Things I learned this year:
1. NaNoWriMo is not for me. It’s just the worst possible time of the year for me. I’ve cranked out high word counts for weeks on end before…but with the holiday, travel, shopping, and work…nope. Not gonna work. And I’m okay with that. I don’t think I’ll officially participate going forward…but that doesn’t mean I wont be writing every chance I get in Nov.
2. Setting goals helps you achieve your goals. Okay, I already knew that but this year I was reminded. I committed to several goals, in writing, including 2 full rewrites, 1 first draft, and building my online platform. I accomplished all of my goals.
3. New Adult can be anything! The category has exploded to include genre fiction and I like that. I enjoy a steamy, college age romance as much as the next person. But I love that we are starting to see those story elements pop up in genre fiction too. The possibilities are endless.
4. Conferences are totally worth it. They cost a pretty penny but man o man are they awesome. See my post on RWA ATL 13.
5. I need to rest. I’m a do-er. I feel at peace when I have several demands on my time. It’s hard for my brain to compute the concept of ‘rest’, but I do, in fact, need to rest. After I finish a WIP I need to take time. When I plan to change gears from one project to another without allowing the necessary down time I disappoint myself and that’s not good.
6. I can do more than I thought I could. Yes, it’s true. I can kick myself in the arse and produce.
7. Participating in blog tours is a fun way to meet more authors. So maybe you can’t attend every signing in the world. You can always meet authors online via blog tours. I signed up to participate with a few organizations that facilitate blog tours - a YA group and a Romance group. I get emails about upcoming opportunities to participate in tours and when a book sounds interesting I jump on it. I usually ask to do an author interview because I love picking author’s brains. I highly recommend it if you have a blog. It’s a lot of fun and a great way to give back to the writing community.
8. Participating in contests is a great way to meet people. There are many great things about contests but one of the coolest is the sense of community they create. I was lucky enough to participate in a few contests this year and I met some amazing, talented, hardworking writers and bloggers. *waves*
9. Shelving a project is not the end of the world. You probably recoiled from the screen and screamed ‘blasphemy’. But, the truth is some projects aren’t right for the marketplace at this time. Shelving them doesn’t mean you are giving up. It means you are waiting for the best possible moment (I blogged about it here). It’s hard to consider shelving a project in the era of self pub. There are so many terrific publishing options for books that aren’t commercially viable at the Big 5 (or are we still saying Big 6? IDK). But before you hit ‘publish’ I urge you to consider shelving it. I was amazed at the freedom I felt after I decided to shelve one of my projects. I can always go the indie pub route later. Now, I’m letting that book baby sleep so my brain can be free to explore new projects.
10. Hard work is the only path to success in this industry. Okay, I might have already known that but this year I lived it. Drafting this year was painful. And the edit notes I received from CP’s and Beta’s forced me to completely rewrite TWO MS’s. But the hard work has been worth it. I’ve gotten terrific feedback from my CP’s and Beta’s and am hoping the hard work shine’s through when I query widely next year.
What writerly lessons did you learn this year?