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2016 Where Are They Now?

January 30, 2016 | Writing

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I chose the photo because I believe this is what 2016 is all about. Climbing mountains, pulling ourselves up. 2015 seemed to pass in a blur. I remember taking down Holiday decorations, putting the tree up again, with my granddaughter’s assistance, and reluctantly taking them down again. There were 365 days, twelve months, right?

I do remember blogging about a group of unpublished writers and telling (warning them) I’d return at the end of the year to see what were their accomplishments. They did not disappoint. They worked and their successes inspire me.

My authors were LeAnne, Shaila, Tracey, Renita, Ane Ryan, Tina, and Edwina. I didn’t have as many questions as the first time around but their answers were filled with multiple achievements.

Of course I asked if they’d found time to write on a consistent basis. LeAnne experienced what happens to many of us when we carve out writing time, an emotional event interrupts our schedule. Her two beloved dogs died within four days of each other. Grieving sucks the creativity out of a person. She’s back to writing after giving herself time to heal from her loss. Shaila has a novel under contract and Tracey’s first book is being published and she’s discovered promotion eats into writing time. She did use NaNoMorWrit to get words down. Ane said she adjusted her writing schedule to aid productivity. She lowered her daily goal, takes weekends off, and discovered a five day work week works. I do the same thing. Weekends I read, have lunch with friends, and do laundry. Tina writes on a consistent basis and Edwina has two small children and teaches. Writing is difficult but she’s trying. Renita writes evenings for two to three hours and five hours on the weekend.

NaNoWriMore was a big event for writers in November. I didn’t make goal. I barely got out of the starting gate. LeAnne didn’t because of her loss, Tracey flushed out SEVENTY-THREE thousand words for the next book in her Finder’s Keeper’s series, Ane and Tina won NaNoWriMore. Tina had excellent advice, she turned off her internal editor and words flowed. Renita had surgery and in my opinion it barely slowed her down, she wrote FIFTY thousand words. November is the end of the quarter for Edwina, so it was difficult to write. Pesky students and grading.

As for accomplishments, this group had many successes in 2015. Shaila created her website and started a social media platform, joined a RWA group, attended RWA in New York, pitched, found and agent and was contracted by the end of the year. Tracey submitted to an indie publisher and has a book, Shocking Finds, coming out. She also wrote a short story for an anthology. Ane has submitted, been rejected, and continues to submit. She’s not willing to give up. Tina is looking into self-publishing and has made fantastic progress on her series. The first book finaled in The Molly and a full was requested. Edwina won the ancient/medival/renaissance category in the Hearts through History RWA chapter. Her first win. LeAnne had a good year, second place in IGO contest and made it to the second stage of Harlequin’s Blurb 2 Book Contest. She sent a proposal to Harlequin and a full was requested. Renita was determined to find a critique partner and she found one who is published. She believes this new relationship will help her improve her writing.

As writers it’s important to mix with other writers. Tina, LeAnne, and Shaila attended RWA in New York. Shaila and LeAnne pitched. Tina volunteered at local conferences. Tracey volunteered at the Rebels and Readers conference and Ane attended local workshops and a writers retreat. Renita and Edwina plan on attending RWA in San Diego this year. So do I because the following week is Comic Con. Might as well attend two great events for one round trip airline and hotel fare.

Shaila, Tina, and I are using Scrivener. I took three of Gwen Hernandez’s, the Scrivener Guru, classes and I love this writing program. I recommend the program and Gwen.

I ALWAYS ask what tidbit of advice they are willing to pass on.
Shaila – Just do it!! Learn as much as you can.
Tracey – Give to Get! Don’t expect to have connections and helping hands fall into your lap
Ane – The only writer who fails is the writer who quits writing.
Tina – Quoted her local RWA chapter moto “Together We Can”

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