First of all, I just want to remind everyone that tomorrow is the big day, the Let's Talk Blogfest! If you haven't signed up, there is still time, go here. (Go ahead, I'll wait.) Right now we have over 80 people signed up, so it's going to be so much fun seeing what everyone comes up with!
Alright, moving on. So Saturday I attended my monthly local RWA meeting and participated in a critique round table event. Normally the meetings are workshops, but once a year they do this event where you submit your first chapter ahead of time and then they assign you one of the published authors in the group to give you an in-person critique.
Well, I was nervous to submit. All of the critiquing I get is through my online group, so I've never had the face to face thing. Plus, hello, published author looking at my work--what if I totally sucked?
But despite all that, I decided I would be silly not to take advantage of such an opportunity. People pay good money at auctions and such to get these kinds of critiques and I would get this opportunity for free. So, I went ahead and submitted the first chapter of my contemporary romance WIP. And I'm so glad I did.
My assigned author was Candace Havens, who has written a number of paranormal books and is a current Blaze author. Some of you may already be part of her free online write workshop. (If you're not, go sign up, it's a killer resource with workshops, contests to win critiques, and all kinds of other helpful tidbits.) I was so excited to find out she was who I'd been assigned.
The critique turned out to be amazing. She said I didn't need a line edit because the writing was clean (yay for that), so she spent all the time on the big picture advice that I so needed (where to start that first chapter, what the editors are specifically looking for, how I needed to strengthen my heroine to stand up to my larger-than-life hero, and how to lighten up some areas that had gone a little too dark.)
I'm only a little ways into writing this one and her suggestions sparked all kinds of new ideas for my story and are going to lead me in much better direction then what I originally had planned. And to get insight from an author who is actually writing for the line I'm targeting is priceless. Not to mention it's nice to hear from someone I admire that I can write, lol (because some days, I honestly wonder.)
So, what's my point? The point is that these kinds of resources are out there if you get linked in to the writing community around you. Join your local writing groups. The fee is usually low and my group does terrific monthly meetings with great speakers and topics. Go to a conference. I know they cost money, but many are reasonable --100-200 bucks for a 2-day thing--and you can save up for it in advance. I think every writer should give themselves at least one of these a year. And if you live in an area where these things aren't available locally, use the many resources that are available to the online community. Don't be scared to jump in and just go for it. I'm sure many members of my group did not sign up for the critique round table and missed the opportunity to get such a gift.
So, go out there and find what's available to you. Give yourself that advantage. And as a start, you can go sign up for Candace's workshop group--you have no excuse not to--it's free and available to anyone.
How about you? Do you push yourself to take advantage of what's available to you or do you find yourself making excuses not to participate? Are you comfortable online, but get nervous at the thought of doing something locally? What great resource have you found?