Friday, March 6, 2015
This time last year I was truly TheNoviceWriter but over the course of twelve months I've had many other novice writers ask me questions about writing. I found I could not only answer but offer advice based on my experiences in 2014.
#1: Join a writing group. Once a week, once a month or even once a year meet with others who share your passion. You can find these groups on Meetup or other social media sites like Facebook. Enter your location and your interest and voila! You'll have a list to choose from. Your local library might offer writing clinics or clubs. National Novel Writing Month is a event that happens every November. You have a chance to connect to other writers in your area on the forums but they also host "write-ins" at local coffee shops like Panera. It's a great time to meet other writers, experienced, published or novice.
#2: Attend author signing events and ask questions. Bookstores and libraries host these all the time.
#4: Find an organization that supports your genre and become a member. For me it was easy. Romance Writers of America offered insight and resources specific to my needs. There are forums and groups for all genres, even fan fiction writers. Get plugged in.
#5 Connect with a critiquing group online or locally. Even if you don't have experience editing you can offer valuable feedback as a reader. If a group is too intimidating find a critique partner, one person you can send your work to and get honest feedback. It helps if you write/read the same genres. I found a partner through RWA and had a crit group recommended to me at a conference. It might take a few tries to find the right fit. You want constructive criticism not ripped a new you-know-what. On the flip side, watch out for someone who sees everything as bubble gum, lollipops and rainbows. Your manuscript is like a growing baby. It needs nurturing, discipline and correction to change into a wonderful mature book.
#6 Invest in writing conferences and take advantages of all these have to offer. Before 2014, I never made time to go but that changed. I visited two conferences, this past year, one in state and one out of state. I took classes on craft, heard personal stories, met others just like me and pitched to two agents. I also won a Kindle Paperweight and a bunch of books. Booyah!
#7 Don't give up. Sometimes you won't feel like writing. That's okay. Set your manuscript aside and read something. Pick up books in your genre and get familiar with other authors and publishers. Or start writing something new. Sometimes a blank slate is all you need to get the creative juices flowing again. I like to try something I've never written before, maybe out of my comfort zone. Ever write about crime solving elves from an alien planet? No? Me either. Let's do it.
#8 Try Nanowrimo. National Novel Writing Month in November challenges a writer to produce 50,000 words in 30 days. It's an exercise that stretches a writer to set and meet daily, weekly and, sometimes, hourly goals. The writing can be anything from not pretty to brilliant but the point is to write. Get that much closer to your goal. Use the forums for story help and making connections. Nanowrimo is worldwide but there are local forums as well. Many published authors also participate and give great pep-talks.
If 50k words is too daunting you might try Campnanowrimo. It happens twice a year and you can set your own word count goal.
Stop being isolated and get connected. These are just a few of the ways you can plug in and meet others who have been there or someone walking the same path that needs companionship for the journey. And remember you'll always have me.
Good luck and happy writing!
Epic dreams become reality when pen collides with heart.
Come dream with me.