I was late for work one day this week because I was discussing sniper rifles with my husband. I made up for it by coming home late after meeting with a friend to brainstorm a plot idea. I’ve also fallen down twice in the past seven days, but that’s a different story.
Cynthia has recently talked about the encouragement of writing with others, and Margaret has talked about the creative boost she gets from DSRA meetings. There is something about spending time with other authors. First, unless we’re talking about sniper rifles, my husband usually sleeps through plot discussions. Second, if I keep talking to my girlfriends about imaginary people, I will have fewer people who want to go to lunch.
But for an unpublished author like me, DSRA meetings serve as more than an opportunity for plot discussions. Trying to get my name on the cover of a book seems like an unreachable goal, and when I started on this path I wondered how on earth “those people” did it. So I found a group and debated lying and telling them Nora Roberts was my pen name just so I would fit in.
I went, I listened, I laughed (a lot), and I realized that members have day jobs, some have children, and some have jobs AND children. More importantly, I found out that they are all working on their craft and on getting published whether it’s for the first time or the fiftieth.
I’ve begun to realize that this is more than, “Hey, I think I’ll try to write a book!” In some ways, the actual writing is the easiest part. The business of writing can be daunting if you’re trying to find your way on your own. Meetings give me a chance to learn about the business of writing: elevator pitches (tell your story in three sentences or less), written pitches (100 words or less), editing, finding a professional editor, contests, queries, which publishers to approach, self-promotion, conferences . . ..
The DSRA also gives me extra sets of eyes. One chance comment to a fellow member led her to send me a call for pitches I never would have seen on my own. Writing the 100 word pitch was easier because I’d listened, learned, and practiced. I cannot tell you how proud I was when I could review my work and know what needed to be changed and why. Not only that — I knew I could ask other, published, writers to review my work and offer pointers.
Thanks to what I’ve learned, my pitch session went well. I have a submission request for chapters and a synopsis. I also have people to offer advice on the best way to get that submission ready. When it’s done, I’ll wait – again — with people who cheer me on and hold my hand because they’ve been there.
They’re just like me.
I hope you have a great month — write something you want to read!