Wednesday, January 7, 2015

IWSG: Awkward Introductions

                                                                               
                                       
Welcome to the first installment of the Insecure Writer's Support Group of 2015.  As a fresh start to the new year, Alex J. Cavanaugh asked us to open with an introduction about ourselves. I began blogging almost four years ago when we became empty nesters after our younger son went away to college. Because I knew my kids would never speak to me again if I picked on them too much in public, I started writing about my mom who in her own words, "Never has, and never will be a burden."

Through Facebook, I reconnected with high school friend Rhonda Albom, who told me about the A to Z April Challenge, and from there I met Arlee Bird, and  Alex J. Cavanaugh, founder of the IWSG. Through the support of the IWSG, and the friendships I've formed in blogland, I was proud to publish a poetry anthology with seven very talented women last September. My partner in rhyme for Old Broads Waxing Poetic,  Susan Flett Swiderski, and I met during  A to Z, as well as Delores. Though we didn't meet until later, Joanne, also participated in the challenge. In addition,  Robyn  and  Liza, along with our cover designer Michael, are all part of the IWSG. Thanks also to Daisy and  Fishducky. All of you have proven that it truly does take a village.

After I graduated from college, my brother introduced me to another person I will always be grateful to. It turns out that she belonged to the same organization that I was a member of in college. Women In Communication Inc. or WICI. This led to an interview at a financial magazine that I didn't even know was hiring. It's amazing how being involved in one group (WICI) led to my first job, and how the Insecure Writer's Support Group  led to my first book about thirty years later.

Back then introductions were a lot easier than they are now. An eager college graduate, is often perceived quite differently than an eager middle-aged person. In some situations an older person's enthusiasm can come off as being anxious, desperate, or even downright creepy. While a young person is respected for being ambitious, a middle-aged person may be frowned upon for trying too hard.

That's what makes the IWSG so special. It's a rare place where the jocks, techies, cheerleaders, mathletes, theater geeks, and class clowns all sit at the cool table in the cafeteria. A place where you're always welcome with open arms no matter where you are on your writing journey. Although Alex does draw the line at people who still wear white after Labor Day.

57 comments:

  1. Hi Julie - I'd no idea of those connections .. especially the early A-Z tie in via Rhonda - how fantastic. The Old Broads Waxing Poetic are great fun ... while most of the others I know - but not all ... connections are strange aren't they - where they take us and where they lead to ... the A-Z and IWSG groups have been and are so successful .. with new people joining all the time .. and it is a rare meeting place and everyone is so welcome .. fantastic to read ..

    Happy New Year to one and all - cheers Hilary

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  2. Hi Julie, IWSG is indeed a wonderful place to hangout and meet supportive and encouraging writers.

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  3. Never thought about how age and enthusiasm can be perceived different, but sure seems so indeed

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  4. GEM JULIE ~

    "mathletes"

    Ha! That's a good one. Did you come up with it?

    I'm the furthest thing from a mathlete. If math were a team, I'd be the water carrier.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

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  5. Even if we don't participate, IWSG IS a great place, and we just love spectating. Besides, it's nice to know that you mathletes are willing to put up with us jocks, especially when we're so cranky from playing all of those football matches and making so many touchgoals.

    Uh, never mind, put us down for class clown x2.

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  6. Thanks for the introduction, Julie. I thought we were already acquainted, but this additional information will certainly bring us closer. I'm trying to imagine what your enthusiasm is like. I doubt I would find it anxious, desperate or downright creepy, but it wouldn't bother me even if I did. :)

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  7. Julie, that is really wonderful! Awesome that you made all those connections and it resulted in your first book.

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  8. It is a hodgepodge of wonderful people, isn't it? Loved reading how you connected with people over the years.

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  9. Hilary - We also met during my first A to Z. As a matter of fact, I think you were one of the first people to welcome me, Hilary! Talk about a wonderful connection!

    Rachna - I couldn't agree more!

    Pat - Some situations are different than others, but I think those problems can exist for newcomers in the workplace.

    Stephen - I wish that I came up with "mathletes." I just Googled it, and the most I could find is that it probably originated from some kind of math competition. If you carried the water, I could be in charge of the team t-shirts, Stephen. I never did well in math either.

    B & B - Glad you've been making lots of "touchgoals!" The class clowns are the most fun! I'd be hanging by a thread with the theater geeks.

    Gorilla - I'm glad this brought us closer together! Let's see...I admired you from afar at Robyn's blog, and then Al officially sent me over when he was raving about you at Penwasser Place. It's been non-stop fun ever since! In person, you'd probably find me all of the above, but it's always sunny in blogland!

    Alex - It all comes back to you, Alex! Thanks for everything!

    Lee - Lots of wonderful people, including you Lee! I think we also met during A to Z, and I'm glad we did!

    Julie

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    1. Me too! You don't know how much I've appreciated your sharing experiences with your mom. I laughed. I nodded in understanding. I teared up, too. This is such an incredible roller coaster of a ride with our parents.

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    2. Lee - I remember you were going through a lot with your mom, shortly after I started writing about my mom's move to an independent/assisted living facility. I can't imagine how difficult it must be for you without her. Thanks so much for your kind words, Lee! It really means a lot to me.

      Julie

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  10. Great hearing about some of the people you've connected with. Happy New Year!

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  11. It's fascinating how we find people and blogs, isn't it???? In some ways this blogosphere seems HUGE and in other ways... very small.

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  12. Hi, Julie,

    So glad you found me in the blogosphere! I hope you are warm and toasty today.... WINTER IS HERE.. NOOOOOOO! IS it SPRING YET?!!!

    So true about how wonderful every one is in our community. No where else have I met such amazing selfless people who will lend a helping hand whenever needed.

    Wising you THE BEST year ever and I HOPE to see you soon!

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  13. What a great history and how the blog and the IWSG helped. Isn't it nice how many, from all walks of life, can meet here in blogland

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  14. I find most of the blogosphere I connect with is friendly and caring.Polite and sometimes even gracious.

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  15. I love your description of the group :) I have reconnected with some great people I've lost touch with over the years - and had to avoid friend requests from people that are firmly remaining in my past! x

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  16. I love your description of the group. It has been a very rewarding experience for me too. I hope this is a wonderful and prosperous year for you.
    Juneta at Writer's Gambit

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  17. I've missed your blog! A-Z is great. I've met a lot of wonderful people through it.

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  18. small world and you are a big writer part of it. Very nice! Glad we could meet in 2014. Lots of room to grow in 2015. Let's have fun

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  19. Natalie - It's almost like tracing your family tree. Thanks, and Happy New Year to you, Natalie!

    Robin - It reminds me a lot of Mayberry with Alex as Andy Taylor!

    Michael - I'm so glad I found you too, and you are a perfect example of someone who is truly "selfless!" Stay warm, and I hope to see you during the next thaw! Have a great 2015! Thanks Michael!

    Birgit - If someone told me about it, I would've never believed them. This is a journey you have to experience for yourself to truly appreciate!

    Julie


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  20. Hi Julie!

    What neat connections you've made. I love how this group has blossomed and expanded. I didn't participate in A-Z last year and I missed it terribly! I can't wait for it this year!

    The description of this group is spot on! If only we'd all been in high school together! We would have taken over. We are a force to be reckoned with and I LOVE being a part of this. One of my goals this year is to be MORE involved with IWSG.

    Happy New Year!
    Jen

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  21. Joanne N - I feel the same way about the blogging community! Speaking of being a caring and gracious blogger, I don't think I've ever thanked you for your wonderful review of Old Broads. I really appreciate it, Joanne!

    Suzanne - It's so nice to reconnect with bloggers you've lost touch with. It's such a forgiving community which is something you don't see too often.

    Juneta - Thank you, and I also wish you a successful 2015!

    Carol - I'm so glad we met through blogging! A to Z was a wonderful experience. I participated from 2011-13, and really felt like I was missing out last year. I've slowed down so much since then that I have trouble writing just one post a week now. I've missed you too! Thanks Carol!

    Joanne - I'm so glad we met last year too! I know you're tired of me thanking you, but I'll always be grateful to you, Susan, the rest of the "Broadettes" and our special "Bro-ette!" Now it's time to bring on the fun, Joanne!

    Julie

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  22. Alex is right, it is just not right to wear white after Labor Day. I did once, and, well, I can't even speak about it. I thought life as I knew it would never be the same.

    I do think that young people today have more means to connect and network because of the tools (apps) that they have through social media. Don't discount the middle aged either because they have more real life social skills that are sought after in many fields. Every age has something to give, we just all have to find the right path to lead us to dreams and pursuits. There is one for all of us if we look.

    Congratulations again for your collaboration with the other ladies on a truly enjoyable book.

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  23. Oh no. Good thing Alex doesn't know how I dress. Well, actually, I rarely wear white. I'm too messy of an eater. Chocolate stains are far too obvious on white clothes.

    It's a cool thing how one contact builds on the next and this might even take you to publication. In fact, it did. Now, I'm looking forward to your next publication, Julie.

    Thanks for the mention. I'll always be proud of having contributed to the book.
    Broad hugs!

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  24. That's very cool. It's always fascinating how one contact leads to another and the things that can happen as a result.

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  25. Happy New Year, Julie! I'm glad that being part of the writers blogosphere has been such a positive experience for you.

    I see what you mean about the age thing, as I'm no fresh college graduate myself. I hope that when people meet me in person, they'd see me for the late bloomer that I am. As for myself, I find passion, kindness, and integrity, when channeled into enthusiasm, to be attractive qualities in people I meet, regardless of their age.

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    1. Cynthia - I couldn't agree with you more! Sadly, I know people who've been victims of age discrimination. Many companies would rather hire a young person that they can train for a lower salary, than a seasoned professional for top dollar. Of course there are always exceptions. I would much rather
      surround myself with people who have the qualities you've mentioned both personally and professionally, regardless of age. I'm also a "late bloomer." Happy New Year, Cynthia!

      Julie

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  26. Jennifer - It is exciting to see how the IWSG continues to "blossom!" I could just imagine us all hanging out at the soda shop after school together! I meant Starbucks of course! Looking forward to seeing more of you, Jen! Happy New Year!

    Arleen - I wore winter white cords the other day, and almost got into a heated debate!
    Sorry I brought up a painful subject for both of us! I agree that every age "has something to give," and that there's a lot to be said about experience. I've just heard stories about some of the dilemmas baby boomers have faced when they've gone on
    job interviews. My point was to show how accepting the blogging community is, and how the IWSG is a great place for writers to receive encouragement regardless of their age, or background. Thank you so much for your kind words, and support, not to
    mention your wonderful sense of humor!

    Robyn - That's why I only drink chocolate through a straw on days I wear white.
    Chocolate stains on white pants can often be mistaken for something less socially acceptable. You're smart to play it safe in this respect, Robyn! You were more than just a contributor. You were a huge help in scouting for talent, as well as head
    cheerleader! Thanks again for making our little project so much fun! I'm excited about your next publication, Robyn! Broad hugs back atcha!

    LD - When I first started blogging, I never would've imagined how much my life would change for the better. It's great to know that others feel the same way. Happy New Year, LD!

    Julie

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  27. It's great how you have steadily built contacts. I struggle in this area, I'm just not very good at pushing myself forward in any kind of social situation. It's something I am trying to work on.

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  28. You are a wonderful example of how to keep meeting people and making friends. I enjoy your blog every time I read it.

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  29. IWSG really is special. So many people are apart of it. I've made countless rich relationships through this group.

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  30. Great introduction, Julie! I always enjoy stopping by your blog. Have a great 2015!

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  31. Joss - I was in a sorority in college, and never felt the same camaraderie again until I started blogging. The IWSG is a very friendly place that you can ease into, or push full speed ahead. I also still shy away from many situations, but I think Alex has gone out of his way to make everyone feel at home here. Thanks so much for following me, Joss, and I look forward to getting to know you better!

    Yvonne - It's easy when I can make friends like you! Thanks Yvonne!

    Chrys Frey - I feel the same way! I really enjoyed your interview with Alex, Chrys!

    Susanne - I always enjoy stopping by your blog too! Thanks and Happy New Year, Susanne!

    Julie

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  32. Well-said, Julie! It's surprising sometimes where all those connections can take us. I'm glad to have met you through Old Broads. :-)

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  33. Very cool and what a great post.

    Happy Writing :-)

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  34. Gosh, I know exactly what you're talking about. I remember that saying about how kids should be seen and not heard. Now that's the way I think my kids see me. I guess I'm just supposed to be quiet, keep my opinions to myself, and just hang around looking cute and dawdly.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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  35. Daisy - Thank goodness Robyn read your wonderful poetry, and getting to know you was an added bonus! Thanks Daisy!

    HW - And to think we wouldn't have met if Alex didn't rave about you! Thanks HW!

    Lee - You'd better never keep your thoughts to yourself! Where would we all be without you?! Keep in mind that that your charming personality only adds to your cuteness! Thanks again, Lee!

    Julie

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    1. Thanks, Julie. I look forward to reading more about you and all your adventures in your upcoming posts.

      Cheers and boogie boogie.

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  36. What a fantastic introduction! As I suspected, you are much deeper than a casual glance would indicate. Whereas I am much shallower.

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  37. Wow! What a cool story! And I love how one thing led to another to another and another! You just never know how life will work out, do you?

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  38. Al - Ha, ha! I've read your deep seeded struggles beginning with your childhood Shag Carpet Toilet. Though you are many things, shallow is not one of them! Thanks Al!

    Caryn - It is amazing when you think about how many people we've met through blogging! And the best part is that I can do it all in my pajamas! Thanks Caryn!

    Julie

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  39. The IWSG is the first time I've ever been able to sit at the cool table.
    I know we started blogging around the same time and it's hard to believe it's been 4 years!

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    1. Julie - Now you're invited to sit at lots of cool tables during book signings! You've accomplished so much during these four years, and I'm excited that Polar Day is coming out next month! I'm so glad we met through A to Z, Julie!

      Julie

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  40. Cool introduction. I didn't know my mum introduced you to A to Z!

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  41. I'm also a big believer in things happening in their due time...even being re-introduced to old friends or meeting new ones!

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  42. Sarah - Your mom gave me all kinds of advice when I first started blogging, and A to Z was her best suggestion of all! I'll always be grateful to your mom, Sarah!

    Tammy - Yes, I'm very glad that we recently reconnected! It's hard to keep in touch with everyone, and so much fun when old friends pop in!

    Julie

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  43. Those type of connections make the blogging world go round :)

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  44. While reading your post, I was humming "Getting to Know You." Really, it's always great to learn more about our online (and offline) friends. It's sooooo true about the wonderful and sometimes surprising connections we make through blogging. Who'd a thunk it? It's been a real joy getting to know you through your blog, our phone conversations, and our "Old Broads" collaboration.

    I guess you're right about the difference in how people react to a fresh-faced young person's enthusiasm versus a not-so-fresh-faced middle aged person's bubbling. Pbbbt! Not to worry. Once you get another fifteen years or so under your belt, your enthusiasm will once again be welcomed. Heck, after a certain age, people pat us on the head, call us "cute," and express surprise that we still have enough oomph left to get excited about anything.

    Nice post, kiddo.

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  45. Hey Julie,

    I'm using a computer that has seen better days. So much so that I'm going to have to get a new one. Takes ages to get anywhere and comment.

    How all the links intertwine. Indeed, a fascinating insight about your good self, Julie. Amazing how that weird fascination with the alphabet and the wonders of Farcebook are all part of the connections.

    Of course the best connection is "IWSG" aka "I Was Seeking Gary." It brings a tear to my eye every time I see mention of my humble self :) Did I ever mention I'm delusional?

    Nice one, Julie.

    Gary :)

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  46. Keith - I couldn't agree more! I'm so happy for you, and your new bride, Keith!

    Susan - I feel the same way about you! I'm also impressed that you're as witty on the phone, as you are in your writing! You are the queen of quick comebacks! Only 15 years? Thanks for giving me something to live for, Susan!

    Gary - I should have entitled this post, "Six Degrees of Gary!" If only I had thought of it sooner. Hope you get a new computer, or are able to salvage this one. You are never "delusional" Gary! In fact, the wee folk always speak highly of you!

    Julie

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  47. I loved reading about you and how you started. Thanks for sharing!

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  48. Alex is wonderful and his blog has something for everyone - as does yours! Great insight into your start.

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  49. Thank YOU, Romance Reader!

    JJ - It's great to see you! Yes, Alex is terrific, and I always enjoy your blog too! Happy New Year! Thanks JJ!

    Julie

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  50. I am so late getting to this one, but I am so glad I did. Thanks for the mention, and I am so glad you didn't say "old friend" from high school. Wonderful intro, and congrats again on all your success and your book.

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