have a spare moment; in the shower, the toilet at work, those precious lost seconds in elevators.

Hone your craft like your life depends on it, because it does. On the other side of the Climate Change Apocalypse, your writing game is going to be AMAZING. Unfortunately, there probably isn’t going to be much of publishing industry, or any industry, left. Which is kind of the planet’s point.

The good news is that throughout history storytellers and bards have been kept around for one reason or another. You’re simply evolving the profession. Try to write on something which preserves well, like stone tablets, birch bark, and cave walls to assure something of your work survives now that the average life expectancy is probably substantially younger than you are in this moment. Don’t think about it. Just. Keep. Writing.