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ServiceScape Incorporated
ServiceScape Incorporated
2018

Find Your Voice with The Insecure Writer's Support Group

Does a blank page leave you feeling intimidated, queasy or ready to pull your hair out? If you said "yes" then chances are good that you are a writer. Now, provided that the image of a blank page didn't send you crawling back to the trenches ready to wave your white flag of surrender, give us a chance to make amends for the trauma we just put you through by directing your attention to an online media business that understands your plight, understands your stress levels, understands that blank-page phobia and ultimately understands how to get past all that to make you a more productive writer. Don't believe us? Then check out the Insecure Writer's Support Group for yourself.

From the moment you enter the support group's homepage you'll be welcomed by the image of a bright hopeful beacon of light. Perhaps it's calling you in the right direction or perhaps it's just calling you to East Egg (for all your Hemingway-philes out there; even though we're pretty sure it's the former); either way, the image is a comfort for all those tired, weary writers looking for respite. Well, you've found it, so hang your hat and pour yourself a glass of Writers Tears whiskey if you need to and then let this community of writers welcome you with open arms. Think of it as group therapy meets motivational coaching.

I just poured my first glass…tell me more

The Insecure Writer's Support Group (IWSG) is the brainchild of sci-fi writer Alex Cavanaugh, who discovered that there was a sea of doubting writers turning to the Internet to share their concerns, hang-ups and tales of book-writing woe; fortunately, for a lot of these writers, their self-doubts were met with positivity, reassurance and helpful advice from other writers (a benefit that wasn't lost on Alex). From this discovery, IWSG was born. Since its inception in 2011, IWSG has more than 3,000 Facebook members, 600+ newsletter subscribers and about 250 active bloggers.

What's great is that IWSG can benefit all writers, no matter where they might be in their career. You could be a bestselling writer or you could just have discovered that you're a natural-born writer (lucky you!) and you'll find writers on the site that can help you tackle your unique challenges. So, put away that bottle of Writers Tears and let's delve into the many facets of being a member of IWSG.

Not just writer-friendly but also user-friendly

We're all about getting information quickly nowadays and we want a site that's able to provide us what we need when we need it. Okay, that might sound a bit greedy but let's be honest; no one has time to fall down the proverbial rabbit hole and spend precious time searching for the necessary information when that time could be better spent writing. Let's just say that IWSG understands this.

At the top of the support group's homepage, simple, straightforward headers direct you to the topic that is most helpful to you based on your current stage in the writing process. Are you interested in self-publishing? There's a tab for that. Ready to find an agent to shop your new book? There's a tab for that. Need some writing tips to help you jump that writer's block hurdle? Okay, you get the point (and, in case you didn't, there is also a tab for that). There's a reason IWSG has received best writing websites awards from both Writer's Digest and The Write Life. After all, this online support system brings together a common issue that a lot of writers face and provides a simple, easy-to-use platform to help you conquer those issues.

A wellspring of writing resources

Okay, let's get to the good stuff: writing resources. After all, this is why you want to join this support group, right? All you have to do is click the tab "Writing Tips" and you'll be directed to an exhausting list of resources and advice on a variety of subjects:

  • 1st 5 Pages Writing Workshop (for young adult writers)
  • Advanced Fiction Writing
  • The Adventurous Writer
  • Almost a Writer
  • The Book Designer
  • Creativity Portal (for everything from greeting cards to screenplays)
  • Daily Writing Tips
  • Free Writing Events
  • Funds for Writers
  • Grammar Slammer
  • Google Trends
  • Grammarphobia (because grammar shouldn't be scary)
  • Helping Writers Become Authors
  • Horror Writers Association
  • How to Write a Book Now
  • Internet Resources
  • KidLit (for authors writing young adult works)
  • Make a Living Writing
  • Men with Pens (it's the new men in tights but wordier)
  • Moody Writing
  • The Novel Factory
  • One Stop for Writers
  • Romance University
  • Screenwriting
  • Writing and Illustrating
  • Writing and Wellness
  • YA Highway

And this list is just scratching the surface of some of the writing resources you'll find on their site, carefully curated by the administrative team at IWSG. All you have to do is click the links that apply to you (sounds pretty easy, right? Hint: it is).

Among these resources, you'll also find links to advice from specific writers. More than likely you'll find a writer on this list that best aligns with your style or could help you navigate those choppy writing waters. So, instead of spending your time trying to hunt down the online writing resources you need to get started, IWSG did it for you.

Need a sounding board for your writing stressors? Fuggedaboutit. The first Wednesday of every Monday it's time to sound the alarm and post your innermost fears and concerns on your own blog and watch as the proverbial cheering squad appears to give you the pep talk you need to own that blank page (just don't forget to leave a little love for the other doubtful writers out there before you show that blank page who's boss).

To self-publish or not to self-publish?

At some point in a writer's life, that will most certainly be the question. Perhaps your novel, short story or poetry is already ready to grace the world with its presence, but you are currently standing at a publishing fork in the road. If so, IWSG offers a section for "Self-Publishing" and also one for "Publishers, Agents, Queries" to help you choose the path that best suits your needs. Self-publishers will find extensive information on everything from book formatting to finding an editor or book printer.

If you choose to turn to a publisher or agent to help you peddle your literary wares, IWSG offers an extensive list of both large and small publishers, as well as publishers that cater to your specific demographic or style such as romance novels or children's stories. You'll even find samples of professional query letters to submit to publishers and agents to help get those creative juices flowing once more so that you can write a successful query for your manuscript.

Know how to market yourself

You've spent all of your time and energy into creating your potential bestseller but how the heck is anyone going to know to read it? All you have to do is go on Amazon or Goodreads and it's easy to get lost amongst the 600,000 to 1 million new books published each year just in the US alone. How do you go from zero to one in a million? Simple: good marketing. Okay, maybe good marketing isn't that simple, but don't worry; IWSG has your back with resources such as:

  • Author Marketing Experts
  • BiblioCrunch (for all those self-publishers out there)
  • Book Coaching
  • Book Marketing & Book Promotion
  • Boost Blog Traffic
  • Digital Book World
  • Killer Book Marketing
  • Publishers Weekly
  • Savvy Writers & e-Books Online
  • Self-Publishing Review
  • Social Media Examiner
  • The Book Designer
  • The Non-Fiction Zone
  • The Publicity Hound
  • Where Writers Win
  • Write to Sell Your Book
  • Writers Boon

Again, IWSG is a one-stop online writing shop from which to snag some new and helpful industry tips for how to market everything from your personal blog to your first novel. You'll even find a link to online courses for social media and email marketing strategies (let's boost that blog traffic, yo!). Enjoy a plethora of expert tips and guidance to help make navigating the world of marketing a whole lot simpler.

Hone your skills

Do you feel like your writing could use a little spruce or inspiration? When you hop onto the IWSG website you'll find a laundry list of conferences, conventions, workshops and retreats from all over the world that will help you dust off your writing chops and even soup them up a bit (it's the Pimp My Ride of writing skills), no matter if your passion is to become the next Madeleine L'Engle of young adult books or to write crime fiction à la James Ellroy.

Still hungry for more?

If so, all you Hungry, Hungry Caterpillars can sink your teeth into The Insecure Writer's Support Group Guide to Publishing and Beyond. As you can glean from the title, the guide can help you with everything from brainstorming your next book idea to publishing and marketing it appropriately. Better yet? These comforting anecdotes and practical tips come from actual members of IWSG who've also been in your shoes.

Even writers need a little support (or perhaps even a little schadenfreude on a bad day) and it seems like IWSG is ready to dish it out in spades, along with a generous helping of professional advice and tips of the trade learned by others who once sat down and pulled their hair out over a blank page. It's time to turn on your writing prowess and turn off that Netflix. We know that story won't write itself, but with the Insecure Writer's Support Group, it certainly got a whole lot easier.

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