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.

My Writing Life

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Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

I have been writing fiction for a very long time and I love it. It is my favorite thing to do. However, it takes a very long time to make any money as a fiction writer. Yes, I have a completed historical fiction novel, but only the first draft is completed. I am working on revising/editing it, but time is another problem I struggle with.

As a homeschool mom with one remaining child/student, I spend every morning working with my child, which means I don’t get to do any writing related items until the afternoon. So, roughly three hours a day, then it’s time to make dinner. Then I may or may not have two hours to work on writing related items after dinner before I get too tired for my brain to focus on such tasks. So, on a good day, I get about five hours to work on writing related items.

What writing related items do I have to work on? Well, I have this blog, which I really enjoy writing posts for. As a writer, it is also suggested that I have a social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, which means posting on all of these media sites daily. But I don’t. I have found that I am not very interested in social media, so I try to have a presence by connecting my blog posts to my Facebook writer page and Twitter accounts. At least that keeps me present there.

I have been writing for Almost an Author, a popular website for writers, for about a year now. I am one of the regular columnists for the site and am required to post four romance and four historical posts each year. This is not a huge commitment, but it is a commitment nonetheless. I am also a regular interview writer for Faith Filled Family Magazine and have been doing this for almost a year. I love the writing I do for both of these. However, none of these wonderful jobs offers a salary, but I am not willing to give them up. I enjoy them too much. Besides, they give me material for my portfolio.

Back to the part about homeschooling. Being a homeschool mom means being there for your child(ren) all day every day. This was an important decision my husband and I made seventeen years ago, and it was an important decision we haven’t regretted.  However, it can be quite challenging to live on one income in today’s world.

Therefore, I have entered a new writing world–the world of freelance writing. I have also taken my freelance editing skills with me, and have become active on a reputable freelance website, where I am applying for writing and editing jobs that I will actually get paid to do. However, the writing is not fiction. So I am learning and experiencing writing in the “real” (nonfiction) world. It’s very different and quite challenging as compared to my preferred fiction world, but I am finding it enjoyable so far. But, it is time consuming–time to look through the “want ads”, time to write proposals to apply for the jobs I am interested in and believe I am able to do, and then, time to do the jobs. So now, I am working with solid deadlines–no procrastinating is allowed or tolerated.

In conclusion, my writing life has changed once again. For now, I need to put most of my time into the freelance writing that will enable me to earn an income. That may mean that my fiction works, like my novel, will have to wait longer to meet the world. But, as in every part of my life to this point, I have always been one to do what needs to be done and to keep my priorities straight.

There are three more years, after this one, until my last child graduates, then I’ll have eight or nine hours a day to write. (At least that’s what I keep telling myself.)