Saturday, February 03, 2007

I celebrated my birthday this weekend. Don’t ask. I won’t tell you which. But at least for the last seven years of my life, I’ve devoted a lot of time to my writing. Here are a few things I would do again, if I had it all to do over.

Join a critique group. Struggling along on my own, trying to figure out why every publishing house I submitted to turned me down, didn’t get me very far. Not only was the journey lonely, it was frustrating. Good critique partners give you hard, honest feedback and help you sharpen your skills. Added to that, editing someone else’s work makes you a better editor of your own.

Enter contests. The benefits are twofold. I got great advice from judges who took time to be thorough and honest in their remarks. Plus, I got to see my entry scores inch up as my writing improved. It was a fantastic gauge of where I was in my writing journey.

Become an active member of a solid writer’s group. Networking is important, regardless of how well you write. Join a writer’s group and participate in the discussions. Not only will you learn the latest in industry news, you’ll get your name out there.

Attend writer’s conferences. The face-to-face time with editors and agents helps you establish your sincerity about making writing a career. It also builds confidence as you attend workshops geared toward helping you hone your craft. And let’s not forget the fellowship! Mingling with other writers provides the jumpstart we all need after struggling to cope with a rejection letter.

Start a website or blog. There’s some controversy over this. Do you really need to have a website even if your books aren’t published? I believe the answer is yes. Editors and agents want to know you’re serious about marketing your novel once it hits the shelves. Prove that you are by doing the legwork early, even if the only people to visit your web pages are family and friends.

And finally…write. How silly, you say? This should be obvious. Except that too many of us procrastinate when it comes to our writing. We allow everything and anything to take precedence over the time we devote to honing our skills. Let me tell you, the less time you spend learning to be a better writer, the longer it will take for you to get the longed for phone call. Don’t let a rejection letter stop you. If an editor turns you down, tell yourself it just means there is more for you to learn. Get busy. Get after it. Get published. If it’s what God has planned for you, then I know it will happen.


Ane Mulligan said...

Silverarrows rock! ;)

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