Who Knows How Good Your Writing Is? By Annmarie Miles
My book is almost a year old and though it hasn’t reached any best-seller lists, I’m immensely proud of the finished product, and looking forward to publishing the next one in Spring 2015.
I may have said this here before (it’s a bit of a mantra of mine) – writing is a lonely business. It’s a case of getting your BTM into a chair and getting some words on the page. There’s no doubt about it – writing is mostly a solitary thing.
Becoming a writer… that is not, or certainly should not be a solitary thing.
We all need encouragement, we need to be reminded that all writers struggle sometimes, we doubt ourselves, we succumb to the dreaded writer’s block, we experience rejection, and sometimes we’re tempted to throw in the towel altogether.
I stumbled across Writer’s Fun Zone just over 2 years ago, signed up for the Mini-motivational course, and took the generous offer of a free call with Beth Barany. I mark that conversation as one of the key moments over the last 2 years. I would not be here, had it not been for conversations like my chat with Beth, all those months ago.
Every so often I make sure to learn something from a writer who is older (as in, longer in the writing game) and wiser (better at it than me). There are times when we need a realistic appraisal of where we’re at. We need people who don’t love us, to read our work. The people who love us will probably like it anyway, and if they don’t, they’ll say it in the nicest possible way. There comes a time when our work needs and objective reader; someone who will tell us exactly what our work lacks and what its real strengths are.
So how do you go about getting some professional input, or even just expert advice?
Do your research – who do you love to read? Who do you aspire to write like? Have they blogged, podcasted or made youtube videos? Who is their publisher? Maybe their site has some tips or information about how you can contact them. Maybe your favourite author has written a book on their writing process?
If your favourite writers are no longer with us, there may be some old writing somewhere about their thoughts on the craft. Has there been a biography written about them? Get searching!
Look for freebies – There’s plenty of free help out there. Here’s three suggestions – I’ve already mentioned the initial free call that I had with Beth, which she is still offering. Here in Ireland we have the National Emerging Writer Programme, which is a series of videos by four accomplished authors, about different aspects of writing. You can watch them free online. Also, there is a free mentoring project for women authors, by women authors (sorry men, you can’t avail of this one!) www.womentoringproject.co.uk. You have to apply, and it might take a while to be assigned a mentor, as you can imagine it’s very popular.
Think about a budget – if writing is (or you hope it will be) your full-time career, do you have any funds you can put towards a course, or an online mentorship programme? In most other career paths there would be some training required, and often some initial investment into that training.
Look local – the season for literary festivals is coming to a close as we near the holiday season, but make sure to keep in contact with your local library to see if any authors are coming to do readings and/or Q&A sessions
It is time you showed your writing to a professional? You’ll never know your strengths and weaknesses until someone other than your best friend or your favourite aunt reads your work 🙂
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Annmarie Miles, part time writer, full time believer is 40something, Irish, Christian, married, and proud to be all of those things. She loves words, music & chocolate! You can find out all about her and her book “The Long & The Short of It” at the new website: www.annmariemiles.com.
Where to find Annmarie:
Personal Blog: www.auntyamo.com
Writing Blog: www.annmariemiles.com/blog