Author Archives: Erika Beebe
[I wrote this post as a member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our worries and also offer support and encouragement to each other on the first Wednesday of every month. If you’re a writer like me and you’re looking for a bit of support, you can click the link and sign up here]
This month’s awesome Co-Hosts feature other fabulous writing friends with me:
A reflection on my life based on the IWSG Question this month:
In early March, my mother began to take the warnings of the spreading virus seriously. I gave some thought to it, and started being more careful going out and about, and strangely, I also started buying cleaning supplies. Spring Break quickly approached, and I knew several families including my own had plans to fly out of the state. Never the country. Thank goodness. Though I did hear of a few families who were adamant they would keep their plans to fly overseas and relief came when the greater government entities stepped in and forced them to stay put.
On the work front, I’m in the field of Education. Though buildings have closed through the end of April, I’m in Public Relations and currently called in to work because it’s an essential need. Administration is busy prepping food, serving families in school parking lots, and organizing online and paper Education packets for all grades. My fiancé is also called in to work, employed in a pharmaceutical plant. We’re nervous, glad to have steady work though, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say the drive down the road to work and back isn’t scary.
So what is my plan now? I’m homeschooling the kids several days a week. They maintain a schedule with bedtimes and rising times, and thanks to my youngest daughter’s teacher, I have an hour-by-hour or topic by topic powerpoint to follow. Bless the teachers! I made my first online grocery order for a curbside pickup. It took four days to schedule the pick-up, but I feel better about the arrangement. I’ve rearranged my basement so the kids and I can get online exercise every day. Amazon Prime has some great free options for workouts, no matter your preference.
On the writing front, I just started editing and writing again this past week. I’ve been so worked up I haven’t been able to find the creative flow. I guess I figured I better try, because it feels like this is a longer road than any of us know. So I wear gloves, I carry hand-sanitizer in my car, my desk, and in every room of the house. We’re certainly living science fiction times, and I pray everyone says safe and follows guidelines for the sake of others. On a lighter note, I’ve found several great quotes to consider:
The very least you can do in your life is figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof. — Barbara Kingsolver
You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them. ― Maya Angelou, Letter to My Daughter
To love means loving the unlovable. To forgive means pardoning the unpardonable. Faith means believing the unbelievable. Hope means hoping when everything seems hopeless. ― G.K. Chesterton
Everything that is done in this world is done by hope. — Martin Luther
[I wrote this post as a member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our worries and also offer support and encouragement to each other on the first Wednesday of every month. If you’re a writer like me and you’re looking for a bit of support, you can click the link and sign up here
This month, I’ve decided to go my own way with my own insecurity–trust in a new fluid writing process.
When I write, I always have a plan from the beginning, middle to end, and all the details in between. I use excel and plot out the moon patterns in a month, the days of the week and where every character is in the story during a certain point in the plot. I define the plot points, and then finally, I start to write.
Not this new draft. Now, I’m biting my nails totally insecure. This new draft is more of an organic process. I still have the end in mind, but my outlining techniques have changed. I did create the first 6 chapters with my editors approval. Then something interesting happened. She told me to stop. She told me to write. I admit, my energy was there. I was hearing the dialogue, seeing the scenes. Plus, one of my writing friend’s who connected me with my editor, mentioned I should always listen to the editor’s every word of advice. So I have. But now that I’m well past these 6 chapters, my initial excitement has morphed into creative release mixed with a gripping fear all at once. A true sense of the experience of a roller coaster? That pretty much sums it up. I guess since this is the second/sort of third draft, and I do have a great sense of my characters, maybe it will be okay? *scrunching up face and clenching hands *
I know my editor believes. I believe in her. I just hope I can believe in me, and continue to allow the process to lead.
Any thoughts on how you begin a second draft revision process? I’d love to hear it.
The Author Toolbox Blog Hop is “a monthly blog hop on the theme of resources/learning for authors: posts related to the craft of writing, editing, querying, marketing, publishing, blogging tips for authors, reviews of author-related products, anything that an author would find helpful.” Want to jump into the writing tool box? Search #AuthorToolboxBlogHop or to join via blog, click here.
This month, I want to talk about the thick skin we must develop as writers. When I began the honest journey eleven years ago, I had no clue what I was getting into. I knew I loved the story. I knew I loved characters and writing worlds I could lose myself in. I had no idea writing could be more scientific than any formula I’d studied in chemistry class.
I had no idea what the industry would be like in the submission process to agents and how many times you might never receive the courtesy of a rejection note—just a simple deadline to mark on your calendar. If that date passes and you’ve heard no word, consider your submission a rejection.
It’s tough to swallow no words.
So what do you do to tackle growth and thick skin?
- Attend Active Writing Workshops
Not just theory based workshops and what the industry sees as working, but workshops where you’re given assignments, you start them and debrief with groups of other writers or professionals. Workshops with teachers in the industry like agents and editors who require initial work and give you feedback. Maybe where you’re involved with feedback too. It’s important to take in all the professional feedback you can. When I get work back, I always take a couple of days to ponder others’ thoughts. I ask myself, could they be right? I’ve found that after careful pondering, there is a great deal of truth to what they’ve commented on.
- I love Writer’s Digest by the way. I’ve learned a great deal in query letter writing, first sentences and first 10 pages that matter.
- Seek helpful feedback from readers and teachers who read what you write.
- Research your Readers
I think one important aspect of thick skin and showing others our work is to make sure they’re interested in a topic and also a certain voice. If a reader isn’t interested in the world you’ve created, their comments won’t be as helpful as you probably need.
- Prepare Yourself for Opportunities to Grow and Learn
Follow your favorite writers on Instagram, Blogs, or Facebook. When I wrote my first draft of my first novel, I was so proud of myself. I wasn’t aware of what I had to learn in the craft so others would see my work as good as it was to me. I follow Maggie Stiefvater, one of my first Young Adult favorite authors. Her blog is quite extensive with topics and personal accounts. She wants to help. From what I’ve read, she has realistically shares everything she knows.
- Study the Craft of Writing in Your Genre
Take writing classes, hire a writing coach, submit to editors interested in your genre and voice. I’ll write more next time about my writing coach. She’s changed my writing world.
Read the competition you wish to pursue. Read the comments on the books and what people love about them.
In sum, thick skin is important. It allows others who want to help you have the courage to do so in confidence. It allows you to grow into the writer you wish and dream to be. Finally, having a thick skin prepares you for the other words of advice you may receive from those anonymous folk who just want to say a word because they don’t know your face. It’s taken me years. I have my armor. I also know when it’s a good time to set it aside and be the real me. 🙂
Happy Hop Day 🙂