It’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! We post the first Wednesday of every month. Our purpose is to share and encourage. I hope my post does just that.
Every month, we announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG post. These questions often offer advice or insight through personal experience. This month the question is:
How has your creativity in life evolved since you began writing?
An interesting question. Sometimes I don’t think I’ve evolved at all and at other times, I’m amazed at what I’ve accomplished. Oh, certainly no best sellers—only one real novel (for Harlequin) with a scattering of poems, short stories, articles and novellas.
When I look back at my life I see the steps I took that got me to where I am today: Content and able to help/mentor others.
Here’s my path:
I began by reading the trade magazines. I checked them out at the library and read every word from cover to cover—even the classified ads. Today, we have wonderful writing blogs that educate and inform us.
I’m a firm believer in writing or trying to write a number of different things. How else do you learn what you’re good at or what you might truly love? Of course, you might be like me and love it all.
I’ve often said writing short is a lesson to learn well because it teaches us to make every word count. Even today I search magazines for opportunities to write fillers, jokes, and short, short personal stories. I love chasing the markets. It often pays off.
I never have passed up free magazines in restaurants and book stores. We come home from vacation with loads of paper. You never know when you might come across an opportunity.
I’m a big believer in networking. In junior college, my journalism teacher’s son was an editor for a cheerleading magazine. I sold him my very first article. Of course, he rewrote the whole thing but I got paid and that’s how I learned what editors do. At work, I learned that my boss had a brother who was editor of an inflight magazine. I was hired to do a few articles for him. And got paid. My title was “contributing editor’ and I thought I’d “arrived.”
I hadn’t arrived so I quit my job and went back to college to major in English and Journalism. I was cut down to size by a frustrated journalism teacher, but I was encouraged to try my hand at a novel by an English professor. That encouragement rings in my ears today!
Part of evolving is knowing where we want to go, but not being afraid to take detours. And not being afraid to fail.
Because I needed other writers, I started a writer’s group. We met monthly, reading and critiquing each other’s work, and often caravanning to conferences. A good support group is priceless.
Back then, I didn’t believe in self-publishing and I preached against it to everyone. Today, self-publishing, indie-publishing, small presses—are there for us all. I still say don’t put all your “words” into one basket. Don’t write off traditional publishing because you can make more money doing it yourself. Spread your talent. Spielberg might amble through B&N and catch a glimpse of your traditionally pubbed book, pick it up and …. Stranger things have happened.
And don’t think you’re wasting your time by writing flash fiction for a contest or an article for FREE. It all counts. It all matters in your writing journey.
Don’t be afraid! I can do anything I put my mind to and you can too. I’ve spoken at conferences, judged contests, mentored new writers, interviewed best-selling authors, been editor of a national newsletter and president of two writers’ groups. These are things I never imagined I would do.
There has never been a better time to write and publish. I look back at all the times I felt discouraged and wanted to quit—did quit—and I can honestly say, DON’T. You lose ground. Writing and publishing changes daily. Hang in there, struggle through, and change with it. At some point, it will change to your advantage. I can promise you that!
How has my creativity in life evolved since I began writing?
I’m glad you asked.
Last year I wrote a play and saw it performed on my church’s stage. I’ve never written a play.
I have arrived!