Have You Forgotten the Milestones? by Susan Lute
Posted by Susan
This past Saturday, I attended a workshop: Shrewdly Using Social Media: How To Use Your Time Promoting Yourself With Facebook, Twitter and Blogs. The workshop was given by the incredibly knowledgeable Tawna Fenske (you can also find her most days at her blog: Don’t Pet Me, I’m Writing), Mike Garzillo (he specializes in Facebook fan page marketing), and Lynn Jordan, who is an expert in helping authors with technology.
I’ve always considered myself a dork and lame when it comes to social networking (there was also an aisle conversation about commas – when to use them, so I’m making an extra effort to use said punctuation wisely <g>). Our illustrious speakers threw around words like honesty, and sincerity, so I’m also making an honest attempt at sincerity.
No, I’m not poking fun. I really wish there was a handbook on how to have a personality – an interesting, engaging one – on the Internet; your brand (something else I learned today), or more accurately, who you are.
So, once again, it all boils down to, “who are you?”, or who am I, I guess. When the ‘Janes’ started this block, it was clearly understood I would be the cheerleader. I can cheer you on until you become nauseated. It’s one of my special gifts. As the months have gone by, I find myself often veering onto the lumpy path of the writer’s life. Why? I ask myself. Mostly because I LOVE ‘being’ a writer. I love everything about it. Sitting at my desk. The actual act of writing. Rewriting. Revising. Getting rejections sometimes makes me go for a special drink, but I enjoy the Bailey’s, then move on. I thrive on meeting with other writers. And absolutely LOVE being the ra-ra girl. I honestly and sincerely believe it’s our place in this world – publishing and the larger world outside of that – to help each other.
That brings me to milestones. Do you remember them? I don’t actually remember the first line of the first story I ever wrote, or the title, or the first story that was published. What I do remember, I was a junior in high school, and I was embarrassed. Not because of what I wrote (I was proud of that, and a little surprised), but because I was very shy, and ‘people’ were reading my work. OMG!
My next milestone was taking a correspondence course in writing children’s literature and publication of a little known article, Jessie’s Choice, in Listen Magazine, a periodical for high school kids.
More milestones? Making the decision to commit to writing a book. Finishing that first novel and every one after that. Joining RWA, then RCRW. My first pitch, at the Emerald City Conference many years ago, to an editor at Silhouette. Sending off that first requested partial. Getting each rejection. First request for a full manuscript. First sale. First real, live editor. First RWA Conference (New Orleans. Wow!) Becoming editor-less. Getting an agent. Parting with the agent. First digitally published book and every one that will follow. Learning social media.
Latest milestone? My second self-published book, The London Affair. Creating my first cover and learning about self-publishing.
There are so many milestones in this business. Each one should be celebrated. And enjoyed. Even the rejections and changes that feel so uncomfortable. All of it makes us better writers.
Assignment: Writers, tell us about your milestones. Readers: grab some liquid libation and share with us the first book you remember reading (Black Beauty, when I was thirteen), the one that made you laugh, and the one that made you cry.