It Takes a Village to Become a Writer

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.

Maria Cox
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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!

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