Friday, July 29, 2011

What I Learned This Week

This week there were a lot of blog posts that got me thinking, and I printed out a few to save for my writing notebook (for those moments when I need to look back and be inspired or remind myself that I need to be doing something productive). What I learned this week:

1. How to create an elevator pitch from agent Rachelle Gardner. I always get tongue-tied when someone asks me about my novel, so it's probably good to have something prepared.

2. Things to consider when thinking about writing a sequel, from Amparo Ortiz's blog, No Rest for the Lazy,  Sequels: What I Like as a Reader.

3. How to take a step beyond reading middle grade books and learn more from them, from a guest post by Carmelo Martino called Reading Like a Writer on agent Mary Kole's blog KitLit.

4. You have to keep things in perspective (in life as well as in writing). My in-laws are visiting, need I say more? Actually, I loved this post from Kerrie at The Writing Bug called No More Rejections. A quote:

We send our work out to see if an agent, editor or publisher is interested and they respond with a "yes" or a "no thank you."

They are not rejecting us or our work, they are simply responding to us.

5.  You'll never get a "Yes" if you don't keep trying.

I read a comment on someone's blog with this message (sorry, I didn't get the source, and the wording was slightly different) and it has stuck in my head. I'm going to put it on one of my computer stickies. Sometimes writing can be so discouraging, because it's hard. But the more writing and submitting I do, the stronger my writing gets. I am definitely deepening my understanding of what it means to be persistent.

I hope you had a great week. Did you learn anything interesting this week?


  1. Thanks for the links! and yes, we have to keep trying! Never give up. :)

  2. I also get tongue tied when someone asks about my novel, so I need to work on the various lengths of pitches - the small, medium, and large versions.

    This week I learned that critiques can scathe, but the next day is a new day to make my writing even better.

  3. Great links. Pitching is so nerve wreaking. Keeping things in perspective in this industry is crucial. Giving up is not an option, no matter how tempting.

  4. I learned that there is such a thing as chocolate covered bacon on a stick :)

    I also need to work on pitches - trying to sum up a story/novel in a few words is a great exercise in making sure you actually have a story and/or a point to your story.

  5. Oh, I so identify with point #1. I'm going to a conference in October, and I plan to have my pitch down cold.

  6. Barbara, I always find that critiques hurt at first, but when I come back to them a little later, I can usually see the value in the points.

    One of the things I didn't know about writing a novel is all the other stuff I'd have to write: the pitches of different lengths, the synopsis, the query... It's exhausting just thinking about it.

    Susanna, I didn't know about chocolate covered bacon either. Did you try it?

  7. Excellent advice! I never thought I'd use my elevator pitch but both of the conferences that I went to this past year I ended up using it 4 times on editors! So.... it is always important to be prepared.

  8. I like the quote about how to handle rejection. It's hard not to take it personally. It's our work, after all. It could be for a myriad of reasons that have nothing to do with our writing, but we don't know with a form rejection. Still, I've gotten better.

    I've learned this week that the time I've spent blogging and building relationships is more supportive than I realized.


I love to hear your responses and thoughts! Your comments will appear after moderation (I've decided to enable moderation due to excessive spam).