As a writer, I can get caught up in FOMO: Fear Of Missing Out. Each time a new blogpost or newsletter alerts me of a webinar I must attend, a book I should be reading, or a social media task I need to engage in, I get panicky.
Which is the most important? What if I make the wrong choice?
There is too much to do in a limited timeframe. We authors have families, other jobs, people and pets we must care for, and places we'd like to go, just like anyone else. How do we fit it all in??
Can I make a suggestion?
We don't need to!
As far as I'm concerned, there are only seven things we authors MUST do . . .
READ. WRITE. CONNECT. CRITIQUE. SUBMIT. INSPIRE. MENTOR
Sound easy? It is!
In addition, you must read in the genre you are writing in. And occasionally, to shake things up, choose a genre you would not normally read. Or, try an e-book or an audiobook. You'd be amazed at how a story gains another dimension when you listen to the words.
I love the Modern Mrs. Darcy for a number of reasons, but mostly for her incredible ability to be widely read, and share those books on her blog and podcasts. She has a summer reading list, but, if you don't care to be overwhelmed, check out her five top picks for minimalists here: Minimalist Summer Reading Guide for 2019
For obvious reason, if you are going to be a writer, you need to - well - write!
Everyday, in some way.
It could be a letter. A blogpost. A one page prompt. An entry in your diary. Some creativity needs to flow from your pen.
I find having a weekly blogpost forces me to write. Sometimes, being part of a challenge like NaNoWriMo brings out the creative juices. Or perhaps, you work better with prompts. You can find prompts online, or in a book. Take your pick.
Connecting with others is a must -- readers, writers, and professionals (agents and editors).
How is that done?
Through Social Media -- pick one!
Facebook: if you love to post links, ask questions, share your travel pics, post cute animal photos, and share FB posts with others.
Pinterest: if you love to categorize images in a visual file for future reference, collect images for your next book, or writing tips to use later.
Twitter: if you can be succinct, love to connect with professionals, use GIFs and images, and ask questions or participate in pitch parties, etc.
Instagram: if you are all about a single photo, love to go live, to inspire others, and able to tell a story in one image, but don't necessarily care to share.
Also, writer's groups like 12x12 are a great way to connect. You will find your friend list and writing skills growing faster than you ever thought possible! Members to professional organizations like SCBWI are a must.
Every writer needs a critique group. You can't write in a vaccuum. You need others to point out flaws in your writing, so you can perfect it. If signing a contract with an agent or editor is on your wish list, than you need critique buddies to help you get that manuscript in shape.
The groups I've mentioned above will have critique groups to join as well as Word Weavers International, specifically conceived to help writers perfect their manuscripts in a friendly environment. They gather online or in person to encourage one another in their writing pursuits.
Of course, if you are going to be published, you need to submit! Here is a comprehensive guide to help you. Find the Writer's Market 2019 here. They give you tips of all sorts, and the categories are divided according to genre, subject and type of publication.
I don't know about you, but I need to get out every so often and be inspired. Since I am a historical fiction writer, nothing gets my little grey cells working more than a trip to a historical town or museum. When I visited Bath, England years ago, my daughter and I had tea at this famous bun shop.
When we finished our treats, I visited the tiny museum in the basement of the shop which you see below. There was a small sign indicating that the woman who started the shop was a Huguenot girl who escaped persecution and fled to England. That tidbit of info was all I needed to begin my story which I titled "Because of a Bun: Soli's Saving Grace".
Where do you find your inspiration?
Just as the Brontë sisters mentored each other, and modern day writers, too, as their classics wind their way into our hearts, we as writers need to find someone a bit farther behind us to come beside us on our journey. Have coffee with them and ask about their projects. Give them links to helpful resources. Offer to critique a story for them. They will thank you, and some day, do the same for another.
Did I leave anything out? Let me know below!
Speaking of debut authors -- The Heart Changer has 20 reviews right now on Amazon. Can you help me reach 25? If you have read my story, please give me an honest review on Amazon, (most important) Goodreads, Barnes and Noble and/or Bookbub. You can copy and paste the same review to all the online sites. Easy-peasy! I'd sure appreciate it!
And if you have purchased it, make sure you download The Heart Changer's theme song here.
My MG Biblical fiction "The Heart Changer" debuted in 2019 with Ambassador International.