Looking back over this past year, I see so much progress in my writing. The first signpost is my attitude. When someone asks me what I do, I tell them that I’m a teacher and a writer. Previously, I thought of myself as a woman who enjoyed writing stories.
Believing in myself is huge, and it happened gradually as I immersed myself in the writing world. I credit my new self-confidence to the people in my writing groups. Like me, they aspire to fulfill the promise of an entertaining read for everyone who buys their book.
Each of us realize the importance of fresh eyes on our work. While sitting with a cup of coffee in the local Barnes & Noble café, we flesh out story ideas and conduct micro and macro brainstorming sessions. The clear and honest critiques help me to see my work from a different perspective, recognizing the good as well as the unnecessary.
In 2014, I attended three excellent writing conferences. For the spring New England Chapter of Romance Writers of America conference (NECRWA), I went with three members of my writing group, Dianne, Emily, and Lisa. We all pitched our books and had a great time. One agent requested a full of My Watcher Clan. The fact that she passed on it didn’t discourage me.
In July, I went to NYC to meet our own Britt Vasarhelyi to hit the Agentfest, part of the Thrillerfest conference. Together, we braved the halls filled with over 50 agents. I never could have done it alone. Again, I had requests for my work. Although I am still agent-less, I received a very positive rejection. (Is that an oxymoron?) She liked my writing and the story concept, and encouraged me to seek other representation.
The month of October is the Crime Bake conference put on by the New England Chapter of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America. For three years, I’ve attended this conference with Dianne Herlihy, a member of my writing group. Each year I pitch and enter the Flash Fiction contest. Thus far, I haven’t interested anyone in my books, but I have been a winner in the contest each year.
One other perk from attending a conference is the people met, other writers with the same goals and dreams. I’ve become friendly with a number of authors, and I keep in touch with them through Social Media.
During the lulls between conferences and when I’m not teaching, I enroll in online writing classes. I also follow blogs that have to do with writing. Some of my favorites are: The Passive Voice, Writer’s Relief, Word Café, and Live, Write, Thrive. I also belong to a subgroup of SinC called Guppies and a subgroup of RWA, called FF&P (Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal). I get their email lists which acknowledge author’s accomplishments, offer writing tips, and give authors a forum in which to ask questions.
I know I have to send out my work if I want to be published, so I’ve been pitching some short stories to magazines and anthologies. At the end of last year, an e-zine (online magazine) called Black Petals accepted one of my stories, Micah’s Gift. I’m excited to say that it will be published in their next Journal.
One other direction I’ve taken with my writing is contests. Currently, I’m waiting to hear about a short story I sent in to a contest at Toasted Cheese Journal. They have interesting writing resources.
This year I plan to keep myself involved in everything writing: work on my books and short stories, attend writing conferences, enter contests, take writing classes, and meet with my group. This time next year, I intend to let you all know where you can buy my books.