And with that lost wonder comes a lost appreciation for the hard work of authors. As a writer and aspiring novelist myself, I'm aware of the difficulties of sitting down and getting a whole book written...the fear of criticism and the editing process...the daunting to-do list (and knowledge of inevitable rejections) that has to be completed in order to get one's work out there. But as a book reviewer, I'm overwhelmed by the number of books out there just waiting to be read. That vast amount makes it seem like writing a book is a piece of cake - it must be if there are so many people who have been published!
But that's not how it is at all! The life of a novelist is hard work - emotionally and mentally. The general session and workshops I attended at the Winter One-Day Oregon Christian Writers Conference reminded me of just how much effort goes into a book - and just how much of a blessing authors and their stories are. I was also reminded of the joy in networking - of writers encouraging and helping one another.
To Be Successful:
- Have a stick-to-it attitude
- Develop an alligator hide (for rejections - more to come on rejections in the next section!)
- If God has called you to write, He has a purpose for it (published or not).
- There's something wrong if the god we're portraying to the world is different than the true God who loves us.
- Write real, and do it well!
- "They can't eat you" - all the agents/editors can do is send your work back, so don't be afraid to get it out there.
- Keep on writing!
"Avoiding Pratfalls and Pitfalls of Using Your Life in Your Writing":
- Be prepared for the tears and pain of reliving events in your life.
- Give yourself time to heal - so in the distance you can gain some objectivity. (Note God's timing.)
- Consider making lists of events from your life, then identify what is going on, as well as the primary emotion, in those memories.
- Remember that the character who has the biggest problem doesn't have to be the main character.
- You shouldn't lock yourself into re-creating all the same details of an event you've experienced when you're incorporating it into your fiction.
The Big Principle:
- Keep your butt in the chair long enough to get the writing done! =)
Those are some great tips! You can learn more about Lauraine Snelling and her work on her website.
Ann's workshop covered the topic of dealing with rejections. Here are a few of her tips:
- Before sending your work to an agent/publisher, be sure to check out their website and follow their guidelines. Sometimes the publisher you choose might not be the right one for you, so those rejections wouldn't be surprising.
- Do not publicly criticize editors or agents who reject you. Christian publishing is a small world, and it's all about networking and building relationships. So don't shoot yourself in the foot and ruin future opportunities by neglecting to mind your manners!
- Pay attention to the personalized rejections and be willing to possibly incorporate the corrections/changes suggested.
- You don't send your work out, you don't get published! So persevere - but in the meantime, be willing to start another book, and another one, and another one, while you are waiting for responses.
You can learn more about Ann Shorey and her work on her website.
Overall, this conference was an awesome experience! It was great to meet these two authors, as well as interact with other writers and some friends who also attended.
Have any of you met some authors or attended a writers conference lately? Feel free to share some tips you've learned or some memories you've made!