Although I have no idea how I got elected Teacher! :) Okay, the class was a little quiet this weekend, but I still enjoyed reading the emails I got. I think as writers, it is wonderful to talk and discuss the ups and downs of this creative endeavor with others who really understand what it's like. Thanks to everyone who participated!
Here are a few of the helpful tidbits sent in:
Don't try to write something because it's the hot new thing. By the time you finish it, the genre might be dead. Write what you like, what you love, and it will sell.
Write to your strength-be it full-length, short stories, non-fiction. Writing will be a much more joyful process if you're writing what you enjoy writing.
Don't let anyone convince you to make changes to a story that you don't feel comfortable with-unless that someone suggesting the changes can buy your book.
And the winner of my impromptu contest is Carol:
Quit worrying about the "rules". Write the best book you can the way it needs to be written. If it's good enough, it will sell.
I loved this bit of advice because it echoed a story told by Maven Linda Winstead Jones on Saturday. She talked about RWA President Gayle Wilson (who also happens to be a fellow chapter member). Several years ago, Gayle entered one of her category-length romantic suspense into the Romantic Suspense category of the RITAs. Now, there were several other options for placement, where it would have been competing against books closer in length and possibly subject matter. In the Romantic Suspense category, it would compete against complex single title books. There are arguments for both choices, but this is the one Gayle made. She ended up winning this particular category against books that were longer (and presumably had the extra length to create a more intricate storyline).
Why? Because a well written book is a well written book-no matter its length or tone or complexity. I firmly believe that if you write your book to the best of your ability, IT WILL SELL. Maybe not in the time you want or the way you want, but someone out there (besides your family and friends) will see the jewel you have created and want to pass it on to the rest of the world. So put your butt in the chair and write your heart out. Continue to learn and perfect your craft, whether you've published no books or fifty. Above all, don't give up.
Feel free to print this pep talk out and reference it whenever you feel discouraged! I know it by heart because I tell it to myself all the time. Then the Playfriends tell it to me again until I finally start believing it. :)
Okay, I've rambled enough for today. But before we leave, I'd like to say one more thing.
Happy Birthday to our very own Playground Monitor!!! We love you, even when you have to get onto us for being to rowdy or refuse to bail us out of jail. May you have many more years of keeping us in line. (Oops! I was supposed to say a blessing, not a curse. ) How about-May you have many years of writing and reading ahead of you!