Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
After Page One: Support

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A guest post to motivate, encourage, and inspire

 

Seeking the Advice of Successful People

Eleven years ago, I attended my first writer's group meeting. Notebook in my hot and hopeful little hand I prepared for the wisdom, knowledge, and inspiration of other writers. Instead, I was put down and discouraged. You see, I was an unpublished writer.

A nobody.

Last month, I was invited to join a writer's group by a lovely gal I met on Twitter. Hesitant and a little frightened, I submitted the first two chapters of my novel to the group. I willingly placed myself in this vulnerable position because I want to be a better writer.

I need to be a better writer.

My story is almost complete, yet I know it needs work. I am certain there are at least one or two more rewrites in my future. Until the characters pop off the page and start talking to my reader the way they speak to me on a daily basis, I will not stop polishing my masterpiece.

Sound crazy?

It is crazy but necessary and vital in my creation process because my characters are begging me to tell their story.

I feel great about this new group because these ladies have talent. And I truly believe they want to help me be a better writer. I am not sure what my role will be in this circle of creatives, but as I humbly accepted their gentle criticism, I realized...

1. I need to surround myself with successful people in my field. If I'm interested in "making it", I must seek the help of experienced individuals who have been down the road I'm starting to travel. These people have been through the highs and lows of the creative process. They have cried. And laughed. And cried again in the fetal position to get to a place of victory.

2. I need to be honest and ask questions. It's time to chuck pride to the side, admit I'm new, and start asking questions. My educational background is in Media Studies and I am new to this novel writing thing. The first question I should ask to a willing mentor is : "What am I doing wrong?"

3. I can't take it personally. I have a pretty thick skin when it comes to my writing as I have been "encouraged" to scrap my ideas and start over numerous times in the corporate world. If my support group of creatives wants me to succeed, I believe they will critique my work from a place of sincerity.

I've found uplifting yet honest people who are willing to share their expertise and help propel me forward in my career. Have you?
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Join our After Page One series. We're looking for 300 to 500-word guest posts that motivate, inspire, and encourage other mama-writers, and we'd love to feature YOUR thoughts about getting started, getting back to a writing project, integrating writing with motherhood, reading, or having a positive attitude. The list is endless, but here are some questions that might help you get started. We'll publish a short bio at the bottom of your post so readers can learn more about you and your projects.

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Elizabeth Rago is a wife, mother, small business owner, and storyteller, She doesn’t mind talking honestly about her domestic train wrecks and awkward, ever-evolving child rearing adventures as the Co-Editor of Parenting Without A Parachute on ChicagoNow.com (an affiliate of the Chicago Tribune) and Senior Editor of All Things Girl, an Arts and Literary ezine. An eternal optimist, Elizabeth tackles the uncertainty of each day with humor and a hot cup of coffee.


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Thank you Elizabeth -- inspiring and important to hear. All writers, all humans, need a community, a support system, an honest ear.
This is such an important issue for unpublished authors. I too feel self -conscious about my status, and worry that I would feel like a burden to successful writers if I asked foe feedback. Breaking into the club seems like a very delicate task indeed.
Stephanie Hunt, Thank you so much for reading and sharing your thoughts. Yes, we as humans need community and I think we put ourselves on the back burner a lot when it comes to putting up with people in our lives who halfheartedly support us. Have a super day! -Elizabeth
Stephanie Sprenger, Hello! I found my community of supporters on Twitter. My writing group lives all over the country and we submit to each other via email and Skype once a month. I also started following writers I love on Twitter and starting commenting on their essays, which mustered up conversation! Don't give up, Stephanie, your group is out there! Thank you so much for sharing. -Elizabeth
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