What I’ve learned this last year . . .
#1 Never underestimate the power of editing. Editing will make or break your book. And for most of you writers out there, you probably already know this. For me, this has been quite the process of learning and growing. I’m not great at editing but I bought a fantastic book by Annette Lyon that has helped tremendously. Not to mention the invaluableness of Beta Readers! I’m getting better as I go and I’m learning a lot. J
#2 Never give up! I gave my MS to 3 different Beta readers and did many, many long, agonizing revisions since last May. And let me tell you, there were times where I wanted to give up. I really did. I kept thinking. “Is it worth it?” The answer is YES! You’re a writer because you love to do it! You’re a writer because it is your passion. You’re a writer because it lives within you. Don’t ever give up on yourself. The road to writing a book is LONG and HARD but it is worth it. Even if it’s only for the self-satisfaction of knowing you completed it!
#3 Push aside your self-doubt aside! During this long process of getting my MS ready to submit, I began doubting myself. Saying things like: “I’m not sure if anyone is going to like this.” “Maybe I should go over it one more time.” “What if it is crap and I get rejected?” I’m shaking my head right now because those same doubts still linger within me. BUT I have learned to push them aside. How will I know if my book is any good if I don’t put it out there? How will I know if it is crap or not, if I don’t at least try to get it published? I’m a shy girl admittedly and I have a very hard time putting myself out there but writing is my passion. And passions are not something you give up on. Will I ever get the amazing chance to become a published author? Shrug. Who knows? But one thing is for certain, you can’t say that I didn’t try.
#4 Writing is a craft AND a constant learning process! Through my experiences, great advice from other Authors, and by reading my very first Stephen King book (Lol. I never thought I would say that. He is an amazing author. I just don’t care for horror stories, if you know what I mean?) I have learned that writing is something you have to work at. Learning and growing as you go. It requires a lot of hard work, dedications, and many hours reading books of others. Yes, reading other books! It is the single, most heard, piece of advice I have received this year. Reading helps you grow and transform as an Author. It helps teach you what works and what doesn’t. It helps you learn what to do in writing and what not to do. You get more ideas, and your own creativity grows. It pushes you and inspires you to grow as a writer. Writing Conferences and classes, Critique groups, and Reading are all things publishing companies will ask you if you are doing. They want an Author who is honing their craft and constantly working to make it better.
#5 You have to use Beta Readers! Do you know how many mistakes and plot holes/errors my Beta Readers found? Lol! It was incredible. But I loved seeing all the red. I helped me know what I could fix. What worked with my story and what didn’t. When I first started letting my Beta readers have my MS last summer I thought to myself. “I think it’s ready to submit. I just want to know if the Beta readers like it.” By the third Beta reader, I was thinking “I hope she catches anything I might have missed. AND I hope she likes the story.” Because from the first Beta Reader to the last, my perceptions of my story had changed drastically. It needed work. Undoubtedly it needed work. I am not a great editor, not in the least! And boy did it show. Thankfully my Beta readers took the time to point out things to me and mark up my MS. Thank goodness for Beta Readers!
#6 Read your story out loud! You will be so surprised at how many errors you will catch just by reading you book out loud. And sometimes when you are really into it, you will catch yourself re-wording things because it sounds better a different way. J Reading your book out loud can be fantastic fun and so very helpful. Lol!
Well I suppose those are some of the greatest thing I learned as a writer over this last year. Hopefully it helped some of you too.
Have a fantastic day! And Keep On Writing!