Happy New Year to all. Looking ahead at the new year you may want to consider the following writing related goals:
1. Enter a Contest:
Funds for Writers maintains a useful list of writing contests.
The Writer’s Digest Contests are among the best paying and well known.
Poets and Writers has a good directory of writing competitions.
Literary magazines such as Glimmer Train are also a good place to look.
Last week our group got an email from The Moonbeam Children’s Book Award about their 2014 contest. Start looking now and you are sure to find a writing contest in 2014 that fits your schedule and style.
2. Apply for a Grant or Fellowship:
Again, Funds for Writers is a good resource for information about grants.
The Nevada Arts Council is also an excellent resource.
3. Attend a Conference:
Conferences are a great opportunity to network and learn about both the craft of writing and the business of publishing.
Our own Las Vegas Writer’s Conference is coming up April 24th. Don’t forget to register before the price increase on January 16th! You can register online or at one of our meetings. Our conference is one of the only ones I know of that allows attendees to pitch to agents and editors free of charge. Most others charge $20 to $50 per pitch.
At writing.shawguides.com you can look up conferences by state and month to find one that fits your schedule.
4. Learn a new skill:
Today’s author carries more responsibility for promotion, and a working knowledge of social media and marketing is invaluable in making a career (or viable hobby) as an author.
Writer’s Digest runs a series of webinars and online classes that address topics from how to craft a query letter to tips for plot development. Check out their education section for more information.
Another great resource for education is found (free!) in our own Henderson Writer’s Group. Each month we invite speakers to address aspects of writing and publishing.
This January we’ll have two speakers at our regular Monday meetings: Lauren Tallman will speak January 13th about the genre of erotica, and CJ Mun will be speaking to our group on January 27th. CJ is the coordinator for the Southern Nevada branch of SCBWI (The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators).
If you’ve always intended to read Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style, or another writing-related book, now is a good year to do it. Keep in mind that all the conferences, contests, webinars, speakers, and books you can find will not help you in your writing career if you are not actually writing. The daily ritual of time at the keyboard or notebook is where the real magic happens. This art of creation can be greatly helped by the right motivation and camaraderie, but don’t neglect to nurture the most important habit of a writer: sit down and write!
Happy New Year and thanks for reading,
Newsletter Editor, Jenny Ballif