IWSG – If Not For Her

Wow, the first month of 2022 is already behind us. Time already seems like it’s flying as I have a new project I’m working on which also means a new deadline. But that’s not why y’all are here. New month equals a new IWSG post.

I don’t always answer the optional monthly question because sometimes I have other things to cover and I worry about the post getting too long. This month however, my insecurities are pretty much the same old, same old as I am in the middle of drafting my first full of the year. 

The typical whining I do about words being hard. Not thinking the story will be good enough, or well received. The usual. But I know on that front I’ll get through the project like I always do thanks to the support and cheering of my writing Squad.

And that brings us to February’s optional question:

Is there someone who supported or influenced you that perhaps isn’t around anymore? Anyone you miss?

If you’ve been around these parts for a while, you know I didn’t come into the author gig because it was a calling. I didn’t dream of this life being one I’d ever really pursue. I mean I’ve always loved telling stories, but more for fun than anything else. 

I started writing again for fun in 2011 when I got into the Sims franchise games. As I played I would have little stories for my pixelated characters going in the back of my mind and a few months in I stumbled upon what is known as Sim Lit. You can read more about that here.

It was (is) a great community. Supportive. Engaging. The more I got into creating stories, the more people I met and I was enjoying myself. There was one person in particular that was key to me jumping from just Sim stories and over to books. Jill Zakrajsek.

I’d joined a group she moderated and that group had a writing prompt that spurned the idea which became Fiendish. Yup my debut novel. The challenge: take a fairytale and put an adult twist on it. Within the circles I operated, the story became a hit of sorts and Jill messaged me one day about turning it into a book. 

I’d never thought about it. Never imagined it’d have wider appeal or that I could produce something on a more professional level. Jill, however, fully believed in me and that I could do that and more. So, we started the process of making it more “real world”. She was my first beta reader/editor. She was the driving force behind me doing the project, which was slow moving. 

Then one day we got word she’d had a heart attack and died.

The book was not complete and I had been dragging my feet on doing it because I still didn’t fully believe in myself the way Jill had. I set out to finish it for her. In her memory. 

In April of 2014 Fiendish made its debut to the book world. Is it perfect? Ha, no, but what book is? Could it use a new intensive round of edits to reflect all I’ve learned and how I’ve grown since I first started? Hell yes. And one day I keep saying I will. That day just hasn’t come as of yet. 

Regardless. Despite its flaws, that book is out in the world because of a nudge from my very first cheerleader and I will be forever grateful to her for that.   

As for part 2 of the question, is there anyone I miss? Jill, obviously. But also my aunt. She was always a big supporter and encouraged my writing career. My book Renovation of Love was partially in her honor as I used the grief I still feel over her loss for my main character as she processed the loss of her aunt as well. The beauty of being a writer, you can work through some serious emotions. 

Okay, now that I’ve made myself cry while writing this post, I’m gonna say that’s all from me. I hope you enjoy the rest of your February and I’ll see you back around these parts next month.

Until next time


The Insecure Writer’s Support Group is a home for writers in all stages; from unpublished to bestsellers. Our goal is to offer assistance and guidance. We want to help writers overcome their insecurities, and by offering encouragement we are creating a community of support.

The awesome co-hosts for the February 2 posting of the IWSG are Joylene Nowell Butler, Jacqui Murray, Sandra Cox, and Lee Lowery!

20 thoughts on “IWSG – If Not For Her

  1. J.S. Pailly says:

    That’s some heavy stuff, friend. I’m so sorry. I had a critique partner who passed away due to lung cancer. I made a special note about her in the acknowledgements of my first book, something like “the person who believed in me even when I didn’t.” People often say writing is an inherently solitary activity, but that’s not true. Without the support and encouragement of others, I don’t think any of us would get our writing done.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Meka James says:

      Sorry for your loss. There are times when writing does feel like a solitary activity, but I know 100% I would have given up long ago without the constant encouragement and support of my squad. It’s changed over the years, but they are still there.

      thanks for stopping by

      Liked by 1 person

  2. nancygideon says:

    (((HUGS))) Meka! It’s so hard to lose your muse/cheerleader. Good for you for continuing in her memory . . . and hopefully because by now you can’t NOT write. Thanks for sharing and encouraging.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Mary Aalgaard says:

    What a blessing to have someone who truly believes in you. So sorry for your loss. It’s hard. We have to go on, but our hearts hurt. Your success honors her memory and your friendship.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Meka James says:

      It was. I always saw myself as someone who wrote solely for the fun of it and if Jill hadn’t suggested otherwise I doubt I’d be an author today. She’s forever in my memory.

      thanks for stopping by


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