Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I'm Writing . . . Now What?

by Annette Lyon

Today I was asked what turns out to be a pretty common question, basically:

I know I want to write, and I'm working on a book. Now what?

The best advice I figured I could give was to start hanging around places where there are other writers, like conferences, workshops, and local writer groups.

First off, that's where you'll learn the craft better. Every workshop you attend, every lecture you listen to, is a learning experience. Soak it all in. Learn as much as you can.

Second, that's where you'll learn about the business, including how to submit and who to submit to, the etiquette of publishing, and SO much more.

But third, that's also where you'll make writing relationships. These are the supports that will keep you going during rough times, give you critical feedback, and maybe even connect you with industry insiders to help you succeed.

Not in an area where you can hang out in person? Try hanging out with other writers virtually. Writer's Digest is one of many places where you can go online and find forums for writers, writing blogs, articles, online workshops, videos from national conferences, and more.

Many sites offer critique swaps. One relatively new but fast-growing one is Review Fuse. Search online for more.

I can say without qualification that my writing relationships are directly responsible for my being published and for succeeding as far as I have. But I wouldn't have them if I hadn't gone to conferences and the like as much as I did. In many cases, that's where we became friends. In others, a member directory is how we found one another.

Best of all, my writer friends are some of the few people in the world who really "get" me and my bizarre writer brain.

As Mastercard would say, they're priceless.


Heather Moore said...

Wonderful advice, Annette. Going to my first writers' conference was nerve-wracking. I didn't know anyone. I had to somehow convince myself that I was going to dump $100 on just ME. I had to arrange for babysitting then stress that everything would be fine while I was gone. All the while I wondered, "Is the hassel worth it?"

Satima Flavell said...

Yes, there's nothing like hanging out with other writers. It's like coming home.

Danette said...

Thanks for the links!

Anonymous said...

Since I am a essay lover, I usually spend time infront of my laptop, reading online resources or in the library, scanning nice books. This is basically my life - reading. And with this, I am able to get ample information and lessons on different topics. What I am actually missing are the great writing conferences and workshops that I know will hasten my writing skills. Nice post.