Since being released from circumstances beyond my control, I have been working hard and writing and editing. The more I dig in, the more I feel energized in spirit, even when my mind and body are tired. Here are a few things I am learning are vital to improving my craft while understanding the always-changing market, trends, and publishing industry.
1) Read something, anything about the craft of writing DAILY. I am currently subscribed to Daily Writing Tips, Writers in the Storm, Seekerville and several other daily or weekly emails. I also have paper subscriptions to Writer’s Digest and Poets and Writers magazines. Usually it takes me one or two articles to spark an idea for my WIP or a new story idea.
2) Join a face-to-face critique group. I wrote about this in a post only a few weeks after joining a local Christian writer’s group. What I shared in that post is still true today. I could not keep writing without them! Read it here.
3) Seek support from the people in your life. Writing is hard work even if it is rewarding. I learned long ago that writing is not an individual task. Aside from connecting with other writers, we need friends, family, co-workers to be supporting us. Check out this recent article from Rachel Gardner on supporting writers in your life if you are having trouble feeling supported as you journey forth in this writer’s life.
4) Invest in tangible tools of the trade. In other words: become a student again. I have been focusing mostly on storytelling, characters, plot, and other elements of my WIP up to this point. However, once I placed an “editor’s eye” on my manuscript, I began to see simple, yet important ways I could improve my writing.
I want to learn why something works or doesn’t work according to the rules of style, grammar, or punctuation.
It hurt the pocketbook for sure, but I have already marked multiple pages in my Chicago Manual of Style, 16th Edition and looked up several words in my brand new Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. (NOTE: I recognized the importance of these resources after listening to Kathy Ide speak at the Inspire Writer’s Conference I attended earlier this month.) A great companion and quick reference guide to getting the most from these books is Kathy’s Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors.
For the past ten days or so, I have buried myself in everything about writing. I have spent hours each day pouring over my manuscript, refining it in any way I can before I send it off to my publisher at the end of the month. In between, I have completed writing and editing exercises and spent more time reading blogs and websites about writing than I have in the last year or more.
The result? I am no longer tired!
Okay, I am…but in a good way! I don’t want to stop.
If writing is your passion you understand the need to keep learning, keep writing and editing, keep connecting with other readers and writers. <–Tweet This
This is where I belong. This is where I will find rest from the never-ending tasks of this world.
This is where I feel alive and accomplished even though three baskets of laundry sit on the couch unfolded, chicken-soup stock awaits me at the stove, and I am still in my PJs even though I need to pick up my son from school in 15 minutes!