Summers Aren’t for Resting

So how do you progress as a writer over a long summer? I have advice, most of which I even managed to follow. Tell me about your successes.

Writing Conferences:

If you have the time and funds, writers conferences offer several benefits. Like any industry, networking can open doors and give you insight that someone else worked to acquire. Join forces to hear about local resources, editors who are most likely to enjoy your work, and to share an attitude of success.

While this may be a painful realization for writers, who are temperamentally inclined toward scribbling in isolation (fiction writing partnerships are rare and beautiful things) other people have skills, knowledge, and judgments we need to hear. Writing conferences let you become more comfortable in the local writing community. Hear gossip and who’s-who. These insights are difficult to get any other way, no matter how much you use the internet.

Plus, once you get to know people, it can be fun. And you get to be ‘a writer’ for the whole time, with no other hats to wear and no one questioning the validity of that choice. That, my friends, is worth a lot.

I added to the writers conferences I’d attended by going to Vancouver, Portland for the Cascade Writers Workshop. I’d registered late when I heard they were opening up some new spots (Twitter was good for something after all!) and attended the 4-day critiquing workshop.

Submit Short Stories:

If you never send your stories to markets, they can never accept them. Keep submitting. Remember to use Duotrope to find the right publishers and check my old article on publishing short stories.

This summer I met someone who had 22 stories out for consideration and realized that I’m a slow-poke.

I was fortunate to have another story accepted with a small press. They moved very fast, once the story was accepted, and the book Spiders is already available in ebook and print. My story was written at the Rainforest Writers Village:

Genetically-modified spiders are at the mercy of university researchers who milk their silk and venom. The tables are soon turned. Have you ever known a merciful spider?

Yes, it’s horror with some sci-fi flavoring.

Join a Critique Group

Critique groups serve several purposes. They let you put your writing in front of other articulate people who care about writing as a craft. The comments aren’t always right, but you’ll get to hear from several points of view. It also forces you to produce on schedule.

I recently learned about two local writing groups and am going to see which fits me best. Adding these meetings into my schedule isn’t easy, but I think it’s necessary.

Write and Edit

Consensus agrees that the best thing you can do as a writer is persevere and practice. Set a schedule for yourself. Keep a minimum word count per day. Sit down and write every day. Edit. Submit.

Do I believe that all those saying that are following through? I do not. I know this summer put me behind schedule, but at least I have a schedule and know where to pick up again.

Now, it’s time for me to get back to the 1,200 comment edits left on my newest novel.

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