#IWSG December 2017: A do-over or a fresh start?

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Created and hosted by the Ninja himself, Alex J. Cavanaugh, the Insecure Writers Support Group posts the 1st Wednesday of every month. Click the image to learn more or sign up.

Monthly Question: As you look back on 2017, with all its successes and failures, if you could backtrack, what would you do differently?

To say that I tried a lot of new things this year would be a huge understatement. This has been a monotonous year. It wasn’t all bad, but it wasn’t very good either. The two good things to come out of the new things I tried have been the IWSG Book Club and my new blog friends over at A Small Gang of Authors.

If I was to do something differently, I think I would have said no more often and been more selfish. I’m all the time trying to help others, and I realize now that no one wants my help, and that’s okay. There are those who want to work with me and I’m happy to work with those people. I’m not going to stop being a decent person, but I’m not going to continue slaving away silently in the background while other people gang up on me and point the finger when things don’t go the way they want. I can only do what I can do, and pleasing people isn’t something I’ve ever been good at, so it’s time I stopped. If I do what I think is right and people are pleased with it, great; if not, oh well. I did my best.

In 2018, I’ll be more selfish and less involved, but I’ll never turn my back on anyone who’s truly in need.

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No personal updates this time.

Happy Holidays everyone!

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What would you have done differently in 2017?
Is there anything you’re letting go of or embracing in the new year?

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After hanging out with Alex, be sure to stop by and visit this month’s co-hosts:
Julie Flanders,
Shannon Lawrence,
Fundy Blue, and
Heather Gardner!

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Click here to visit other IWSG blogs and sites to receive and share more inspiration and support. (This month, I’m #58).

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

#IWSG November 2017: No #NaNoWriMo for me ‘cause I’m stuck in a rut.

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Created and hosted by the Ninja himself, Alex J. Cavanaugh, the Insecure Writers Support Group posts the 1st Wednesday of every month. Click the image to learn more or sign up.

Monthly Question: Win or not, do you usually finish your NaNo project? Have any of them gone on to be published?

I’ve never attempted NaNo simply because I know it’s not a format that suits me, though I’ve heard it’s done wonders for other writers. The idea of trying to force 50k words in 30 days stresses me out. That’s not to say I haven’t done it before, but when it just happens, naturally, over a weekend with little sleep and lots of caffeine, it’s great. Outside of that, I’ll stick with my meager word counts and finish when I finish.

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Now on to the personal updates.

I think I’m stuck in a rut. Not sure how I got here or how to get out. I feel so… blah. I’m behind on writing book reviews and updating my vlog, though I’ve had time to do both. I think a lot of it has to do with the dissatisfaction of my day job and my growing desire to stop sharing my writing. I absolutely do not want to stop writing, I just don’t know if I want to keep sharing what I write. I don’t think anyone would really miss my words if they were no longer there, and I’d be content to just write them for myself. IDK. Perhaps if I had a few close friends who enjoyed reading and or writing it would be different, but since I don’t, all my writing feels like a solitary act. So, why not just keep it to myself?

Then there’s blogging. Not sure about this at the moment either, at least where to do it that is. I still enjoy blogging even if it does take up a lot of my time. Right now, I’m challenged with how often I should blog here, at The ToiBox of Words. Since I’ve started contributing to A Small Gang of Authors, and might start contributing to another blog (assuming I ever submit something they actually like), I been wondering if and how much of my presence is still desired here? Again, IDK. No matter what, I’ll always do this hop here and The Cephalopod Coffeehouse, as long as they are running.

In any case, if you’re up for it, check out this Halloween post that went up yesterday and this part 2 of my Angel Lore series that went up today.

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Are you doing NaNo? Why?
Are you stuck in a rut? Any ideas on how to get out?
Should I continue posting once a week or stick with my two hops only?

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After hanging out with Alex, be sure to stop by and visit this month’s co-hosts:
Tonja Drecker,
Diane Burton,
MJ Fifield, and
Rebecca Douglass!

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Click here to visit other IWSG blogs and sites to receive and share more inspiration and support. (This month, I’m #58).

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

#IWSG October 2017: personal life slipped in fiction, THE FLU, unfollowing #blogs, & my birthday

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Created and hosted by the Ninja himself, Alex J. Cavanaugh, the Insecure Writers Support Group posts the 1st Wednesday of every month. Click the image to learn more or sign up.

Monthly Question: Have you ever slipped any of your personal information into your characters, either by accident or on purpose?

Yes and yes. I’ve intentionally written about places I’ve lived or visited. I’ve named characters after family members and friends, and I’ve added aspects of my personality to characters. Unintentionally, I’ve included instances similar to actual events I’ve experienced in my stories, only realizing the connection later on. I tend to have reoccurring themes in my writing that are a direct reflection of issues that are important to me, therefore they become important to my characters.

Oh, and since today is “Show Us Your Writer Insecurity” Day! Here are a few images and videos of me showing off my #IWSG swag and logo.
Facebook fan page cover | Tumblr video |  YouTube: What’s In My Bag Tag

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Now on to the personal updates.

I am flabbergasted that my school division is waiting until November 1st to start offering flu shots. I guess there is some merit to not getting it too early, but man, with people already passing around colds, it seems risky. Still, I also recognize that some people are against the shots altogether, but for someone with a weak immune system, I have to do whatever I can to increase my chances of not ending up in the hospital again. If it’s within your means and personal lifestyle plan, please get one. If not, do whatever you do to protect yourself.

Stay healthy people! 😀

I’m writing a lot right now, but I’m not making a lot of progress on any one thing. I keep starting new projects every time I get stuck on something else. At this point, I’ve decided to simply alternate the WIPs I have, do a little here and there, whenever the muse strikes. I’ll write more on this in my monthly WIP update, so if you’re interested, come back Friday to see what I have.

Last Wednesday, I posted about how I unfollowed over 100 blogs . It was one of the best decisions I’ve made in a long time. Instead of trying and failing to engage with 20 or more blogs a day, I’m now fully engaged and sharing 4 – 8 blogs a day. I have so much time to do stuff now. I’m almost hysterical with relief over how relaxed I feel about following and commenting on blogs right now.

One reason I culled my blogs, other than making more time to write, was so I could dedicate a bit of networking and promoting time to a group of authors who blog together and support one another. I’m so happy to be a member of A Small Gang of Authors . If you’re up for it, please consider stopping by today, to see my very first post.

Lastly, it’s October and I’m so happy. Fall is here and I can finally start wearing scarves (I kinda have a scarf problem). And, to top it all off, my birthday is October 21st. To celebrate, this year I’m going to have a big Kindle sale and offer a paperback giveaway. If you’re up for it, I’d really appreciate some support for my Thunderclap campaign. It would mean the world to me.

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Any personal information slip into your fiction?

Have you considered unfollowing blogs?

What about October/Fall are you looking forward to?

Do you have a birthday this month?
If not, “A Very Merry Unbirthday to You!”

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After hanging out with Alex, be sure to stop by and visit this month’s co-hosts:
Olga Godim,
Chemist Ken,
Jennifer Hawes, and
Tamara Narayan!

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Click here to visit other IWSG blogs and sites to receive and share more inspiration and support. (This month, I’m #60).

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

#IWSG September 2017: How I surprised myself with #writing, my insecurities, & my kudos.

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Created and hosted by the Ninja himself, Alex J. Cavanaugh, the Insecure Writers Support Group posts the 1st Wednesday of every month. Click the image to learn more or sign up.

Monthly Question: Have you ever surprised yourself with your writing? (For example, by trying a new genre you didn’t think you’d be comfortable in?)

Never would I have thought in a million years that I would write anything resembling romantic comedy, yet, I have. And, I’m attempting to do it again in a sequel, but I’m pretty sure I’m in over my head. Give me fantasy, sci-fi, and paranormal stuff to read all day long and I’m a happy camper, but when it comes to romance and or comedy, things are little more complex. I honestly don’t like most of the romance I read, but I keep trying it. I do find that romance with comedy is what I’m likely to enjoy more. When it comes to writing comedy, I don’t actually try to be funny; I just stick to what I know best- sarcasm.

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Now on to the personal updates.

I had a health scare recently, on top of my usual health issues, and became consumed with worry over it. I’m fine now, but I lost about three weeks of productivity. My house was in shambles, I got no writing done, and I was barely able to hold myself together my first week back to work. Since then, I’ve cleaned house, recorded a few videos (see my thoughts on book reviews below), finished reading some books, and plan to start writing (working on my current wips) after scheduling this post.

I’ll admit that I’ve been struggling with insecurity over whether or not I’m able to finish series I’ve started. I have so many notes outlining the continuation of stories I’ve already published, but I’m having the darndest time putting the continuations down on paper or screen. I think the main problem with this issue is that I also have new stories that need to be written. And then, I have all these side stories, works of fan fiction or, what I call ‘venting fiction’ (where I write a story to vent about an issue I’m having) that keep popping up. Needless to say, all of these stories are starting to keep me up at night…Oh…And…Of course, I feel like everything I’ve written to date needs to be rewritten so they can simply be better than they are (I may be able to come up with great stories, but I’m not always the most skilled writer).

My book, Chip and Skip Need Each Other, is nominated for an award and could use your vote. Please check my side panel <– if you are up for it. I’m still just so honored that someone actually nominated me. 😀

I got a great review (the first) for my book, Plants and Animals Change Over Time. Check it out here.

Next month, for my birthday on October 21st, I’m having a Kindle sale and a giveaway. For the occasion, I’m attempting to put together a Blitz and would love it if you signed up.

If the Blitz isn’t your thing but you’d wouldn’t mind to help spread the word, please consider supporting my Thunderclap campaign. Jump over to my side panel <– to support in the manner that suits you best.

If you have a moment, I’d love for you to visit my CURIOUS QUESTIONS page and offer your two cents on the question being asked. Thanks bunches.

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So, have you surprised yourself with your writing?
Insecure about finishing a series or two?
Received any awards or great reviews lately?
Think Thunderclap campaigns are worth the bother?

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After hanging out with Alex, be sure to stop by and visit this month’s co-hosts:
Tyrean Martinson,
Tara Tyler,
Raimey Gallant, and
Beverly Stowe McClure!

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Click here to visit other IWSG blogs and sites to receive and share more inspiration and support. (This month, I’m #60).

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

#IWSG August 2017: reading/writing/editing pet peeves & other #questions

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Created and hosted by the Ninja himself, Alex J. Cavanaugh, the Insecure Writers Support Group posts the 1st Wednesday of every month. Click the image to learn more or sign up.

Monthly Question: What are your pet peeves when reading/writing/editing?

Since I really don’t like editing, mainly because I’m no good at self-editing, it’s all one big pet peeve to me. I don’t mind offering feedback on other people’s work, but self-editing seems like an oxymoron to me. To me, if I write something, I know what it’s supposed to sound like and look like, so I can’t see those places where the ideas in my mind and what’s on the screen or paper don’t match. I really don’t like editing.

In terms of writing, my pet peeves are interruptions and inquisitions. It drives me crazy when people won’t let me write. It’s hard enough finding those magical moments when you are motivated to write and actually have the time only to be trapped by someone else’s need to chit-chat after ages of silence. I swear it happens every time. Then there are those times when you’re writing something and people want to talk to you about what you’re writing, or they want to watch you work and get inspired or any number of annoying things to show that they are all of a sudden interested in your writing when they’ve never cared before.

As far as reading goes, while most people will go on and on about style, voice, and p.o.v., the biggest pet peeve I have is when the author has treated the reader like a simpleton. It drives me crazy when authors explain things that don’t need to be explained. I think I do this myself sometimes and I make myself so mad when I do. Gotta work on that.

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Now on to the personal updates.

I’ve been sick, again. I’m always sick, but as long as I’m not in the hospital it really isn’t that bad. I’m used to it, but it does make keeping up with schedules and plans difficult. I’ve also been losing my battle with depression lately. At least I can say that now; I’m currently in a better place. It’s what I call the bounce back. It’s difficult to talk about depression with people who don’t suffer from it because it’s an entirely different thought process; it’s emotional and it’s messy. Most people avoid those who even mention depression, which is why I rarely talk about it. But since I’m doing better at the moment and will, prayerfully, stay that way, I figured it was important to put it out there in case someone is feeling all alone in their struggle.

On a lighter note, I’ve been keeping up with my YouTube channel pretty well, but I’ve realized that I won’t grow a large following with it. With my efforts split between this and other blogs and YouTube, there’s simply no way for me to put the time and interaction into it that would take for effective growth. At this point, it’s just something else I like to do whether others join me or not.

I’ve been writing quite a bit, though I don’t feel like I’m making much progress. Still, it feels good to be writing on a regular basis. I’ll talk more about it in my WIP update on Friday, where I’ll mention how my last public appearance, for a while, went the night before. I’ll be attending “Meet the Authors” at the Central Library in Virginia Beach. At least I’ll get to show off my new business cards.

If you have a moment, I’d love for you to visit my CURIOUS QUESTIONS page and offer your two cents on the question being asked. Thanks bunches.

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So, what are some of your read/write/edit pet peeves?
Any issues you want to talk about?
Any advice for my library appearance?

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After hanging out with Alex, be sure to stop by and visit this month’s co-hosts:
Christine Rains,
Dolarah @ Book Lover,
Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor,
Yvonne Ventresca, and
LG Keltner!

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Click here to visit other IWSG blogs and sites to receive and share more inspiration and support. (This month, I’m #61).

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords