Wednesday, June 7, 2023

How Did the IWSG Begin?

by Alex J. Cavanaugh

On September 7 of this year, the IWSG will celebrate its twelfth year. Twelve years! Considering where we began, that’s just incredible. And just where did it begin? 


Here is its story.

I’d noticed blog posts from writers mentioning their doubts, concerns, and lack of confidence. I also saw the positive replies they received and realized that the writing community offered an abundance of support. Writers want to see other writers succeed. An email exchange with another author led me to tell him that he needed an insecure writer’s support group. That’s when the lightbulb came on!

What if we posted as a group every month? The group would act as a form of therapy, letting writers post about situations where they need encouragement or to offer words of encouragement to others if they have experience. I tossed out the idea to my fellow writers and on September 7, 2011, we launched the monthly blog posting of the IWSG.

On the first Wednesday of every month, we share our thoughts about writing on our blogs. We also have an optional monthly question to assist with member's posts, which can be found on the Sign-Up page. But it’s become a great way for members to not only receive support, but to stay in contact with one another.

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group has grown since conception. Over 130 people are a part of the blogging community that posts on the first Wednesday of every month, known as IWSG Day. (At one point, that number topped out at around 330.)

The group has expanded beyond blogging into other forms. We have a Facebook Group with 5000+ members, an Instagram group with 1200+ followers, and a Twitter account with 12,100 followers. Our free monthly newsletter, which has featured industry experts like Jane Friedman and Sandra Beckwith, has 700+ subscribers. We have an IWSG Goodreads Book Club as well. And of course, the website boasts thousands of links to other great writing sites and databases.

For several years now, we’ve run a Twitter pitch event, #IWSGPit, every January. Many writers have signed with a publisher or agent as a result. (IWSG Admin Diane Wolfe, who runs Dancing Lemur Press, has signed four authors from #IWSGPit!)

We offer two free guides for writers: The Insecure Writer’s Support Group’s Guide to Publishing and Beyond and The Insecure Writer’s Support Group’s Guide to Writing for Profit. Our anthology contests have produced seven books - Parallels: Felix Was Here, Hero Lost: Mysteries of Death and Life, Tick Tock: A Stitch in Crime, Masquerade: Oddly Suited, Voyagers: The Third Ghost, Dark Matter: Artificial, and First Love: The Art of Making Doughnuts.

We even have our own merchandise which include pens, magnets, and a T-shirt! All profits from those sales goes into paying for the domain and IWSG site. Otherwise, it’s all volunteer-run and with no ads.

I and the other administrators are actively pushing the group to greater heights. Nothing is impossible when insecure writers band together. And we welcome to suggestions and requests; whatever it takes to make the group better for writers!

Alex J. Cavanaugh works in web design and graphics. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. Online he is known as Ninja Captain Alex and is the founder of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. His Cassa books are Amazon Best Sellers and winners of the Pinnacle Book Achievement Award.

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