Do You Have Confidence in Yourself as an Author?

silhouette woman looking out golden city window

From junior high school on–with the exception of playing sports in my local neighborhoods and at recess–I had little confidence in myself and didn’t have much self-worth.

But… a couple of years ago, I realized I haven’t lacked confidence in my writing abilities.

Okay, I must admit there was that one time my writing confidence did take a nosedive the first year I was in my online critique group because I didn’t understand how to take certain criticism or discern which feedback was apt to what I was trying to write and what wasn’t.

After a year or so away from the critique world and still working on my college courses, I somehow gained those important aspects of both knowing what critiques worked for my stories and learning how to critique others’ works much more effectively that benefited my fellow writers, as well.

So, after dragging you through my ramblings of my past writing adventures, I’m getting to the point of my blog post. Haha!

Today, I read an interesting article by a fellow woman writer about how she’s struggled discussing her writing work with people she doesn’t know. She would brush off the work she’d done, minimizing it as if it weren’t worth all the sweat and tears she put into it. Her experience saddened me.

love the work you do

It also made me realize that I’ve not felt hesitant about telling people what I do, or filling out my job as “author” on forms for anything from medical forms to school papers for my younger son. I’m happy to share that I write fiction works. Frankly, it’s really the only job I’ve ever had I’ve felt totally good about.

I know some writers don’t feel like they can say assertively, coupled with a knowing smile, that they are truly authors, that that is their job, not just a hobby. I’ve written on this subject before. Nevertheless, this article spurred me to write about it again.

Writing stories is in my blood. It’s part of who I am. It’s my talent God has given me. Sure, there are times I write something, set it aside, only to pick it up a couple weeks later, and think, “What is this crap?” But, thankfully, that doesn’t last.

start to be great

My editor loved my changes/revisions to my novel, Passage of Promise, for which I added around 25,000 words. She did the last proofreading, editing, and formatting for my novel in many different forms for future publishing.

I then sent out a query letter to a publisher that takes Orthodox Christian fiction.

In April 2018, the editor of this publishing company said the story had promise (no pun intended!) and resubmit it at a later time.  So, I have and am waiting to get an email back, asking me for the first three chapters and synopsis of my story, or that they aren’t interested. If the latter happens, my editor said she’d publish my novel for me. So, it’s a win-win either way for me!

may your ideas and novels be accepted

What it comes down to is I love to create stories, characters, and immerse myself in their worlds. I would love for people to read my works and get something profound, joyful, moving, and satisfying out of them.

The future of what happens with my stories is unknown. But what I do know is that I’m happy just to have created and finished writing a fantastic novel and have two more waiting in the wings for future publishing, and that already makes me a success.

triumphant woman facing the sun

What is success to you in your writing endeavors?

 

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The Importance of Critique Partners

hands stacking

This Friday, I submit my revised and finished manuscript of Passage of Promise, to my editor for a last proofreading and closing comments on the improved changes (they are improvements to me!) I made.  My awesome editor will have my manuscript from November 1 to November 18.

After four years working on this novel, I’m so excited to be at this phase in my project.

BUT…

I wouldn’t be where I am today without the loyal and steadfast critiquers (called critters from here on out because that’s the nickname used in my online critique group, and I like it), who have given me many valuable suggestions, sincere comments, and thoughts on my characters and plot of Passage of Promise. It’s because of them that my story is where it is now–sharper, stronger, more moving, and powerful.

I truly believe this.

Most fellow writers who follow my blog already know the importance and value of a critter or two in helping to sculpt and carve out your stories.

But for those of you, who are new writers, or perhaps if you all are like me…always learning…you may find this post beneficial to your writing journey.

If you are starting out, and even if you’ve written stories over the past several years or decade, find yourself a good critique group, either in person or online. You can find in-person critique groups through local and state writing groups.

critique group irl

I used to be part of Pennwriters when I lived in Pennsylvania. They had critique groups. You can search the groups and other authors to find which genres match up with your own, or that you like to read/critique.

As of today, I’m part of the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers (RMFW) organization/group, and I couldn’t be happier. Through them, they have workshops, critique groups, and my favorite–writers conferences.

writers conference pic

Each year, RMFW holds a writers conference in or around the Denver area, and it seems to be around September. So I’ll have to wait a bit, but that’s okay. It’s another great event to look forward to here in beautiful Colorado!

For online groups, do some research in finding the best groups for you. There are also some critique groups on Facebook that you can join if you’d like. Some are especially for finding compatible critique partners.

Whatever avenue you take in participating in a critique group, will be an experience you, most assuredly (if it’s a good group), will cherish, grow from, and learn from, which will only strengthen your writing skills and talent.

walk with others

When I get to writing acknowledgements in the opening pages or pages in the back of my novel, I will be giving credit to the critters who helped me through the revising, structuring, characterization, and plot of my story. They were part of the process, making me think, encouraging me, uplifting me, and giving me constructive criticism that caused me to go back and transform my novel that was dull and lackluster to something bright, bold, and beautiful.

**One little warning: It may take you a while to settle into the right group or partner with the right person. It’s a relationship, really, and it needs to click, where your partner appreciates your work, understands where you’re coming from, what you’re looking for (you should tell your partner/partners this from the get go, of course), and in return, respect and appreciate his/her/their work. Because sometimes you can get real bears who aren’t out to give you good, constructive criticism but rather sour, condescending critiques on every aspect of your work, wanting you to write the way they do or steer your plot in a direction you’re not comfortable with. Over time, through trial and error, you learn a whole hell of a lot on which particular critiques to accept and apply to your characters, plot, etc. and which ones to kick to the curb. Nevertheless, It’s all worth it. You learn and grow and become a stronger, more experienced, and better writer!

Now, go out there and find yourselves an awesome group of critters to walk alongside  and encourage you in your writing journey!

success silhouette

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Settling into Hope and Joy

home sweet home pic

My family’s move from Pennsylvania to Colorado two weeks ago was both exhausting and stressful, but also anticipation of what lie ahead for us.

When we reached our new home, we entered it, excited to see how much the video my husband had taken of the place looked compared to seeing it in person.

It was even better in person.

And the unpacking started right away. And it continues still as I write this.

Thankfully, we finally got our internet hooked up, and I can catch up on news stories, people’s comments on social media, and blog posts.

Also, it gives me the opportunity to write a post myself. I feel as it it’s been many months since I’ve written anything here, but in reality, it hasn’t been that long.

I’m enjoying the beautiful Colorado sunshine, blue skies, and gorgeous landscape. The Rocky Mountains never get old for me or my husband.

autumn in colorado

I don’t know about you, but for me, this is home, full of life, love, joy, and lots of sunshine. The 300+ days of sunshine (counting partly sunny) always lift my spirits.

Just a little while ago, I opened up my novel, Passage of Promise,  in Word, and read the first chapter and the beginning of chapter two.

Last time I read it a couple of months ago, I felt I needed to fix it up one more time before sending it to my editor. This time, I thought, “Wow. This is pretty good.” I’m glad the hard work I put into this story for the past four years has blossomed to what it is today.

Hopefully, I’ll be sending my manuscript to my editor soon–when she can fit my novel into her schedule.

I’ve entered the online critiquing group site and browsed the stories posted. A few of my regular critique partners still have their chapters up for review and coming up in the next week to two weeks.

It takes a bit to readjust my focus on looking over people’s work and putting on my editing/critiquing hat, but I’m hoping to get back into it, if not tonight, definitely tomorrow.

In between getting back into the writing and reading groove, I’m working on getting my younger son into a high school and getting involved in my home church, where my church family has been since we lived in Colorado Springs from 2007 to 2013.

There is so much to look forward to and so much to do, and that makes life great.

When you know your talent and your purpose in life (at least I think I do…took me about 30 years, haha), the path you walk toward is much easier to navigate and trek.

make your life a masterpiece quote by brian tracy

As crisp autumn continues to sweep across the rocky landscape in which I live, I think about how blessed I am and imagine my novel, Passage of Promise, published before Christmas. God willing, it’ll happen.

 

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