Dear Writer, Are You Struggling? Maybe These Tips Will Help.
|(Image by Susan Foster)
If, like me, you are immersed in the process of writing a novel, I have a few suggestions that may help you as much as they've helped me.
Don't Do This Alone
Tip #1. Join a Writing Association
Here are just a few of the benefits I've enjoyed since joining:
- Zoom Write-In Dates (Accountability and I've made good friends here)
- A huge number of webinars, workshops, and courses
- A supportive and informative Facebook community
- A critique group matching service
- The WFWA Writer's Conference in Chicago this past fall
You may want to seek help in other ways
Tip #2. Find Good Critique Partners
The value of good critique partners cannot be over-emphasized. I'm so glad I found mine!
Tip #3. Consult with a Developmental Editor or a Writing Coach
Unfortunately, I've been struggling to get my current work-in-progress into good enough shape to benefit from a critique. I finally admitted to myself that something wasn’t working and even with my critique partner's input, I couldn't fix it. I emailed Hend, letting her know I was considering shelving the manuscript.
She kindly offered a consultation to help me decide the right way forward.
My video chat with Hend was so helpful and productive. She is kind, easy to connect with, and clearly very bright and experienced. I was impressed by how quick she was to grasp the concept of my novel. Rather than give a lot of advice, she asked the right questions to help me see (and admit to myself) what was working and what wasn't. When we finished talking, I had gained a clear understanding of how I might fix my novel and had enjoyed a conversation with a truly caring and delightful person.
My enthusiasm for this manuscript has returned, and I’m convinced I can now rewrite a much more solid draft. I am looking forward to sending the revised version to Hend and learning/benefiting even more from her critique.
I highly recommend Hend Hagazi to anyone in need of a developmental editor or writing coach. I've learned first-hand that a person with her expertise can help a writer diagnose and treat elusive problems within a manuscript.
I mentioned craft books, online courses, podcasts, and author newsletters.
Here are some I've found most helpful recently:
- I've been enjoying Monica Cox's newsletter, and her tip for how to decide what's clicking and clunking in a story is working well for me. I had several conversations with Monica at the WFWA conference in Chicago and I suspect she is an outstanding book coach.
- A recent podcast by Alice Sudlow made it clear that my best path forward might be to do at least a modified version of a "Page One Rewrite." (Which, to be clear doesn't mean just rewriting the first page, but going back to page one and rewriting the entire manuscript!)
- Matt Bell's process for revising has resonated with me so much that my copy of his book, Refuse to Be Done is now riddled with highlighting and notes.
- When Domestika offered their online course "How to Write a Psychological Thriller" taught by the British novelist Emily Barr for $7.99, I signed up. The course material felt basic as I listened to the lessons, but when I completed the homework assignments, I realized I had successfully outlined my next potential novel! Emily Barr's teaching style is so laid back and her British accent so engaging, that it made the course easy and fun. I learned even more from it than I realized at the time.
How's Your Writing Coming?
Feel free to leave a comment about where you are in your writing journey, and what has worked for you.
Happy writing everyone!
In the spirit of full disclosure, this post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on one of them, the price you pay will not be affected but I may receive some small compensation. All opinions expressed, however, are entirely honest and my own.