Sunday, January 1, 2017

2016 Reflections

Wow, 2017 is already...can you believe it? I wanted to take this time to review my 2016 in terms of writing and writerly-related things. What have I accomplished last year?

Writer's Workshop

At the beginning of this year, I went to my first ever Writer's Workshop. The entire day was spent in the company of other writers, and I did my best to come out of my introvert shell to interact with strangers. I was so surprised by how friendly and enthusiastic everyone was to be there, and we learned things about the writing industry, marketing, and different paths to publications. 

This workshop ultimately sparked my drive to pursue writing as a career, and to take it seriously as I would any other job. No time to wait for inspiration...I had a book to write!

Twitter Events

This was also something new I've done this year. On the plus side, I am slowly but surely allowing others to read my work (which, up until last year, I never really showed anyone my work). I would pitch Twitter-sized bits in the hopes of an editor or agent expressing interest in helping me with my MS. And with Pitch Wars and other events of a similar nature, I hoped to find a mentor of sorts to help me to see the problems I could not see since I am too close to my own writing.

The feedback I've gained was invaluable, and the community shared in most of these events was nothing short of awesome. Other writers like myself, could all converge on social media for the sake of one goal, and I thought that was a pretty cool thing. I improved my query and synopsis, and I learned tons about craft and commonplace problems through participating in these events. I also learned that my MS was nowhere near query-ready, and that editing was much more than fixing things on the line level.

If you're interested in participating in these things, do your research to make sure it is a right fit for you. Twitter events are not everyone's cup of tea, and that's okay.

And while this is not the only path to publication, it can open doors to you from what I've seen of success stories, if you do decide to give it a go. I've gained some confidence in seeing others enjoying my work/ideas, and that's invaluable to someone like me who struggles with self-doubt and confidence.

Reading Craft and Genre

At the beginning of 2016, I knew writing was hard. But by the end of 2016, I had a whole new understanding for how difficult genre writing was as opposed to academic writing. 

NaNoWriMo 2015 taught me I can write 50,000 words in a month. 2016 provided me with adequate growing pains in terms of my own shortcomings and lack of knowledge in publishing an original work. When I got that splash of icy water as a wake-up call, I knew I had more to learn about the craft of writing genre books. 

I purchased books on craft, read other author's blogs, watched YouTube videos, and listened to what the writer and book communities talked about on social media. I've become an eternal student of writing craft.

Part of learning to be a better writer came from re-learning how to read like a writer for me. 2016 was the first year in a long time where I've actually read for leisure, and it has enriched my writing so much. I not only read to enjoy, but I use the skills I've learned in university to look at works critically, analyze sentences that work and don't work, and evaluate genre books much like I would an academic paper. 

Learning the balance of reading for pleasure and reading to absorb craft likes/dislikes etc. is an ongoing thing that will certainly carry over to 2017. 

Maintaining a Blog

I have come to love my little corner of the internet, and I am over the moon to see people reading and enjoying what I put out there. With 2017 here, I hope to grow this blog even more, connect with other writers even more, and truly find my voice in the sea of so many other awesome people.

Finishing A First Draft of Original Work

I've learned so much from finishing a first draft of original work. I've nailed down some sort of revision process (which has since been updated), found out the easiest way for me to draft distraction-free, and took a step back to reevaluate my strengths and weakness as a writer. All of these things are wonderfully vital to learn when making the transition from writer to published author, but I am still having growing pains in terms of setting a daily schedule for myself.

And that's what 2017 will all be about: finishing what I've matter what the outcome may be. I need to take my writing and push it out there in the hopes that someone out there will say, "Yes, this is exactly what I've been looking for!"

What writerly things have you learned in 2016? Find me on Twitter, and sign up for updates --->

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