Since I’m out of the office this week on vacation, I’ve turned my blog over to my clients, who wanted to share their thoughts with you on a variety of subjects. I let them have free rein because otherwise, well, just trust me, it’s for the best. Today’s post is by Suzanne Casamento. Growing up in a slow New Jersey town (complete with horse farms and cornfields) gave Suzanne Casamento plenty of time to dream up stories. She earned her BFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College in Boston, where she studied under Andre Dubus III. Her stories and articles have been published in Seventeen, Teen and All About You. Her debut novel FINGERPRINTS is loosely based on a piece that appeared in Seventeen. Both stories are a lot like her 16th summer in New Jersey, when suddenly life wasn’t so boring anymore. Suzanne now lives in Los Angeles and is an active member of the Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators. Take it away, Suzanne!
Things I Know For Sure About Being a Writer
On Sunday, Amy Spaulding and I met up for Umami Burgers. (As Amy says, “Epic poems should be written in its honor.”) During out first meeting we swooned over burgers, talked about writing, what we write and why we write it. We discussed writing contemporary fiction in a paranormal crazed market.
Then guest blogging came up. Neither of us were sure what to guest blog about. Since I have yet to publish a novel, it’s hard to write about the business end of things. But during our fabulous meet-up, I realized I do have thoughts to share about being a writer:
• If you write, you are a writer. There’s no “I want to be a writer” or “One day I’ll be a real writer.” If you write, you are a writer.
• Not everyone likes to read. That means your family might never glance at your manuscripts. But when it comes to people you can choose, like your spouse, find one who wants to read your work. Otherwise, you’ll resent it.
• When you hear other authors lament about waiting six years to publish a book and you’re on your 16th, don’t get discouraged. Your journey is your journey.
• Some people will think you’re crazy. They’ll call your writing a hobby and snark at your publishing dreams. If you can, keep your distance from those people.
• Believing is everything. If you don’t believe your work is worth publishing, no one will publish it.
• Surround yourself with other writers. The best thing you can do is join a critique group. You’ll learn more from other writers, their work and how they feel about your work than you can imagine.
• Apply for grants and scholarships. Attend workshops and conferences. Take classes. Use every tool and do everything you can to become a better writer.
• Think big.
• Envision your goals. Create a vision board or write out what you want to achieve. When you specifically ask for what you want and back it up with hard work, you’ll get it.
• Get your butt in the chair. Envisioning does you no good unless you do the work.
• Sometimes life interrupts. When life changers occur, your writing can get derailed. That’s okay. Take the time to heal then get back on track.
• Try not to let rejection get you down. Sure, rejection sucks. But it’s a business. Don’t take it personally. Just continue searching for the right match. The right agent/editor will “get” your stories.
• Delight in the little joys. When your critique group loves your work, celebrate! When you get a response from an agent that says, “This manuscript isn’t right for me, but I’d love to see more,” get excited about the “I’d love to see more!” (Then send it!)
• When you feel defeated and tired and want to stop, go for a walk, take a break, do whatever you have to do and shake it off. Because you know you’re not really going to quit. You can’t. After all, you’re a writer, aren’t you?
What do you know for sure about writing?