Friday, September 8, 2023

Down the IWSG Rabbit Hole: Part 2

As many of you know, I am a member of an inspirational online writing community
known as The Insecure Writer's Support Group.
The IWSG has been a writing mainstay for me since I joined it almost a decade ago.
We get together on the first Wednesday of the month
to support and encourage one another with our writing projects.

Some members write flash fiction, short stories, and novels across many genres.
Others write non-fiction books, writing craft books, or memoirs, and some are poets.
But the one thing we all share is a love of writing.  

Writers Getting Together

Wednesday marked a special anniversary for the IWSG, 12 Years Strong!
We were encouraged to share when we discovered the IWSG,
how we connect with it, and how has it helped us.
I decided to find out how it started twelve years ago and fell down a rabbit hole.

Down the Rabbit Hole
Wikimedia Commons ~ Valerie Hinojosa ~ License

I read dozens of IWSG founder Alex J. Cavanaugh's posts
and scanned thousands of comments looking for information.
As I worked on the draft, I realized I had way too much information for one post.
It was too late to regroup, so I split the post into two parts: 
The first was And So It Begins! on the founding of the IWSG,
and the second is my post today sharing my relationship with the group.

I learned about about this awesome group through my blogging buddy, Pat Hatt.
He has long been member of the IWSG, one who has published over 100 books.
At the time I joined the group, Pat had published at least twenty,
so I figured that he knew a good writing group when he saw one.

A Few of Pat's Books
Aurora, Colorado, USA
July 21, 2021
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

                                                                       Alex Cavanaugh featured Pat 
on his blog on January 13, 2014, as he has for many IWSG writers:                                                            "Today I have for you a special treat              A funky rhyme that can’t be beat.        Because today Pat and his cat                    Are here to amuse at my mat! "

Pat had recently released his latest book at the time,  Fight for the Light.
In his blog It's Rhyme Time, Pat invited readers to hop over to Alex's blog to see his post.
I thought What the heck?  Why not?

I commented on Alex's post:  "How fun to visit your blog, Alex. 
Of course rhyming Pat sent me your way! Have a great day!"
and Alex responded:  "Fundy, thanks for stopping by!"  
Such a humble exchange that led to friendships, opportunities, and fulfillment for me!

Blogging Buddies ~ Pat and I
Smith's Cove, Nova Scotia, Canada
July 28, 2023
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

I spotted Alex's link to The Insecure Writer's Support Group and followed it.
I discovered all these writers and all sorts of information!
At the time I was publishing posts on my family's time in the North,
and working up the courage to write a memoir.
But did I join the group?  No! 
I was too shy and insecure to join, but I became a Looky Lou.

I kept going back to Alex's blog and leaving comments.
I couldn't believe that first Pat, and now Alex, were actually interacting with me.
Real, honest-to-God, published authors!

That meant so much, and I began to dare a little.
On January 29, 2014 I went into LinkedIn and changed 
my professional headline from Elementary Teacher to Writer.
I claimed myself to be a Writer!
I wrote, "I've been out on a lot of skinny limbs,
but this one feels about one Planck Unit wide!"
Talk about insecure.

Pat replied in his rhyming fashion:
"haha got it out there
Now all know near and far
Writer at your lair
Can give a har har"

And Alex replied with encouragement:
"You took the plunge! Now you are officially a writer. Believe it. 
And believe you will be an author just like your sister."

And others replied who have given me their friendship and support over the years,
among them, Debra, Martha, Baili, Peggy, Noushka, and Jim.

My Sister Bertie  (Published Author) and I
Presenters, Colorado Council International Reading Association, 2009, 2010, 2011

On February 24, 2014 Alex gave me a push saying, "Fundy, please join us."
But I didn't feel I was good enough, real enough to join the IWSG.

It took me a couple of more months, but on April 9, 2014 I decided to join the group.
And, of course, typical me, I struggled to get the technology to work.
I poured out my heart in my post How LD Feels! What's Simple is Hard!
As in stupid, Stupid, STUPID!

Alex replied, "Yeah!!! Glad you finally joined us. 
One can never be too insecure for the group. 
Trust me. You are in the right place."

And Pat replied, "that cat joined and he isn't insecure at all, just be crazy and you are safe haha And if the mirror talks back like that, smash it"

The Stupid LD Person in the Mirror

Five days later I had my mojo back and posted a review of Alex's first book

Alex replied, "Wow, what a surprise!!! Fundy, thank you. 
I'm excited that you enjoyed it. Yes, first efforts, and I did get better.
And - there is a strong female character in the second book I think you will really enjoy.
Thanks - you just made my morning!!" 

I made his morning?  He made mine!

I mentioned opportunities.  Yes, the IWSG has given me opportunities.
I had a small article published in the IWSG book 
and I had a short story "Dare Double Dare"
published in an IWSG anthology Voyagers: The Third Ghost.

A Happy Author!
Aurora, Colorado, USA
April 24, 2020
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

It's been over nine years since I joined The Insecure Writer's Support Group.
Since then I have never missed publishing a monthly post for the IWSG.

I was five days late once.
On September 4, 2018, I tried to write a post Computerless and Lost! 
and publish it while sitting in a train station and then riding on a train.
I had accidentally left my computer behind in the security line
at Halifax Stanfield International Airport in Nova Scotia on August 8th.

"Hello, Fellow IWSG Members!  I’m sorry this doesn’t look like a regular IWSG post. 
I’m sitting in a train station in Brighton on the south coast of England,
and trying to write a post with my iPhone." 

I messed up so badly that Google locked me out of my account for three days.
It's the only post I've ever published that didn't have a photo.

Said Alex, "Wow, glad you didn't lose your computer! That would've sucked.
No worries, visit when you can and don't stress not writing. Just enjoy the trip."

Said Pat:  "Great you got the computer back at least. Losing it would be worse than the screen of death. At least if you get the latter you can get the satisfaction of taking a hammer to it lol
Sure far far away from your sea this time. Hope you are enjoying away and you can post many pics when you get back to make up for none today."

Brighton Train Station
United Kingdom
August 30, 2018
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

How do I connect with the IWSG?
What you see is what you get,
my ups and downs, my technology difficulties, my ADHD challenges,
my writing progress and lack thereof,
through sickness and health, me unfiltered.

How has the IWSG helped me?
How can I count the ways?
Friendship, support, encouragement, understanding, compassion, inspiration, validation.
I'm one member's story, sharing a few interactions with my friends Alex and Pat.

Alex, who founded the IWSG has given so much of himself to so many others.
He reflected in his Wednesday, May 6, 2015 post:  
"Writing is tough business. Maybe that’s one of the reasons I’m hesitant to continue. (I didn’t sign on to do more than one book anyway.) I know the bad reviews on Amazon were inevitable, but it always sucks. I’ve been through some incredible highs and lows, and I want to do my part to help other writers going through the same stuff. I’m not a great writer, but maybe I can be a great supporter."

I beg to differ, Alex!  You are a great writer and a great supporter!
And so are you, Pat!  
Thanks to both of you for being there for me!

Here's to the next twelve years of the IWSG!

I'm going to link to  Nicole's  Friday Face Off.
My face is in the post.  That will have to do for this week!
It's 1:37 am, and I had promised myself no more staying up late to write a post.  Oops!
If there are any errors, I'll find them tomorrow.
I might be a little late making the rounds.  πŸ˜΅‍πŸ’«

Till next time ~
Fundy Blue

  My next post will be soon! πŸ€ž

On the Bay of Fundy
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved



IWSG Information:

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is on several online platforms including
FacebookGoodreads (IWSG Authors)Instagram,
X, formerly Twitter, (Our twitter handle: @THEIWSG; Our hash tag: #IWSG),
and Blogger and other blogging sites.

I belong to the blogging group, and all the IWSG requires of me and other members
is to publish a post on my blog about writing on the first Wednesday of the month,
visit a dozen other members' posts, and return comments. 

The IWSG announces a question each month that members can answer in their IWSG posts.
These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. 
Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post,
or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say. 

The IWSG welcomes anyone interested in writing,
and you can explore its website here:  The Insecure Writer's Group.
You may join on the IWSG Sign-Up page.

Insecure Writer's Support Group


  1. You got a bubbly personality running so many great events and holding a community together

    1. You're too kind, Roentare! Thank you! AlI the best, my friend! Enjoy spring in your beautiful Melbourne!

  2. Dear Fundy Blue, sounds like a great, supportive community!
    I wrote a lot when I was young and dreamed of being published for decades, but the German-language publishers are pompous and cowardly (or unsuccessful and unimportant) and there are very few newcomers. They almost only publish writers who already have a well-known name. Motto: It's better to translate an English bestseller than to promote a new German-speaking author. Then the desire left me.
    I've been a bit "envious" of English-speaking authors for years: 1) There is a much larger market of readers because of the many countries in which English is the main language.
    2) There exits (since a quite long time) a lot more support for people who want to publish a book: good writing schools, agents who find publishers for authors, and even clubs like the one you joined. That was a good decision on your part!
    All the best, Traude

    1. Thanks for your lovely comment, Traude! I'm so sad to hear that your writing dreams were squashed early on by the publishing industry in Germany. Money always seems to be the bottom line for too many things.

      I was beating myself up over not being a writer, and then, one day, I decided to broaden my definition of "writer." I've written throughout my life: journals, letters, newspaper articles, scientific reports and papers, essays, short stories, speeches, blog posts, and some truly dreadful poetry. I even had had a short story published in a literary journal in Canada. I realized, "Hell, yes, I'm a writer!" Then I felt a lot better about myself.

      You have a lovely, rich blog which blends cultural, historical, and natural topics in a compelling way! And I love your sense of fashion and your boldness! The love you have for your family, friends, and pets shines through. I can only experience what you write in German through Google Translator, so I'm sure I'm missing its depth, beauty, and nuance. But I love your posts! You are a writer, my friend, even though you may not think so. And as someone who keeps a journal, I can say that there is nothing wrong with writing just for yourself. So give yourself a big hug and be happy! I love your flowers, by the way. They match your fearless, exuberant self! xoxox

  3. As I read through this post I am smiling so widely that my face hurts. Alex IS a great supporter, and his ethos is taken up by all of the ISWG crew. Which is wonderful.

    1. Oh thank you, Sue! Your hurting face makes up for my late hours, the big pile of bittersweet chocolate chips I ate, and too many cups of coffee last night. All my best to you, my friend. I hope things are going better for you and Batty! Take care!

  4. It's great that Pat introduced you to the group. I used to just read everyone's posts for quite awhile before I joined the IWSG too.

    1. Hi, fellow Looky Lou! Yes, Pat is a special friend, and I'm so glad that I got to meet him in person this summer, finally! He has such a good and big heart! You, my friend, have done so much for beginning writers with your wonderful blog. You have provided so much support and information about all aspects of writing and publishing, and you've done it without much help! You are inspiring and amazing, Natalie! Hugs to you!

  5. What a glowing tribute to the IWSG! Clearly it has been a great support in bringing your writer's voice to the world and that's a wonderful thing. Keep on writing and enriching us readers!

    1. Oh, Debra, you're just the best! Thank you for your kind words. You have inspired me, educated me, and kept me going. You're the best! πŸ™πŸΌ

  6. Louise, you are a gem!
    It took Pat and I both pushing you, but so glad you joined. Otherwise, you wouldn't have so many new friends or have a story published in one of our anthologies. As Pat said, just be crazy. Be crazy, fun, supportive you!

    1. Thank you, Alex! I hope that this post gave you an idea of how special you are to me and others! Hugs to you, my friend!

  7. I haven't got the energy to read everything today, but I looked at the pictures, and it's always nice to see your lovely, smiling face. Hugs, Valerie

    1. Hugs back at you, Valerie! Trust me, I understand! I've been there. I hope you are feeling more energetic soon. Lack of energy sucks! Please take care of yourself! xox

  8. We would be lost without IWSG, Louise. I know I would. I always love your photos on your blog. We have that same plush, Ty Beanie Baby cat toy. All best to you, my dear!

    1. My best to you too, Victoria! I hope that Alex and all the administrators who have helped with the IWSG felt that appreciation this IWSG Day. I'm glad that you enjoy my photos. Photography has been a passion of mine since I was a small child. I took my first photo of some hens at my Great Uncle Chester's farm when I was four. I used my dad's old Brownie Hawkeye camera. The two plush cats were given to Terry and me by one of my dearest friends ever who died over a decade ago. Dee was a huge cat lover and had insisted that we have some cats in our life. She knew we didn't want cats because of our busy and traveling lifestyle, so she gave us those. Mine is the gray one and Terry's is the brown and white one. I used them in the photos because Pat's cats Orlin and Cassie were the stars of his former blog and some of his children's books. They, too, have passed on, but now Pat has Meadow, River, and assorted visiting cats + two Westies and assorted visiting dogs. Have a lovely weekend, my friend!

  9. ...I'm not a secure enough writer to attempt to write and join The Insecure Writer's Support Group! Good for you.

    1. Hi, Tom! The IWSG would welcome you, but I totally understand how you feel. I hope that you are doing well. I'll be by soon. Yesterday ended up being very busy ~ Story of my life. Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

  10. I grew up in the shadow of people who were exceptionally good at what they did whether it be writing or drawing or painting or any of the creative endeavors. I have a little talent, but never pursued it because it was nothing compared with what I saw every day by other family members ... then I got older and maybe wiser and realized that if I enjoy what I do, it doesn't have to be as good as or better than what I have seen. So now I post some of my art on my blog and enjoy the kind comments I get without comparing it to how good I wish it was. I think that is something you learned from your IWSG ... do it, enjoy it and others will enjoy it too. I am happy for you that you found the courage and some wonderful friends by sticking your neck out and daring to give it a go. Good for you and Good for the IWSG.

    Andrea @ From the Sol

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Andrea! You're spot on! It is the enjoyment you get out of creating something that matters, whether it's for one person, yourself, or any number of other people. You don't have to measure yourself against anyone else. There have been some very talented painters, writers, and fabric artists in my family, so I understand how discouraging it can be when you measure yourself against the talented people in your family. I'm glad you realized that that shouldn't stop you from enjoying creating art. I enjoy seeing your art and photos! I get so much pleasure from sharing my writing and photographs, and I hope to do more art and share that too. One thing I love about the friends I've made through the IWSG and other blogging places is the encouragement and the appreciation they give me for trying and sharing things. I think that online you can connect with people in a much bigger pool and have a better chance of finding people who "get" you. Enjoy your weekend. I'll be by as soon as I can. Take care! xoxox

  11. It is very exciting to get your short story published. I had a short story published many many years ago and I made $25. I've also published a couple of travel articles and made $35 a piece. I don't think that makes me a professional writer, but I can actually understand your excitement. It is a big deal, isn't it? Congrats. Finding support groups online is really wonderful, and I am sure you'll agree. Congrats again, and have a super weekend. hugs-Erika

    1. You bet I agree, Erika! I think that it's exciting that you've published a short story and wonderful how you can find "your" group or groups. I'm enjoying the artistic people I've met through Nicole and Rains so much. I hope you're enjoying your weekend too. Hugs to you!

  12. I love this second part of the IWSG. I liked reading about how you finally got involved, and how you came to be published.

    Although I don't consider myself a writer, I became familiar with the group by reading Sandra Cox's blog. She also goes out of her way to help new writers. This was a fun read, Louise.

    1. I'm so glad that you enjoyed this, Elizabeth! I've been reading Sandra Cox's blog for a long time, and I've enjoyed a couple of her books. She does do a lot to help new writers. I hope that you are enjoying a nice weekend. Mine has been busy so far, but I'm hoping next week will be a little slower. Happy September! xoxox

  13. Lovely of you to post so many pics. Love the one of you and Pat H and his display of books. Awesome. We love our IWSG.

    1. Hi, Denise! Yes your comments came through. I've had a busy weekend, so I'm still catching up. I loved meeting Pat! He's a great guy! We do love our IWSG!

  14. What a nice tribute to the group and to Alex. It's so exciting when you first see your own words in print. I hope you've had a good summer, Louise.


    1. Thanks, Janie. I have had a good summer, although it's been very busy. Getting home to Nova Scotia and spending time with the family was wonderful. Last year we had to cut our trip short because of a weird illness that struck Terry and medical issues I had. No problems this year, thank goodness! I hope that you've had a good summer too. Love and hugs to you!

  15. Three cheers on your short story! Woo hoo! This is a fun, interesting post. I follow ISWG through Sandra's blog. I used to write for a living but in PR with a lot of freelance regional magazine articles. Now I just blog! And have finished (still final-proofing) my family history book with stories back to the 1700s. (But it comes alive in the generations one or two before mine.) There used to be a group called Write on Wednesday which was much the same and I made many personal blog friends through that one. Blogging is such a wonderful community.

    1. Hi, Jeanie! How cool that you used to write for a living! I've written a lot connected with my jobs over the years but I was never officially a writer. And kudos to you for putting together a family history with stories that go back to the 1700s! Wow! Different people in my family have compiled different parts of our family history, but nobody has put it all together. I will, perhaps, if I live long enough ~ lol! Blogging is a wonderful community. Elizabeth (Bluebeard and Elizabeth) also mentioned following Sandra's blog. I'm glad that you have made many blogging friends. It is a wonderful community! I'm very glad that I met you. I'll be visiting around tomorrow. It's been a busy couple of days for me. Have a lovely week!

  16. So nice to be published. I'm in a rush with yard sale. Thank you for joining FFO. Have a great day.

    1. I'm amazed that you can comment at all, Nicole, with all that is going on in your world! I hope your yard sale is going very well! You've certainly been working hard to prepare and organize for it! Take care! xoxox

  17. Well what do you know, I had some kind of flow. It may have been rough, but my skin is tough. A lot tougher than that signing bass, cause I'm a little rhyming...

    Alex and the cat. Two against one. Go, peer pressure. (Psst peer pressure also worked in getting one of the nyers to jump off a bridge hahaha)

    I forgot about half the things I said. Okay, maybe 95% of the comments I've said lol But smashing the glass, sounds right from my little rhyming...

    I remember about the computer though, and the no pictures as that is sure weird for you. Oh how the dominoes fall when one thing leads to another. And to think, it started back then to now with the meet up in July and beyond, all because of a rhyming feline. Or a fake rhyming feline that a crazy person uses to not sound super crazy when talking in the third person. haha

    Here's to 12 more years indeed.

    1. Hi, Pat! I was in the middle of catching up with you on Instagram at Parkway last night when a very chatty guy came in and sat beside me in the bar. I can usually count on an uninterrupted half hour on my phone at Parkway, but it didn't happen last night. I gave up on any attempt to text with my phone. He was interesting, though, because he managed an urgent care facility, had a child with autism, and had a friend with a child with autism who was severely impacted. I forgot a lot of my comments too, but I have hyper focus in spades, and when I really get going on something, I cannot stop. I did spend way too much time reading old posts and scanning comments. But I'm happy with my two IWSG posts this week. I will forever love Orlin and Cassie! And I'm so glad I got to meet you online and in person, my rhyming friend! Have a great rest of the weekend and an even better week. I sure loved your Cape Breton reel on Instagram! I don't know if I got that comment up on Instagram or if chatting with the guy at the bar caused me to lose it.

    2. You chatting with someone? I never would have guessed that lol

      Orlin and Cass were quite the pair indeed. Glad we met here and in real life too. First time to Cape Breton. It's a pretty spot, except for grungy down town Sydney. That reminded me more of NY. It was just rather umm grungy haha nadda came through on instagram, chatting away side tracked haha and hmmm you may want to check, as you may have got me to post twice in the span of 2 months. Wowweee lol far cry from every day, but hey, up it be with a little rhyming to see.

    3. Hi, Pat, where you're at! I was saying on Instagram that I loved the reel. I recognized where you were headed before you got to the causeway. I loved all the Cape Breton photos because I love that island. I tramped all over the western side of it when I worked there as a field geologist some of the summers while I was at Acadia. I'm looking forward to more rhyming on your blog! I'm still laughing from reading you post!

  18. I have enjoyed reading many of your IWSG post, but have never joined. Now I read all the celebrating ones and I wonder... It's good to meet in person those you know via blogging. I've meet a few over my time blogging (since 2004). Jeff

    1. Hi, Jeff! I've certainly had fun over the years with the IWSG. And it was awesome to meet Pat in person! I think it's great that you had a chance to meet some some of your blogging buddies over the years. I'd happily meet any of mine. Take care, my friend, and enjoy the rest of your week.

  19. Mad props for getting it done, even if from your phone while traveling! This business is tough. I spent years writing fulltime and the emotional roller coaster was brutal. I much prefer it as a side hobby next to supporting other authors. But the ADHD struggle is real and the more projects I have the harder it gets to juggle them all. Lol. Need to prioritize this group better.

  20. you certainly have a heaven existing within you my dear Louise !
    i will always remain thankful for meeting you as blogger friend!
    thank you so much for sharing how you joined IWSG .
    i can see it that despite of all the amazing talent and beauty of writing style you are gifted with you still felt insecure or hesitant to join this wonderful community .this requires lots and lots of courage and hardwork indeed and i see you are always been an inspiration for your motivation and dedication .
    i am proud of you for all you could achieve until now my dear Louise and heartfelt best wishes for your future plans too !
    will be thinking of you with hands raised for prays and best wishes for you dear friend!


Thank you for your comments! I appreciate them very much.