Three weeks ago my husband, Raymond, was scanning our local paper when he came across a notice from our public library. They were holding a panel discussion with local published authors to talk about writing, editing, publishing and persevering in the book industry. Raymond strongly suggested I go and see what insights they could offer. So, late one Saturday afternoon, notepad and pencil in hand, I set off for my local public library.
There was a panel of twelve different writers. They ranged from Dorothy Howell, who has sold three million copies of her books, to a local high school teacher, who received 85 rejections before landing an agent and having Paramount Pictures option his story, to the military wife who thought, “I can do this,” and proceeded to write a book about household thriftiness. Now a New Year Times Bestselling author, she is a regular on MSNBC, CNN, and Fox News, extolling the virtues of financial constraint. I learned a great deal as I sat and listened to each person tell their story on how they got started, what motivates them, and how you can improve your writing.
One suggestion that might be useful to other writers out there who may have stumbled across this blog was joining a writer’s group. Bonnie Stone was kind enough to include me in a workshop being held at Barnes & Nobles led by Joan Frye, a local author and creative writing teacher at Antelope Valley College. This six-week course focuses on characters and conflicts in your stories.
Joan had us bring a sample of our work for the group to critique. Amazingly, I wasn’t the least bit shy about bringing in some of my work. Listening to the group of about ten women read and then give me some constructive feedback was wonderful. It was great to get their input and they offered me some insight about my story that I hadn’t seen. But, the best part was a few women asked to keep my story so they could go home and read it again. I liked that! After the holidays, Joan intends to have another workshop. I plan to be the first one to sign up.
The moral of this story is that writing dreams can come true with a little bit of luck, a whole lot of talent, and the legwork of going out and making the type of connections that lead to more opportunities and attention. Some day, it just may all come together and I’ll be writing a blog announcing the publication of my novel!