When I was writing my first novel (you know, back when I was in my 20s and dinosaurs still roamed the Earth), I didn't know any other writers. The internet was just becoming a thing, so I did take some online classes and received some helpful emailed feedback from a couple of kind editors who were the recipients of my first few truly awful short stories.
But I'll be honest, I didn't know what I was doing. And I made some gaffes. I didn't follow submission guidelines to the letter. I replied to feedback asking follow-up questions that those kind editors really didn't have time for. When I finally did meet a real writer in the flesh, I asked her to read my book (she was very famous but also, luckily for me, incredibly gracious, or this could have gone much worse than it actuall did).
So when I sat down to write my next book in my 30s, I was determined to know more and do better. And that started with making connections in the writing community. Unfortunately, I was living in Finland at the time and once again did not know any local English-language writers. But a friend told me about National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), and from there I discovered the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and WriteOnCon.
Those organizations were responsible for leading me to my first set of critque partners, some of which have become my closest friends and writing partners. They were great resources for feedback on whether a scene was working, how to deepen a character, or where a plot was saggy or illogical. But they were so much more than that as well. They were sounding boards, resources, and emotional support all in one.
Having critique partners has changed my writing life from a lonely endeavor fraught with pitfalls, missteps, and rejection to one where I have guides to navigate those bumps in the road, to celebrate successes, and commiserate on failures (Alas, even the best critique partner cannot remove rejection from the mix).
That's why I started CP Meet Cute, my free critique partner matching service, last year. I'm thrilled to be holding it again this winter. Registration is open now and, in addition to the matching, which will happen in time for Valentine's Day in February, I'm also hosting a free best-practices webinar with Q&A on January 23 at 3pm Pacific/6pm Eastern. So if you've had critique groups fail in the past, or are struggling to form long-term critique partner relationships, bring your questions to me on January 23 and I'll share what I've learned over the years.
My New Year wish for each of you is that you find the writing community that's right for your unique situation. Hopefully CP Meet Cute and my best-practices webinar will help.
TOMORROW - Be A Bestseller!
You might have noticed a few extra emails in your inbox this month about Be A Bestseller: Write Your Novel With Confidence. In case you missed it, the event runs from 16-27 January 2023 and it’s totally free. I'm really excited to share my chat with friend and fellow book coach Emma Dhesi about writing socially and environmentally conscious fiction. I hope you'll check it out: https://masterclass.beabestseller.net/Julie
It starts tomorrow, so don't miss out (but also don't worry, I'll be back to my regular weekly newsletter from here on out).
Hope to see you there!