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It Takes a Village to Become a Writer -- by Maria Cox

It takes a village to be a writer.

Let’s face it, there’s a lot we don’t know when we first set out to write. I know when I began my journey to being published I was clueless, as were many of my peers. Listen, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m good at spelling, but grammar isn’t my forte. Sure, I know sentence structure and I know how to weave a good story, but my manuscripts still have to be polished several times.

In comes the village.

Fact: writing is a skill that will take years to perfect. Very few writers write a masterpiece on the first draft. In fact, authors will go through numerous revisions to get a draft to even resemble something worth marketing/pitching.

A village can extend in many different directions. For some writers a village can be one person or two, for others it is a team of people, such as: critique partners, beta readers; even a ‘street team’ can be a part of a village.  Whichever format, your village should be made up of like-minded individuals who will serve as mentors and act as a soundboard.

For me – after a twenty-year hiatus – I put pen to paper and started writing, again. Never did I imagine how many days I’d fret over edits, not to mention the rejection letters, the not-so-good reviews, and all the other crazy things that make up the world of publishing. Sometimes I think if someone told me it’d take me five years to learn to write a book I might have reconsidered this writing thing.

Now, the toughest hurdle a writer can face is criticism. Exposing our creative side can make anyone anxious; we feel vulnerable, we feel judged. I can speak for myself when I say that opening up to criticism is tough, but imperative.

Could I replicate success again and again? Am I just a one-hit-wonder? If this is you, don’t fret, you’re in good company. Many well-known authors deal with anxiety, depression, too. Keep in mind, writers of all types need to be trainable and adaptable particularly if you’re in it for the long haul.

Lastly, consider taking stock of your writer’s toolbox. Think of the different avenue for self-improvement: workshops, conferences, college classes, and seminars, all this is vital to professional growth. And, don’t forget to join professional organizations and subscribe to relevant magazines and publications. I find nuggets of information all the time.

In closing, I want to thank my own tribe, my own village for their continued support.  I’m fortunate to have you guys!

Posted by Maria Cox 28 Aug 2018 at 00:24
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Responses to this blog

Jewells64 29 Aug 2018 at 15:43  
In learning to write fiction, one needs the stout spirit to persevere and overcome criticism and self doubt, but this is only part of the story. Many writers undergo years of living in your ďvillageĒ and finally develop the skill to write clearly and elegantly with a style thatís equal to the best-selling authors, yet never succeed. Style is important, but one has to have a story. You have to have something to sayóand damned few works of fiction have this attribute. So itís not just how you write, itís also what you write. Donít ever fool yourself into believing that a publishable writing style is all you need. It just ainít so! Losa luck.
Mcox 2 Sep 2018 at 13:40  
Very true John. Thanks for the insight.
Djpease 4 Sep 2018 at 13:53  
As writing is much like making a cake, it is the process I adore, the journey from here to there. Other than being a touch dowdy about it all, I think I might miss the discovery and "WOW" of it all. When we bake, there's always the tradition, the secret ingredient, the new idea, and maybe the delightfully unexpected to consider. There's amazement in "how it works", we find heart-break or hilarity when it doesns't. We will always spoons to lick, frostings to poke, and sprinkles —my goodness, can we just leave it that? But, when it's served up, devoured and discussed, the experience is filed, a memory made, and the cook acknowledged until next time, it's really all about those hours of..., not the minutes... on the plate, we must hold tight. Of all the things in life we can try, stuggle and finally shout "Oh, shoot!" and pitch aside, let's not let our writing take that arc. To all, only the best! djpease And, yes... if you can't handle the heat, this kitchen may not be for you.
Molly1 5 Sep 2018 at 17:41  
How can I get better at writing? Who can read my story and help me ? I want to write and be good at it!
Manmademac 29 Jan 2019 at 10:39  
sometimes... i've been wondering... what makes a good writer become great writer?
Your writing is good, i agree that we need a "village" to be good at something
Lsberryh 4 Mar 2019 at 02:30  
I think a community is invaluable to, not just becoming a better writer, but getting published and read. IMO—that is why so many influential writers were apart of a famous group of other successful writers. Think of the artists and writers who were hanging out in the Latin Quarter of Paris like Hemingway, Stein, Picasso, and the Fitzgerald couple.

Love this blog!

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