The Innkeeper’s Bride is releasing on Jan 14 of this month. That’s amazing to me because this month I have hit a milestone!
On January 1, 2000, I decided to start try writing my first book. As you can imagine it was terrible, and I realized that I needed to learn how to write before I started to write. So I took a correspondence course (anyone remember those?) on writing fiction, joined a writing group, and began to learn the craft of writing. In 2001 I received my first contract for a novella, and I’ve been writing ever since.
So what have I learned over the past twenty years?
- Never ever stop learning about writing. Even though I’ve been writing for a long time and have written a lot of books–over fifty at last count– there is still a lot about writing that I don’t know. Being a constant student of the craft is essential.
- Stay balanced. Don’t let one aspect of your writing career be out of balance with the other. Don’t be overwhelmed by the business to the point of having writer’s block, and don’t ignore things like marketing and networking. A balanced career, just like a balanced life, is both productive and satisfying.
- The publishing business constantly changes. When I first started writing, Internet publishing was barely a thing, I still had to send some of my manuscripts through the mail, and there was no such thing as social media. Now there are numerous avenues to getting published and marketed–which is good, but it can be confounding, too. Just when you think publishing is going to stabilize, something else happens to throw everything off kilter. Being flexible while knowing that change is on the horizon will help you maintain your creativity–and your sanity.
- Persevere. If I had to give only one piece of advice to writers, it would be to persevere. From the slog of writing a novel (especially the middle) to the long wait for a publishing contract (sometimes years–or longer) to the multiple highs and lows that come with a publishing career, always, always persevere. Remember–you’ll never succeed if you give up!
- Develop a thick skin. A writing career is full of joy and disappointments, sometimes more disappointments than joy. Not letting the little things and big things get to you is the key. How do I do that? By remembering that writing books isn’t about me, it’s about entertaining readers. I’m not going to please everybody, and that’s okay. Being content with what I do and doing it to the best of my ability and with integrity is more important than anything else.
To celebrate my twenty years in the publishing world, I’m giving away an autographed copy of The Innkeeper’s Bride. To enter: tell me in the comments one thing you’ve learned in the past twenty years. It can be anything–a new skill, a new way of doing something, a new way to look at things–whatever you’d like to share. I’ll choose the winner on 23rd.
The Innkeeper’s Bride will be available in stores on Jan. 14th! Visit this link for purchasing information.