|Lindsey Leavitt, me & Lisa Schroeder|
One of the neatest things that has happened to me since moving to Las Vegas is meeting author Lindsey Leavitt. We first met up at a park last year to talk about writing and let our kids play in the warm Vegas sunshine and she's been really generous in sharing her insights on writing ever since.
She told me that Lisa Schroeder, one of her best writing friends, was also super helpful to her when she was first starting out. I'm really amazed at how open and friendly alot of the YA authors are. I've had a chance to meet a few since I've decided to really become serious about writing and it's been really encouraging. They are nice! They are moms! They are just like me (only published)!
One thing Lindsey told me she did when she was an aspiring author was attend something writing related at least once a month. At first I thought, "Whoa. this seemed like a big commitment." You know, I got kids. A full schedule. I'm already trying to meet my daily word count. Oh and umm. Also having a baby in May.
But then ... I'm half way into this month, and I realize I've already gone to two writing events already (not including my writer's group). Totally not hard work at all! It's something I naturally have an interest in and enjoy doing, so yeah. Not even painful. Good sign, right? Hey there 2013, I'm so on the money with goals this year. BAM.
I met with my writing group at the beginning of the month, took my little girl to a book signing with children's author/illustrator Nick Bruel last Friday (blogging about this next time), and went to a YA author event at a local library the very next morning.
During a YA panel at the library, Nancy Holder, Tera Lynn Childs, Suzzane Young, Lindsey Leavitt and Lisa Schroeder spoke a lot about the characters they've created in their books. It was a romance panel, but so many things applied to just regular writing. Like, how to make the story (love or not) believable. Create a main character that readers want to follow to the end of the book (and possibly into a sequel). Write something your 17-year-old self would want to read.
One take away message for me was how hard it is to get published. I don't recall the exact numbers, but I think each one of these authors didn't start off with the first book they wrote getting picked up by a book editor. They all have "drawer books" and unfinished projects. For many of them, it wasn't until their third or fourth, maybe even fifth book, that finally made the sale.
Considering I'm working on my first book I was totally discouraged. Semi-devastated. Like, I don't think I even have all the details of my outline written down, let alone have room in my brain for additional books right now. But as these writers continued to talk more about their publishing journey, I realized they all had one thing in common: they never gave up.
I feel that I have that same gumption in me, so this give me hope. Lots of it.
And guess what?!
Even though I haven't been blogging my progress, I've been making my 1,000 word a day goal -- and even surpassing it some days. Before I start to write, I take a few minutes each day to review my outline and work on it. I'm finding that words are coming much faster and it's so less painful. I got some motivation from Rachel Aaron's famous 2k to 10,000k blog post here. Which, may seem kind of silly considering I'm not even making her starting point of 2,000 words . . . but baby steps for me. Baby steps. Her advice has gotten me past my first few chapters that I can never seem to get through, so I consider it a success. (BTY, big thanks to my writing group for sharing this advice with me.) Again, 2013. You and I are so BFFs with goals right now.
Lindsey was right. Committing yourself to go to a writing event once a month is so smart and worth it. Being around like minds is such a positive thing. You never know when a genius idea will hit, and placing yourself in a room with people who's works you admire? Great source of inspiration.