Wednesday Writer’s Wisdom: Lessons Learned by Stephanie Ayers
What is Wednesday Writers Wisdom?
I’m glad you asked. I originally started this series to share writing advice with other writers, especially beginning writers. I know when I first started writing again in 2010, I needed a lot of help. So, thus WWW was born. You can expect to find writing advice shared by me, other #ourwriteside authors, and guest authors. Our emails are always available for question suggestions as well. I’d like to start the conversation and answer those questions you must have answers to. After all, this isn’t just OUR Write Side, but it’s Yours, too.
Our Wednesday Writers Wisdom comes to you today from me. In the six years I’ve been writing consistently, I’ve learned a lot about writing, getting published, and putting your work out there. Today, I share with you a few lessons I learned about putting your work out there.
Today, I’d like to share some of the gems I’ve learned recently. Not only did these lessons have a direct impact on my writing, but on my life as well. Trying to figure out how to manage them all has been overwhelming at best. I’ll try not to ramble…
When I started blogging back in 2010, I had a little blog I called “The Scoop on Poop.” A place to vent with anonymous names with slices of humor (thus the whole poop flung on the walls adage that I used quite often) about my daily family life, I kept it going, trying to follow and add tabs for things as I evolved. I started writing fiction again, filling a long lost spot I hadn’t realized I missed all these years.
I tried to do too many things with my blog, and while I had a decent flow of traffic traveling to my blog for the variety of posts found there, circumstances changed my approach. My family seemed to “outgrow” the poop, and my brain began to focus on my fiction. This resulted in the birth of My Write Side, and managing 4 children, all with their own unique needs, with 2 blogs overwhelmed me. Something had to give, so I let Scoop go, and let my focus shift completely to my writing.
And write, I did. And, with a great need to be read (and accepted), I posted everything I wrote, keeping nothing secret. Everything.
And now, I’m feeling the consequences of that. I’m proud of all my stories, even the ones that aren’t as good as the others. I poured my sweat and tears into them. I craved readers and comments; critique of any kind. I needed to know I was not fooling myself.
But, even after all that, I needed more. I need exposure. I needed to see my stories with others of the same type. I started submitting, adding stories to websites built specifically for storytelling, or for critique. I started expanding, finding more prompt memes to inspire me and submit to, not only expanding my audience, but my voice too.
While this did increase my audience and, in some aspects, get my name out there, AND despite that I have picked up those “award” buttons or won other writing contests, AND despite that doing the above things secured two of my stories in surprise anthologies, I’ve been making a mistake.
A BIG mistake.
Now, before I explain myself, I need to clarify that I don’t have any regrets. I put my words out there and people responded. This feeds my ego and encourages me to one up myself constantly and give you something better than the last.
You might have noticed I am currently restructuring my thought process and doing more sharing of real life than fiction here of late.The reason behind this?
I am discovering that more and more publishers, anthologies, magazines, etc. want new material. While my stories may be new, when I share them with you, that’s considered in many circles as being published. Waa!! So many good stories I could flesh out and find homes for, except…
I hit publish on my blog. And there it is.
I can take the stories down, but how do you ever know when/where/how it’s been shared elsewhere? Reblogging, writing memes, Facebook contests…so much to consider, so many places to look.
This is why I’ve decided to share small excerpts. I can intrigue you without jeopardizing anything. I just have to rethink how I’m going to approach what and how I share from now on. After all, I don’t want to stop letting you escape away into my worlds, but I don’t want to stop my worlds from further exploration by new eyes and minds, either.
This is a lesson I can apply to real life too. Whether it be myself or my children, we have to put ourselves out there, but sometimes doing that can bite us on the butt. We have to give our children room to make mistakes, even when we can see what a disaster it will be.
As writers, we too, have to put our “children” out there, and keep plugging on, especially if we want to grow. Just be mindful of what you share. Even those things you think are for the “blog” only could end up being your next big thing. Whatever you do, don’t stop sharing. You still have to build a fanbase for yourself and this is a key way to do it.
We are looking for other writers to share their advice, right here in this column. Have something to share? Email your entry for our consideration to: firstname.lastname@example.org. For submission guidelines, visit our submissions page.
Question: What’s the biggest turnoff to a publisher?
Aaron Hughes of Rambunctious Ramblings Publishing Incorporated answers:
Arrogance is the worst thing an author can have. Please have confidence, show me how good your work is! However, when you pester constantly, disregard instructions, and argue that the publisher’s opinion isn’t valid, you become arrogant. You came to the publisher or agent, listen to what they say. Evaluate the information and use it to better yourself and your work.