Writing is my passion, and I hope to one day make it my full-time career. Part of being a successful writer is networking. I was truly terrible and terrified of networking until a little over nine years ago when I took my first big step. I joined the Joplin Writers’ Guild.
I took things slowly for the first few years. I didn’t say much during our meetings, but I listened to everything. I learned about opportunities and techniques. I emerged from my solitary shell like a frightened baby duck. I removed one piece of shell at a time. Finally, I realized that I had made some friends in the writing community and there was nothing to fear. I started reading my work during critique nights and entering our group’s contests.
I took a Writing for Publication class taught by one of our members that changed my whole outlook. She said something the first day of class that has become my mantra. “No one is going to fall out of the sky and beg to publish your work. You have to put it out there. A publisher can’t publish something that was never submitted.” She also encouraged us to spend time with other writers, join writing groups, and read about writing.
I started submitting my work in a much more aggressive fashion. Prior to that class, I was only submitting one or two pieces per year. Last year I made 67 submissions, had four publications, and placed in 11 competitions. I attended four writers conferences, two writing retreats, and joined a critique group. Most importantly, I started Ozarks Maven, which keeps me bustling.
I am a member of the Ozarks Writers League where I’ve made many wonderful writer friends and valuable connections. I just joined Sleuths’ Ink Mystery Writers thanks to an amazing workshop they hosted on June 30th. I won’t be able to make my first meeting as a member due to another obligation that day, but I hope to attend their August or September meeting. I know a few of their members and the others I met at the workshop inspired me to want to be a part of their group.
I am always learning from other writers. Last Thursday, the Joplin Writers’ Guild held its first mini-convention. The emphasis was on self-publishing and editing. Six of our fabulous members taught sessions on various topics. We also had a professional photographer in attendance offering author head shots. I’m happy to say that thanks to her, I now have my very first publicity photo.
Prior to the mini-convention, the Guild held an awards ceremony for its first mystery contest. The contest was sponsored by Always Buying Books, a local bookstore and great supporter of local authors. I received an honorable mention with my one and only mystery, which I wrote specifically for the contest. I had never attempted to write a mystery before. It was fun, and I plan to write more. Now that I’m a member of Sleuths’ Ink Mystery Writers, perhaps I will learn enough to write a mystery novel.
I invest a great deal of time and money in my writing. I’m a believer in sowing seeds in order to reap the harvest.
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