Friday, August 30, 2013

Keep Moving Forward


While querying my first novel, I am continuing to learn a lot about the art of writing and what works for me.  Writing is a solitary exercise and although I live for those moments of creativity, I am a social girl at heart.  I can write for hours and hours but at the end of the day or as luck would have it, a few times a month; I have a need to discuss writerly things.  (Yes, I said Writerly.)


I was very fortunate at the Writer’s Digest Conference to meet a handful of incredible writer’s and even more privileged to have made a couple of great writer friends.  Rosemary and Elaine are very talented writers and are going through the journey of getting published, too.  We share our work and support one another via email. Their friendship is invaluable, personal, honest, and inspirational.  We understand the effort it takes to push our work and therefore encourage each other to stay on top of our publishing goals!



Having two friends that are serious novelists convinced me to connect with more writers.  After all, if three writers are powerful then what about a like-minded group? 

I consider it divine intervention that just as I needed a writing group, one was being created.  The Bayou Writer’s Club was started by an industrious local writer, Rebecca, who had the fervor to bring local writers together via the website “Meet Up.” 

The BWC is an eclectic group of writers.  We have some that are published, traditional and self, as well as beginners.  So far, we have writers of fiction, non-fiction, romance, fantasy, literary drama, horror, screenplays, sci-fi, woman’s fiction, historical fiction, short stories, children’s picture books, YA and Poetry! 
We have new members joining every week and have something for every type of writer.


Who knew that encouraging other writers could stir your creativity to new levels?  Or that it could also help you stay on top of your writing goals. (It is true!)

Honestly, I get incredibly enthusiastic when I talk to my fellow writers about their projects, the writing industry, how we can better help each other, or critique each other’s work.  Just discussing their challenges as well as successes makes me anxious to write, write, write.  (Who knows where inspiration comes from, perhaps it arises from desperation.  Perhaps it comes from the flukes of the universe, the kindness of the muses.” –Amy Tan, American Writer)


My writing life is so much richer for the friends that I have made.  I am grateful every day that I have met all of these wonderful people that happen to be writers too!

So today I would like to issue you a friendly challenge.  If you haven’t found a group then start one.  Meet Up is a great place to begin and your local library is another. 

Find your people and you just might find your spark to keep writing, editing, and querying.

Until next time, keep writing.


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Rules of the Road

You Need a Guide

The journey to finding the right agent to represent my work is equally exciting and nerve-wracking. 

I mentioned The 2013 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino in my last blog but it deserves mentioning again.  It truly is an incredible place to begin.  It has agencies, the agents within, what they represent, whether they are accepting submissions, how to submit your work and on and on and on. 

If you don’t have it then trust me, YOU NEED IT!

It is a wonderful book but implementing a plan to use it was more difficult for me.    I made notes and highlighted agents that I had read about previously, but didn’t take any real action.  It just felt a little overwhelming to send out unrequested queries to strangers.  I still had questions…many questions.  (#1: Was I ready, really ready to do this?)

I needed the process to be a little more personal.  Obviously, this is not for everyone but I wanted to meet some people in the industry, writers and agents in order to make a more informed decision about my next move.

Put One Foot in Front of the Other

In April, I was able to juggle my almighty schedule so that I could attend The Writer’s Digest Conference-East.  Probably one of the single best gifts that I have ever given myself was this experience.   

The conference offered very useful workshops on editing, social media, advice on pitching an agent, discussions on the changing industry but most importantly, I met other writers.  It seems making personal connections with like-minded authors was something I truly needed.  (Writer Friends!!!)

The next most important thing was participating in the Pitch-Slam session. This is basically speed-dating for agents and authors.  (You actually get to meet Agents one on one… albeit for only three minutes but still worth every minute!!!) 

This session alone was worth the trip to me for many reasons:

·         I met some great inspiring agents. 

·         I honed my skill at pitching my book. 

·         I got positive feedback as well as constructive feedback on the spot. 

·         I was able to discuss my book with people who love books like me. 

·         It truly demystified the process of finding an agent by putting me directly in front of so many great ones.

·          It humanized the big scary agent because I could put names and faces together and actually have a conversation with them.

·         It put an industry that previously felt out of reach directly in front of me…there for the taking.     

·         It reminded me that while writing is somewhat personal it is still a business and if you work at it then you can be successful.

·         Sending queries to agents is what authors do.

·         Reading queries from authors (slush-pile finds) is what Agents do.

·         It ignited a fire inside of me to work harder to get published.

Travel with a Pack

I met a small group of writers at the conference that went through the pitch-slam with me and we compared notes.  As it turned out, everyone in my friend group did not get requests for their work.  We discussed that in our opinions most of the agents were quite agreeable in person and probably more so than they might be through an anonymous slush-pile query.  (In other words, they seemed pretty open to taking a look at quite a few queries, probably more than usual because of the conference environment!!! Very Nice!!!) 

All the agents that did say “yes, send me something” had standard requests like; email a query along with your first five pages, some wanted up to first fifty pages.  (Nothing crazy or really out of the ordinary!)

It was fun but professional and helped me understand the process of agent and client a little more. My group also agreed that the entire exercise was very beneficial although some of us were more ready than others to move forward.  Personally, I got several enthusiastic requests and had many excited conversations about the premise of my novel.  I also received a request for the full manuscript from one of my favorite Agencies which did an awful lot to boost my confidence!  


Wayfaring sounds so much better than wandering… and I no longer feel like I am lost in my journey but rather have a real path to follow!! 

Since the conference, I am much more courageous about querying agents.  I have set small but reasonable goals to discover, research, and then query more agents that could be a good fit for me and my work.

Understand that Agents really do want you and you want an Agent!  (Winner-Winner Chicken Dinner!)  They can only discover manuscripts that are sent to them and so I suggest you send them something! 
If you have any other suggestions or ideas, please feel free to share in the comments section of my blog.
Until next time, Keep Writing (and editing and querying!)

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Where Ya Going?

Start at the Beginning

It is hard to say when my journey actually began, as it seems the actual beginning would be when I put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and started truly writing.  But then, I have been writing various things for years without the slightest notion of sharing it with anyone.  So for the sake of clarity, my wishes to become a published author began only a few short years ago.  (No time at all, really.)


As with anything that I am unfamiliar, I started with the World Wide Web as my infinite resource.  WOW was that daunting.  There is so much contradictory information out there about traditional publishing versus self-publishing, market trends, author platforms, and the list goes on and on.

The Only Sure Thing I Know

I am certain of one thing and that is, I don’t know anything about the Publishing World. 

It took me a while to look through all of that information but it was easy to decide that I was absolutely a traditional girl!  (Of Course!)

After all, I have put an awful lot of hard work into writing a great book and I want the best opportunity to share it.  In my humble opinion, a literary agent is the expert here and therefore the only way to go.

I Now Have a Map

Every little step of this process seems to take an awful lot of calculated effort.  Who knew that writing was the easy part?  (Seriously!)

No matter how difficult, I am on a mission, now.  I know there is an agent out there in my future and I simply have to find them!  (You can too!)


Conferences are a great place to start and 2013 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino is another.

Gosh I have so much more to say about that but it will have to wait until next time!

Until then, Keep Writing.


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Getting Started

A Great Big Welcome

WELCOME to my first blog post. 
With all of the other things that vie for your attention, I truly appreciate you giving my words a quick look-see. 
Hopefully, after you give me the sixty second scan, you will find my spot interesting and useful enough to return.

Brief about me

A few things about me… I am a writer! (Among other things for now...)
I scribble on the back of receipts, type things out on my phone while in line at the store, and sometimes get to sit down in front of my computer and do it on purpose. (You, too?)

What I have never done is consider writing for the entertainment of others.  I guess I never considered it as something real, which is funny since I read all of the time.  I mean, someone is out there writing these books, right?  Why can’t it be me? (Why can’t it be you?)

What you can expect… Or Platform

Most blogs that I read have “Platforms” to which they dedicate their writing.  Some have a worthy cause that they are championing, while others may offer advice on something else.
Personally, I am looking to help other writers, like me, that want to get their work out there.  Simply, encourage others to take the leap (of faith) into getting published or just to keep writing.

The Idea

My idea is to journal regularly on my efforts, experiences, triumphs, and near misses for you to see.  I have a lot to learn and thus, a lot to share.
I don’t know anyone in the business and am far from being an expert.  I am simply a regular girl writer, trying to do my best to make it to the next level.  I can promise to be open and honest through this adventure.  After all, we want the truth right?  (If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.  –Mark Twain…love that one!)


I truly didn’t know anything about how to get a novel published. 
Once I finished my first novel, I was excited but felt bereft.  What was I going to do in the middle of the night when I couldn’t sleep?  (Watch an infomercial on the next new thing to hit the blender market?)
I brainstormed for a while and then did what came natural… I started writing.  It was fulfilling but I felt like I was cheating on my first book.  Honestly, how could I have spent so much time with it, love it, nurture it, and then just ignore it.
Next, I started feeling isolated in my craft.  I was sort of lonely, not like something I could cure by visiting the self-help section of the book store, but maybe more like I needed writers’ anonymous.  I desperately wanted to connect with other writers.  People who feel like I do about the process…You know how it takes over your brain space until you write it somewhere!  How about when a character that you create starts correcting you when you write something that he wouldn’t have said or done?  (Okay maybe that is schizophrenia and perhaps another support group all together! But you get it.) 

Forced Journaling

It really helps me when I put my thoughts down on paper, or computer…sometimes iPhone, and I need to keep myself organized.
Keeping a journal seems like a logical way to keep my process in order and make it easier for others in the community to keep in touch.  (A journal that I am held accountable to writing=perfect)
I love to write, but know that I have a ton to learn about getting published.  It is pretty scary trying to tackle the unknown alone.  I am certain that having company through the process will make it easier for me and hopefully, I can help you, too!  (I am always braver when other people are around.)

The End All Goal

I anticipate learning a lot from my efforts and yours.  I hope to build a small community of unpublished writers that can help one another with their goals, whether large or small. 
Please feel free to share if you are trying to get published, your genre writing preferences, if you are just starting a novel, finishing a novel, wherever you are in the process, I would love to know. (There are others like us!)


Something that everyone needs, but everyone doesn’t get is encouragement.  I will give it to you. 
Honestly, I am moved by the smallest gestures, how a simple kind word can motivate me, and I believe in paying that forward.  Therefore, when you need it… I am your girl.
Reassurance from someone outside of your family and friends that have to give it to you (It’s in the handbook) can do wonders. 
We all want to feel validated and until we get to the next level, PUBLISHED…we can help each other.  
I guess what I am admitting is that I am here to stay and hoping that you will, too! 

Until then…keep writing.