Admittedly, 2019 isn’t a year that I’ll be looking back on with fondness. Yet this year gave me the chance to grow and expand; not just as a writer, but as a line editor, a proofreader, and an overall writing professional. That’s especially true with the projects I was tied to thanks to my membership in The Writer’s Group.
So as the Chinese New Year ends, and 2020 starts in earnest, I’m going to brag about three Writer’s Group projects that helped me push my writing skills forward in 2019.
I presented the free class “Why You’re Not a Professional Writer… Yet.”
Back in 2018, I was scrolling through Meetup on a lazy Saturday. I noticed that a writer’s group had just moved into an office near my house. The app said that their next meeting would be starting in 45 minutes. On an whim, I decided to drive down and check it out.
That split-second decision introduced me to Kora Sadler and the rest of the amazing creators at The Writer’s Group.
At the time I was working as a copywriter for Haines and Company. Kora encouraged me to tell the rest of the group how I got my job, and what they needed to do to become professional writers themselves.
I started off by a list of tips that had worked for me, but, before long, that list had become a full-blown project with a life of it’s own.
It took two years to pull it all together, but I finally presented my free class at the Kenmore library in February of 2019.
Was it terrifying? Sure. Exhausting? Yes. Did multiple things go wrong from start to finish? Absolutely. But it was still one of the greatest experiences of my life. One that gave me a chance to reach out to local writers who needed a new perspective on how to chase their dreams.
I edited a full anthology for the first time.
Most of my professional life has been focused around handling content with short word counts. On a normal day I create direct mailings that top out at 1000 words or write short stories that end after 3000 words. Even the proofreading, critiquing, and line editing projects that I spearhead for my amazing clients don’t normally go past the 5000 word mark.
This year finally gave me a chance to jump into the deep end.
Editing the first draft of The Forthcoming Anthology was the toughest job I’ve taken to date. It was also one of the most fulfilling. The experience showed me how to speak up about issues with the submission process, question authorial intent when addressing awkward grammar issues, and how many passes it really takes before the ‘T’s are crossed and the ‘I’s are dotted.
It was a master class in long form editing and it showed me what I needed to do to up my game. All while helping local writers achieve their dreams.
I attended my first ever book signing.
Every writer remembers the little victories. I’m certainly no different.
I remember how it felt to see the first short story I ever sold in print. I can remember how excited I was to get that first payment from my first real writing client. And this year I added a new memory to my collection: attending my first book signing.
This group event – hosted by The Writer’s Group – allowed me to pick the brains of established writers and learn more about Northeast Ohio readers.
It was a joy to sign copies of The Forthcoming Anthology, that I had edited and contributed to, at a one-of-a-kind occasion at Barnes and Noble. The ‘autograph friendly’ pens I bought may have fizzled out after the first 30 minutes, but the memories of that day never will.