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A Life Less Ordinary

IWSG Writing Update January 2018 – New Intentions

Every first Wednesday of the month, the IWSG (Insecure Writer’s Support Group) encourages writers to share their fears, thoughts, progress, struggles, excitement, encouragement or anything really about their writing. A different question is posed each month, as a writing prompt for IWSG members. Answering it is optional. For January, the question is “What steps have you taken or plan to take to put a schedule in place for your writing and publishing?”

This amazing, supportive group of writers was founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh. Today, the co-hosts are Tyrean Martinson, Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor,Megan Morgan, Jennifer Lane, and Rachna Chhabria. Feel free to swing by their sites and see what they are up to.

My answer to the question

I haven’t taken any steps, made any resolutions or put any writing goals in place yet. As a matter of fact, I have barely been able to think about the end of 2017 and new beginnings in 2018. I am way behind with my blogs, emails and any other writing, but as January unfolds, I hope to get going again. If circumstances allow.

Work in progress

The IWSG question of this month “forces” me to think about what I want to achieve, realistically, in the new year. Ideally, I write every morning in my memoir – the second draft that is – and save all other work, tasks and chores for the afternoons. In the past, this has been tough, so I assume I will need to readjust my focus. Sternly. I do hope to finish my memoir and, if at all possible, publish it in 2018. It is now or never!

My book progress

Highs are usually followed by lows. After finishing the first draft of my memoir in November, during the last month of 2017 my book was on hold again. I did write a tentative introduction, the only part my husband read so far. His review notes are still sitting in my inbox, untouched. I read somewhere that after the first draft of a manuscript, a break is recommended. Advice that was not difficult to follow. 🙂

As for many people probably, our holiday period was a busy one – not with Christmas shopping and preparations, but with ever-changing plans, a family emergency, and a long weekend away. I have also been helping out other writers. Now, it is time to focus on my own work again. January does start off rocky, but I hope February will bring more peace and stability. More about that later.

May everyone’s writing in 2018 take a positive direction, and may all fruits of artistic labor be rewarded in the new year!


  1. Wishing you best of luck with finishing your memoir in 2018. May the new year bring you clarity, peace, and lots of writing time.

  2. Here’s hoping for some calm in your life. Finishing the first draft is a huge accomplishment. Well done. I agree that taking a break from it is a great idea. You’ll know when your ready to give it a go. Stay strong.It inspires me.

    • Thanks, Ryan. Determination is what will get me there, eventually. 🙂 Just hard to focus when there is as much going in one’s life as in mine now. every time I think I’ll get a decent chunk of writing in, something happens to prevent me from doing that. Oh well… No reason to stress about it. It’s not that I have a real deadline or anything.

  3. Clarity will come… but don’t underestimate how far you’ve gone already. Getting a first draft down is a big step!

    • Thanks for the encouragement, Al. A lot of people seem to think that it will happen when it happens, so I should just ride the tide and the waves of life as they are approaching me.

  4. I wish you peace and stability, creativity and fun in the process too Liesbet! You have written so much already and you can give yourself a big pat on the back for that :o) xxx

    • Thank you for your continued support, Xenia. May 2018 be a productive and satisfying life for all of us. xx

  5. I hope everything i okay? I haven’t touched my first draft since I sent it to my mentor on christmas eve and it’s killing me!
    Wishing you all the sucess in 2018

    • That sounds like a short writing break, Claire. Funny that you are missing your draft. Here’s to getting it back soon with some helpful pointers. It is so nice and inspiring that you are raring to go with the second draft. Wishing you all the best with your project(s) in 2018!

  6. Sending best wishes that you will be able to finish the second draft in 2018. What a massive project and good for you to have the discipline to continue to pursue the dream

    • I’m hoping (and slightly counting) on finishing the second, third, and – if necessary – fourth, fifth and sixth draft until the final draft in 2018, Sue. 🙂 Wow, saying it like this, it does sound like a lot of work still. Thanks for rooting me on!

  7. I hope everything is okay with your family, Liesbet. Here’s to a smooth February…I could use one, too!
    Happy New Year!

    • Sorry to read things are a bit hectic for you as well, Jill. Let’s hope there is improvement around the corner soon and we can all go our merry, smooth ways in February. My mother-in-law is in the hospital in Boston, and right now, she has a hard time recovering.

  8. Finishing the first draft is a big accomplishment! Here’s hoping 2018 sees you through the revision process.

    • Thanks, Lee. I”m hoping to have time and inspiration soon to get cranking again on that second draft. 🙂

  9. I hope everything is okay in terms of the family emergency. I know that I’m one of the writers you’re helping out – thank you oodles for that 🙂

    Love seeing your name on that manuscript – looks great! I cannot wait to read it.

    Wishing you all the best for the New Year.

    • You’re very welcome, Ellen. I will try my best to get it finished on Sunday. Lots of things to do and organize now in regards to our family visit east. Maybe I will find some peace at the airports, especially if I get stuck on the way to Boston. 🙂

  10. I smiled when I saw the photo of the insecure writers’ support group. When I read the memoirs of celebrities, I can detect insecurity close to the surface. I’m thinking especially of Dani Shapiro, who is widely known as a teacher/speaker/best-selling memoirist and novelist. Even though she’s published almost ten books, she admits to feeling wobbly, especially when she begins a new project.

    What is needed, I have to conclude, is patience. We’ll get there, like the “little engine that could.”
    Happy New Year wherever you roam, Liesbet.

    • As you mentioned before, Marian, we are both women with a strong will and nothing can stop us to reach our goals of writing a book, whenever the final product might occur. Cheers to patience, determination, inspiration and writing time in 2018!!

  11. Hi Liesbet! Yes to finding the focus and time to finish up your book in 2018. If I can help in any way, please let me know (I owe you big time!!!) I agree that taking that break after the first draft was complete is good advice, and now it will give you a fresh perspective as you progress. May things calm down for you as the year gets underway and everything unfold in smooth and easy ways. I’m so looking forward to reading your book!!! ~Kathy

    • I can’t wait to pick up that memoir again, Kathy. It has been a while. And, I do love the fresh perspective I will have when starting the revisions. Hopefully, that perspective doesn’t make me decide to toss “all” of it. 🙂 Thanks for the offer to help. My goal is to get a decent second draft and then send the manuscript out to some beta readers before making more changes, based on their input. I’ll be in touch. 🙂

  12. You’ll get there, I’m sure. Finishing your first draft is great.. and just typing your second draft intention is the first step. Happy New Year… it’s a blank page.

    • I love blank pages, Janis! Thanks for the reminder to seeing things in perspective and being able to start fresh.

  13. So wonderful talking with you and Janis today at our lunch! One thing about all this turmoil and uncertainty is that is makes for good writing material! I feel like I need to go with the flow more, as I can get too linear in my thinking trying to plan and structure everything. Like Janis said, “it’s a blank page.” I look forward to more of your thoughts! Take good care as you travel, Liesbet!

    • Likewise, Terri. It was nice to catch up with both of you. BTW: if there is one thing I don’t need more of, it’s good writing material!! 🙂 I actually want a quiet, uneventful life for a change to do something with all my existing material, like… writing a memoir. Or articles. Or blog posts. Going with the flow helps, as making too many plans and ideal situations to work/structure/accomplish things rarely seem to materialize. Thanks for the wishes. It will be a challenging trip in more than one way.

  14. Liesbet, we’ve never even met, and I can feel your turmoil in this post! My wish for you is that you stop taking a “now or never” approach, and that you take a deep breath and know that the writing will flow from you in its own time! It’s one thing to have discipline, but quite another to drive yourself crazy! I hope 2018 brings you calmness and peace, and that you enjoy the journey! ~ Lynn

    • I do really need to relax more about all this, Lynn. Constantly putting the pressure on myself only makes me feel unhappy and unaccomplished. It’s not good for the inspirational juices and makes everything appear like work. Thing is, though, once we hit the road again and start our new adventure, writing about the previous decade of my life less ordinary (“the memoir”) will be put on the back burner. Hence, my “now or never” approach… It’s all about priorities and time management – and hoping for few if any unexpected events. Thanks for the perspective and encouragement!


    January 3, 2018 at 21:19

    Hi, Liesbet –
    Echoing your readers above, I hope that your family emergency passed and all is now well.
    I agree that 2018 is a fabulous year to publish your memoir — I can’t wait to read it!

    • Unfortunately, all is not well yet, Donna. Mark is already back East with his mom and I will follow tomorrow. Not a great way to start the new year, but from here on out, we hope things can only get better. Positive thinking, right? 🙂 2018 will have to be the year for my memoir, since 2017 wasn’t!

  16. Dear Liesbet,

    It sounds like you had a tough December. It’s only January 3rd. Take a breath and cut yourself some slack. Don’t force it. It’ll happen.

    Thinking of you

  17. Hi, good luck with finishing your memoir. Hope you get it published soon.

    Rachna Chhabria
    Co-host IWSG
    Rachna’s Scriptorium

  18. I wish you all the best for the new year, that you can accomplish your wishes!

  19. Always good to read that others have the same roadblocks, delays, and time crunches that I do, especially around the holidays. You are still way ahead of me, but I hope to renew my writing focus … soon! After my next trip and my next writing job for others, I WILL get back to my own work! 🙂

    Best of luck to you as you head into 2018 with big goals!

    • Those darn trips and other jobs, right? 🙂 It is so hard to carve out time for our own writing goals with so many distractions and unexpected circumstances. Life needs to be uneventful (ideally boring) and peaceful for that. Let’s hope 2018 will be a great writing year for both of us, Lexie!

  20. I hope the family member is on the road to recovery. You will get there Liesbet, when it feels right you will no doubt get your second wind. We have had too many short housesits which makes it very hard, not sure we will do that again. Though for some reason long housesits aren’t usually the norm in Spain I wonder why? 🙂 Take care.

    • That’s definitely something we need, to get some work done: long house sits. This one was supposed to get me ahead of the game, but circumstances can change in a heartbeat. Shorter house sits are tiring, indeed, and between getting settled and organized, taking care of pets and home and exploring the area a bit, there is no time left for anything else. Hopefully your confirmed sits of 2018 bring you a healthy mix of short and longer term sits, Suz!

  21. Sorry your holidays weren’t filled with fun.
    I haven’t planned for 2018 either, so don’t feel bad.
    I have a hard time finding your blog sometimes, so I’m just going to add you to my Feedly reader and be done with it!

    • Life happens when you make plans, right? So, it can be better to go with the flow and write when inspiration strikes. 🙂 Sorry to read that you are having problems finding my blog, Alex. Must have to do with the WordPress – Blogger differences, maybe? Welcome to the tribe…

  22. I am so proud of you for completing your first draft. The second one probably seems overwhelming at the moment given current circumstances, but it will come.

    • Looking forward to getting started again after over a month of “impasse”. I’m hoping it will be mostly editing, but, based on the fact that I didn’t start focusing on a theme until later in the book, I’m sure quite a few rewrites are necessary. We will see. It should be a fun project, once I can commit some quality time to it again.

  23. Best of luck. For the first time in several months, I wrote a few paragraphs of my novel two days ago… got to restart somewhere.

    • Any progress is good progress, right? 🙂 Enjoy the new start. I hope it feels good to be behind the screen again. Winter is a good time to focus on some writing, if and when inspiration strikes. I can’t wait to dig in again, but other priorities prevail right now.

  24. Sorry to hear of your challenges, but it’s still amazing you finished the first draft of your memoir, and yes, you certainly deserve a break. I hope things calm down for you soon, but if not, everything in good time. You live an exciting, nomadic life, so routines will be harder to come by, but I’m sure a lot of people with routines would love more of your adventure. Everything’s a trade-off. Hugs.

    • I’ll keep remembering that thought, JH, “everything in good time”. We can’t rush through any of these current events, for sure, not the writing and not the care taking. The grass is always greener on the other side, right? 🙂 And, we always seem to miss what we don’t have (anymore). Human nature. Luckily, determination and resilience is human nature as well. Hugs back!!

  25. Congratulations on finishing that first draft, Liesbet!
    That’s a major accomplishment… and so exciting! <3
    Happy 2018… and Happy Writing!

    • Thanks a lot, Michelle! I have itchy feet to start work on the second draft, whenever the current change in our lives allows! Have an amazing, writerly 2018 yourself!!

  26. I am sorry to hear that your mother-in-law is in the hospital and not recovering quickly. I hope things go well for your family. When these things happen, it is perfectly okay to take the pressure off yourself put your writing aside for awhile. Wishing you the best,


    • Thank you so much for your kind and understanding words, Jude. Writing does have to take the back burner for a while, unfortunately. Just when I was ready to focus on that kind of work again, something else sweeps in to prevent me from picking up the pace. Oh well… there is a time for everything.

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