Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Writing ~ A Lifelong Learning Process


By Narelle Atkins

I started writing my first book last century. Fourteen years later I sold that book to a traditional publisher in a six book deal. My writing apprenticeship of fourteen years is long by today's standards.

A debut author has options in 2017 that didn't exist when I started writing. They can pursue traditional publishing opportunities or independently publish their first book. Both options are legitimate. The wisdom lies in an author discerning which publishing path (traditional, indie, or hybrid) is best for their writing career and whether or not their book is ready to be published.

Writing quality matters. In many ways it matters more in 2017 than it did last century. The book market is saturated with books that aren't going out of print. The supply of new print, digital, and audio books available for readers to purchase or borrow increases every day. Millions of books are available online. Readers are no longer limited to reading what's available on the shelf in their local book store or library. The best quality books will stand out in a crowded market where word of mouth marketing sells books.

My fourteen year writing apprenticeship was largely spent on two key things. Firstly, I invested time and money in learning the craft of writing. I took writing classes, read craft books, attended writing conferences, worked with critique partners, and entered unpublished writing contests.

Secondly, I learned how to write a marketable contemporary Christian romance that attracted the interest of an editor at a publishing house. Both of these endeavours required skills that aren't born from natural talent. A writing career requires persistence, hard work, and a willingness to learn.

The hard work doesn't end when your debut book is published. Marketing and book promotion activities become part of an author's life. Readers who enjoyed your first book eagerly await your second book. And your third book. They want to be wowed again and again by the stories you create.

Writing professional development is a lifelong pursuit for authors. Traditionally published authors have to wow their editor to obtain their next contract. All authors have to wow their readers to inspire them to buy their next book.

In early March I was blessed to have an opportunity to attend a Margie Lawson Immersion Master Class over a holiday weekend. In Canberra. Only a fifteen minute drive from my home. I've wanted to work with Margie for years and I was thrilled that I could fit the Writing Intensive Master Class into my 2017 schedule. The timing was perfect for a bunch of reasons.

Margie Lawson is our international keynote speaker at our upcoming 2017 Omega Writers Conference, October 27-29 in Sydney, Australia.

Have you made plans in 2017 to pursue writing professional development opportunities? Do you have the 2017 Omega Writers Conference dates marked on your calendar? I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences.



A fun loving Aussie girl at heart, NARELLE ATKINS was born and raised on the beautiful northern beaches in Sydney, Australia. She has settled in Canberra with her husband and children. A lifelong romance reader, she found the perfect genre to write when she discovered inspirational romance. Narelle's contemporary stories of faith and romance are set in Australia.

Twitter: @NarelleAtkins https://twitter.com/NarelleAtkins

14 comments:

  1. Wow - great to hear that Margie Lawson is the keynote speaker at the OW Conference this year. Even more reason to come. I loved the Immersion last year.

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    1. Hi Jeanette, yes, it's very exciting news! I'm glad you've had an opportunity to do an Immersion with Margie. :)

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  2. Good on you for investing all of that time in your writing, Narelle. It's great to see it pay off. And I'm so excited that Margie will be the keynote speaker. I did an immersion class last year and it was brilliant. Will be great to catch up with Margie and learn from her again.

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    1. Thanks, Nola :) I'd love to do another Immersion with Margie. She's a brilliant teacher and I'm really looking forward to hearing her speak at our conference.

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  3. Yes, it's amazing how our writing changes, doesn't it? Before publication it changes the more we practice and the more we learn and after publication we still learn and grow an our writing continues to change.

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    1. Hi Lynne, I agree. We can continue to learn and work hard to improve the quality of our writing. :)

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  4. Woo hoo, Margie is coming to Omega! Well done to the people responsible for acquiring Margie.

    Will be a greater learning opportunity for all of us.

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    1. Hi Ian, yes, the Omega Conference Committee have done a great job in securing Margie as the keynote speaker. I'm looking forward to attending the conference. :)

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  5. The 2017 Omega Writers Conference has been on my calendar (and in my diary) since the day I bought them. And I'm thrilled Margie will be a speaker at the conference--she's lifted my writing (and editing) to a whole new level. It will be great to see her again.

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    1. Hi Iola, yes, it will be great to see Margie in October. :)

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  6. 'Persistence, hard work and a willingness to learn!' Yes, that's it, Narelle. No true writer can ever say, 'I'm there.' We have to keep pushing on. We'll all get knock-backs from time to time but that should harden our resolve to keep on stretching ourselves.

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    1. Hi Rita, I really enjoy the challenge of writing and learning more about writing craft. :)

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  7. You've seen a lot of changes Narelle! So excited Margie is coming to OWC :D

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    1. Hi Andrea, Yes, it will be a sweet reunion for the Margie-grads at the conference, and a chance for everything else to discover why we've loved working with Margie. :)

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