Wednesday, September 06, 2017

IWSG: Pleasant Surprises

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means hundreds of us will be posting about our insecurities. If you haven't yet, join in. You'll be glad you did!



Each month we have a question. This month's question is:

Have you ever surprised yourself with your writing? For example, by trying a new genre you didn't think you'd be comfortable in?

Before I answer this question: a caveat. In addition to my novels, I write for a dozen or so freelance clients, providing 2,000 or more words a day. I write about everything from cloud computing...


...to antique furniture.


But the freelance topic that surprised me the most was cold fusion. When I was asked to write about it, I was new to freelancing, which is 100 percent the only reason I agreed to do it. I didn't know any better.


That was when I first realized I could somehow manage to write about something I didn't understand. And every time I have to write about the Blockchain or Bitcoin, that same cycle happens all over again.


When I wrote the middle-grade novel that helped me land my agent, I wasn't sure I could do it. I wanted to write a story about young ghost hunters, but I wasn't sure I could handle the suspense/adventure that was required. I'd never done suspense/adventure before.


But I managed to do it...and well enough to get an agent. It also captured the attention of some big publishers, even though it never quite made it here:


What I learned was that we can all tackle new challenges. We just need to push ourselves. After all, I can write about cold fusion when I don't even know what it is!


Have you ever surprised yourself with your writing? What did you learn from the experience?

31 comments:

  1. Just think of all subjects you learn about doing your freelance job!

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    1. That is definitely true! I have one job that's just news rewriting--mostly science/tech stories. I'm always telling people about things I wrote...usually I just say, "I was reading about this study..." I don't get into the fact that I was actually rewriting what I read.

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  2. Wow! That's a really good message that we can conquer anything if we really set our minds to it. The key is to remain consistent and persistent. When I think of cold fusion, I'm reminded of the fun movie The Saint from several years ago. Until seeing that, I never even heard of it! Hugs...RO

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    1. And I STILL don't really understand what it is. I think I wrote three articles on it? I know there were multiples and somehow I managed to break down the concepts in an easier-to-understand way...without every really grasping it myself.

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  3. Great Post, Stephanie!!! Yes, we can push ahead if we put some effort into it...

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  4. I didn't realize that you freelance too. In my contract writing, I've had to write about a lot of laws and related topics I had no idea about too, like the EB-5 Visa program. Yes, we can do it. Now if I could convince myself I could write a book faster.

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    1. I've written about that visa program, too! Yes, I have a goal for myself on my list every day to work on my book at least a little. But I have to make my $$$ first. Fiction writing doesn't pay the bills, sadly.

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  5. I'll have to find something I've never written about to see how well I can write about it. I'm just not sure what to write about that's new to me.

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    1. I try to stay away from highly technical topics. Mostly I ask myself, "Would I feel miserable writing about this?" When I pre-wrote this blog post, I'd just finished an assignment writing about the blockchain. Since then, I've turned down several opportunities to write about it. I just can't anymore. I like writing about things that are new to me, but they have to be interesting...and there's only SO MUCH you can say about peer-to-peer financial transactions.

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  6. As someone who doesn't even know what cold fusion is, I'm impressed...
    I'd love to be a freelance writer, but that does sound hard!

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    1. Not really. The bad thing about it is that the fun topics are snatched up immediately, so most businesses/publications know they don't have to pay writers much to write those. A couple of weeks ago, I shared a job in a writing group that was writing about reality TV for $12 an hour, I think? You can make MUCH MORE writing about techie stuff, but it's not quite as fun. Although I could write about electronic gadgets and smart technology all day, so mostly I focus on that type of work.

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  7. I never thought I'd write a historical novel. I wasn't a big fan of history as a student, but as a writer--it was so different. I slurped down huge nonfiction tomes, eager to cram all sorts of information into my head, some of which was used in the novel.

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    1. I've become fascinated with history lately--especially U.S. history. I don't know if I'd tackle a historical fiction novel, but I do have an idea for a historical nonfiction series...

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  8. Great post, Stephanie. And great message! I also believe that we can all tackle new challenges much better than we realize. We just need to accept the challenge...and like you say, believe!

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    1. I think it's important to always push ourselves. That's how we grow, especially as artists.

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  9. I surprise myself all the time. When I read my own writing I think to myself: "Mother of god, I didn't realize I was so bad at this!"

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    1. LOL. Actually, sometimes I'll read something I wrote a while ago and think, "Darn, this is GOOD." But all too often I read it and cringe. I did that just yesterday for a freelance piece I had published a while ago.

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  10. I've not surprised myself like you have, but you've given me food for thought. Seriously, 2k words a day, all the research that entails, and writing your stories as well. I'm in awe right now.

    Anna from elements of emaginette

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    1. Well, luckily I can do most of the research online. And I've done a ton of writing about business and tech, so most of this stuff I know by now. Six years of it and sometimes it sticks!

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  11. Fantastic message! Funny thing, when you said cold fusion, I thought of the computer programming language and wondered how could anyone write something about that! *LOL* The science cold fusion is much more interesting.

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  12. Hi Stephanie - so interesting what you've told us about - I can quite see where you're coming from. I think that's the sort of thing I write for my blog posts ... ok I don't do much science - but I go into some subjects that I think to myself - where am I going ... yet I'm always learning. Fascinating - excellent - great way learn and earn, yet have some time for you and writing - cheers Hilary

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  13. impressive work. I've surprised myself with poetry and pieces that have been accepted. You never know until you try...and try..and try again.

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  14. Cold fusion and bit coins -- impressive!

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  15. I really thought you had to know about that stuff. I figured you were a sort of a professor, or had a permanent room in a Holiday Inn Express.

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  16. I've written genres I swore I'd never try to write.

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  17. At least you have Google for your freelancing. That probably helped a lot when writing about topics you're new to. The readers will never know. >.>

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  18. That's cool that you've been able to write about new and different topics!

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  19. Absolutely brilliant post. The memes worked perfectly. I was a freelance reporter in my twenties for ten years, and I did all sorts of things I never thought I'd do. Good job!

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  20. The world of freelance writing is mysterious and scary to me. You sound so busy, and you must never get bored! "...we can all tackle new challenges. We just need to push ourselves." Inspiring thought. Thank you for the post. :)

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  21. Good for you!! Great post! Big Hugs!

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