This has been a summer I will never forget. While I’ve always been a writer, this is the summer I truly learned what that means to me. At one point last year, I was ready to give up on the dream.
It was too much.
But that little voice in the back of my head continued to wonder what if. What if writing didn’t have to mean agents, contracts, and query letters. Could get this off the ground myself? Is self-publishing really something I could tackle by myself?
As soon as I started to embrace the thought, I received a newsletter from an editor I’d been following, Jeni Chappelle. In this monthly newsletter, she encouraged any unpublished indie authors to consider entering Shore Indie, a Twitter-based writing contest.
I took it as a sign, and vowed I would take advantage of every opportunity the contest and editors offered.
just have to leap.
Here are the highlights of my experience….
- You can learn SO MUCH when you’re open to receiving, even in 140 characters or less. #askeditor #askauthor
- Freelance editors, especially the ones involved in Shore Indie, are beyond generous with their knowledge. I can honestly say I learned something from each one before the contest even started.
- There is an entire world on Twitter just for writers, and the daily support for each other is like nothing I’ve seen before. It doesn’t matter if you’re published or not. A writer is a writer.
- A GIF is a respectable reply in Twitter. The funnier the better.
- Hashtags are a lifeline in a chat.
- My writing consisted of words like was, well, just, and clearly, all of which had to be deleted.
- Show don’t tell is seared into my brain, but I still tell all the time. #oldhabitsdiehard
- Less is more. When in doubt, say it in as few words as possible.
- Seven weeks can feel like a life time, but flies by faster than you can say deadline.
- My editor, Katie McCoach, is a saint for reading my words as many times as she did. And for putting up with my over-active neurotic brain. Thank you for constantly pushing me to improve the story.
Tomorrow is the announcement of the winner and runner-up. And while I want nothing more than to see my name on Twitter (the prizes!!), any one of us can win. I’m up against some great writers, and it’s anyone’s contest. Good, bad, or ugly I’ve learned more this summer than I have in the 15 years I’ve been writing. #winning
And the journey is just starting. The path is clear, and I only have to keep moving forward. Do the next right thing.
If you’re a writer and don’t know where to start, join Twitter. Put yourself out there. Take the advice. Learn from anyone who wants to share. Make friends. Find your people. Your tribe. And most importantly, you are never to old to learn something new.
And never stop writing.
Wish me luck!