Susquehanna Valley Writers Luncheon

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While many people shied away from group gatherings on Saturday, due to the coronavirus, one of my friends and I drove two hours to attend the Susquehanna Valley Writers Luncheon. Our speaker, Roseanna White (pictured above), did an excellent job with the two presentations she gave.

Before lunch, Roseanna shared about the importance of having a good relationship with your editor. Even editors know how precious your writing is to you. Your stories are your babies and you like to think and want to believe you wrote your story perfectly the first time, but this is not the case.

You need to realize editors are not the bad guys. They don’t want to ruin your story. They want to help you make it better, to help you please readers and make them want to keep reading your stories. Editors do not make suggestions on changing things in your story to “change” or “destroy” your story. Their suggestions will strengthen and improve your story. You need to build a relationship with your editor, and you need to trust your editor.

Getting defensive and justifying the way you wrote something and refusing to “fix” or “improve” it, isn’t going to enable you to learn, grow, and improve your stories. If you really want to be a good writer, maybe even a great writer, it’s important to humble yourself, build a relationship with your editor, and trust that your editor knows what he or she is doing and that their suggestions will make your stories better.

Roseanna shared that when we are “called to write”, if we don’t write, or we don’t release our writing into the world, we are stealing from our readers. If we have something that needs to be written, it’s because someone needs to read it. Therefore, it is our responsibility to write it and get it out there.

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After lunch, Roseanna shared a presentation about marketing. She talked about the importance of connecting with your readers. She shared that a weekly email newsletter is a great way to connect with readers and that, when done well and faithfully, readers miss your newsletter if it doesn’t show up in their inbox on the day it’s supposed to.

She also shared that that it is important that we give our readers what they need, whether that is encouragement or hope or something else, we need to give our readers what they need.

Marketing isn’t all about us and making sales. Marketing is about serving; giving our readers something they need.

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It was a good day with a good speaker, good messages, time with friends I hadn’t seen for a while, and making some new friends.

As I listened to the speaker, then spoke with my friend on the two-hour drive home, I realized I had taken a wrong turn, made a wrong decision in my writing. If you read my November post titled, “My Writing Life”, you know that I began working as a freelance writer in November. Well, I found it to be very hard work and much of it was frustrating. In addition, it took me away from my fiction writing, which hadn’t been my plan. I thought I could do both.

However, I realized about three days before this luncheon that I needed to make a change, but wasn’t sure what that change was supposed to be. I considered trying freelance writing on my own but decided that wasn’t the answer.

Saturday, it became clear to me that I need to return to my fiction writing because that is what I have been called to do. Because that is what I have always wanted and dreamed of doing. But with one difference — with looking at it like it is a job that I need to devote time to everyday. Therefore, I will be keeping the schedule I created for myself to do freelance writing and use it to write my blog posts and my novels. I will also attempt to write historical articles to submit to places, so as to use my research for more than just my novels. I will also start a newsletter soon, and I hope many of you here will be interested in being part of that. I am also thinking of starting a Facebook group.

So stay tuned and join me on this journey.

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