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07 March 2018

Celebrating With Star Trek & Dead Lizards | IWSG




The Insecure Writer's Support Group (IWSG) is a place to share and encourage, where writers can express their doubts and concerns without appearing foolish or weak. It's a great place to mingle with like minded people each month during IWSG day.

Every month there's an optional question which may prompt folks to share advice, insights, a personal experience or story. Some folks answer the question in their IWSG blog post or let it inspire them if they're struggling with what to say.

This month's question is:

"How do you celebrate when you achieve a writing goal / finish a story?"

Check out how people have answered this month's question, as well as the other insecurities and writing topics they may have shared by visiting the IWSG sign-up list here. If you want to see how I answered the question, have a look below.

****


After pressing send and e-mailing my manuscript to my editor, I stretched my arms over my head and shouted, "Whoo-hoo!"

A large gray cat peeked out from behind a throw pillow and glared at me. "Hey, keep it down lady. I'm trying to take a nap."

My happiness over finally completing all the edits to my cozy mystery and being at the stage where I was ready for an editor faded.

"What are you doing here? I evicted you last month." Simon growled. "Don't give me that," I said sharply. "Things have been so much more pleasant without  you around. Nobody making snarky comments and demanding saucers of milk at all hours."

Simon hopped onto the table, knocked my pens onto the floor, and sat on top of my laptop. He slowly washed behind his ears, then said, "You can't evict me if I pay rent."

"Rent? What rent?"

Simon rolled over on his back. "Go look on your bed. Then come back here and rub my belly."

I got a nervous feeling in the pit of my stomach. Simon looked too innocent. And we all know that Simon is never innocent. I hurried back to the aft cabin to see what Simon had done. Then I screamed.

Simon padded into the room. "What's all the fuss about, lady?"

"Why are there dead lizards on my bed?"

"I told you. I'm paying you rent now." He jumped onto the bed and tossed one of the unfortunate critters around. "If you're lucky, maybe I'll bring you a bird or a mouse next month."

"Simon, get these things off my bed now!" I ran my fingers through my hair and sighed. "I was planning on celebrating sending my manuscript to my editor by sitting here and watching Star Trek: Discovery on my computer."

Simon batted one of the lizards onto the floor. It landed on my foot. I stifled another scream and tried to remember where I had put the bleach. I shook my head. "Now I have to wash the sheets and clean all of this up. Some celebration this has turned out to be. Thanks a lot, Simon."

Simon lay down on the bed. "What a stupid way to celebrate. There aren't any cats on Star Trek: Discovery. Just some stupid tribbles. Now, go get me some milk."

****

It was kind of exciting (and a bit scary) to hit a big milestone last month - finally finishing my first cozy mystery, >>Murder at the Marina<<, and sending it to the editor. After binge-watching Star Trek: Discovery, I started to think about the eventual release. Should I go ahead and publish it once it's finished or wait until I have other books in the series ready to go.

I asked folks what they thought about stockpiling books on the IWSG Facebook group and got some great advice, tips etc. If anyone else has any thoughts on writing and release strategies for series, I'd love to hear from you in the comments.

How do you celebrate when you accomplish a goal? Do you have a cat that brings you "presents"? Thoughts on stockpiling books?

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78 comments:

  1. Our cat doesn't exactly bring his catches to us, but he had snarfed down several mice in front of the door where I could watch in fascinated horror. He also caught a mourning dove once and its remains lasted two days before some critter ate it all. Come to think of it, I'd rather find a lizard than a disemboweled mouse on my bed.

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    1. It is a bit of fascinated horror isn't it? Somehow, you can't look away.

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  2. Awww, poor kitty, he was just trying to help out! ;) I see lots of people saying they celebrate by binge-watching TV shows. I need to try that out.

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    1. I think when your head has been so wrapped up in a story, binge-watching something unrelated helps relax the brain. At least, that's my theory :-)

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  3. Those lizards are everywhere. As long as they stay small and stay outside, I'm okay.

    Congrats on the sending the ms to your editor! How exciting!

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    1. I think the lizards are cute, just not so much when I see dogs and cats catching them.

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  4. Awesome!
    Simon, Data had a cat.
    For a series, I recommend not waiting almost two years in between books. Unless you're a slow writer like me and can't help it.

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    1. I hear you. It doesn't help that I've been alternating series, too.

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    2. Good catch, Alex! I forgot to add in Discovery for that reference, which could probably benefit from the inclusion of a cat :-)

      Rebecca - I don't know how you do it, alternating between series. I'd become utterly confused :-)

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  5. Simon! Humans don't like dead things in their beds. Yuck. Funny, though. I kicked Leo out for dragging in an (almost) dead mouse! Can't wait to read your first book. Get it out there in the world. It will create great energy for the next one.
    Mary at Play off the Page

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    1. That's the worst when the poor creature is only half-dead and the cat keeps playing with it :-(

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  6. It seems quite fair. Lizards for a safe home. Mine used to bring them in alive and tailless, then I'd spend the afternoon hunting down those tailless Green Bellies. 'd never considered them rent until now.

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    1. It's weird how some of the lizards regrow their tails.

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  7. We had a stray outdoor cat once who left us presents by the front door -- right before she moved her kittens into our window well. Congrats on the cozy mystery!

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  8. Oh they can bring you all kinds of critters and then wonder why you're not appreciative. I so remember.

    I love your writing.

    Have a fabulous day. ♥

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    1. I know, they do seem so confused when you shriek in horror instead of praising them :-)

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  9. Dead lizards on the bed is not the best way to celebrate. Watching Star Trek: Discovery is, though.

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  10. Cheers for clicking send! Also, what a great way to celebrate. Don't be too hard on Simon. In cat-world, a dead lizard is a BIG payment. He must really like you. ;)

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    1. That's true - it's a sign of affection :-)

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  11. “Go look on your bed.” Eek! I don’t like lizards at all. Alive or dead. No offense, Simon, but keep your rent away from me! lol

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    1. I don't mind lizards, but dead ones, not so much.

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  12. I'm glad to hear Simon is still around. :)

    I'm rather fond of lizards, but our cats never go outside, so they can't pay us that kinda rent. The are, however, extremely generous with the number of barf piles they deposit wherever the heck they please.

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    1. Yes, Simon is still around. He seems to have quite a fan base :-)

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  13. I don't have much advice on release strategies, but I do have all the lizards I can handle at the moment. Big ones, little ones. Big ones live on the roof, geckos in the air conditioner, found one dying in the shower a couple of weeks ago. Fun, fun! Happy IWSG day! http://www.raimeygallant.com

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    1. I think I would have screamed if I found one in the shower :-)

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  14. This is very exciting news, indeed! I can't wait for you to hurry up and publish it already so I can read it!

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  15. Oh my! I guess that's cash in the cat world. My cat only brings me his purry self and says that's all I need. :) Congrats on finishing the cozy!

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  16. I'm glad Simon came around, I like that snarky bugger. And congrats on getting the manuscript off to the editor. I hope when it returns, the suggested changes are manageable.

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    1. I've received it back already and the changes seem manageable. I just need to get on with it and make them.

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  17. I often don't celebrate enough, but I am beginning to do more tiny celebrations for every step along the way.
    So, with that thought - make sure you thoroughly celebrate your book finish. It's really important to know what a huge accomplishment it is!
    3. I think if you feel like you have a draft that's 18 months from a finished point for your second book, then you might want to start prepping the first one for publication. However, I also know from my experience that I wish I had finished at least three books in draft format before publishing the first. I really rushed the third book and it shows it. The marketing/business side of publication eats up time, including writing time. So ... I would err on holding onto the first one until you have book 2 in a finished draft (not polished, just finished).
    2. (yes, I'm out of order) My cat has never brought me a lizard, but large dragonflies, live birds, live mice, live moles, a live rat, and sadly dead baby bunnies have all made their way to our doorstep, garden bed, and even in our house (no more cat door!).

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    1. Some friends of ours have a cat who brings them bunnies. I don't think I could handle seeing that.

      I think I will hold off on the first one until the second one is out to beta readers. It will probably motivate me to get it done sooner.

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  18. Congrats on getting your story off to the editor. Can't wait to read it. I love Simon's stories. Since I don't care for cats (and Hubs is allergic), we don't get any "gifts." Thank goodness. I've heard of writers who stockpile their stories then release them one after the other (a couple of months apart). Never tried that.

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    1. Thanks, Diane :-) I'll let you know how the stockpiling goes.

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  19. What a nice twist about Simon, Ellen. You are too funny! Dead lizards, huh? That could become a part of book 2 in the cozy mystery series.

    What a fantastic milestone you reached, finishing your first book. A big congratulation for that. And, for hitting that send button to the editor. Kudos. Reason to celebrate, for sure!

    I've read a few times that authors write two or three books in a series first, so they can use the first one as a free gift, or offer it at a cheap price, to publicize the series and draw the reader in... When it comes to my memoir, by the time I finish that, after three years or so, I better get to publish it! No more patience. :-)

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    1. Good idea - I can see one character in particular screaming in horror at the sight of dead lizards on the boat :-)

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  20. When my cat was an outdoor cat, he used to bring me presents all the time! I think he expected me to make some mouse gut soup. Now he's a lazy indoor cat.

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    1. I wonder if he dreams about hunting while he naps inside :-)

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  21. Cats are such interesting animals. Thanks for sharing this!

    www.ficklemillennial.com

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  22. We used to get rats and mice. Baby bunnies with the ears chewed off. Why do we love cats again? Well done on getting the MS off.

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    1. Eww...bunnies with no ears :-( It is a wonder that we love them.

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  23. Congratulations sending you book to your editor!!! What a great feeling!!

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  24. I'm just thrilled to write for myself each day. Thank you for the kind words regarding my suffering friend. I just try to bring a spark of positivity into every day, as I am sure you do.

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    1. My friend reported feeling marginally better last night! Thought you'd be happy to know. ~hugs~ Be well, my friend.

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    2. I'm so glad your friend is doing a bit better :-)

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  25. Part of me wishes I had a cat to bring me presents. My dog sure isn't bringing me any. In fact, she usually just stares at any critters that get in or brings us over to where they are and says, "look what I found."

    Congratulations on sending your book off to the editor.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog; it means a lot.

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    1. You dog sounds smart. Leaves the dirty work to the humans :-)

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  26. I do have a cat and he most definitely brings me presents when he finds them...and yes, all of them are messy and warrant a carpet steam cleaning experience. :) Congratulations on finishing your manuscript and sending it off. That's my goal too this month :)

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    1. Good luck, Erika, on getting your manuscript out this month. I'll be thinking about you :-)

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  27. Now I know why you wanted to swop Simon for my dog. Our Chorkie brings in voles as presents. I remember a beagle in one Star Trek series. And dogs are great for self-publishing - so they say.

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  28. Well first, I am very happy to see that Simon is still here. 'Nuf said there. My dearly departed John Robie used to bring me rabbits and ground squirrels. While I really didn't have much use for the wild life, I appreciated the tokens of love. I hadn't considered that he was paying rent! Congrats on the finished manuscript - what an awesome achievement!

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    1. Simon has so many fans. It's going to his head :-)

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  29. Shame on Simon for killing innocent lizards! Those things eat bugs, you know. So they are nice to have around :)

    As for the release strategy... It never occurred to me to hold the first book until I had a second. I didn't know for sure that I'd write more mysteries until I'd put the first one out there. But I think that being ready to release them fairly quickly makes good sense. I'm sure that's better than my approach, which between my one-book-a-year pace (at best) and my alternating between mysteries and children's books has meant 2 years or more between books in the series.

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    1. I'll let Simon know what you said, but I have a feeling he won't listen :-)

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  30. I'm glad to see that Simon didn't go away :) One of my cats will carry around his tiny stuffed monkey and meow at random hours of the night with the monkey in his mouth.

    Congrats on finishing your story!

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  31. Congratulations on submitting to your editor! My older cat has several times tried to bring me a baby bunny (they have all survived) and managed to bring a mouse into the house, which resulted in a comedic scene wherein I kept arranging the cat just so and flipping the sofa in hopes she'd catch the mouse when I exposed it, but I couldn't flip the sofa far enough across the room to expose it for long (who am I? He-Man?). Ultimately, I ended up sweeping it into a blanket and placing the blanket out back so it could escape on its own time. Darn mouse. Those suckers are FAST. I should mention it was the middle of summer, my windows were open, and there was a lot of shrieked profanity.

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    1. I'm sure your neighbors enjoyed the show :-)

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  32. Planned celebrations never seem to be as good as I'd hoped, there's always something to send things astray. And, yes, I love that the cats pay the rent - I just wish they wouldn't bring their work home with them.

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    1. They certainly do like to bring things back to share :-)

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  33. Congratulations on handing in your manuscript. You definitely deserve Star Trek and not dead lizards. When we had cats they never brought us many presents but one did bring us a live frog at 2am one morning. Catching that was fun. Not!

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    1. I don't think I'd be able to go back to sleep after that :-)

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  34. Super congrats on hitting that milestone! Woot!

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  35. Definitely time to celebrate! How do you have the patience even to consider waiting to publish? I have so little patience that I would release the book ASAP and market it as I write the next one in the series. I find it really motivating to get writer feedback and incorporate some of it into later books in the series. But that's just me. :-)

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    1. I'm trying hard to be patient, but it isn't easy :-)

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  36. You gotta love Simon, LOL. Congrats on finishing your cozy! What you can do if you don't want to write the second book before the first releases is write a short story or novella in the same series.

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  37. I love the posts that feature Simon--he's my favourite. I hope the editor was good to you. ;)

    Congrats on achieving that milestone!

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    1. Don't let Simon hear you say that - it'll go to his head.

      The editor has been great to work with :-)

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  38. Such a great moment. =) I'm sitting on a couple drafts right now, and yes, I am stock piling...as much as I can around the craziness of life. Truthfully, so much goes into book promotion that being two to seven books out is never a bad idea.

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    1. I'm just beginning to realize all that goes into promotion. It's pretty daunting.

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