writing business

Being in a Writing Group

For almost a year, I’ve been president of a writer’s club. It’s been easy because the other board members have been an invaluable help. I’ve also been part of a critique group for several years. I encourage writers to get involved in a writer’s club and a critique group to connect with the writing community in their area and help improve their writing.

Of course, the wrong personalities can make joining a club or group a negative experience. I found these types of organizations few and easy to quit. The biggest challenge is finding a writers’ club or critique group to join.

Most communities do not have a club or group for writers. There are online ones, which I joined, too. However, the online life seems too impersonal and distant. I found meeting and interacting with people is better for my writing.

If there is no club or group, a writer could form a critique group which are small, informal, and focused on critiquing. Plus, there are lots of guidelines on how to do conduct this group. A club can be more complicated and formal with bylaws.

To start a critique group, a writer could go to the local library. Many writers come to the library seeking a group to join and libraries generally support writers. Another place to go is the English Department of a community college.

I recently went to a small writer’s conference where I met three students from the local community college. With no creative writing classes offered, they formed their own critique group with help from an English teacher. It quickly became several critique groups.

I have another year left as president. The club has been a great way to make connections with the writing community. Also, my critique group has been a great way to improve my writing. Writers should meet other writers.

Finding a Web Designer

Anyone reading this blog will notice changes to the format. Some of you may say, “About time.”

When I set up this website over a year ago, I had a hard time finding a web designer. I needed a one time service since I would do the follow up posting and maintenance. I guess the web designers I contacted wanted more long-term work and declined. So, I did my own webpage.

I should have kept trying to find a web designer. I also should have gone a simpler route. Instead, I wanted flexibility to design a unique website and I had to learn a lot about WordPress. The last time I created a webpage, html was popular.

Eventually, I got my website up and running and have posted for over a year. Yet, I knew I was missing a lot on the webpage. I decided to do an update.

However, I would have to start over learning WordPress after forgetting what I learned before. Starting over was not appealing. This time, however, I went a different route to find a web designer.

At first, I tried the method I used before without luck. So, I decided to look at the web designs of other bloggers and who they used.

Anne R. Allen is a popular and famous blogger who posts about writing and blogging. She uses Bakerview Consulting who I contacted. This web designer not only was a great help, but was inexpensive.

Anyone having trouble with their blog and unable to find a web designer could use my method. Go to a blog you like and see who they use as a web designer. It worked for me.

Stepping into self-publishing (so far)

I’m on a path to self-publish. I would have gone the traditional route, but the agents I asked to represent me told me no. Most of the time, I didn’t get past the intern.

As of now, this is the path I’ve taken:

  • I wrote a novel.
  • I did my own editing, several times, which meant I rewrote the novel several times. (When people ask how many novels I wrote, should I include the number of rewrites?)
  • I joined a small critique group where we meet in person. This took some doing since I live in a small town, but I think it was important. I tried online critiquing where I did much more critiquing than I received.
  • I sent my (again) rewritten novel to a professional editor who I paid.
  • I’m accepting or rejecting each comment by the editor. Soon, I’ll have a final novel (final because I’ve got to move on with life).

Getting to this point was easy because I knew where to go. The next steps include relying more on interacting with people, processes, and software where the details are unfamiliar and unclear. Like learning how to swim while drowning.

Here are the next steps (as far as I know):

  • Get a book cover and inside design. I know what I want, but I need a trustful designer and exactly how to use a cover and book design.
  • I want to go “wide” making my book accessible on several platforms meaning different companies and their software. I know what platforms, but not the details on how to use them. That room is dark.
  • Marketing is a whole other thing, menacing and also dark. Very dark.

I’ll push on looking for the light switch or a flood light.

Where to Lead Yourself

There are many choices for a writer when they publish. As an example, a writer can decide to write for money, write for attention, or write to produce quality writing.

Of course, all three would be good, yet generally only one takes priority. It depends on what the writer wants out of their writing life. Whichever way a writer chooses when publishing, each provides readers with a variety of reading choices (a good thing).

Many times, writing for money means volume writing (such as many novels in a short span of time). Writing for attention means getting on someone’s best seller list or get an invite to an award’s dinner. While producing quality writing can help with these priorities, it is not necessary.

In my case, writing is not about the money since I have another income (although I could use more income). It would be nice to have some attention, such as an award, but toys take up all my shelf space. This leaves me trying to write better.

This takes time, at least for me. It will be a long time before I have multiple box sets. It’s already been a long time and I have yet to publish my first novel. I hope to change that in the next few months. I also hope I don’t get an award. I like my toys.