IWSG 30: The Place In Between

New IWSG BadgeThis post was written for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our encouragement or insecurities on the first Wednesday of the month, to join the group or find out more click here.

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Co-Hosts:

Joylene Nowell Butler| Jen Chandler| Mary Aalgaar  | Lisa Buie Collard | Tamara Narayan  | Tyrean MartinsonChristine Rains

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Have any of you heard of the “in between“? It works like this (if I’ve got it right). As you enter any doorway you leave the room, but until you passed to the other room, you haven’t left nor arrived. It is the place of in between. Some say it’s where the magical world meets ours.

So far, not much magic.

I have no idea when I arrived and no idea how long I’m staying, but I found myself in the in between during SiWC16. Being a newbie was comforting. I could make mistakes and fumble around occasionally finding a golden idea. No one, including me, expected any success.

But what happens when a writer becomes moderately skilled?

I’m not sure, but I’m here. As the workshop presenters spoke about their topics, I thought: I do that, or I know that. Where’s the nugget? Where’s that special bit of info I’ve being dying to learn?

For the record there was always a nugget. I was just impatient. It occurred to me that understanding the different aspects of the writing craft did not mean I did them well. I still needed to practice and improve one word at a time. At this point I see where I should go and it is a far way off.

Why does this bother me?

I met incredible writers and their skill sets out classed me. I didn’t say a word about how their work blew me away or that speaking with them filled me to bursting with admiration. Because of these random meetings, I’ve discovered a new internal drive to improve and seek out my own nuggets of truth.

To strive for perfection in myself and hoping that I can get close enough to feel success has me a little crazy. My only compensation is what one person said during a panel. It went something like this:

The writer makes their work as good as possible. Then the agent helps them improve it further and once it’s accepted by a publisher, the editor helps bump it even more. The original work, which the public never sees, doesn’t look like the final copy.

What is my favorite aspect of being a writer? When I’m writing and 2715858digging deep to find the right words, I’m cleansed. It’s free therapy.  🙂

Have you ever been in the in between? What got/is getting you through?

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82 responses to “IWSG 30: The Place In Between

  1. You are so wise to realize your writing is ever-changing and to be open to critiquing it to make your story/information/message even better. Hang on to that inspiration from the conference even when you are striving to do your best work. Glad you found nuggets to tuck away for future support..

  2. I think you have a lot to offer other writers, too. I know when I read your blog I always come away inspired. I’d like to think it’s a Canadian or even a British Columbian thing, but I suspect it’s much more than that.

  3. I feel in between when I know what the words should be saying but they aren’t coming out on the paper that way.

  4. Since I started writing, I’ve always felt in between. I haven’t arrived yet. I suppose, if you ask any writer, except maybe some mega-bestsellers, they would say the same. We are all in between, in the process of learning and improving. You’re in good company.

  5. We’re always in between something. As writers, we must be flexible, able to bend without breaking. Learning, improving, adapting.

  6. In between means your on your way somewhere. You’ll level up soon, once you face the daunting challenges of writing with your new understanding. I think it’s hard to feel accomplished even for successful writers (mainstream success, I mean). It’s like being a freshman in high school all over again, but soon you’ll feel comfortable.

  7. I like the in between analogy. You made me want to write a story about magic doorways and portals, lol. Not sure which stage I’m at but sound to me you steadily moving forward. It is the moving that is important. You go.

    Juneta @ Writer’s Gambit

    • If you want to write about magic doorways, I say go for it.

      I guess I’m whining because rejections hurt more the harder I try. I must find me a thicker skin. 🙂

  8. I’m going to have to mull the “in between” over a bit. I know what you’re saying about conferences. Sometimes, I’m waiting, waiting, wondering where our money’s worth is. It usually comes, but it’s oh so disappointing when it doesn’t.

  9. Sandra Ulbrich Almazan

    Being in between allows you to see both sides at once.

  10. I live in the in between. I can never seem to find the door out 🙂 I like your take on this month’s question and the fact that it’s a cleansing experience for you. I hadn’t quite thought about writing that way, but I can see aspects of that in my process.

  11. I feel like I’m trapped in between being a writer and a published writer. A Netherland I can’t escape until I finish my book. Not a great place to be.

  12. Angela Wooldridge

    I think I might be somewhere in that in-between place too. I was at a writers & artists convention in the UK this weekend, and like you, I knew a lot of the answers to questions that people were asking, but at the same time, listening to the speakers made me think, ‘no – my work isn’t good enough yet’.

  13. Such an accurate description of how I feel – I’n not a newbie anymore, but I don’t feel particularly on top of things enough to speak with a lot of authority. But, seeing as there are a lot of us here, maybe we can at least have a party? 🙂

  14. Stephanie Scott

    A lot of conferences seem to focus on beginning writers, which makes sense. I’ve also found myself feeling like I know most of what a speaker says. However, I can most of the time learn valuable things in a craft focused course. Like you said hearing something is different than applying it to your own writing. I also network a bit differently when I go to conferences.

    Here’s my IWSG post for November: YA Author Stephanie Scott

  15. Any time I talk to a new writer, that’s pretty much what I tell them–that they will have a whole refining process along the way, and they just need to get words down and practice. I remember hearing that advice early on and not liking it–as a perfectionist–but it’s good stuff.

  16. Great post, Ms. E. I particularly like the bit about recognizing aspects of craft but not yet being skilled in those aspects. Back to editing I go. Happy writing to you in November.

  17. So we’re saying that the original copy and the final copy are two different ‘beasts’? I’m wondering how different/changed they really are… 🙂
    Happy IWSG Day!

  18. The ‘in between’ might be a frustrating and seemingly aimless spot, but remember: if you don’t go through the in-between, you can never get to the ‘big’ part. Just hang on and keep moving forward!

  19. I know that in-between. I sometimes feel stuck there because I always feel like I have a lot to learn. Excellent answer to this month’s question! It is like free therapy. 🙂

  20. What a great post! I am in between hoping to accomplish something soon. You will get there Anna. 🙂

  21. I’ve been in the ‘in between’ and the only thing that ever gets me out is time.

    I’m curious, after SiWC16, did you set goals to work on those things you understood but didn’t do well? I struggle with that sort of thing, goals. They sound all good when I’m thinking or committing to them, then as the days go by, they seem less and less interesting.

    • Setting goals is exactly what I should be doing, since I’m so Sagittarian.

      It seems to me as I write I see more flaws in my work and I blame it all the extra education I just soaked in. My only solution is to practice and slowly improve. (AKA slogging through the mire.)

  22. In between is such a good description. Sometimes though I think I keep myself “in between” with my own self doubt and insecurity. Today I’ve done no writing of my own. I’m spending all my writing time reading everybody else IWSG posts!

  23. Free Therapy is as good as working in pjs. Lol
    Tweeted.

  24. You do know that aiming for perfection is just exhausting and will probably always make you feel like you are not quite good enough. No piece of writing will ever be good enough. The point is to make it better than the last bit of writing you did.
    And dig into that rejection thing. Work.out why it’s bothering you so much. Go back and see the feedback, look at how much you have grown. Read some old stuff. Sift it out and see how you would write it today.
    I never think of myself as being in one place or another. I am always on a path. A journey. Sometimes I stop for a bit. But then I always pick up my rucksack and carry on.

    • I guess I don’t feel as if I’m moving right now and it’s getting me down. 🙂

      • Embrace the stillness of it. We don’t always have to move. There’s a thing in fitness training where they talk about rest. Sometimes, you need to give your brain a chance to work it out. Let it all bubble down so it can bubble back up.
        I ended up nearly giving up blogging for this reason
        And then decided to write what I wanted to write instead of what I should write. If you look at my blog you will see that it’s now topically and stylistically all over the place. And strangely my big novel project is tightening up nicely.

  25. That ended up being a bit longer than I intended and I am not sure it was at all helpful.
    Just remember you have talent and skill and love for the words. Maybe just do your best not to grow for a bit?

  26. I’m definitely in the in-between. It’s fun to find new nuggets, but also to discover you’ve given someone else a nugget they could keep.

  27. Knowing and doing are two different things, right? 🙂 I keep practicing, because…as they say,,,practice makes perfect. Although a book is hardly ever perfect, we can still perfect out skills.

    Frankly, I’m glad no one can see the original versions of my stories. Yikes!

  28. Yours is the only blog I’ve been able to post on. I’ve tried 5 and several times at each blog with different fixes I googled. None work, decided to come back here to see if I could still post. This happened both on WP blogs and Blogger blogs. So here goes.
    Juneta @ Writer’s Gambit

  29. I call it Leveling It Up In Authordom. There’s understanding things intellectually and then being able to analyze something or to put it into practice in your writing. You’ll get over the hump!

  30. I’m feeling “between” right now. I should get myself to a conference soon because I could use some nuggets!

    My favorite part of writing is REVISING. Gosh, I love to revise. My favorite aspect of being a writer is talking to kids, the readers.

  31. I could fantasize about the ‘in between,’ but no, I’ve never been there except in my mind. Writer conferences are great and trying all at the same time. I wish you much success.
    Nancy

  32. I felt like that at the last Writer’s conference I went to – in between and definitely wanting to dig deeper.
    Happy Writing!

  33. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of the “in between” like that. It’s an interesting concept, particularly the part about the magic. 🙂 I feel in between when I’m in the middle of working on a WIP. When the book is the best I can make it and it’s published, I move through the door to the next book. I feel like I improve as a writer with every book, so I’ll keep plugging away, hopefully getting better and better.

  34. When I saw the ‘in between’ I immediately thought of a Charmed TV episode. LOL I feel if you hang with people better than you, you rise to meet the challenge.
    sherry @ fundinmental

  35. The “in between” is an interesting concept, and I can definitely see how it applies to stages in a writing career. The last time I went to a writing conference, I had a similar experience—I wasn’t a newbie, but I didn’t feel as though I would be ready to stand up there and teach a class! I think there are probably always “in between” stages in life.

  36. Ah, writing is good therapy. You’re “In Between” and that’s not a bad thing. It’s the place where you can rest and regroup. You are a great writer. Other people might be looking up to you.
    Mart at Play off the Page

  37. Well expressed, Anna. Yes, like all other writers I’m sure, I’ve been in the in between – I like that way of putting it! Not only is it good therapy, it’s also self-revelatory. You learn so much about yourself and grow exponentially as you go along. I loved this month’s question to the extent I actually answered it for a change! 🙂

  38. I’m check to see if I can still comment here. Several articles indicate it is a WP problem. I was able to post on Joylene’s because I was using my google sign on not my WP, but I think I used WP here when I commented higher up. It rejected my WP log on, not I am logged on with Google.

  39. We are always growing and should always be evolving in our writing and in life. I love your analogy of the “in between”. I’m in an in-between right now in my other career as an herbalist. I’ve worked in the industry for 5 years (worked with herbs my whole life) and I officially lost my newbie status years ago. However, I’m nowhere near the level of the other specialists where I work but my boss wants me to cross over and take on that mantel. It’s a strange place to be BUT the part that gets me through is this: I will never know everything there is to know about herbs but I know a heck of a lot more than I did when I started. Every year we grow in our writing too and we should always keep striving to teach and be taught!

    Cheers!
    Jen

    • Thanks, Jen. You really captured what I’m going through, but without the bosses to help me through. I’ve got the net, books, time and practice. I’m hoping that will be enough.

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