IWSG: How bad can it be? Review or guest post for me!

Hi, fellow writers and readers who want to be writers. Or not. Whoever you are, I’m glad you’re here today. I have some problems you might be able to help solve. I also need to define the “it” in the title. But first, I want to give Alex J. Cavanaugh, ninja founder of the Insecure Writers Group, his due.


Every time I go to the IWSG blog, I find something I need or want to know. I love the resources. And I love having the chance to master some of my writing insecurities. Or illustrating insecurities. Or editing insecurities. I have plenty. So let’s get on with it.

Today’s insecurity is blogging overload. How bad can it be? I seem to take two steps back for every step forward. This year, I recruited two new blog partners after one left for Germany in December of last year. With five regular contributors, wouldn’t you think we could post at least every weekday?

Sure! That’s what I thought. Except “regular” contributions don’t happen.

One contributor seems to have disappeared for the summer, presumably into family activities. Vincent Noot (multi-talented author, illustrator, and multi-lingual editor!) went on a two month mission trip out of country, and when he gets back, he’ll be busy publishing his first children’s picture book along the lines of  Where’s Waldo? but more family oriented. Angie Bodine doesn’t get reliable internet in Germany, so I can’t count on her posting. This summer, it’s mostly up to me and Paul R. Hewlett to fill our calendar. Not that hard, right? I bet most of you don’t have any blog partners and still manage fine.

Here’s the rub. Paul is in college full time, and I moved in February–to a budding-farm. We have chickens to care for and an orchard to establish before my hubby retires from his full-time job. We’re also in the middle of a handicap remodel on our house, and I’m blog designing to move to WordPress where I can protect my content. Rather than finishing late, I’m  referring out most editing requests. And book reviews are fewer and farther between while the pile of requests threatens to topple over. In addition to working on turning my mom’s poem into a picture book, I’ve been working with an artist on fiverr to get this far with a new blog badge. Now I’m trying to find someone to add the space background and trace a valentine-shaped Heartland over most of the North American continent. That’s to go with my book about Earth One.

We’re so busy, it seems we’re snowed under in summer. On the plus side, I’ve had dreams about my middle grade SF. New scenes. That makes me want to get back to writing my own stories, not just reviewing books and editing for other writers. Thank goodness, Ken Rahmoeller stepped in to take an occasional book review even though he has his own blog to run. His support has kept me from going totally bonkers. But right now, I can’t find time to critique his chapter sent two weeks ago. And our blog calendar is mostly empty from next week onward. Yikes!

Should we go back to posting only three times a week? It seems a shame after less than two months of posting every weekday–and such a pile of review requests waiting. But that’s what will happen unless I receive a whole bunch of guest posts from children’s book authors. It would help even more if another reviewer joins us who can post reviews at least once a week and commit to stay at least six months. Did I mention we review books? Lots of books, all for children, from picture books up through YA. Not easy for Paul and me because we don’t have children still at home. So if you have young children or grandchildren who visit often, want to join our blog as a reviewer? And if you write for children, including tweens and teens through age eighteen, want to write a guest post?

Wait. Make that if you write clean fiction for any age. I plan to open my WordPress blog to all ages because I read every SF and fantasy book I could get my hands on when I was nine. I just wish someone had kept the “adult” material out of my hands. Not just sex. Yesterday, I wanted to barf when I read about a ten-year-old child getting cannibalized in a book I’m editing. My aversion to violence is another reason why my blog will always be family friendly. But I’d like to give the author good guidance. How do you feel about graphic violence in books? I’m talking detailed, eyeball gouging, sucking out brains, cannibalism. To me,  it doesn’t seem as bad if the victim is evil or at least going that way. Should I advise the author to tone it down? At least for innocent children? Or am I too squeamish? Would it make you want to buy the book? 

One last question. Should my tag line say “Written Art” instead of  “Writing is art”?

Wow, that’s a lot of questions. Please answer as many as you have time for.

Now I’ve unloaded, what’s your insecurity? Or did you post how you solved one? Do tell!

Share A Heart

Indie author-friendly freelance editor, children's book blogger for picture books through YA, kid lit, SF/fantasy lover with special fondness for middle grade, pun-loving SCBWI member, meter-maid for poetry and rhyming picture books.


  1. You made my head spin with all that you’ve got going on, and you threw in “chickens.” I like Writing is art. It is. 🙂

  2. You can only do what you can do! I think the key is making your schedule known and sticking to that. I cut back first to three days, then two… I mean it’s just me, but with your partners so busy, it is a little just you, too…

    • You’re right. It is a little like just me. So maybe I ought to make another schedule change announcement. I can hook to most of the important hops from MWF posts anyway. Thanks, Hart!

  3. I thought I had a lot going on! My writing has largely fallen by the wayside since my short story was published in an anthology. The short was supposed to be some backstory for a young adult fantasy novel I was working on where the main character is autistic. There are fairies involved. To my mind it is an awesome and unique story concept, but I just can’t find the time to sit down an write. I have an autistic child myself. I have 2 other children who also need mom’s attention. I work a full time and a part time job. I maintain a book blog. I have all of the excuses and none of the motivation.

    Lisa @Just Another Rabid Reader

    • You sound like a perfect match for most of my critique group. Between us, we have all kinds of problems and excuses. Until I moved, we still met on a regular basis, but very few of us submitted. Instead we brainstormed and gave each other ideas. We ended up deciding on a once a month night meeting just to provide support amidst the insanity of our lives. If you don’t have a group like ours, you might want to put an ad in your genre’s website and in the local papers and library. I hope your life calms down before you forget your ideas!

    • Unfortunately, I don’t think we have much of anything for face to face groups in my area at all. I have a couple of facebook-based groups that I am a member of, but my participation there has dwindled. I right largely and primarily young adult fantasy, but I have kind of a coming of age I am working on as well. I have gotten pretty good feedback on my short story that is already publicly available, but life just seems, overwhelming in terms of finding time to write lately.

    • Wow, I think we have the same problems. Have you joined SCBWI? That’s how I formed my group when there wasn’t one around. Each state has a chapter, and you can find critique partners either online or in person that way. There are also some chat boards on the national website where writers can get together. I hope you find support besides IWSG, because face to face is way better than on-line.

  4. I take part of the blame for this. I haven’t been reading quickly enough to help you keep up with the demand. I’m going to start blasting through these books a lot faster to help fill in those slots.

    I still like “Written Art”, but that’s just me.

    Perhaps you should shoot for 3 days a week, and then fill in on Tuesdays and Thursdays if the backlog of books starts building again. I suspect the fact that it’s summer has a lot to do with the dearth of reviews too.

    • Ken, you’re part of the solution, not part of the problem! And that’s two votes for 3 days a week. That’s enough for me. If I don’t get a whole slew of guest posts before Monday, I’ll make the schedule change announcement then. As for my tag line, thanks for voting. It’s a tie so far. I need more votes!

  5. I think you should do what works for everyone involved – if that’s cutting back to a few days a week so you can all work on your writing and other important projects, go for it. It seems a lot of bloggers cut back on writing posts or take breaks in the summer.

    And I like “Written Art.” 🙂

    Madeline @ The Shellshank Redemption

  6. Posting everything day isn’t for everyone. Sometimes even your fans don’t want to ready something everyday, but I understand how you feel about not wanting to step back. In the end, however, you have to do what works. I think that if a blog posts at least once a week consistently, that’s pretty good. I do like that you are willing to open up your blog to guest posters who fit your desires. It’s always good to be an outlet for others.
    Oh, and BTW- I like “Writing is Art” and “Written Art”. They both add a sense of value to stories that may be overlooked by some.

    • Thanks, Toinette. I needed to hear your voice of reason. And if you have a book that fits, I’d love to have you guest post!
      I love the “art of writing” and “art in writing” as well. It’s sooo hard to decide which tag line to use except that it has to rhyme. I’m that hooked on Dr. Seuss, LOL!

  7. I think that blogging should serve whatever you’re trying to do with your writing, not the other way around. The blog should serve a purpose, but it should be secondary, y’know? I update once a week, and don’t worry about it otherwise. Granted, you’re trying to do a lot more here than I am on my blog, but I think it still applies.

  8. I think you can update as many days or as few as you would like and it will still be a good blog. It’s up to you. As far as reviews go, I would love to get a review from you. However, it sounds like your schedule is packed full and I get that.

    As far as excessive gore and violence goes, I would suggest taking it out – maybe in a mild – “this is my preference” – kind of way. If it’s for MG or YA readers, it doesn’t have to be extremely descriptive. If the villains are cannibals, fine, but we don’t need the gory details. But that’s my two cents as a writer and reader, someone else may completely disagree with me.

    Best wishes in all that you are doing – blogging, farming, updating, art, writing. Wow!

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