IWSG and E is for Envelope


It’s the first Wednesday of the month, which means it’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group. Thanks to Ninja Captain Alex J Cavanaugh, it’s time to share our fears and insecurities and support others who are experiencing similar feelings.  If you want to be part of a wonderful, nurturing writing community, please join us.

My main insecurity this month is how I’m going to get everything done. It’s my first time doing the A to Z Challenge, created by Arlee Bird, and I’ve been up at the crack of dawn to publish my posts as well as preparing/editing/doing rewrites of short stories that I plan to publish in the summer. On top of this I am preparing/editing/doing rewrites of my début novel and in-between time visiting lots of blogs for the A to Z. In addition, I continue to research marketing techniques, which needs to begin before any publication. So, yes, my mind is whirring and working at maximum capacity, which is exhausting (and we are only on D of the Challenge – eek).  How will I survive April?  Here are a few tips to myself:
  • Allocate time for each task and stick to it.
  • Go to bed earlier and stop reading until the early hours of the morning (this will be difficult. I love to read).
  • Focus on the task at hand and don’t think about another during this time.
  • Switch off all phones – distractions eat away time.
  • Stop panicking and enjoy each task.
  • Use the wiggle room for deadlines – taking some of the self-inflicted pressure away.
  • Do not forego the daily walk with hubby. This is time to exercise and give your brain a breather.

    Are you sometimes overwhelmed at the amount of work there is to do?


Now for today’s A to Z post:

E is for ENVELOPE

As a fiction writer, I believe it is my job to explore beyond the general scope of things and ‘push the envelope’: approach and extend the limits of possibilities. It’s a little bit like being a scientist (oh dear, I can hear my daughter sigh as I type and feel the glare of a real scientists’ disapproval): writers propose an idea, explore the possibilities of that idea, experiment with the idea in a variety of ways and then discover if it works or not. What an exciting way to spend one’s time – let’s ignore the anguish and frustration that comes with that.


Do you enjoy ‘pushing the envelope’ or do you prefer a safer approach?



Comments

  1. Pushing the envelope is a good way to exercise those writer muscles...and explore your untapped creativity! For example, try a short story in a genre you haven't tried before. Or try writing a haiku... (
    You'll never know what you are capable of, until you try!
    Writer In Transit

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    1. I agree, Michelle. I never thought I'd write a ghost story (mainly because I'm a scaredy cat) but I did and entered it into a competition. It didn't win but I got a mention as part of the short list. YAY!

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  2. Hi Nicola,

    I am super happy to see this post. I am really curious about this IWSP. I am not a published writer but definitely an aspiring one.

    I love it when writers push the envelope. Because in a way it educates the reader and stretches the reader's mind heart and soul.

    Seena
    #AtoZChallenge- E is for Eating for two

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    1. Seena, come along and join us at IWSG - the link is at the side of my blog page. It's a great community and there are many of us who are still on the journey towards publishing. You'd be made to feel very welcome :)

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  3. Hi Nicola,

    These are good tips! I especially like that you're reserving your walks with your husband as being an overall useful strategy for getting your work done...so true that exercise counts in our creativity!

    Thanks for visiting my site today.

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  4. Another great post, Nicola. I have great admiration for you doing the A to Z challenge and doing such well thought out posts for each day as well as doing the IWSG. I like to give that envelope a push now and then :-) xx

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    1. Thank you, Teresa. Take good care of you.

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  5. It does get a bit overwhelming sometimes. You can read the blog posts even after April.. I normally bookmark a blog and get back to it in the following months.

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  6. I definitely agree that pushing the envelope helps you grow as a writer. I love to try new things and step out of my comfort zone. April is a super busy month for a lot of folks. The daily walks are so important. I make sure to get in something to move my body and get away from the computer every day. Good luck! :)

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  7. You are right: as creative people we must strive not to be contained by an envelope but push its boundaries past what we deem possible.

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    1. It's not always easy to step outside of our comfort zone, is it? But at least we dare to try :)

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  8. The walks are important. So is not beating yourself up if you run out of time. I know I'll run out of time today, but there is always tomorrow.

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    1. I do love our walks. Mostly because we talk :)

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  9. I especially back the physical movement. The brain quits moving when we quit moving. Or at least, after a time.

    Crystal Collier

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Crystal.

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  10. I always have that fear, but I changed my attitude in April and tackled one task at a time. It has helped allay my fears and I'm actually getting what needs to be done, done! Excuse me while I pat myself on the back. :-)

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    1. You go ahead and pat, Lee. You deserve it :)

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  11. IF you don't test the boundaries you might not find out how much room there is for growth. I break tasks into small chunks and keep working away at them. This usually works for me. Breaking a task into smaller parts was a survival technique suggested by an instructor on how to handle stress effectively.

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    1. Useful advice. Thank you for sharing.

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  12. Oh I'm definitely an envelope pusher these days. And I love the guidelines you've given yourself for getting things done. A walk with my hubby was once on my list - sadly we never seem to make the time these days. Lovely posts!
    Rosa
    @RosaT_Author
    Rosa Temple writes...

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    1. Thank you, Fran. Always lovely to 'see' you.

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  13. I think all those tips are terrific. Life is to be enjoyed, so enjoy it! And I really admire anyone willing to do the A-Z Challenge - it shows your determination!

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  14. I value my sleep too much to get up any earlier for the challenge. My hats off to you for doing it. Good luck with April!

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    1. Thanks, Ken. I'm shattered and it's only the 6th :)

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  15. I love everything about your post. Congratulations on doing it all, the blog the novel and the courage to admit that you're insecure about something. I guess you've already pushed the envelope and so conquered your insecurity :D

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind and encouraging words, Maggie. Means a lot!

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  16. Those are good recommendations for getting things done. Too windy for a walk again today so I'm hitting the bike while I read.

    Susan Says

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    1. I'm always amazed to watch people be able to do that - exercise and read at the same time.

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  17. Yes, sometimes I am overwhelmed but that when I pack my sport's bag and head to the fitness center.

    As for your E as in Envelope, I love pushing the envelope. I do that also in real life. Playing it safe would have never got me where I am today.

    Shalom,
    Patricia@ EverythingMustChange

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    1. Good for you, Pat. Great approach to life.

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  18. I love your ideas for increasing productivity. I might have to steal a few of them.

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    1. Steal away Melanie. Thanks for popping over.

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  19. There's a reason it's called the Challenge, but you're doing great so far :). Pushing the envelope is always a good thing. That's how you make new discoveries, in science or otherwise.

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    1. Thank you for the encouragement!

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  20. Wow! You're having a busy month! In the loveliest way possible. The important thing I think is not to panic, enjoying everything helps reduce that. All excellent tips.

    Best
    Nilanjana
    Madly-in-Verse

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  21. I push boundaries as necessary. We grow as writers that way. I think we're all stretching ourselves as we make our way through the Challenge.

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    1. I'm only 5'3" but by the amount of stretching, I'll be at least 5'5" at the end of April :)

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  22. That is a huge to-do list. April will be a whirlwind, but it sounds like you have a solid plan. Good luck!

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  23. Wow, that's quite a to-do list. May you find a way to do all you want with the least amount of stress.

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  24. You are busy! And organized! I believe it's good to push the envelope. :)

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  25. This is my 5th year with AtoZ. The first year I was flying by the seat of my pants too. Arlee Bird was an amazing guru for me. He didn't do anything special really other than visit my blog a few times and comment. When he invited me to be a guest blogger on his blog, I knew I had been doing something right. In my subsequent years with AtoZ, I learned to write ahead. It's just too difficult to visit, return visits, respond,
    AND compose at the same time. On April 30, you'll be surprised how fast the month went.
    Repaying the visit from AtoZ
    Wendy
    Jollett Etc.

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    1. Thanks for the advice and encouragement, Wendy. I am loving hopping round and visiting other blogs.

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  26. Nicola, I don't think it's possible to be a writer if you're not pushing the envelope. Even if you're not going for shock value, you're still constantly challenging yourself to work harder, think more creatively, keep getting it more right.

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    1. I agree, Susan. Thank you for visiting.

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  27. Just work with what you can and definitely keep pushing the envelope.

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  28. discipline that's required and that's what i lack

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    1. You haven't lacked discipline with the Challenge so far. I've 'seen' you every day. Thanks for that and keep up the great work.

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  29. I don't do creative writing but family history research requires some of the same mental gymnastics.

    Be kind to yourself with A2Z as it is easy to be overwhelmed, even without all those tasks.

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  30. Your plate is full, Nicola! But your tips for yourself are spot on. Turning off the phone and allotting time for each task will help you greatly. Good luck with everything!

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  31. Great list to help you get 'er done - especially giving each task an allotted time and turning off disctractions.

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  32. Whooboy! I gave up on all the stuff I need to do because I know I just can't get it all done. If I start thinking about it, I go into panic mode. AAAAAHHHHHH!!!!

    Best of luck getting everything you need to done!

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