Archive for June 2012

Learning to be a Writer

Hello. Cami Ostman here.

I just got back from a wonderful trip to Colorado that renewed me and gave me perspective about my life and my work as a writer. When I got my contract from Seal Press to write Second Wind a few years ago, I was elated! I was going to have the chance to write my story with some assurance that someone, maybe even a few someones, would read it. I could be creative–and do it for an audience! Little did I know how huge my learning curve would be. Now I think it’s hilarious that I used to think being a published writer was all about the WRITING!

The fact is, writing IS about writing, but publishing is about relationships: Relationships with readers, editors, agents, critics, and other writers. I’ve never been so social or self-promoting as I have been since getting published. And the learning curve has been steep for me because, although I’ve never been shy, I’ve also never had to advocate for myself with so much conscious effort.

I know a lot of you in our Red Wheelbarrow community are finding your way along this same path. Our best resources are other writers, of course, because we’re all in this together. Connecting with others who are just one step ahead of you or have found useful tools for moving themselves forward in their writing lives is one great reason to attend the RWB monthly happy hour. But in case you can’t make it to the Pickford on the first Saturday of every month (because you’re in the hospital–or because you live too far away), here are a few resources that have been helpful to me on my journey to create a writing/publishing life:

1. Sandra Beckwith’s “Building Book Buzz 101” online course.

2. Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World by Michael Hyatt.

3. Booklife: Strategies and Survival Tips for the 21st Century Writer by Jeff Vandermeer

4. Laura Kalpakian’s writing classes! Laura gets you producing and thinking about how to self-edit. Email clostman@live.com to inquire.

5. Guerrilla Marketing for Writers: 100 no-cost or low-cost weapons for selling your work.

What about you? What resource (book/conference/connection) has switched on a light bulb for you? Comment with your own favorite books, quotes, experiences? What have you learned about writing and/or publishing–and how did you learn it?