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Takeaways from a one-day workshop

Yesterday I attended a one-day workshop sponsored by Winston-Salem Writers (a group of which I’m a member) and given by the truly amazing C. Hope Clark. One reason she’s amazing is that she’s a bit of an introvert, not the kind of person who enjoys standing up in front of a crowd of strangers and sharing her knowledge. You’d never know it, by the way. She’s learned some strategies for dealing with that. And she shares them in one of the two books I bought at the workshop, “The Shy Writer Reborn.” It’s available from Amazon in e-book and paper. The Shy Writer Reborn 

One of the most important things I learned—or maybe just had reinforced for me—is to value your writing. Hope Clark is the founder of “Funds for Writers” (and if you’re not getting this newsletter, at least in the free version, why not?), and she reminded me that writing for free is not, as a rule, beneficial to your career. Write some guest blog posts for free, sure, and your own blog, but don’t give away your writing.  Much of her focus is not the same as mine. She loves writing for magazines. I have a dreadful time writing non-fiction. Still, the thought is the same.  If you’re writing short stories and submitting them to anthologies that don’t  even offer a contributor’s copy and/or a token payment, you are not valuing your own writing nearly enough. That anthology publisher is going to charge money for the book, isn’t it? Then why on earth not compensate the people who provide the content?

Another thing I picked up from the workshop is to look for opportunities in places you might not consider from the get-go. Look beyond the surface. Do your research. When you start looking for an agent, if that’s something you decide you want, don’t give up. Write a new query letter for each agent, tailoring it to that particular agent.  If the book isn’t hooking the interest you think it should, perhaps you need to rework the book entirely. Don’t stop. Don’t stop trying to improve.

And I’d say you might give some serious thought to picking up Hope’s newsletter. Try the free version for a year or so. Then graduate to the paid subscription. It’s only $15 a year and the newsletter is packed—packed!—with opportunities to make a bit of money (or maybe a lot of money) with your words. Go here (Funds For Writers) and sign up. You’ll soon find out why Writer’s Digest has named this website one of the top 101 websites for writers year after year. At the top of the page are buttons where you can follow her on Facebook and Twitter as well.

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