When the Door Closes

My secret life as a poet, writer, photographer…


insecure writer’s support group

How Does Your Garden Grow? – IWSG, July 2015

Weed, Macro

I’ve discovered that writing’s akin to a garden, the perfumed enclosure resulting from backbreaking planting, watering, and weeding. Mine, through neglect borne of insecurity, is sadly more overgrown weeds than manicured perfection or even Secret Garden shabby chic! I neglected the “write daily” habit for highly successful authors, and I could very easily spiral into the shame game – this, after all, is my modus operandi. I’m going to try something different, though, because what good would result from berating an already insecure writing self? Nothing!.

So, taking a cue from Meditation for Beginners, I acknowledge the lapse without judgement and pick up my pen to write again. If I do this often enough, the easier sitting down and writing will get (right?!). Who knows, the more I believe in myself, the more I sit down and write. And then? I have a manuscript in my hand! Or a chapbook! Or both! The possibilities!

I understand our journey and motivations are different with each of us tending our garden in our own way (or not for some of us). Whatever your style, however, believe in yourself. Why not? Who else will? Even with the greatest support groups in the world (IWSG definitely included), no one will tend our garden to our unique specs better than us. So, fellow writers, let’s get watering!


Posted for IWSG
©2015 V. del Casal All Rights Reserved

Shuttered – a Haiku for IWSG

Blinds in Black and White

Light slants through the slats
and dust motes laze like the words
shuttered in my mind.


Posted for June 2015’s IWSG; click here to see what other writers are doing to prove to themselves they’re writerly enough!

©2015 V. del Casal All Rights Reserved

“Make Good Art” – IWSG, May 2015

I couldn’t come up with a topic for this month’s IWSG. April’s Blogging from A-Z Challenge sort of melted my mind. So, I’m going to cheat (and because I think I cheated a few times already in the past, the guilt isn’t so horrendous). Instead of presenting my own, original ideas, I’m going to share another’s (with appropriate attribution, of course!).

I admire Neil Gaiman a lot (a lot LOT), and when I ran across his 2012 commencement speech for Philadelphia’s University of the Arts graduating class, I was even more of a fan. This link will take you to the NPR article about that speech. Click here for the youtube video. In essence, he admonishes us artists to create, whether we’re in the dumps (or perhaps especially when we’re in the dumps) or whether we’re cresting one of life’s numerous hills. Good day? Bad month? Rejection? Acceptance? Just write and “make good art.” Let’s face it, most of us write better when we’re in the throes of deep emotions!

Happy writing! See you next month. 🙂

#IWSG – March 2015

As we ease further into 2015 and slide closer to spring, I can’t help but feel optimistic. My tiny little space in this vast universe is secured, and what’s not to love about that? I don’t know what turns the path of life will take or how the future will unfold. I don’t know how (or IF) I’ll make a living out of writing (or art in general), but as winter slowly slinks off, I’m not worried about the answers to these questions. For now, I’ll just “be.”

And so, my fellow writers, I’ll leave you this month with the last lines from Mary Oliver’s “Wild Geese” to savor, enjoy, and inspire:

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

To read the poem in its entirety or to hear Mary read it, click here. Happy writing!!

©2015 V. del Casal All Rights Reserved

Insecure Writer’s Support Group – Feb 2015

For me, part of the insecurity as a writer is rooted in fear. Fear of criticism not only for the work but for the subject matter. I’ve self-censored a lot, continually shutting off the voice which says “Write this down” and, instead, listening to the one which tells me that the audience will hate what I have to say.

At the start of the new year, I resolved to write write write. I’ve kept that promise, but now as the second month of 2015 begins, I fight to squeeze out lines only to pound on the return button in frustration. Argh! Why?! Because I skirted around the topics I really want to write about. Too controversial; not mainstream. In censoring my writing, however, I’ve stifled my voice, and that’s a shame, because isn’t art a creative outlet? A place to explore the not-so-pleasant realities of this world – and perhaps affect change because of that exploration?

Yesterday, I ran across a quote from Sherwood Anderson: “The point of being an artist is that you may live…the object of art is not to make salable pictures. It is to save yourself.” I needed this reminder. I started writing (as an adult) to save myself, and I almost lost track of why I began. Offense is not my intention, I’d just like to open a different lane in the freeway of conversation.

How about you, fellow writers? Do you hesitate or plunge into your work?

©2015 V. del Casal All Rights Reserved


#IWSG, Jan 2015

A year ago this month, I created my site and leapt blindly into the blogosphere. Much digital ink has run through these fingers in the past 12 months, and I think I’m a better writer for it. However, I’m still a card-carrying member of the insecure writer club, because, in embracing the writing life, I’ve opened the door to my soul and who doesn’t flinch at the light which shines into the dark recesses?

Hopefully, the glare in 2015 won’t be as blinding. Perhaps I’ll also have hoarded enough gumption to nudge my site further into the internet by joining Bloglovin’ or Pinterest or both! Mind you, I opened the door a mere crack. I’m not sure I’m ready for the full monty.

Whatever this year brings, though, I’ll carry with me the two lessons I learned at the end of 2014: 1) for heaven’s sake, just WRITE – thanks, Lisa; 2) mine for your own gold, because nothing gets a writer nowhere fast than writing for someone other than herself (or himself) – thanks to my sister for this advice.

Happy writing, fellow IWSG-ers. See you next month!


Written for the January 7th #IWSG
©2015 V del Casal All Rights Reserved

Out of the Frying Pan…

I did it! I jumped from this:

Dead Tree

And landed in this:

Canopied Stream

I’m being optimistic, of course – or delusional. I quit a well-paying job (which tore my insides into shreds, but hey it increased the balance in my bank account) and decided to spend my hours writing. At the time, it seemed like a great idea and remnants of that exuberance remain, but now fear’s at the party (unannounced) and is slowly flattening the fizz! AND procrastination tagged along. Argh!

For anyone who’s transitioned to a full-time writing life, any advice to a newbie? THANKS!!!



©2014 All Rights Reserved

Insecure Writer’s Support Group – Do What You Gotta Do

“Do what you gotta do so you can do what you wanna do.” -Denzel Washington, “Great Debaters”

As one who doesn’t earn a living with the pen (yet), contemplating a jump from the safe existence I currently live into the deep waters of a writing life is especially daunting. Ashamedly, I’ve to admit that the siren-like pull of a steady income has kept me battened to a job I most assuredly do not like. Trudging to work, however, is starting to feel like an odyssey – with Scylla and Charybdis waiting at the end to swallow me whole.

Then how does an aspiring author navigate between dream and reality and survive intact? I have absolutely no bloody clue. Thankfully, the census on this boat of uncertainty is high. Even Odysseus improvised his way through a 20 year trek! So I’ve slowly begun donning a life jacket for the inevitable jump in the only way I know how. One arm at a time. A class here. An edit job there. And writing writing writing. Every word. Every phrase. Every scene. And maybe (hopefully) the hurtle into unknown briny blues will not result in a drowning.

How about you, my fellow aspirers? How are you surviving the prologue?


IWSG – Writing Romance Novels

During the A to Z Challenge last month, I ran across Lara Lacombe’s post for “Q.” Though unable to leave a comment (a problem which happens on all Blogspot blogs I visit), it nevertheless struck a chord, in particular the phrase “Serious Readers don’t read romance.” I think it could be applied to writers as well: serious writers don’t write romance. Which, to me, always leads to the inevitable question: Why not? 

Why can’t a writer just write whatever comes into her mind, irregardless of genre? It takes effort to arrange words into sentences, sentences into paragraphs, paragraphs into chapters, and chapters into a completed manuscript. Surely this creative struggle must preclude any sneering at the outcome?

Somehow, somewhere, some time, the romance genre was maligned. Granted, there are more than a few romance novels of the “this is how not to write” variety. However, in all honesty, there are “literary” books floating in the e-reader-sphere which require a dictionary to understand and are so obscure as to not make any sense whatsoever. I refuse to believe that the latter is any better than the former.

What do you think?

© 2014 All Rights Reserved

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