Chasing my crazy dream in the writing world…

W.O.W. – Writer Odyssey Wednesday with Jenn Bishop September 30, 2015






One of the things I love most about my W.O.W. interview today with Jenn Bishop is her advice about querying and the writing process. What struck me most were her comments about studying other writers’ journeys and understanding that the path to publication would not be easy. It is this realization and determination to succeed that lead to her connecting with her agent and eventually selling her debut, THE DISTANCE TO HOME.



Many thanks to Jenn for sharing her writing odyssey today…




Amy: When did you begin writing seriously with the intent of wanting to be published?



Jenn: Probably 2007, though I would not say it was something I devoted as much time to as I maybe should have if I was really serious about it. What really kicked my writing into high gear was becoming an MFA student at Vermont College of Fine Arts. It wasn’t until that program (I attended from 2012-2014) that I developed a writing schedule and made it a habit.




Amy: Was THE DISTANCE TO HOME your first Middle Grade manuscript?



Jenn: It was! Which is not to say that it was my first manuscript. I wrote and queried (unsuccessfully) two young adult novels prior to beginning this book.




Amy: How laborious/frustrating was the query process for you?



Jenn: The query process for this book was different, mostly because I entered into it with the accumulated knowledge and experience from the previous two unsuccessful attempts. I developed a plan of attack and carefully documented my communication with agents—somehow having control over the data for my undertaking, being able to see all of it in some spreadsheet, gave me some sense of control. By this point, I had read about and discussed so many other writers’ experiences with querying and was completely accepting of the fact that rejection was a part of the game. I knew it all came down to finding the agent that “got” my story, and I was willing to continue the hunt until I found her/him.




Amy: I love how THE DISTANCE TO HOME surrounds the topic of baseball. How much did your love of the Red Sox influence your manuscript?



Jenn: It’s funny how the more we write, the more our writing drifts away from autobiographical elements. I find that many people’s first novels include so much about themselves. By my third book, I was definitely not writing at all about myself, but that didn’t mean that I wasn’t finding a way to work in the things I love. I’m a huge fan of the Red Sox, through good and bad, and read lots of sports journalism pieces. It was an article about Victor Martinez (no longer with the Sox, but back then he was their catcher) that sparked part of this book. He spoke of his experience with his small-town American host family, as a minor league player from Venezuela, and how close he stayed to them over the course of his professional career. Having a future star stay in your house for the summer sounded so cool to me, and I kind of tucked that thought away, waiting for the right story.




Amy: Publishing can be a very difficult business. What do you think inspired you to keep writing through good times and bad?



Jenn: A huge part of it was just wanting it badly enough, and knowing it wasn’t going to happen if I gave up. I follow several agent, publishing, and writing blogs, and reading stories of authors I admired and hearing about their journeys showed me how many hurdles there often were.




Amy: What was your call like with your agent, Katie Grimm? How did you know she was the right fit for you?



Jenn: Katie was so friendly and chatty on the phone, and also the first person I had no real connection with (not a classmate or writing friend or family member) who was excited about my book. That phone call was definitely a surreal moment.  I remember printing out a list of questions I wanted to ask her, hardly believing this was happening. I knew Katie was the right fit because she had such a strong vision for my book. We had a fair amount of revision ahead of us, but I loved knowing that she was eager and willing to revise with me. Not every agent is editorial (though it feels like more and more are, these days) and I knew that was something I wanted.




Amy: If you were giving a keynote speech at a writers conference, what would the most important piece of advice you would share?



Jenn: Don’t give up. It sounds really simple, but I strongly believe that if you continue to work on your craft, to keep writing and putting your work out there, starting new projects, reading tons of books in your genre, and learning from what agents and other writers have to say about your writing, you will get better and better at it. The project that connects you with an agent and editor might not be your first, or your second (or your third, fourth, etc.), but you’ll learn so much from all the projects that came before.









Last summer, Quinnen was the star pitcher of her baseball team, the Panthers. They’re headed for the championship, and her loudest supporter at every game was her best friend and older sister, Haley.


This summer, everything is different. Haley’s death, at the end of last summer, has left Quinnen and her parents reeling. Without Haley in the stands, Quinnen doesn’t want to play baseball. It seems like nothing can fill the Haley-sized hole in her world. The one glimmer of happiness comes from the Bandits, the local minor-league baseball team. For the first time, Quinnen and her family are hosting one of the players for the season. Without Haley, Quinnen’s not sure it will be any fun, but soon she befriends a few players. With their help, can she make peace with the past and return to the pitcher’s mound?


Told in a timeline that alternates between these two pivotal summers, Jenn Bishop’s heartwarming debut is a celebration of sisterhood and summertime, and of finding the courage to get back in the game.





JennBishopJenn Bishop is a former youth services and teen librarian. She is a graduate of the University of Chicago, where she studied English, and Vermont College of Fine Arts, where she received her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults. Along with her husband and cat, Jenn lives just outside of Boston, where she roots for the Red Sox. For more on Jenn, check out her social media links:


Twitter handle: @buffalojenn

Facebook author page:




Monday Musings: Where To Begin? September 28, 2015

Filed under: Blog,Publishing,writing,writing craft — chasingthecrazies @ 9:16 am
Tags: , ,


Whether you are starting your first novel, or your fifth, there is always the question of where to begin. Some people outline and have a specific idea about where they think their tale takes form. Others fly by the seat of their pants, allowing the story to just flow out of them.



Whichever camp you belong to, one thing usually holds true: getting those first lines down can be difficult. The beginning is where you grab your reader by the throat, hoping they hold on for the ride through the very last word. Knowing those first couple of paragraphs, pages, chapters have to be solid can create anxiety for even the most seasoned writer.



It is this anxiety that keeps even the best of writers from starting their next book. It’s the “what ifs” and “maybe I don’t have another one in me” that keeps us from sitting down at the computer. Keeps our hands hovering over the keyboard. The truth is, it’s pretty much like performance anxiety. It’s that all-consuming pressure to outdo the last project, and that worry alone can make even the best of us crawl into a corner and do a little rocking and quiet mumbling.



What I want to say to any and every writer today is that you are NOT alone. We have all been there-heart pulsing, palms sweating, worrying whether you have that ability to create a first great line again. Start your first chapter off with a bang. It’s all a part of what this job is about- the doubt, the worry. You as a writer, an artist, a creator, are bound to have these fears. The key is to accept all of it and then put it aside. Say, “okay, I know you’re there,” but you write no matter how crappy the words are because we all have to start somewhere.



Those novels you loved, the classics, the bestsellers, most of them started out with horrible first lines, first paragraphs, first pages (and the writer probably acknowledged that) but they continued to push forward. They allowed the story to be written. Then once it was done, their real craft came into play. The tearing and twisting. The pushing, pulling, and dissecting of the story before it went to readers, agents, or editors.



For me as a writer acknowledging the fear and worry spurs me along. The doubt is like a quiet taunt, urging me to fight back. Prove that I do indeed have another story in me. It’s this challenge that has me staring at a blinking cursor this morning and saying to myself, “Come on, Amy, you can do it. The book is there. Just be brave enough to put the words on the page.”



So as I hit that first key, I feel like a warrior challenging the Doubt Dragon. Slaying that incredible beast known as insecurity. For in this moment, I have a story to tell, and nothing, not even my own worry, can hold me down. This moment is my truth, and in order to push on, I have to believe in my craft. My ability to weave a whisper in my head into a story on the page. It’s a challenge, but I know I have it in me.



Fellow writers, how do you tackle doubt surrounding a new project? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.


FIRST FIVE FRENZY with Alex Barba of Inklings Literary Agency September 25, 2015

FFF SideWords




If you’re like me, you toil for hours editing and fine-tuning the first pages of your manuscript. You look at the first lines to make sure they are compelling and tight. You examine the next few paragraphs hoping your MC’s voice is already taking hold of the reader.


The First Five Frenzy is all about getting an agent’s perspective on what works, and what fails, in those first pages of a manuscript. It’s tricky to get just the right balance, but I hope by reading each agent’s comments you’ll learn how to make your manuscript a shining gem that will be requested time and time again.


Today I’m proud to share Literary Agent, Alex Barba’s perspective on what’s important in those critical first pages.




Amy: There is a belief among many writers that having a great first line is imperative to drawing in the reader. How important is a first line to you as an agent?



Alex: Extremely important, but don’t lose your head over it — I always at least read the first page, so if you can hook me there, you’re doing well enough 🙂



Amy: Many times a writer is told to stay away from common openings like dreams, eating breakfast, riding in a car, etc. What are some common openings you recommend writers stay away from?



Alex: Similar to dreams, don’t start with your character waking up. Don’t have them looking in a mirror in the first several pages (or ever, if you can avoid it) or have excessive physical description right off the bat. Same with starting with a character looking out a window. All a bit cliché at this point.



Amy: When you’ve responded to a writer to request a partial or full manuscript, what was it about their first pages that piqued your interest?



Alex: It’s almost always the voice. I know writers hate to hear that because “voice” is something that can’t really be described, but trust me – if you really know your characters through and through, and they are original and interesting and compelling, you’re at least on your way to great voice! On occasion I’ve requested a full based on the overall storyline, if I think it’s particularly fascinating or unique.



Amy: What are some common mistakes writers make in their first five pages?



Alex: For one, the obvious: telling too much instead of showing. I don’t want to read that your main character is “strong, independent, and feisty.” I want to see her say something snappy or do something bold. Another common mistake is giving too much backstory off the bat. You don’t have to start right in the middle of the action (although often, that works), but don’t start too slow either. You have to grab the reader in the first page, and endless description or explanations aren’t going to do it!




 Amy: What resonates with you most in those first pages? Voice? Pacing? Unique concept?



Alex: A unique concept in the pitch/synopsis will get my attention, but the voice is definitely what makes me fall into a story headfirst. Voice is based in character, and to me, there is nothing more magical than a character (or group of characters) that engage me fully and make me want to know more about them and their lives.



Alex Barba is an agent with Inklings Literary Agency with a background in publishing and entertainment. She joined Inklings after a stint as a literary consultant in New York City, having scouted the U.S. book market for film and TV clients and foreign publishers. Prior to that, she spent time in Los Angeles as an editor at a digital magazine, and doing story development on scripts with a literary management company.


She represents YA fiction and is primarily looking for realistic contemporary YA, although a clever retelling/re-spin of an old classic is always thrilling. Cinematic elements draw her eye, but ultimately she will fall in love with multi-faceted, compelling characters. For specific wish list items, check her Twitter @AlexandraBarba.


If you’re interested in submitting to Alex, please check the Inklings Literary website for their guidelines.





W.O.W. – Writer Odyssey Wednesday with Isabel Bandeira September 23, 2015





I love when life experience influences writing. As Isabel Bandeira shares in her W.O.W. today, her travels to Portugal with her family when she was young helps to inspire her work today. It proves that creativity can come from the most simple and inspiring situations.



Many thanks to Isabel for sharing her writing journey today…




Amy: At what age did you truly know you wanted to be a writer?



Isabel: I think I’ve always known. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love books and telling stories. My mom even has these “books” I made as soon as I learned how to write– we had a good laugh over them the other day!


And no, I’m never sharing those “books” with the internet. Nope.





Amy: When did you complete your first manuscript?



Isabel: Does my attempt at an epic Star Trek novel in high school count? (That thing was massive)




Well, back in senior year of high school, I had awful advice from a well-known author that had me convinced my chances of ever getting published were nonexistent. It took over a decade to learn that he was wrong, and I’ve been making up for lost time ever since. I completed my first recent manuscript back in 2011.





Amy: How many completed manuscripts did you query before one garnered agent interest?



Isabel: BOOKISHLY EVER AFTER was the second manuscript I queried, and I was very lucky that it found an agent and publisher home. What’s funny is that I wrote B.E.A. just for fun and just for me while I was querying my first manuscript. I never thought it would actually be something I would query. But sometimes, those turn out to be the best kind of manuscripts.





Amy: Are you one of those people who has an easy time writing a query or does it take several tries before you land on the one you want to send?



Isabel: People actually find query writing easy? What magic is this?


As hard as it is to write queries and pitches and synopses, I’m actually really thankful I had to! Now, when people ask me about my book, I lean on my twitter pitch. When my publisher asked for a draft book jacket description, I started with the body of my query. Writing condensed versions of your plot is a great skill that you learn and hone in the query process.





Amy: I love the fact that as a child you spent your summers in Portugal. How did that experience influence your writing?



Isabel: My sisters and I like to joke that you can’t throw a rock without hitting a castle in Portugal. And scattered in the middle of forests and farmland, there are remnants of Roman roads, stone circles, and ancient tombs. My grandmother would tell us about old traditions from her childhood that, when I’d look them up years later, stretched back millenia. Stealing a saying from Anne, there was (and is) so much “scope for imagination” there. It was the perfect place for younger me to dream up her own fairy tales.





Amy: Can you give us a short summary of your call with your agent, Carrie Howland? How did you know she was the right fit for you?



Isabel: My call with Carrie was actually while I was sitting in my car in the parking lot of a cadaver lab. I’d spent the entire day with surgeons testing products and, since cleanup ran late, I didn’t have time to change or drive home. Back then, it felt like a disaster, but now I like that my call story is pretty unique.


Most of the call is a little bit of a blur. We talked about BOOKISHLY EVER AFTER and the other Ever After series books, as well as some of my other projects. Carrie told me about her process and her clients. I remember feeling that we seemed to click really well with each other.


I actually had to choose between Carrie and another awesome agent. I made pros and cons lists and talked with friends, and each time, I had a gut feeling that she would be the right agent for me. I’m glad I went with that feeling.






Amy: The writing process is grueling and querying even more difficult. What one piece of advice can you impart to aspiring writers to encourage them to keep working towards their dream?



Isabel: I’m going to quote straight from a blog post I wrote back when I started querying BOOKISHLY EVER AFTER. I still believe every word of it:


“What I’ve learned from years of product development (Proof that engineering has hardened part of my soul?):

  1. You are not your design (or book.) When people critique/reject/whatever your product, you are not the product. I know it might feel like an extension of your own body and soul (believe me, I knoooooow,) but it’s not– it’s only something you made. If the product disappeared, you will still be here and valuable.”

… (the rest is here if you’re curious:


Keep writing. Do things to remind yourself why you love to write. And remember, no matter how deep those query trenches feel, you are not your book. But you *are* a writer, and that’s a really special thing to be.





Bookishly ever




In a perfect world, sixteen-year-old Phoebe Martins’ life would be a book. Preferably a YA novel with magic and a hot paranormal love interest. Unfortunately, her life probably wouldn’t even qualify for a quiet contemporary. But when Phoebe finds out that Dev, the hottest guy in the clarinet section, might actually have a crush on her, she turns to her favorite books for advice. Phoebe overhauls her personality to become as awesome as her favorite heroines and win Dev’s heart. But if her plan fails, can she go back to her happy world of fictional boys after falling for the real thing?




Isabel BandeiraGrowing up, Isabel Bandeira split her time between summers surrounded by cathedrals, castles, and ancient tombs in Portugal and the rest of the year hanging around the lakes and trees of Southern New Jersey, which only fed her fairy-tale and nature obsessions. In her day job, she’s a Mechanical Engineer and tones down her love of all things glittery while designing medical devices, but it all comes out in her writing. The rest of the time, you’ll find her reading, at the dance studio, or working on her jumps and spins at the ice rink.


Isabel lives in South Jersey with her little black cat, too much yarn, and a closetful of vintage hats. She is represented by Carrie Howland of Donadio and Olson, Inc.


For more on Isabel, check her out on these social media sites:











QUITE THE QUERY- Judy Clemens with TAG, YOU’RE DEAD September 18, 2015

Filed under: Blog,Inspiration,Publishing,Query — chasingthecrazies @ 8:37 am
Tags: , , , , ,





If you ask any writer about the process of connecting with their agent (or publisher), the majority will say the most difficult part was querying. Not only the actual process of sending out the letters/emails, but formulating the query itself. In fact, I’ve heard more than a few authors say writing their query took them almost as long as drafting their book!


Some people have the talent of being able to summarize their book in a few sentences. But for those who don’t, I wanted to provide a resource so writers could learn what works, and what doesn’t, in a query.


With that in mind, I’m pleased to share today’s successful query from Judy Clemens. This great query connected her with her agent, Uwe Stender.




When six teenagers play Tag in present-day Chicago, there’s a twist from the childhood version…if you get Tagged, you get Dead. The three “Its” have their reasons for buying a place in the Game: surgically-enhanced Brandy is dying to destroy a naturally beautiful girl; untalented Robin desires his target’s position on the school basketball team; and brainiac Charles craves a battle against an intellectual equal. 



Three hand-picked innocents play as “Runners,” under threat to their loved ones should they refuse to participate: lovely, small-town Laura; superstar athlete William; and Amanda, gamer extraordinaire. These three want only one thing…to survive. As soon as the Runners receive the “Go” on smart watches locked onto their wrists, the Game rockets them through the city, from the El to Michigan Avenue to the Lincoln Park Zoo. There is no time to rest; every thirty minutes the Runners’ coordinates are transmitted to the Its, which diminishes the Runners’ chances of ever reaching Home Base alive.



The Game will not end until someone is Tagged, so the Runners must choose how to play: will they accept death, murder their Its, or find a way to use their individual strengths to stop the Game before anyone dies?



TAG, YOU’RE DEAD is an 80,000-word YA Thriller that alternates among the POVs of all six players in the Game.



Fun Tidbit:


I entered the first version of this query in Query Kombat on Twitter, and after making changes throughout the process ended up the Runner-up of the contest! A great contest during which I made lots of new friends and got a much stronger query.




Judy C.Judy Clemens is the author of the Stella Crown and Grim Reaper mysteries, as well as the stand-alone LOST SONS. She lives in Ohio with her husband, two kids, and two cats. For more on Judy, check out her website, follow her on Twitter or Facebook.



W.O.W. – Writer Odyssey Wednesday with Laurie Elizabeth Flynn September 16, 2015




Life experience. It’s one of those things as an author we draw upon for creativity, imagination, and inspiration. Today in my W.O.W. interview with Laurie Elizabeth Flynn, she shares how the things she’s tackled in her life allowed her to stay focused while in the query trenches. It’s those experiences that prepared her for rejection, inspired her to commit to her dreams and eventually write her debut which connected her with her agent, Kathleen Rushall.


Many thanks to Laurie for sharing her journey today…






Amy: What inspires you to write Young Adult Fiction?


Laurie: That’s a great question, and one I think about often. For me, it’s less about “what” and more about “who.” I’m inspired by teens: their guts and courage, their boldness and shyness, their mistakes, their hopes and disappointments, their realities, the kaleidoscope of emotions they feel every single day. I’m inspired by them and want to do them justice and give them stories they can relate to.





Amy: How many manuscripts had you completed prior to FIRSTS?


Laurie: I had completed two manuscripts prior to FIRSTS, and both were New Adult contemporaries. I queried the first one for almost a year before ultimately shelving it, and finished the second right before launching into FIRSTS.





Amy: How much did your life experience with traveling and being a model influence FIRSTS?


Laurie: It might sound strange, but modeling helped prepare me in a big way for the query trenches. With modeling, you have to get used to rejection and not take it personally. When I was overseas, I could go to eight castings a day and get chosen for none of them. Then my agency could randomly get a call and I’d have a job booked for the next day. I got used to not knowing what happened next and what was going on behind the scenes, and I became okay with that. I grew a thick skin and understood that every “no” was subjective. When I started querying, I tried not to obsess over what agents were reading my pages and what they were thinking. I found it easier to accept that a lot of things were out of my control because of my modeling experience.


I think my time spent modeling also gave me courage to try new things and be unafraid to be myself. This was a very important factor when I wrote FIRSTS, because when the self-doubt started creeping in, I wrote through it. I reminded myself that I was writing the story I wanted to write, the story I needed to write, the same way I reminded myself when I was boarding a massively long flight from Vancouver to Tokyo that I was living the life I wanted to live.





Amy: Are you one of those people who has an easy time writing a query or does it take several tries before you land on the one you want to send?


Laurie: At first, writing a query letter was almost as difficult for me as writing an entire book! For my NA contemporaries, it took many iterations before I found something I was comfortable sending out to agents, and I still ended up tweaking as I queried to see what version got the most favorable results. With FIRSTS, it was a bit easier, and I think it’s because I knew the hook—which, looking back, is what I was missing from my first two books.





Amy: Did you receive instantaneous response or did you have to wait for requests/rejections?


Laurie: I experienced a mixture of both. Some fast replies, some longer waits, some waits that felt like forever but weren’t actually long all. I wish I could say I didn’t check my email a million times a day when I was querying, but that would be a total lie!





Amy: What was your “call” like with your agent, Kathleen Rushall?  How did you know she was a good fit for you?


Laurie: I was incredibly nervous for the call—mostly because I wasn’t entirely sure it was “the” call, so I didn’t want to get my hopes up. But Kathleen was kind, enthusiastic, and so smart and insightful. She made me feel at ease and as soon as she started talking about FIRSTS, I knew she “got” my book. Her suggestions for making it a stronger manuscript resonated deeply with me and I also loved how interested she was in my other works-in-progress and me as an author. Right away, I really admired Kathleen’s fearlessness. We both knew FIRSTS was edgy and weren’t sure how editors would respond, but Kathleen was ready to go there with me, and that willingness to take risks still means the world to me.





Amy: Was there ever a time you thought about giving up on your writing dream? If so, what motivated you to keep writing?


Laurie: Yes, definitely. I queried my first NA contemporary for close to a year, and while I received requests and even an R&R, nobody quite connected with it enough to want to represent it. I was doubting myself and my capabilities and wondered if I should just call it quits, if I didn’t have what it takes. But what motivated me to keep writing was working on something new. I realized how damaging it was for my confidence checking my email day after day and judging my writing solely on the responses that trickled in. So I started a brand new project. And pretty soon, the sting of rejection was dulled considerably. After that, I was never not working on something else.





Amy: What advice did you get early on in your writing career that you still use today?


Laurie: Write for yourself. Don’t write something just because you think it has a better chance of selling in today’s market. Trends come and go quickly. Write for you, because your passion will radiate in your pages. That idea you have that kind of scares you? Write it. The character you’re afraid people will hate? Write her, too. If you write with conviction, readers will feel it.





LE FlynnLaurie Elizabeth Flynn writes contemporary fiction for young adults. Her debut, FIRSTS, will be published by Thomas Dunne Books/St Martin’s Press on January 5, 2016.


Laurie went to school for Journalism, where the most important thing she learned was that she would rather write made-up stories than report the news. She also worked as a model, a job that took her overseas to Tokyo, Athens, and Paris.


Laurie now lives in London, Ontario with her husband Steve, who is very understanding when she would rather spend time with the people in her head. Laurie can mostly be found writing happily at her desk, with the world’s most spoiled Chihuahua on her lap. Laurie drinks way too much coffee, snorts when she laughs, and times herself when she does crossword puzzles.


Laurie is represented by the amazing Kathleen Rushall of the Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.


For more on Laurie, check out her website or follow her on Twitter (@laurellizabeth).


Monday Musings: A Positive Spin on the Negative September 14, 2015

Filed under: Blog,Inspiration,Publishing,writing craft — chasingthecrazies @ 6:55 am
Tags: , , ,


Last week I shared a post on Facebook that made me nervous. I didn’t want it to sound like a rant, but there was something going on in the writing community that was bothering me and I needed to get it off my chest. I’m not very big on sharing things publicly, but I care about this community and wanted to talk about how I felt. The post is here if you want to read it – BUT that is not the focus of my blog today.


What I want to talk about is all the positive things I find in the writing community and how it has helped me from the beginning. It’s my attempt to put something honest and kind back into a community that seems to have become combative and filled with vitriol.


When this blog was in its infancy I focused on sharing tales from my own journey. I got incredible feedback and felt like I wanted to do something positive for my readers. With this in mind, I reached out to successful authors and asked them to share advice and tales from their own paths to publication. This eventually grew into my W.O.W. series. – which would not have been possible if not for the generosity of other writers. When this all first started I was an unknown writer. Those seasoned authors could have easily blown off my emails, but instead they graciously answered my questions, offering up their own pieces of sage advice about the world of publishing. To this day, I’m still overwhelmed when an author agrees to an interview. I know how sacred their writing time is, yet they take a moment away from that to share their stories. For that I will always be infinitely grateful.


Since the beginning of my writing career I’ve discovered how kind writers can be to one another. After I finished my first manuscript, I took a trip to New York to attend a pitch event. On the first day we were divided into groups by category and genre. Of course, YA being the biggest. What started as a group of unknown writers all eyeing each other, and sizing one another up, turned into something much more incredible. We worked together, shared our pitches, and by the end of the event were rooting and cheering each other on. A group of 15 strangers linked together by a common goal. To this day one of those writers, Katie French, is still a close friend and important part of my writing sphere. This should be the core of our community – lifting each other up instead of tearing one another down.


If you need one other piece of evidence that points to how amazing this community is, let me share one last personal example. As many of you may know, I just finished a huge revision. I’m not going to lie, it was draining and during the process I cried (a lot). I’d been wracked with doubt and feeling down until I reached out to other writers who I knew had been through the same thing. Let me tell you those writers showed up for me in SPADES. Sharing their own struggles. Offering advice, cheering me on, and most importantly reminding me that this was only a step in the journey, not the end all be all. One day (hopefully) I’ll be able to thank each and every one of those people in a grand way (maybe in an acknowledgements page!!!), but until now they know privately just how much I love and appreciate them.


The grumbles on social media may get the biggest push on heightened days, but what remains constant for me in the writing community is the overwhelming number of people who are honest, kind, and incredibly giving of their time.


I’m not one to point out a problem and not offer a solution so here is my idea…


The next time you see someone going after an author I propose this-reach out to a writer you admire and let them know how much you love their work. Contact a beta or CP and tell them know how much you appreciate their time. Give a loving shout out to your writing group and tell them they are AMAZING! Perhaps as a community we can drown out the anger one smile and kind word at a time.










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