Wednesday, May 1, 2013

IWSG, A Book Blast, and The Blogger Book Fair

It feels a little strange to be posting again just one day after the craziness of the A - Z in April Challenge, but I didn't want to miss our monthly meeting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group, hosted as always by Alex J. Cavanaugh.

Unsurprisingly, the A to Z was still on my mind when I was thinking about topics for this month's meeting, and I couldn't help but think back to the first time I completed the challenge back in 2011. I stumbled upon the sign-up list, which was then hosted on Arlee Bird's Tossing It Out site, by pure chance.

To get to how this relates to insecurity, I'm just going to share what I wrote back in May, 2011 for my A to Z reflections post:

"I'm not creative enough for that."

"I'll never be able to think of a post for every letter."

Those were the thoughts that ran through my head when I first came upon the A-Z Challenge back in March. I was browsing through writing blogs and stumbled upon a link to Tossing It Out and the Challenge. I read about it, thought the above, and clicked off the page.

The next day I decided to go back, and signed up on a whim. Although I didn't intend for this to be the case, the Challenge ended up fitting in to the overall theme of my blog. When I read about it, my first thought was the usual for me. Impossible. But then I remembered that the whole point of my blog was to try things I had previously considered impossible.

So I tried it and, as it turned out, completing the Challenge was not just possible, it was a blast. 

Now two years and three challenges later, I know my life is better because I decided to ignore my inner critic, who always says "I can't," and sign up for that first challenge. I sincerely doubt I would still be blogging today if I hadn't, and I can't say enough how much being part of this community has enriched my life.

"I can't" is still my default response to most things, but I've slowly learned to try saying "I can" instead. I hope if your own insecurities love to tell you that you can't, you'll be able to ignore them and remember that you can.

To illustrate this point, I want to share this great quote I found on one of the Pinterest boards for the Half the Sky movement, which works to empower women around the world.

 I hope we can all do this whenever we are confronted by our can'ts. :)

I'm not going to be doing much blogging in May as I'm focusing on getting back to writing and editing, but Polar Night is going out into the blogosphere in my place. I'm really excited to be participating in my first Book Blast through Pump Up Your Book. Click here to find out where Polar Night will be hanging out next week.

Finally, I learned about the Blogger Book Fair a few months ago and am looking forward to participating in the fair in July. This summer's fair will be the third one, and I'm excited about joining in. The fair is designed to showcase authors and their books and is all about free promotion. So it seems to me that there is nothing to lose and everything to gain by taking part.

The sign-ups are open now and will remain open until June 15, 2013. Click here for the sign-up form, and here to learn more about the fair itself.

I'm wishing you all a very happy and, to those who participated in the A - Z, restful May. :)


  1. The first Challenge was like that for me. I thought about it and then signed up two days before it began. I had no theme and was all over the place, but I did it. Now four Challenges later, I know I'll never stop participating.
    Your theme was really awesome, Julie!

  2. I think the trick is to not necessarily switch to "I can" - it might too abrupt a change - but to something like "Hmm, maybe I can." Or "Hmm, I'll give it a try." :)

  3. I have also completed three challenges and met so many nice people. It has been a wonderful experience for me. As far as insecurities go, we all have them and have to find our own ways to deal with them. All the best with the book and I put your blog in my Favorites, so I will easily see when you post something again.

  4. Thank you for the book fair info.

    Hugs and chocolate,

  5. @Alex, thank you!

    @Madeline, LOL, maybe so but I would probably find a way to talk myself out of it then. :D

    @Inger, thank you, I have your blog in my faves as well and look forward to following!

    @Shelly, my pleasure!

  6. Congrats on finishing three A to Z challenges. Yeah, we definitely need to learn how to tell that "I can't" fairy to shut the heck up. She's usually wrong anyway. :)

  7. I remember my first challenge being like that too . ..but I plowed through it anyway.
    I loved your posts this year. They were wonderful, informative, and just the right amount each day.

    And thanks for those updates! I'm going to go sign up now!

  8. I can also remember plodding along during my first A to Z challenge...
    This is my 3rd... and I've come a long way...

    Writer In Transit

  9. Bravo, Julie. I like your attitude. I've yet to do a challenge, other than act as minion. I can't help thinking who would want to read my thoughts every day. I know, wrong attitude.


  10. A to Z really isn't much of a stretch for me because I normally blog Monday thru Friday anyway.

  11. @LG, thanks! I hope you enjoyed your April hiatus and got lots of writing done. :)

    @Tyrean, thank you so much!

    @Michelle, it's fun to be able to say that, isn't it?

    @Joylene, oh, I'm sure you're wrong about that!

    @Michael, I'm impressed because I am usually so lazy it's pitiful LOL.

  12. I enjoyed your theme so much, I am glad you did it. And if you don't mind it, I think I'll borrow that quote there. It seems so fitting for my treasure. Again thanks for the wonderful ride to Alaska and its beauties. :)

  13. Yah, I got confused a bit last night because I had blogged Tuesday and normally don't. Wait...tomorrow is Wednesday and a blog day AND IWSG--which I've managed to miss the past few months. sigh.

    Yah, my mind tends to shy away, at first, from something new with the words, "I can't do that."

    I always feel good when I do it though. It certainly feeds my confidence. :-)


  14. @Al, Thanks and I'm so glad you like the quote!

    @Sia, I can understand, I've been so scattered lately I keep forgetting what day of the week it is. And you're so right, it does feel good when you just go head and do something instead of shying away.

  15. Love the Pinterst inspiration :)

  16. So glad A-Z was successful for you! Go you!

  17. A-Z was crazy but great. You have nothing to be insecure about, just keep writing.

  18. I'm glad you did that challenge and continued blogging! My default word used to be 'no', which was silly because I usually said it before I even considered what was in front of me.

  19. Turn you can'ts into cans. I love it. Fill the cans with dreams, empty them when fulfilled, and start over. Happy blogging.

  20. Congratulations on winning A to Z! Quite an accomplishment. I hope there are many more cans in your future. ;-)

  21. I'm glad you didn't listen to yourself, because that's when I bumped into you - during that first AtoZ. :D

    Yay! You'll be writing! I really do want more. I really liked Polar Night a lot. I put a review on GR's but will do better ones and get them up on the other sites. Promise.

    I need to sign up for the book fair. Thanks for the link.

  22. Show those insecurities who's boss! Great things can happen if we just jump in and see how we get on. The Book Fair sounds like a great idea - wonder how I've missed it before!

  23. 2011 was my first one too - and it was scary. Now I love it!

  24. I'm glad you didn't listen to your inner critic because I really dug your theme.

    Polar Nights has been a lot of fun to read and well worth it for anyone to give it a shot! :)

  25. Oh, what an inspiring post! I especially love that quote you shared. My inner critic throws around the word "can't" like crazy, so I really need to remember to keep this quote in the front of my mind!

  26. @Johanna, me too, I've actually become totally addicted to Pinterest LOL.

    @Julie, thanks!

    @Sheena, thank you!

    @Annalisa, "no" was a big word for me too, and I did the same thing! It does seem so silly now but I still do it sometimes.

    @Jan, oh, that's awesome! Thanks and happy blogging to you too. :)

    @Jennifer, I hope so too, thanks!

    @Mary, oh, thanks for the review, I will check that out. I admit I am afraid of checking reviews because I don't have very thick skin LOL. I hope you will sign up for the fair, I think it will be fun. :)

    @Nick, I wondered the same, glad I stumbled upon it now. :)

    @Laura, oh, I didn't realize you have been doing the A-Z since then too. I don't know why it took me so long to bump into you!

    @Mark, thanks! And I'm so glad you liked the book! :)

    @Heather, I'm so glad I shared it then, definitely keep it there. :)

  27. Congratulations on finishing another A to Z Challenge. And thank you for such a beautiful endorsement. Loved the quote. Must take that one to heart.

    An A to Z Co-Host
    Tossing It Out

  28. Well done on completing your mammoth A-Z task. It was fascinating! :) Love the quote!

  29. It's hard to believe you ever doubted your A-Z ability - your Alaska posts were some of the best I read during the challenge. I loved learning about Alaska. Thanks so much! :-)

  30. Will check the fair thing out and hopefully pass it along to others who might be interested.
    Love that quote!

  31. @Lee, thank you for setting this whole thing in motion! It's amazing what you created. :)

    @Carolyn, thanks!

    @Lexa, wow, thanks so much, I really appreciate that!

    @Summer, great, I think the fair will be fun. :)

  32. Spot on, Julie! I've finished two challenges now and it's been one of the best things I've ever done in Blog Land. The book fair sounds intriguing. I'll have to look into it a bit more and do some browsing. Thanks! And congrats on finishing another wonderful year with the A - Z Challenge! :)

  33. Kudos for sailing through the challenge. Love the quote.

  34. @MJ thanks and congratulations to you as well!

    @LD, thanks!

  35. Don't worry about not succeeding. If you have the heart for it, everything will turn out just fine.

  36. Hey, Julie, there's nothing like completing a task to give us new strength. Here's to a successful book blast.

  37. Congrats on another successful A to Z and on the exciting forward momentum you're making with you manuscript!

    And thanks for sharing the book fair- I just signed up to host some authors!

  38. Julie, you did it to me now! I'm entering the Blogger Book Fair, and I am a nervous wreck. Not only do I have to figure out what I'm doing during it, I need to finish my book on flash fiction and poetry in time to include it. Man, I should be mad at you! :)

    Only, this is a blessing for me to get off my butt and finish this second book, and to get over these devil-driven fears.

    P.S. - Did love your challenge posts, and will be looking forward to next year's. Writer’s Mark

  39. What an inspirational post! And thanks for the info on the book blast and book fair. I'll be sure to look into both of them!

    Happy weekend!

  40. @Beverly, that's awesome, I'm glad you signed up!

    @Nancy, yay! I'm excited that you're entering too! Even if you are mad at me LOL.

    @Susan, thanks and happy weekend to you as well. :)

  41. You totally can! Your A to Z posts were one of my favorites this year. I'm working on trying to turn my can'ts into cans too. Some days are harder than others, especially when a toddler is talking over my thoughts as I try to type this!

  42. @Christine, thanks! Oh no, tell your soon he needs to let you type LOL. :)

  43. The Blogger Book Fair is new to me. I'm going to look into it. Thanks. Hope you have a wonderful writing month!

  44. Sorry I haven't been here for a while. That's amazing that you overcame those insecurities. I stumbled upon A-Z that year too. I hope your book sales are going well. I know I've said this more than once, but I LOVE your cover.

  45. "I decided to ignore my inner critic, who always says 'I can't' -- that's the stuff! Sometimes we really are our own worst enemies.

  46. When I first saw people doing A to Z, I thought I could never do that, but I did.

    I'll check out the link.

  47. You were my inspiration to sign on for the A to Z Challenge, Julie. I was so scared and didn't think I could do it. I wasn't prepared in the least because I was also knee deep in edits. Although my posts were very short, I had a lot of fun, especially visiting everyone's blogs and getting to know new, wonderful people. Thanks for recommended the Challenge to me!

  48. I love that quote. It's definitely a great reminder of how we should live life.

    Enjoy your time off. :-)

  49. @Carol, thanks! And I hope you will sign up for the fair too.

    @Tonja, it's great to see you! And thanks about the cover, I love it too. Thanks so much.

    @Juliet, thanks!

    @Milo, I definitely can be, trying very hard to stop that though. Thanks!

    @Medeia, it's funny how many of us seem to have the same first reactions to it.

    @Cathrina, I'm so glad you decided to do the Challenge and that you had such a good time. I knew you would! And I really enjoyed your posts. :)

    @Misha, thanks!

  50. You had a great A-to-Z theme! I like that quote you posted. Good luck with Pump up Your Book.

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse


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