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


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


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.


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!”


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!


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

Published by

Toi Thomas

I like reading, writing, cooking, dancing, movies, and music. I'm a big kid and choose to see the world in my own special way. Yes, I'm educated, but I haven't let that stop me from being who I want to be. I'm a wife, teacher, author, blogger, and more.

35 thoughts on “#IWSG October 2017: personal life slipped in fiction, THE FLU, unfollowing #blogs, & my birthday”

  1. Hi Toi,
    I really like your article today and your confession that you’ve stopped trying to visit 20 to 30 blogs a day. One of the biggest decisions that I’ve made in the past three years is to blog when I can and concentrate on my writing. It was like my wings were set free so I could fly.
    Wishing you all the best.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

    1. Thanks for stopping by. Even without going into space, I bet there are tiny bits of you somewhere in your series. It’s too emotional not to have some piece of you within it.

  2. I hadn’t thought of using the names of family and friends as slipping in personal information, but you’re right, in a way it is (and it’s something I do too).

    Have a great birthday!

    1. Don’t feel silly. I still find new aspects of my life, I hadn’t noticed before, in my first book each time I go back through it to reference something.

  3. I no longer regularly blog – my blog is part of my author website where I mainly post updates on book stuff and participate in the IWSG. I used to follow a ton of blogs in Blogger and would clean up my list every six months or so. With so many options in social media, I find I spend time other places than reading blogs. I’ll check out your gang of authors link!

    1. Yeah, I’m going to be stream lining my social media here soon. I spend quite a bit of time in different groups and discussions. I’m going to get down, almost, to bare bones here soon.

  4. I recently unfollowed a bunch of blogs, too. Ones that have become inactive and ones where I comment and don’t receive recognition from the blogger whatsoever, and these were bloggers who I used to interact with a lot years ago. Oh well. Things change. It felt good to purge my list, though. I try to do it once a year.

  5. When the old Google Friend Connect changed, I wasn’t sure how to follow people anymore anyway. Instead, I go by posts on Facebook (like today), comments on my blog, and sometimes comments on other people’s blogs (like if someone I haven’t interacted with in a bit posts, so I go visit.) The removal of GFC kind of killed things for me.

    1. Yeah, that messed me up too. I lost a lot of blogs I used to follow because I couldn’t remember how to find them or couldn’t remember the exact name. Needless to say, I replaced all those lost blogs with new ones and ended up with almost double what I was following. The culling was necessary.

  6. I like scarves too. My mom makes hand-painted scarves from plain white silk ones, and I have quite a few of her scarves. Very beautiful. I included a funny true incident with my mom and a scarf in one of my published novels.

    1. I’ve always wanted to try painting a scarf.
      Cool how the monthly question and my love of scarves ended up relating to one of your stories. Thanks for stopping by.

  7. Woo! and I thought I tracked a lot of blogs. Although I’ve been pretty bad about keeping up with them over the summer. Hopefully I’ll do better once fall arrives. Don’t feel bad about unfollowing them. You have to do what works for you.

  8. I feel ya on working on multiple projects but not really focusing. That’s me too in a way. Happy early birthday!!! I bet you’re excited. My birthday was in July and I celebrated the entire month lol. Cool beans that you chose to unfollow those blogs so you could focus on your writing and networking. There’s nothing wrong with that.

    Keep smiling,

    1. I started a schedule to help get me writing more, I think the next step will be scheduling which WIPs to work on what days. Thank you for the birthday wishes.

  9. Hi Toi. That’s a lot of blogs per day. Like you, I have slowed down. I am focusing on my new work in progress and need to focus more time on it and less on blogging. I love scarf weather too! I wish you a happy fall 🙂

  10. The important thing is to recognise when you’re putting yourself or other people into your writing.

    Several WIPs does not work for me. The temptation, when one WIP gets difficult, is to start another one. So far, with my current novel, I’ve resisted and I’m getting through the editing…. gradually.

    1. I don’t edit while drafting; I think that helps me to jump around to different projects, but it’s clearly not for everyone. I think I only do it so that I’m never without something to write. Thanks bunches for stopping by.

  11. I do officially “follow” a ton of blogs, but in reality, I don’t have time to visit them all. The best I can do is return comments most weeks, but I would like to expand my horizons and “meet” new bloggers.

  12. I hear ya about blogging. It’s so time-consuming, even just to write a blog. I always wanted to visit blogs throughout the week, but it never happens, so I end up spending three-four hours returning comments on the night I’ve written my post. It’s exhausting. Really have to get a better handle on it.

    Supported your Thunderclap! Good luck, and happy soon-to-be birthday. Hope this is a healthy, productive month for you.

  13. I recently cleaned up my blogs list because I had some still in there that had broken links anyway, so there was no point keeping them. I’ve also unfollowed a few that absolutely never visit my blog, though sometimes I will keep following blogs despite that, because I really like the blog for whatever reason.

    There is only so much time in each day!

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