Blog Schedule

I post on Monday with an occasional random blog thrown in for good measure. I do my best to answer all comments via email and visit around on the days I post.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

IWSG, My Dream Beta Partner, Being Thankful

Posting the First Wednesday of every month, the Insecure Writer's Support Group, is the brainchild of Alex Cavanaugh. YOU can sign up HERE to participate.

Every month a question will be posed that may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Remember, the question is optional. You can write about anything that relates to your writing journey.

Let's give a warm welcome to our co-hosts:  PJ Colando, J Lenni Dorner, Deniz Bevan, Kim Lajevardi, Natalie Aguirre, and Louise - Fundy Blue!

This month's question is:  If you could choose one author, living or dead, to be your beta partner, who would it be and why?

Before I answer the question... Oh Lord, Blogger has changed the format. I don't like it. Things aren't nearly as easy to find, nor do I seem to be able to manipulate pictures as easily. First it was Facebook, now it's Blogger. What next? Is someone going to secretly come into my home and change the format on TV channel flipper? Hasn't 2020 been hard enough without these added mind bending changes? GAAAAKKKK. *she screams in dispair*  Okay, I got that off my chest. Now, on to nicer things.

Back to the question. I'm going to go with John Steinbeck. Wait! Maybe I should go with Ray Bradbury, or J.R.R. Tolkien, or A.A. Milne, or...WAIT! Jack London! Yes, maybe it should be Jack London. (Why are there no women on this list?)

Steinbeck it is. Currently he appeals to my sense of ignorance and inability. 

"I am assailed with my own ignorance and inability…Sometimes, I seem to do a good little piece of work, but when it is done it slides into mediocrity…"

"My work is no good, I think — I’m desperately upset about it…I’m slipping. I’ve been slipping all my life."

"Are you paralyzed with fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember one rule of thumb: the more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it."

John Steinbeck's 6 Rules on Writing

1. Abandon the idea that you are ever going to finish. Lose track of the 400 pages and write just one page for each day, it helps. Then when it gets finished, you are always surprised.

2. Write freely and as rapidly as possible and throw the whole thing on paper. Never correct or rewrite until the whole thing is down. Rewrite in process is usually found to be an excuse for not going on. It also interferes with flow and rhythm which can only come from a kind of unconscious association with the material.

3. Forget your generalized audience. In the first place, the nameless, faceless audience will scare you to death and in the second place, unlike the theater, it doesn’t exist. In writing, your audience is one single reader. I have found that sometimes it helps to pick out one person—a real person you know, or an imagined person and write to that one.

4. If a scene or a section gets the better of you and you still think you want it—bypass it and go on. When you have finished the whole you can come back to it and then you may find that the reason it gave trouble is because it didn’t belong there.

5. Beware of a scene that becomes too dear to you, dearer than the rest. It will usually be found that it is out of drawing.

6. If you are using dialogue—say it aloud as you write it. Only then will it have the sound of speech.

Being Thankful
Today I'm thankful for air conditioning.
It's been hot, hot, hot. 97, 98 with too many days at 100 or better. 
So, air conditioning is something to be really thankful for. 
I think about the pioneers, particularly the women in all those long skirts and petticoats and corsets, working, travelling, caring for children, and COOKING over a fire place or wood stove in this heat. 
We are all so soft.

What are you thankful for? Who would you want as a beta partner? Do you like the new Blogger format?


  1. Hi Bish - well done ... fun post - and great you've listed John Steinbeck's six rules for writing ... we just have to develop our own styles, don't we. I'm just thankful I'm healthy and am not too stressed out with this awful pandemic and can just adjust to life for now - sincerely hope it eases off soon. Actually I think I'll be happier once Easter comes around ... too much else going on before that.

    I wouldn't go with the new blogger - so not sure about it ... just I'd rather do it in my own time ... not when they tell me!!! But I guess I'll have to jump in sometime.

    Stay safe and take care ... Hilary

  2. I laughed out loud when I read your blogger rant! I was the same way last week when I wrote and scheduled my post. Ultimately, I had to go back the old version to get my labels to come out correctly. Yes, Blogger, you could have postponed this little life hiccup a year or so! Love John Steinbeck's rules for writing.

  3. I've always skipped ahead if a scene stumps me.

    It's hot here. Heat index is supposed to be 108 today.

  4. I don't love that Blogger changed either but I'm getting the hang of it. I'm tired of all these changes too.

    Love John Steinbeck's advice, especially to skip a scene that you're stuck on.

  5. I just write for me. Because if I don't like it, no one else will.
    I've figured out the new Blogger but I can't see how any of the changes improved it.

  6. I saw someone else so far also choose John Steinbeck.

    All fine choices. :)

  7. I think Google has made a major change someplace. Blogger isn't as friendly, but my gmail is really all f#@&%ed up. Trying to get things untangled is making me crazy/ier. No idea who my ideal beta would be... but why not Steinbeck :) Happy September!

  8. I really needed that advice! Thank you for sharing. I especially like that it was written by someone who had to revise on paper and not a screen. If he says it will work that way, then it must!

  9. Bottom left corner of Blogger should allow you to revert to legacy.
    I can't stand the new HTML setup on the "new" Blogger either. And the new Facebook looks like a prank- like someone went into 90's retro design as a gag.

    Great choice for a beta. I love that you shared write tips with this post!

    I do wonder if it was significantly colder a century or two ago when people wore that many layers. Then again, my people didn't do that and it freaked the colonists out, so yeah. There's probably some great book about fashion that explains all of this.

  10. Steinbeck's a popular choice in answer to this question. He certainly deserves it. I still know some of his lines by heart, "And Kino ran for a high place." That line from The Pearl captured the entire realist's movement for me.

  11. Hi, Bish! OMG, the new blogger is making me crazy! Enough said! Steinbeck is a wonderful choice, but so are the others you mentioned. "East of Eden" and "Grapes of Wrath" had a huge impact on me. Love Steinbeck's rules for writing ~ Thanks for sharing. All the best, Bish!

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