Tips from My Own Writing journey

My debut novel Secrets & Charades released in 2017, ten years after I wrote the first draft and completed a fiction writing course. I received 21 rejections as I pitched that book to 21 different publishers. Each time I’d rewrite and improve the content based on what I was learning at writer’s conferences and on the suggestions I received from the publishers (if they gave any.)

I entered contests to get more feedback. I won the Editor’s Choice Award in 2014, which earned me coaching and edits to hone my story. That lead to publication. Since then, I’ve published two other novels with two more to release this year. And two more that have yet to find a home.

I learned a few important things during that ten-year journey from rough draft to publication.

  • Never give up on your dream.
  • Stay teachable, so you are approachable.
  • Network with other writers, editors, and publishers, you never know when the door will open for you.
  • Share what you know with novice writers.
  • Humbly receive critiques and advice from other writers.
  • Be thankful for all those willing to share their knowledge of publishing.

I discovered all these valuable tools while sitting in writer’s conference classes and workshops. I listened to the author’s journeys and found inspiration. I paid attention to changing trends and gained the encouragement to go on.

Authoring a book is hard work, getting it published is harder and marketing for good sales is the hardest of all. I went into this novel writing thing very naïve of those facts. I assumed because publishers requested my manuscript after my pitch that they would scoop it up. Had I known these same publishers review hundreds of manuscripts a month and may only choose a handful, I might have been less devastated.

If you are just starting your writing journey, learn all you can. And for the published author, never stop learning.

Hope this bit of encouragement benefits someone today.

Do you have a word of encouragement for other authors? Share in the comments.

Coming soon!!!

Rescuing Her Heart, book #2 of the Healing Heart Series releases July 6, 2021 and is available for pre-order.
https://www.amazon.com/Rescuing-Her-Heart-Healing-Hearts/dp/1645263193

The Biggest Anchor Weighing Down A Writer’s Dreams

Today I am posting a blog I wrote as a guest blogger a few years ago over at Write It Sideways. Recent events in my writing life caused me to revisit the sentiment in the post. I know I am not alone and thought I’d share it here.

Large Anchor in front of Conderate White House in Richmond Virginia.

Large Anchor in front of Conderate White House in Richmond Virginia.

Have you ever heard a writer say “I don’t care if I ever get published.”
My answer to them (in my head anyway) would be, “You are such a liar.”
I know, because I have wanted to wash my mouth out with Whiteout fluid when I heard that very statement slip out between my lips
Writers who are serious about their craft want to be published. Writers who have a passion to share with others crave to be published. Authors don’t slave for years over their book to never have it see the light of day.
Let’s call it what it really is F-E-A-R.
We are afraid of being rejected. Who wants to spend hours working on something to get rejection letters? Be honest. How long did it take to get comfortable with any kind of criticism of our precious creation? My husband is a grammarian, and it used to aggravate me that he was so nit-picky. Really, he is a wonderful help with the editing process. But until I developed a thick-skin toward my work, he and I went head to head, point for point. Sending pages from my novel to critique services, editors and fellow writers for evaluation can be unnerving. All the red marks stung at first. Needless to say, without that editing my stuff did not get published.
Don’t Criticize my Baby
Our created masterpieces are our babies. Rejections stir our maternal instincts to protect our young. When we protect it, we suffocate the creative process and any growth our writing can have.
A line in the sand
Drawing the proverbial low expectation line in the sand—I don’t care if I get published—creates excuses for not pursuing publication. That low expectation in turn produces negativity. Mention an author you like, their opinion of them won’t be favorable. If you share a lead regarding a publisher or magazine, they have a horror story about the publication. Why? Fear encourages defending the line; out come the weapons of authoritative sneers. The line forces the fearful to take other would-be writers with them.
Fear of New Technology
Writers can be afraid of learning new things to improve their ability and expand their platform. I remember learning to use a computer. Once I mastered the word processing program, I was in heaven. No more carbon paper and retyping whole pages. As the word processing got more refined, I had to battle with the newest edition. Discovering how to use the editing application in word was freeing–although I still do print off a copy and red ink it. I find the editing program much more efficient especially when I turn it over to my husband for his comments, which can be eradicated with a simple mouse click. Obviously, I still have a few issues with his input.

Writers cling to Mantra
There’s also the declaration by some—whether I am published or not, I will keep writing. Really! Seeing your name in the byline and your article in print is such a rush that anyone who is serious about their writing will pursue publication again and again. Those who say they don’t care will quit writing. It is too discouraging to have no affirmation. I find that I have to switch from my novel to writing other things. I need that affirmation. While I wait to find a home for it and see my name on a book cover, I will write other things to keep my creative juices fueled.
Getting published is hard work
People continue to say that getting published is not their goal because it is time consuming hard work. All the research and contact making, query letters, book proposals, networking. Whew! Makes me tired just writing the words. That, too, is a fearful thing.
Publishers don’t get my unique style
I love to hear I have a unique style that traditional publishers don’t understand. My question to them (again in my head) is if traditional publishers don’t understand it, what makes you think traditional readers will? Again, I see fear as the main culprit. That uniquely gifted writer may be afraid it is too late to learn proper grammar and correct spelling. He fears if he hired an editor to do that, his voice would be lost.
Fear is the biggest anchor weighing down the awesome potential in many writers.
To lose that anchor that still tries to weigh me down, I read blogs like this. I am involved in Word Weavers, a critique group that helps me hone my craft. That group gives off an encouraging vibe that fuels me on. When I write something every day, fear can’t whisper the words that make me feel worthless. Entering contests is my way of telling fear–nothing ventured, nothing gained. I take classes and attend webinars. Attending conferences boldly slaps fear in the face. There I discover my story idea has merit and my articles have value. Most importantly, I say I am a writer. The more I say it–print it right on a business card—the more I can sense the fear diminishing and the confidence coming forth. Like you, I battle with fear; but it is getting weaker, and the desire to continue to be published is getting stronger.
What excuses have you made because you were afraid of rejection? How do you stamp out that fear?