Monday, January 4, 2021

OA Recommends - The Insecure Writer's Support Group #IWSG

Operation Awesome Recommends

We're beginning a new feature here on the Operation Awesome blog.  Introducing "OA Recommends".  Every month we'll introduce you to a different writer-oriented website. These are sites with which one or more of our team members has had positive experiences. We hope you'll check them out and let us know what you think!


To kick this off, we're going with The Insecure Writer's Support Group. Alex J. Cavanaugh, the founder, was kind enough to answer our questions.


1- Are there any big events or exciting news for the IWSG in 2021?

Oh yeah! We kick off on January 6 with the announcement of the winners of the IWSG Anthology Contest. Then on January 20 is the #IWSGPit Twitter pitch event on Twitter. (Details here - ) Beginning of May we announce the next IWSG Anthology Contest and the release of Dark Matter: Artificial – an IWSG Anthology. Plus we might have something else going on in the spring…

2- What should someone know when thinking about signing up for the IWSG?

If that person is a blogger, understand that it’s a once a month commitment to post. They can answer the monthly question or talk about something else writing related. If they sign up and join the other IWSG social sites, they will get prompts and discussions and support and help… All sorts of good stuff! Plus they are eligible to enter our annual anthology contest.

3- Is the Insecure Writer's Support Group about helping writers feel more secure, accepting that insecurity is part of being a writer, or both?

Probably both. It’s letting writers know that insecurity is all right—we all feel that. But the support is there so we don’t feel quite so insecure.

4- What are some of the biggest changes the IWSG has experienced over the years and have your original site goals changed?

Wow, have they changed! The IWSG began as a monthly bloghop. Then a website. And we went to Facebook with a group there. The annual anthology contest was a big deal. Many thanks to my publisher, Dancing Lemur Press, for being willing to publish the book every year. We did a couple of our own books as free giveaways as well. Then we got into the Twitter pitch scene. Plus a newsletter, Instagram… It just amazes me how it grew. I never imagined all of this!

5- What is the origin story or history of the site?

Well, the full rundown is on our About Us page - But the idea for the IWSG came from a comment from a fellow writer, Rusty. In response, I told him he needed an insecure writer’s support group. The idea stuck and I thought it would make a good blog hop. The first Wednesday in September 2011, we began!

6- Your site has several awards and recognitions. Would you list a few of those and tell us how you won them?

2017 – Writer’s Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers
2018 – UK Writer’s Hub 50 Best Blogs for Writers
2017-2020 - The Write Life – 100 Best Websites for Writers
We won those solely because of our followers and their devotion to our site.

7- What is the most beneficial aspect of IWSG for writers who are new to the site?

Probably the database. We keep it updated, removing dead sites and adding new ones. Whatever they need to know about writing, publishing, and marketing is there. The monthly hop plus Facebook and our other social sites give people a chance to ask questions and get quality answers from other members.

8- With all the websites for writers out there, why should someone take the time to be on yours; what makes the IWSG unique?

First I would have to say our members. They are so supportive of each other, coming together to give advice and guide others on the right path. Most writing sites are just sites people visit for information and links. We also offer a community writers can get involved with, feel like they really aren’t alone.

9- Would you please list the links and ways people can find the IWSG and book club?

Alex J. Cavanaugh has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and works in web design, graphics, and technical editing. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. Online he is the Ninja Captain and founder of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. He’s the author of Amazon Best-Sellers CassaStar, CassaFire, CassaStorm, and Dragon of the Stars. The author lives in the Carolinas with his wife.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Thanks for hosting the IWSG!

Elizabeth Seckman said...

When I started as a writer, I knew no one in the industry. I stumbled onto the IWSG and found a place to call my writer home.

Natalie Aguirre said...

This is a great new feature. I'm so glad that I joined the IWSG. I've made a lot of blogger friends who have supported me through my writing and personal challenges. And it's good to connect with a group of bloggers who still like to blog. This group does so much to support writers. I really appreciate all the work Alex and the other administrators do.

Jemi Fraser said...

The IWSG is an amazing group of supportive people!

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

The IWSG is the most dynamic and helpful writing group I've been a part of. And they are constantly exploring new avenues to benefit their members. You rock, Alex!

Diane Burton said...

Thanks for showcasing IWSG. It's a group of very caring people who lift you up when you're down and cheer your accomplishments. I'm so glad to be part of this group.

Liesbet said...

What a great, informative, and fun idea to host this new series! The IWSG has been instrumental to my “career” as a writer. Their support is amazing and, every first Wednesday of the month I look forward to participating in their blog hop. Now that I have recently published a book myself, I feel that I finally belong to the club that has encouraged me all along and I am happy to start sharing some of my knowledge and experiences as well. :-)

Heather M. Gardner said...

Great post!
Thank you!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Thanks Operation Awesome and everyone who commented!

Toi Thomas said...

Great feature. The IWSG is one of the main reasons I'm still blogging and growing as a writer.

Deniz Bevan said...

Love the IWSG! It's such a supportive community.