The Five

Outtakes 49

 The Five

The 2012 Frontiers in Writing conference was a success. Maybe the numbers were down, but the attendees received more one-on-one time with the speakers. We had a number of first time conference attendees, and that’s always good. Seasoned writers need to encourage and support the new blood. I was blessed to have the opportunity to renew acquaintances and catch up with friends. I also picked up some good advice from award winning writers.

  1.  Writing is a business; treat it as such. Most of us have full time jobs, families, personal commitments; yet we manage to get the kids to school on time and clock in by 8. The same rules apply to our writing jobs. Dress for your writing hours. Go into your office and shut the door. Answer your writing email and ignore all other messages. Write until quitting time, and then go home.
  2. Set your writing goals. Not every writer wants to be widely published. If your goal is to write your family history, that’s great. Are stories for your children and grandchildren your dream? Go for it! Just write it correctly. Learn proper grammar and punctuation. Read books on style, structure, and characterization. But if you want to see your books on the shelves, you must work toward that goal. Spend time educating yourself on publishing law, publishing trends, and genres. Find a writer’s group, a critique group, and attend a conference. Write and rewrite to make your work the best it can be. Do your homework before submitting to agents and editors.
  3. Accept the possibility you will be rejected. I hate being negative, but there’s a lot of competition out there. Agents and editors are looking for sales and acquisitions, and there are just not that many spots. DO NOT BE DISCOURAGED. Listen to multi-published authors regarding rejection. They’ve been there and can sympathize. Just remember that you are in good, talented company.
  4. Know when to say no. I listened to John Erickson talk about his HANK THE COWDOG series. He recently released the 59th book in the franchise. With HANK, he has created a character that appeals to children and adults. He will not allow his character to be trashed or turned into something less than it is now. He has turned down good money in order to protect his creation. I applaud his integrity. As a writer, you must decide whether the financial gain is worth compromising your work. You must be sure you can live with the consequences of your choice.
  5. This lesson comes from a bubbly, witty, lady. Talk about someone who juggles writing, her entertainment journalism job, family, and commitments! Candace Havens has more deadlines than I could manage. She’s well qualified to make this statement. “No excuses. Put your butt in the chair, your fingers on the keyboard, and write.” Enough said.

Cait Collins

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