Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Writer's Path - Help & Resources

As writers our strengths and weaknesses are many.  We tend to put on a good show in an effort to let the world know we're ready for anything (whether we actually are or not).  We all learn a lot along our writing path and as a result tend to think we know a lot, our learning process having created an aura of blissful ignorance about just how much we do know.  Until one day, comes the realization that we actually have a huge amount that we don't know. 

That's the dark, scary place to be.

You might feel frustrated, angered, shocked, even feel like giving up writing altogether.  In fact, many do.  And for some that isn't a a bad thing.  If it isn't for you, it simply isn't.  There's nothing bad about that.  In fact it could be  good, discovering what you don't want to do and have no interest in learning. You tried it, you don't like it. Time to move on.

Because, being a writer is a life-long learning experience. If you're in, time to take that next step forward.

How can we turn our weaknesses into strengths?  How can we stare down the dragon and continue on that writing path?

All right, we all want to minimize our weaknesses, perhaps to not even admit them to ourselves, but that's not the way to move forward. Drag it out, examine it, learn from it and keep moving forward. There are lots of places to ask for help and/or to seek it out.

There are two distinctive types of writers (there are undoubtedly more nuances and sub groups, but two main groups).  There are those who are very solitary and those who can benefit greatly from interaction with other writers.  I don't know which you are, but you do.

If you can benefit from critique groups, writer's groups, if exchanging ideas with other writers and hearing their criticisms of your work is something that will help you, then seek them out. 

There are many online. You can check out Absolute Write  or Backspace or Critique Circle try Ladies Who Critique to find a partner, or google up some more.  Or, if you're more of a face-to-face, hands-on sort, you might try to track down a local writer's group who meet on a regular basis giving you 'deadlines' by which you read others' works and they read yours.  Check library bulletin boards, the local paper, groups like women's clubs, etc.

The more introverted writer may do better with an online group or not at all.  Your choice.

Reading can be a great help to the new or aspiring writer as well as the established professional.  There are lots and lots of articles out there, newsletters too where you can pick up tips on strong writing techniques.  You can visit my little bookstore that grows nearly daily as I find great books and other materials on writing for writers at Writer's Emporium   Get what you need there or peruse,  make a list and head out for your local library.

The trick is to locate your materials and dive in, avoiding too much time lost online when you could be reading or writing. It's easy to get lost online and fun too - so watch it.

One thing that is good, even for us introvert types, is attending the occasional conference.  Got a favorite genre?  You can find a conference for that! There are lists of them online and a bit of googling should turn up some near or far that would be just the thing for you to attend. And you'll be able to mingle with other writers, editors, agents, publishers and more. Work at being less of a wall flower and plunge in. 

Oh, and don't forget to network on such sites as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.  Introvert types can be a little less out there using that media and still make connections.

Write, rewrite, read and learn.  That's what it's all about.

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