Greetings, writers! Last week, we launched our guest post feature with Sage Cohen who prompted us to take a look at our writing life last year to spark ideas for how to approach the coming year (and beyond!).
*What was most fun, exhilarating or rewarding in your writing life this year?
Getting my first book published was the most exciting moment ever. Holding the physical copy in my hands was just thrilling beyond words.
*What obstacles did you face and overcome?
The biggest obstacle was putting myself out there and trying to sell myself, while at the same time trying not to sound annoying and sales-driven. That balance between confidant and humble is frickin' hard to find.
*What has writing web serials taught you about writing a successful story, building an audience, and sustaining a writing and publishing momentum?
It taught me that nothing is guaranteed. I learned the hard way that I shouldn’t expect a large devoted audience, but also not to discount the possibilities. I never got more than 9 hits on a given week, but I also got a magazine slot and a book deal out of it. You never know, so there's no point in quitting.
*What relationships did you build, repair or retire, and how has this contributed to your writing life?
I developed relationship with my tweeps. It was so great to find this writers' community and bond with some real kindred spirits. The support they’ve given me is one of the greatest gifts I’ve stumbled on, during this career shift.
*What did you let go of (habits, relationships, attitudes, clutter) that was no longer serving you?
I had to realize that some of my best friends (from Real Life) were not interested in every detail of my career and didn’t really want to read my serials and Flashes. I couldn't demand/expect that from them.
*What did you read that taught you something about your craft, your platform or how to take your writing and publishing forward?
Just reading the Tuesday Serial and Friday Flashes of my friends were inspiring enough to take me farther. I’ve read grammar books, 'how to write' books and 'how to query' books. Nothing has helped me so much as reading a good story and getting fired up to write one of my own.
*What did you earn or what opportunity did you land that felt prosperous?
This past year has earned me a weekly article, a published book and contracts for 2 more, a magazine gig and (gasp) a few fans. I haven’t seen a penny yet, but I think I still came out ahead. : )
*How has your confidence and/or craft improved?
My editor sent me a note with edits for my second book in which she states that my grammar, spelling and syntax have improved to the point where she no longer wishes me dead. (I'm only sort-of kidding)
*What web serial writers have you admired? What are they doing or accomplishing (such as improving craft, building an audience, gaining visibility) that you intend to imitate in your own web serial adventures?
I greatly admire Jim Bronyaur, PJ Kaiser, Grace Motley, Tony Noland, Icy Sedgwick, Sam Adamson and all the other TuesdaySerial writers for suffering along with me. Also, Sam deserves props for manning the Great Chocolate Caper bloghop.
*What have you learned about social media that is serving your writing life?
When you’re not attached to a huge publishing house with a huge marketing budget to promote you, Social Media is your only other option. I tell people that going on twitter and facebook is part of my job and they think I’m kidding. (Well, maybe not the Frontierville part)
*What strategies worked best for being effective with your time?
I like the silent Write-Ins that were hosted on Tuesday Nights. Setting aside designated nights for writing help me keep my schedule on course.
*How did you nurture and sustain your well being–in mind, body, spirit?
With enough coffee to float the economy of Columbia.
*Who has praised your writing or teaching or facilitating? What did they say and how did it give you a new sense of appreciation for yourself and your work?
The best praise came from my Parents. I think it was when they stopped asking me when I was going to get a REAL job.
*What did you learn about your writing rhythms: time of day to write, managing procrastination, how and when to revise, making use of slim margins of time, etc.?
I learned that eating does not constitute a waste of time. Writing instead of eating = bad idea.
*Who did you help, and who helped you?
I’d like to think that I helped my tweeps as much as they helped me. I might be busier than the average bear, but I try to read the flashes and comment, promote, and RT as much as I can to help my friends. In turn, the constructive feedback they've given me has been very helpful in honing my craft.
*What did you learn about yourself from rejection, and how has it helped your writing, your confidence or your submissions approach develop?
I learned that I’m not brilliant, I’m not perfect, I’m not famous, and no one gives a damn what I think sometimes. I need to hear that on occasion – if only to make the complements and priase stand out more.
*What did you do that terrified you–but you did it any way? And how did that benefit your life and your writing?
I think getting on Twitter in the first place was terrifying. I was terrified to post anything that wasn’t brilliant and witty and intelligent. I got over that soon enough, but the plunge was scary. The other big one was doing the serial. Posting consistently every week with only a vague idea of where I was going was a real challenge to an anal planner like me.
*How were you patient?
I’m still working on that.
*When and how were you successful at juggling the competing demands of family, writing, work, and everything else in your full life?
I think I’ve gotten a handle on this part. The balance of school and writing and artwork and meetings is hectic, but I’ve been able to juggle it …for now.
*Who did you forgive? Who forgave you?
I’m beginning to forgive the people who criticized me, and I’m ashamed it took me this long. They had good points and I need to appreciate the good comments they made and not obsess over the bad. I don’t hold grudges but I sulk.