Open to Criticism

One of the things that most scary about being a writing is the criticism involved, and there are different kinds of critics.  

First, there are the real critics, the ones who consume lots of writing and who know good books from bad books. These are the people can either make or break your book sales, so it’s ideal that you want to please them. But, chasing good reviews can be a fool’s game. If you are only concerned about what literary critics will say about your book, then your writing has no heart.  

Then, there are the online critics, people who will talk about you on forums and social media. These are everyday people. And there will be people who love it and people who hate it, and trust me, you will hear the people who hate it more. You have to get over that. You have to focus on who love it and remind yourself that you work is not for everyone.  

There is also your friends and family. You really want to impress these people, and you want to prove to them that you should have been a writer all along. I promise you, even if they do not like your book, they will still say that they do because they love you.  

Lastly, and the worst critic of them all, yourself. You have to give yourself a break. Your book won’t be perfect, because nobody’s is, but it’s yours. You put your heart and soul into it and that matters.  

So, acknowledge the critics, but keep writing anyway. 

I Got an Agent!

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Eek! Today is the absolute best day in all of the universe! I got signed by a literary agent!  

This is a super arduous process that most people do not get to experience, but I am so incredibly lucky. Last week, I wrote a column for an online website that is similar to the basic premises of my book. It was well-received and even went semi-viral. I decided to capitalize on that, and sent the article to a few agents. One of them, the one I was most interested in, got back to me and wanted to sign me!  

This is where I jump up and down! 

So, you might be wondering when does my book come out? Well, we are a long way from that point. Basically, I am going to finish the first draft by the end of this month and then my agent will review it. I will likely write another draft, and then we will start shopping it out to publishers. This might take months or years, but I am so excited to be on this process.  

I will let you know more as I have them!

Writing Goals

I’ve long been a fan of goals. I feel like they are what keeps us moving, and I am also a proponent of publicizing those goals to make yourself more accountable. So, for you all, here are my goals for the next three years of my writing career: 

  • Get an agent. This is the first key step into publishing my book and really setting up future works from there. It’s a hard game to get, and there is really no right way about finding one, but I am working on it. I’ve been soliciting agents for a few months now, so I am crossing my fingers that one comes through very very soon.  
  • Publish my book. Obviously, this is a goal and I think three years is doable.  
  • Start working on a second book. This will likely depend on how the first one goes, but I have a great idea about friendships that I really want to explore. I just need to get this current book out the door before I can devote anytime to it.  
  • Become fully sufficient on my freelancing career. I still have to supplement, but I am hoping that will change.  
  • Do at least three international writing projects. I have started pitching a couple of magazines, but I am hoping I can earn some airline miles while work.  
  • Launch a writing-themed podcast. Everyone loves podcasts right? 
  • Start building my writing coaching business. I really want to help other young writers and this would be a great way to do it.  
  • Be published in the New York Times. Every writer’s dream.  

So, those are my goals for now. Maybe I will check back in every year to see how well I’ve done, or maybe I will have more to add!

Making a Living as a Writer

A couple months ago, I wrote a lengthy, well-reported feature story for a well-known magazine. It was my first time writing for this magazine, and it was a huge break for me. I was so excited about this project because it was something that really interested me, I know it could lead to future opportunities, and because it would come with a nice payout.  

But, it’s been nearly six weeks since the story ran and I have yet to get paid. This is so frustrating. As a freelancer, this happens quite often. I have to chase down payments from editors and publications, sometimes receiving pay months after I did the work.  

With this project, I thought it would be different. This was a national publication, not some indie website, and while they promised to pay fairly well, I have yet to see that.  

Being a freelance writer is incredibly hard. When I first started out, I spent months pitching ideas to editors and making connections at publications, but nothing took. I couldn’t sell anything, while I did a few free things to get some recognition (although, those didn’t really go anywhere). It was so frustrating, but eventually, I started to sell pieces. Editors began to see that I was reliable and good at what I do, so they kept me on their roster. However, the work is not always enough so I still have to pitch pieces and find new work.  

Right now, freelancing is paying only some of my bills. There are months when I get all of my payments on time and everything feels good. There are other times, though, when I barely have enough to get by and might need to take out a loan.  

A few months ago, I started my microgreen business and that has really supplemented my income. I need extra cash flow on those months when I don’t have as many projects but also something with flexible hours. I’ve always loved gardening, and microgreens farming is a way that I can interact more with the community by selling my produce at the local famer’s market.  

Still, I want to be a full-time writer and it’s really difficult at times to make that happen. I know of many freelance writers who have struggled for years before they had a steady income, and I know I just need to keep going at it. Also, I have to be thankful that I am landing good gigs like the recent feature. Having that particular publication to my name will definitely help in the future when I am pitching other pieces.  

Anyway, I guess I just need to keep plugging. 

What I Read When I’m Writing

They say that to be a good writer, you must be a good reader. And that’s very true! I’ve been reading since I was in the first grade, and I always have a good book with me.  

I average about a book a week, but that has been less as I am currently working on my own book and spending more time writing. As Stephen King says, you must make time for reading as you do writing, which I am striving to do, but it’s limited these days. However, I want to make sure that I am still swirling in the world of words, and it’s better than watching TV.  

Leading up to the research of my book, I was reading A LOT. Because my book is non-fiction, I do not read non-fiction right now. I think it would be too easy to adapt someone else’s voice and try to make my book like theirs. Instead, when I am writing, I read mostly fiction. I really love historical fiction, and that is so far from my book that I can’t overlap the two. It’s great because it allows me to see get a great grasp on storytelling and how a book thrives. This is essential in brining my book to life. 

About My Book

I’ve been getting some questions lately about what kind of book am I writing, and because it is a work in progress, I can only give you a few details. But, because I am excited about the book and I think a lot of people will really love it, I am going to share what I can! 

First off, it’s a non-fiction book about online dating and relationships. I know you are probably like not another book about online dating! But this book specifically looks at what online dating is like outside of major urban areas for people in smaller communities. What happens when you see your old English teacher on Tinder? Or, you met a great person but they live three hours away. I’ve been talking to many, many people who live in these smaller areas as well as therapists, sociologists, and historians about how trends have changed and their effects.  

I do not yet have an agent, so I don’t have a publisher or a timeline of publishing. I am hoping to finish the first draft in the next couple of months, and then we’ll see. A few friends have read the first four chapters and they like it, so I guess that’s good.  

Stay tuned as I will be posting more about the book, maybe even a chapter, as the project develops!

Why I Want to be a Writer

I think most people, at one point in their lives, wanted to do something creative. Maybe that’s be an illustrator for Disney or star in their own TV show. Whatever the medium, we all have creative spirits wanting to be brought to life.  

For me, that has been, and will always be, writing. I started reading in the first grade and I never really stopped. I often went into my parents’ home office and took whatever books I could find in their library. I stayed up way past my bed time reading, and sometimes got in trouble for reading during class (I never like math).  

One day, my mother gave me a little project. She told me to write a few paragraphs about my favorite book. When I did, she asked me how I would make it even better? And so I developed another side story for the character. We started doing this with all of my books, and then I began creating my own worlds and characters.  

English was my favorite subject, but I wanted to study something that had more career opportunities, so I decided to get a degree in journalism. I went to a great journalism school and had some awesome internships at popular websites. This sort of set the foundation for me for after college when I got a job at start-up online magazine. I liked it, but it didn’t pay too well, so I started freelancing on the side. Eventually, I decided to move across the country and freelance fulltime.  

Writing is the one thing in the world that I feel like I am kind of good at. I am know I am not always the best, but I am a solid writer. And, it’s what brings me the most happiness in the day. I love being able to put words on to a page that make people feel things. That’s why I want to keep doing this for the rest of my life!