Writing can be a lonely business. Obviously, it’s a task you have to do on your own, but is it really ALL by yourself? If you want to succeed and retain your sanity, there are several groups of people you need in your corner to make up your writing community:
- Beta readers
Without these people, you risk giving up on the arduous task of perfecting your craft and or trying to get published. You can become disillusioned. On the flip side, writers need a community to help them step outside of their own shell. Without this community, you can become trapped in your own box and lose perspective.
I don’t care what anyone says, you need a support system when you’re a writer. Dedicating hours on end to writing, editing, and then pitching to agents and publishers can be daunting.
It’s easy to get frustrated when you’re trying so hard to get your work published. I believe all authors have, at some point, questioned whether all their efforts are worth their time.
During those moments when you are swimming in a sea of self-pity, that is when you need someone in your corner to cheer you on. That is when you need a cheerleader to tell you that you’re worthy of love and you should keep your head up.
While we need cheerleaders to root us on, we also need beta readers to call us out when our work is… well… crap.
Yeah, I said it. Sometimes we can get so trapped in our own heads that we forget to ask others’ opinions and see whether our words actually make sense to anyone else. This is not a rare occurrence. ALL writers have at some point forgotten themselves. We believe “My writing is awesome!”
Then, someone else reads it and tells us, “Uhh… I don’t get it.”
That’s what beta readers are for.
Of course, it’s important to have more than one opinion. It’s also important to have the RIGHT opinions.
Make sure you ask for input from writers/readers who actually enjoy the genre you are trying to emulate. Then, be prepared to fix whatever you’ve created.
Writing is the fun part. Editing is not, which is why editors aren’t always looked upon fondly. But, editing is the vital part in the process that makes our rocks of writing shine like gems.
It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been writing or how talented you are, EVERYONE needs at least one eagle-eyed editor to correct our grammar. We need someone who catches wrong tenses, point of view changes, subject-verb disagreements, and anything else we’ve screwed up in our work.
We all have great ideas, but it takes several drafts and rounds of editing to make sure our ideas read clean, make sense, and resonate with the emotions and ideas we are trying to convey. It takes someone else to catch all the mistakes us creative writers are blind to.
So, even if that red ink may scare you when it scratches across your pages like bleeding wounds, remember that wounds heal into scars. And, those scars make your work that much more beautiful.
There’s no sense in being too prideful to admit your work needs adjusting. If you don’t have the guts to face your fearful mistakes, don’t expect an agent or publisher to look at them either.
After all the criticism brings you back down to Earth, remember to tap into those cheerleaders who blow up your head and let you float to the Heavens. Without those motivators, we wouldn’t keep trying. Without a little praise now and then, we wouldn’t have the courage to keep on writing.
Honestly, it does take a lot of courage to pour our hearts on a page and share our ideas with others. So, I applaud all of you writers in your plight to publishing.
Now, wipe that smile off your face and build your writing community. We have work to do.
By day, Amelia M.A. is a mild-mannered copywriter for publishers and authors. By night, or on long lunch breaks, she’s a passionate creative writer. Amelia has studied literature and creative writing, earning degrees in both fields. Her experience includes writing and editing copy for the publishing industry, as well as numerous other industries. She has also written several paranormal, literary novels. In both copywriting and fiction writing, Amelia admires the power of words skipping on a page: “The words we write can be more powerful than those spoken.” Find Amelia on Twitter at @AmeliaMA83 and her website: ameliama.com