I spent Saturday at the Surrey International Writers Conference (SiWC). What a well-organized, stimulating day! It was a chance to step away from the hurly-burly of everyday life and meet with other authors. My day was filled with workshops, panel discussions, chances to relax, chat with fellow writers, and an opportunity to pitch to an agent.
There were writers at almost every stage of their creative journey – speakers with over 30 books published, as well as newbies. The sense of shared destiny was both comforting and inspiring.
I was there to soak in the atmosphere.
Today, I thought I’d share with you the top ten success lessons I learned.
- Read – read widely and voraciously, read within your genre and beyond, study what the top authors in your genre are doing and note the trends.
- Write regularly. Make an appointment with the muse; sit down and put word, after word, after word down on paper.
- Middle grade authors have two audiences, the children they’re writing for and the adults who buy the books – parents, teachers, librarians and grandparents. Consider marketing to each group and have strategies for both.
- Keep writing – as soon as one piece is submitted start work on the next. It can take time for a finished manuscript to be published, don’t wait to start the next project.
- Conflict and pace are essential in children’s literature. Tanya Lloyd Kyi’s excellent workshop reminded me that interesting people plus big problems create the most engaging plots. www.tanyalloydkyi.com
- Being creative means getting your voice heard. However, the flip side of this coin is rejection. Rejection and creativity go hand in hand. Get used to it. You can’t have one without the other. If you need inspiration about living creatively, read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. www.elizabethgilbert.com
- If you quit, you’ll never get there. I heard stories of rejection and tales of success. Behind them all was this message – work on your craft, submit work and keep going. But make sure you celebrate every success along the way.
- Be part of the community. Join writing groups, go to readings, follow fellow writers, join critique and online forums, write reviews, engage and support others. You’ll meet some great people and balance out the solitary nature of writing.
- Be professional. Meet deadlines, fulfill commitments and communicate clearly.
- Don’t compare. Comparisons only lead to envy and negativity. Writing is not a meritocracy, luck is a factor and luck can strike at any time. Replace comparisons with support.
By receiving and reading this blog, you are playing a huge role in supporting my creative endeavours. Thank you. I’d love to hear from you. What are your secrets for success? What would you add to this list?