For Writers

I’m no wizard of the writing industry. My biggest claim to fame is the fact that I have written more manuscripts that have went nowhere than most big name writers. Secondly, I started out to “get published” three times in my adult life. And still – my publishing credits are a single poem and two short stories. Unless my hundreds of blog posts count.

What I’ve done, though, is stumbled and fumbled around the internet, trying to figure out how best to pursue my writing dream. Because I plan to prove the third time is indeed charming. How? By garnering a publishing contract.

Along the way, though, I’ve found incredible resources to help me. That’s what this page is all about. Sure, you could scroll through the “Writing” category on my blog and find these things.

OR – you could scan the listings here, click the link, and get to the information you want in a single click.

There aren’t enough hours in a day, so I’m in favor of the one-click method.

Here’s the table of contents for my listing to help you find what you want faster:

  1. Building a Writer’s Library
  2. Writing the Manuscript
  3. Getting Critiques
  4. Editing your Work
  5. Self-Publishing
  6. Pitching your Work
  7. Connecting with other Writers
  8. Invaluable Resources on the Web

Building a Writer’s Library

Every professional has a bookshelf of resources. Writers aren’t any different. There are hundreds of books out there claiming to help you improve your writing.

Here are the must-haves for every fiction writer’s resource shelf:

This is hardly and exhaustive list, but you have to start somewhere. My top choices: Plot & Structure and Story Engineering.

Writing the Manuscript

Only you can write you book.Write

My best advice: sit down and write. Keep writing until it’s done.

Here are some posts I’ve written on this subject:

When I played basketball (yes, I can remember that far back), I had a methodology when I shot free throws. It made me one of the better free throw shooters on the team. Dribble three times, inhale while focusing on the hoop and exhale while shooting.

The same sort of routine can help your writing. Find what helps you get in the writing frame of mind. Some people play music, others go for walks and some journal for ten minutes before beginning their “real” project.

Getting Critiques

Writer’s who work in a vacuum might have a harder time seeing their work with unbiased clarity. This is why it’s essential that bettermanuscriptyou find a forum for getting other eyes on your work.

One online forum I’ve found is Scribophile.  It’s a free community where every manuscript is guaranteed three complete critiques (although the usefulness of these isn’t guaranteed).

 

Here are some posts I’ve written on my personal experiences with critiques from different sources:

I am a member of a local writing group where I can read my work and get limited feedback. There are groups that focus on critiquing with more depth.

The important thing is to get honest, unbiased feedback on your work before you send it out into the world. No, that means Aunt Jane, grandma, or your best friend probably aren’t your best resources for this step.

Editing your Work

cover sheet ready to editOnce you’ve finished writing something, set it aside for a week or more. Start another project. Clean your house. Try to forget about that story.

Only if you gain some distance from your work will you be able to edit it with the proper amount of callousness. No, that isn’t your soul on the page. Even if it feels like it sometime.

Those are words. And words can always be tweaked until they paint a clearer picture or inspire a more visceral emotional response. That’s the purpose of editing.

keep-calm-its-only-a-first-draft-1Here are some posts I’ve written about my own experiences with this process:

In the end, you may end up paying a professional to clean up your manuscript. This is a must if you’re planning to self-publish your work. However, if you’re getting no takers on a manuscript you’ve spit and polished, it might be time to hire another set of eyes – red pen wielding, of course.

 Self-Publishing

This is a short guide to independent publishing. It is from a UK company, but much of the information is accurate for US publishing, too. Book Publishing Guide

roadto selfpublished

Here’s a handy index to my posts on this topic:

Pitching your Work

Eventually, your manuscript needs to leave your desk. It’s as good as you can make it. Now it’s time to find it a home.

There’s tons of research involved in finding the right agent, editor or publisher for your story. As I go through this process, I’ll add posts.

What I do have is experience pitching my work. It’s a nerve-wracking experience, but there is a formula. Follow it and you will get a request for pages (I did)

Connecting with other Writers

WriterMuseI spend hours in my office – keys on keyboard and eyes staring at my monitor. I’m creating. Creating is a solitary activity (for me).

However, to “make it” in this business, you need to expand your horizons beyond your office. It’s essential to connect with other writers. Read my post about networking here.

One place I found encouragement, insight, advice and my best beta readers is WANA Tribe. This is a social media site geared for writer’s and artists.  Visit. Set up your profile. Surf the groups. Join some groups. Interact.

You can also find excellent online classes – that won’t strip your wallet bare at the WANA International site.

I’ve also connected with a local group of writers – St. Helens Writer’s Guild. Here I met a buddy who attended a conference with me, offered insightful critique on my manuscript and helped me build a user-friendly website.

Beyond that, we meet on a monthly basis to share our stresses and successes. We bounce ideas off each other and encourage the other to keep writing – moving forward – trying new avenues.

Resources

Invaluable Resources on the Web

A writer’s library of resources

 

 

What do you think? Add to the discussion here.