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What I've Learned Over the Past Year
It’s hard to believe, but when I checked my Substack (the app that I create this newsletter on), I realized this month will be my one year anniversary. 🎉 It would be cliché to say time has flown, a no-no for writers, but it has, and I feel blessed to be doing what I love. In some ways, I’m still a beginner, but I’ve learned so much since graduating in 2022 that I want to reflect on the top five things I’ve discovered:
Writing is hard, but there’s nothing else I’d rather do. Sometimes, at the end of the day or week, I feel frustrated that I haven’t bumped up my word count enough or filled the blank page with new ideas, but I know the effort is worth it. For me, it’s about the satisfaction of creating a sentence or character that leaps off the page into your heart.
There are 4P’s a writer needs to succeed: Persistence, Practice, Perception, Patience. There is no instant gratification in writing. You have to stick with it and put your pen to the test regularly. Some things will work and others won’t, but I’ve learned as much from my mistakes as my successes. My perception continues to grow as I create fictional worlds and work with language, and if I’m patient, my stories will make their way onto the page.
Reading and writing are two wings required for flight. I’ve heard some authors say that they are too busy to read, a critical error. There are times in the writing process when reading will take a back seat, but it’s a crucial aspect. Nothing else will attune a writer to the rhythm and cadence of language, and reading (the greats, yes please!) is not only inspiring but also keeps the craft alive.
No one is going to do it for me. I remember being a tween on a swing in a park eons ago, thinking about the future. I don’t know whether it was the carefree act of pumping my legs as the wind swept across my face, but I felt strong and free. I try to recall those feelings when I am overwhelmed by technology or frustrated about marketing my work. The arc will build if I follow my trajectory.
Supporting others and finding support are key. Most authors work for little, if any, reward, so sharing the journey with other writers and readers is necessary to spark motivation. The writers’ conferences I have attended have been some of the most enriching experiences of the past year. I’m grateful for the people I’ve met, stories I’ve heard, and connections I’ve made.
Your Turn: Three Questions❓❓❓
At this milestone moment, I’d like to ask for your feedback on my newsletter. To make this monthly offering the best it can be, please click the link below (it will take you to the contact page on my website) and email me your answers to the following:
On a scale of 1 to 10, how likely are you to recommend it? (1 = lowest, 10 = highest)?
What is the main reason you gave it that score?
What is one thing I can do to improve it?
I’ll report back on what I find out, and truly appreciate your continued support.🙏 Here is the link: email me 😊
Some Exciting News…
I’ll be leaving tomorrow for the KillerNashville International Writers Conference for mystery, suspense, and thriller writers (check it out here: KillerNashville), where I’ll be presenting a workshop, and… I’ve been shortlisted for a Claymore Award, making the top-ten in the Supernatural category! This is for my work-in-progress called Claire O’Connor, The Chain Link Murder. It’s a book about a young clairvoyant who is helping solve a murder mystery where her paranormal visions affect not only the case, but also her understanding of herself, her family, and her history. There will be agents at the conference, so I have my fingers-crossed! 🤞
Oh, my presentation will be on Stylistics which is a method used to analyze a writer’s style. I might offer a workshop on it this fall as it’s a pretty cool set of techniques, so I’ll follow-up with you on that too. (It’s a great way to read more deeply as well for my non-writer friends.😊)
Strong Reviews for Augie! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
My first children’s book, The Super-Computer Caper, Augustus Bartholomew Bertrand Volume 1, dropped last month. I am humbled by and grateful for your support as there are 21 five-star reviews to date - wow! My next steps are to release an electronic version and to connect with some local bookstores about displaying it. If any of you are teachers or have connections that might appreciate the book and it’s message about screen-free play and outdoor adventures, please reach out. I’m planning to start the second book in the series around Christmas.
Lastly, A Dropped Thread
When I reviewed my most recent newsletter, I realized that I dropped a thread. I’ll introduce a new feature next month that I think you’re going to love. Stay tuned!
In Next Month’s Issue
KillerNashville update, a dropped thread, and a fall workshop…
Have a wonderful month! I’ll be raising a glass to celebrate my “Substa”versay!
Warmly, Mary Lynn,
The Wild Rose Writer.