Sunday, July 26, 2009

Learning from Writers

On Saturday I went to an American Christian Fiction Writers meeting in Orlando. There was just a few of us and it was wonderful. By the time it ended, I thought my brain would explode from all the awesome information.

The funny thing is, I learned from both pubbed writers and unpubbed writers. I think there is a generosity in the writing world that's not seen in other businesses (there's also some craziness, but that's another post).

I'm planning on sharing some of the goodies I picked up in some later posts.

What do you think is the most important thing you've learned from a fellow writer? Have you experienced the generosity of a published writer before?

48 comments:

Tabitha Bird said...

So true. I think writers are as a general rule a great bunch of people. KMWeiland (published writer) was wonderful enough to do an interview with me and let me post it on my blog. I thought that was pretty cool, especially since I am sure she has heaps of other things to do!

Jessica said...

That is very cool, and very nice of her. Nice of you to do it too since it gets her name out there. :-)

Jody Hedlund said...

I'm jealous! Spending a day with other writers and talking writing?! Sounds like the perfect day! :) Seriously, I've been amazed at the wealth of information that pubbed writers make available to help us newbies! Like Camy Tang's writer website or Mary DeMuth's. And Seekerville. I could keep going, but all of those authors spill their secrets of success so generously! Gives us a great model for how we can serve other writers someday, doesn't it?

Jessica said...

It is an excellent model! And the day was pretty close to perfect.
:-)
I'm hoping at ACFW we bloggers will be able to band together and have our own little meeting *crossing fingers with a big smile on my face*

Victoria Dixon said...

Yes! Writers are incredibly generous. Maybe it's because we have great memories for stories, we remember all the tales of woe it took to get us wherever we are and wish to spare others? Alma Alexander friended me on Facebook just because I became a public fan. Then she sent me a free, signed book because of a comment I made. The ladies in my critique groups - pubbed and unpubbed - are incredibly generous. One has given me an interview that will be published on my blog once her book is close to release. Thanks for stopping by again, Jessica! And BTW, you were and still are on the blogroll. :) I really enjoy your insights.

Angie Ledbetter said...

Totally agree with the generosity found among writers.

Best writing advice: glue butt in chair and write. And yes, many pubbed authors and poets have shared with me. (Harvey Stanbrough is a great example of that, Cherry Adair, Natalie Collins, Deb LeBlanc, Kathryn Magendie, Kimmi Richardson...Oh the list is long!)

Faith said...

Last month I went to a writer's conference nearby, and I was shocked at how helpful, encouraging, and generous the published authors were that I spoke to. They really, truly wanted to help me succeed, and I left that weekend feeling grateful, loved, and inspired - not to mention having a deeper respect for those authors who I'd spoken to, even the ones whose work I'd never read before.

Another author whose generosity seems to know no bounds is Holly Lisle - I've not read any of her work, but her website has incredible heaps of free info/advice/workshops for writers, and she consistently answers questions on her blog from struggling unpubbies!

Best advice so far was from Mags Storey: "You're writing, and not blaming the industry for getting you down. You're doing it right, so just keep doing it!" and "Even if you think your writing is crap, who cares? You wrote it, and that's what matters." [quoting from memory, so may not be *exact*] :)

Stephanie Faris said...

I spent quite a bit of time at writing conferences, workshops, etc. in the 90s. I learned SO much it's hard to say. I know the GMC workshop I attended made a huge difference in my writing, as well as the priceless information I received from fellow writers about submitting.

Jessica said...

Hi Victoria,
That may be true. Also, awesome about Alexander. The same thing happened to me; a multipubbed author saw my status about my query, offered to read it, gave me advice, then when I said thank you and mentioned I'd read her debut novel, she sent me her newest, signed.
I didn't even know I was on your blogroll. Thanks for your kind words. :-)

Jessica said...

Angie, that is the best advice because I think it's sometimes the hardest thing to do. LOL!

Jessica said...

Faith,
It feels that way to me too. I was thinking about it, and where else do the successful share their secrets with the competition? Does that make sense? Yet authors and experienced long-time writers consistently share the things they've done to make their writing and sales better.
I haven't heard of that author but now I'll be checking out her site. Thanks for sharing that!

Jessica said...

Stephanie,
I think one of the most helpful things about networking with writers is the tidbits about the industry. You're right. Different writers have different submission stories and info, which is really, really helpful to those who are heading in the same direction.

Nancy J. Parra said...

I agree- writers really do want to help each other. I've learned so much from other writers. I really do try to pay it forward out of respect for all that have helped me. Great post!

Jessica said...

You pay it forward just by blogging with good advice! :-) Not to mention whatever else you do. I really appreciate it, that's for sure.

Kathryn Magendie said...

Yes I have had generous writers who offered advice or time - *smiling* I try to support writers-pubb'd and unpubbd...we all should support each other!

Jessica said...

Go writers! LOL Do you think there's a cheerleading chant for us? Heehee.

Donna M. Kohlstrom said...

Perserverance. No matter what happens, keep on writing. Never give up!

Janna Qualman said...

"there is a generosity in the writing world that's not seen in other businesses"

Absolutely! And a sincerity, too. It's been on my mind lately, and I'm so honored to hob-nob with such great people.

Can't wait to see what you learned!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jess -

I've had both published and unpublished writers answer questions, do interviews, and encourage me to keep writing. When I thank them, they usually say, "give another writer a hand."

Thank you, Jess, and all my blogging buddies for your hard work and caring hearts.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Katie Ganshert said...

I'm amazed by the generosity within the ACFW community. It's a wonderful blessing.

Another wonderful blessing: my mentor, who is the epitome of generous and is published. :)

Jessica said...

Hi Donna,
That should be our mantra. Sometimes it's tempting to give up, but there's the saying that nothing worth it is easy. Look at childbirth. *shuddering as I remember pain, pain, pain* LOL

Jessica said...

Janna, good point about sincerity. I agree! I'm excited to share some of this stuff. It's great. :-)

Jessica said...

Hi Susan,
Thank you. You were one of the first people to comment faithfully on my blog and I can't tell you how much that blessed and touched me. :-)

Jessica said...

Hey Katie,
Oooh, a mentor. That does sound nice. LOL!

Keli Gwyn said...

I've been blessed in so many ways by the generosity of other writers, both published and not-yet-published. I've had a published author offer to give me an endorsement when I sell, another offer to show my first chapter to her editor and yet another invite me to her hotel room at RWA Nationals last year and spend a half hour talking with me about writing. And these are but a few examples of tremendous, unexpected gifts I've been given.

Jessica said...

Wow, that is an incredible gift! How kind and sweet of those authors. Thank you for sharing that! Another reason for me to look at the pubbies with awe. LOL!

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Perseverance is probably the biggest thing I've learned. And you're right, writers are the most generous people!

Jessica said...

Hi Eileen,
Thanks for commenting. Sometimes I think writers, and maybe others in the arts, need extra perseverance since the arts by definition are subjective. They can't necessarily be measured in a concrete way like other professions.

Jessie Oliveros said...

Oooh, I did have a published writer tell me I write beautifully. Not something I'll soon forget. Hopefully they weren't just being nice... I agree with you that it is a generous profession. Even though we are sort of in competition with each other we all want to help each other be the best we can be.

Terri Tiffany said...

I think writers as a whole are a very generous group. I can't wait to hear what all you learned! Remind me sooner about the next one and maybe I will go:)
Ok--now I need someone- some wonderful writer to read my query? Hint? Hint? Lol

Jessica said...

Oh my goodness, Jessie! That is an Awesome compliment! I definitely wouldn't forget that either. :-)

Jessica said...

Oooh me, me! LOL I'll read it! Send it my way. I'm not an expert or anything but I can look it over.

Genny said...

I agree--I have experienced so much generosity in the writing world. I think there is a mutual understanding (with both published and unpublished writers) of how difficult the industry can be, and there is such a feeling of cheering each other on. I love it!

Kate Karyus Quinn said...

My crit group has shown me time and time again the generosity of other writers.

Glad you had a nice meeting - can't wait to hear more about it!

Jessica said...

Genny, so true that we cheer each other on. Even if someone seems "ahead" most writers are happy to see others succeed. I know that when I see first sales I feel hopeful. If it's possible for someone else, than it's possible for me.

Jessica said...

Thanks Kate. :-) I'm excited to blabber away!

Jeanette Levellie said...

Ooooh, I'm so happy for you that you got to do this, Jessie! What a fun day!

The most important thing I've learned from a pubbed author is write to please your
Audience of ONE, that is God, and He will honor you whether you publish traditionally or otherwise. He will make sure your words get into the right hands.

The interesting thing is, since I've taken this attitude, more opportunities have arisen for me than ever.

Jen, Audience of ONE

Jessica said...

That's wonderful advice Jen. Seek Him first and he takes care of the rest, right? :-)

Yes, it was a wonderfully exhausting day. LOL

Robyn Campbell said...

Jessica, I think the most important advice I was ever given about writing was this. Stay true to yourself. I had felt overwhelmed about all the critiques I had gotten on a story. Didn't know which way to go. These words helped me to see that I needed to make the final decision. Who said them? My hubby. He's not even a writer. Go figure! :)

Jessica said...

LOL Robyn. You're right, sometimes people (like our hubby's) can see more objectively than us. I like that advice alot and can totally relate to feeling overwhelmed by crits. Sounds like you got a man with a good head on his shoulders. :-)

Jill Kemerer said...

Generous--yes, that's exactly what I've learned writers are. They'll tell you trade secrets, be kind when you're obviously misinformed, and they're just fun to be with! I love my writer's groups!

T. Anne said...

Writers ARE the most generous people, so true! I'm glad you had a great time. I love reading blogs on writing, I learn so much everyday, mostly that I really love writers.

Jessica said...

Hi Jill,
I love mine too! :-) Telling trade secrets, that's a great point!

Jessica said...

T. Anne,
That's so sweet. :-)

Kara said...

I agree!
One author took some of us under her wing and even helped us form a crit group and was available for lunch etc. Several other published writers from the area have been just as helpful. One I had just met introduced me to an editor and told him how great I was.
It's really neat that everyone wants to help and doesn't feel the need to tear each other down to get ahead.

Jessica said...

Kara,
What a great story! Thank you for sharing.
The interesting thing about publishing is that tearing others down will only get so far. It's a small world and eventually people will catch on.

Pen Pen said...

Lady Glamis at 'The Innocent Flower' actually offered some advice to me once and it turned into a situation where we e-mailed back and forth a few times. She gave me extensive advice on my book, and influenced a major change I made. She became sort of a "mentor" in my head, and I still have that respect and thankfulness for her today. She's the C.S. Lewis to my Tolkien, and it meant A LOT! I've thanked her before, but I'm sure she doesn't know the extent to which she influenced me. I'm so glad u did this post--I need to go thank her again. :)

Jessica said...

Awww, that is so sweet! I think she's just a really knowledgeable, smart person. Thanks for sharing. :-)