Writing Q&A: Finding Your Writing Community
Give your ears some momentum! Listen now: (43:12)
This week on the Writing Momentum podcast, we’re playing our recent live Q&A on Finding Your Writing Community. It’s so good! Looking for a way to find writing friends or build a reading audience? We cover all that and more!
- How do I get back in the writing game when I’ve been away from it for a while?
- How do I build an audience for my book?
- What’s the best writing investment you’ve made?
- How do you network when it comes to publishing?
- Liz Wilcox’s Email Marketing Membership: https://writing.fyi/liz
- Mailerlite: https://writing.fyi/mailerlite
- Get your FREE Move the Needle goal-setting for authors ebook at https://www.writingmomentum.com
- Write with us! Join Chris, Gena, and Rene each Wednesday at noon Central and let’s get our writing DONE! https://www.writingmoments.com
EPISODE 61 Transcription:
[00:00:15].350] - Chris Hello and welcome to the Writing Momentum podcast. I'm Christopher Maselli and I'm here with my wife, Gena. How's it going, Gena? [00:00:22].930] - Gena Hi. It's going great. [00:00:25].310] - Chris All right. We have something very special for you today. Every month we record a live Q&A on Facebook where we answer people's questions. And this last month, on February 28, we did one on finding your writing community. We have questions about how do you find a writing community to sell your books? How do you find a local writing community so that you can get your writing done? And all sorts of questions like that, right? [00:00:50].050] - Gena There were all sorts of questions about finding the writing community, and I thought we tackled each one. We tried to make sure that each one was not just a repeat that our answers didn't repeat, but I think we gave some good resources that people can look for in some ways that they can find their writing community. [00:01:06].810] - Chris Yeah. So we thought you all would enjoy this listening to the podcast. So next up, we're going to go ahead and just go ahead and play this. It's about 45 minutes long, so you can play one at a time if you want or listen to the whole thing. And then we'll be back next week with a regular episode like we normally do. And then next month on March 28, we're having another Q&A on Facebook, and we'd love to have you join us live there, too. [00:01:30].140] - Gena That's March 28th at 5 PM Central Time. So definitely tune in. And if you've got questions between now and then, go ahead and send them to us. We'd love to stockpile them so that we have them for the Q&A, but we want to hear from you or tag it below, tag us, whatever, send it to us, email us. We'd just love to hear from you. [00:01:50].600] - Chris So until next time, remember, together we have Writing Momentum, and here's that Q&A. We're just going to jump right in. So we have compiled a list of questions from Reddit. On Reddit, they have a writing subreddit that is quite active and doesn't take much to go there and find a whole list of questions that people are asking. So we just thought, oh, let's go there, let's find some questions. And they're pretty universal, I think, so I think they'll be good. So let me go ahead and pop the first one up on the screen here. This is from Sapian 0101, Sapian 0101. And they say, I have two issues right now. I'm trying to get back into writing after a long hiatus during which I've been raising small children. Been there, done that. And also, I am starved for adult companionship, and I'm trying to regain some semblance of a social life after the aforementiond hiatus. I thought maybe I could tackle both these issues simultaneously. I was hoping to find a community through writing groups, either in person or online, but so far my search has left me empty handed. Have you been able to find friend social groups through writing? [00:02:56].230] - Chris Is it difficult to find? Obviously, writing by nature is a solitary activity should I try to remedy these two issues separately? That is find a time to write on my own and look for friends in some other context. Good question. So I have to jump on the one word there that you used, Sapian 0101. And that is that you said, obviously, writing is by nature a solitary activity. And I totally get what you're saying there, because when we write, we have to sit down on our computers, we're usually alone. But this is something that I have discovered over the last few years, and Gena has too, that writing isn't as much of a solitary activity as a lot of people think. In fact, we're writing a lot more now that we write with other writers. We don't just try to make this a thing that we do on our own in our office, and then we have a almost separate life from our writing life. We are trying to involve ourselves with other people in order to help them and for them to help us. And we have found that a really powerful thing to do. [00:03:56].670] - Chris And you can do that through local writing groups, through co working spaces. And of course, if you've heard us talk about this before, we have our own writing group that we call Writing Moments. You can go to writingmoments.com to find out about that. We meet every Wednesday at noon Central online, and we have a 15 minute teaching, and then we work together on our individual projects for 45 minutes for the rest of the time. And what it does is it builds us accountability and helps us get to know each other, get to know our projects, and to just really keep ourselves accountable to one another. And we love that, don't we? [00:04:31].230] - Gena We do. And I just want to say, boy, do I understand your question. There were many years back when I was first starting writing that there were different opportunities that would come up, and I wouldn't be able to go to them because I had small kids. Chris and I have three children and had them pretty close together under five years of age. That was a very busy time in my life. So at first, I applaud you for recognizing that you need companionship because you absolutely do. And you need some friends. And I really hope that you have some good friends around you that are in that same time of life. So that's the one thing. And then the other thing that I will say is definitely have grace for yourself because you are in a difficult time where you have been raising young children and young humans. And even if they're not at that really pivotal. [00:05:27].320] - Gena You can't let them out of your sight stage, it still takes a lot of mental and emotional effort to raise healthy, well adjusted, loved children. Have grace for yourself. There are a couple of groups that I do recommend. There's a really good Facebook group called Moms Who Write. I recommend that it's grown very quickly because there are a lot of women on there who are in that stage of life and they have children, whether they are married, whether they're single, whether they work outside of their writing, whether their writing is their full time writing, just whatever it is. So I recommend that group because in addition, that group has... I have seen different times where they have offered... Someone will reach out and say, I live in this area. Does anybody else live here or near me where we could get together and meet for coffee or something to create those friendships that we're all looking for and need. And then I would also look at your local library. Sometimes there are writing groups that meet there. And then you may even want to put it out there on Facebook to see, are there any writers in this area? [00:06:38].500] - Gena Look for the groups that are within your city or area and just say, are there any writers? This is who I am. I've got small kids, I write, I need friends. Be open, be vulnerable. Every time someone says that in the groups that I've been with or been a part of, there are people who reach out to them. [00:06:59].140] - Chris It's really more common, I think, than most people realize how many writers want to have people to do things with. It doesn't have to be all that official. You can come to something like Writing Moments or go to your local writing group, but you can also just find a friend who'd also like to journal maybe during that time. You guys can meet at Starbucks and just sit and talk for a few minutes and then just sit quietly and journal. They can journal and you can write or whatever you want, whether you're journaling or something else. There doesn't have to be this superstructure around anything, but absolutely, it does take a bit of reaching out. But there are a lot of different opportunities nowadays and ways to do that. But it does take sometimes takes a little bit of research. But you'll find most cities have some writing group in the city. So check out Facebook, search online, go to meet up, write.com, those different places where people post events, maybe next door and ask around, and you might be able to find someone. Absolutely. All right. You ready for question number two? [00:07:58].250] - Gena Yeah, let's go. [00:07:59].220] - Chris All right. Okay, question number two. It's number one. Question number two, this is from educational outside five. Do you have many writer friends in real life? Such an honest question. I love the honest question. I feel like networking would benefit me, but I don't know much about how to find network as a writer. Do you have writer friends in real life? So yes, I would say absolutely we have writer friends in real life. In fact, some of the richest relationships we have in our lives are other writer friends because they get us. They get not only the fact of how we do things, how we do our vocation by sitting and writing all day, but you tend to have a lot in common when it comes to those things. And networking is a part of it. As you have writer friends and you start to talk about this writing thing, if you're both pursuing publication, what you'll find is you'll sharpen one another. And it's really great because you can share the things that you're doing in your own writing life, and it will sharpen the other person and they'll go, Oh, I should try that too. [00:09:10].750] - Chris A lot of the times the things that we try, if we're going to launch a book, we'll ask our other writer friends how they launched their books, and it can lead to some wonderful conversations. So your writing life, again, doesn't have to be solitary. It can be something that you enjoy with other people and not just for networking. And I think that networking is a part of it. It is something that will naturally happen. But don't seek out writer friendships just for the networking. Seek them out just for the friendships, people who understand you and what you're doing. I think that you'll find that in the end, it'll be a very fruitful friendship. [00:09:46].540] - Gena I agree. I would also encourage you, if you're looking for finding those friends, also don't discount writers conferences. Those that are close enough that you can drive to because there will be other writers driving to them as well. And I would also say don't discount people because they're not in your genre. There have been times when I have heard those stories where someone is a novelist and or a non-fiction self help book writer, and they find out somebody is a children's book writer and they have actually said, Oh, you're just a children's book writer. And they pass by. I think that's so short sighted. Definitely be open to making friends in all different genres because one, there's a lot of people that do crossover genres, people who write non-fiction for adults, but then they'll also write children's books, or they might do non-fiction self help, but then they also end up writing a novel as well. So don't discount people just because they're not in your genre. I also recommend just looking for writers conferences in your area. We are part of one that we love. We have been a part of it for several years now. [00:11:06].700] - Gena We're a partner with them. And that is Writer Con in Oklahoma City over Labor Day weekend. [00:11:12].610] - Chris That's writercon.com if you want to look that up. [00:11:13].760] - Gena Yes. We always bring in just some really fabulous writers in all different genres, and it's just a great time. It's a very warm writers conference. You know that not all of them are really warm and welcoming. This one is. It really is. It doesn't matter if you're brand new to writing or you're very experienced at it. It's very welcoming. But I have found those to be a great place to make friends and to build those connections that then when I go home, I'm able to take those with me and reach out to them and find friendships, mastermind groups, just connections, advice all of that. [00:11:54].160] - Chris It's funny how sometimes we forget how much of the writing process is the same across genres. You might be writing a picture book. You might be writing a fiction book for adults. You might be writing a non-fiction book for the religious market. All three of those, though, are in order to write those books, you've got to have time to research, you've got to have time to write, you've got to have your material edited, you've got to have it formatted, you've got to learn how to publish it or get it published and get it to an editor. All of those things are common across no matter what genre you write in. Don't limit yourself by only wanting to write with people from a certain genre. In fact, I love that there are conferences out there that are pretty great that are like, here's the mystery writers conference, or here's the romance writers conference, and you can learn things directly about that genre in a conference like that. But through just attending a general writers conference or through making friends in those other areas, you'll learn things that you wouldn't have even thought you needed to know just because you're associating yourself with other people across, not across disciplines, but across genres. [00:13:04].970] - Chris Yeah, I think that's a really good thing. So I hope that helped. Education outside five. Do you have any writer friends in real life? Absolutely. And I would encourage you to find some, too. It could be a bit of work, as we said in regard to the last question, but that's the way it is with friendships in any area of life, right? Seek it out, but when you do, I think you'll find it. All right, here is the third question. Gena, you want to read this one? [00:13:28].380] - Gena How do I build a community or find an audience for my book? I love writing and I'm new to getting things published. A year ago, I published my first book and I'm looking for a good place to share it and advertise it so I can get a following and talk to people. Excuse me. [00:13:47].600] - Chris This is from Brenker Studios' YT. Brenker Studios is saying, How do I build a community and find an audience for my book? Good question. This is one of those questions that probably comes up time and again to us. Someone takes the time to write a book, to get it out there, and then they say, wait, no one knows that it's out there. How do I build a community to find out about it? How do I find an audience? It's ironic in some ways because this is the last two questions we answer in finding a friend or finding other writers. You've got to seek them out. You got to find out where they hang out. So in this case, finding an audience for your book. The first thing I would probably recommend is you look for communities online that are in that subject or genre that they're interested in that. So if you're writing a self help book about confidence, find Facebook groups built around confidence, other forums online built around confidence. You could find somewhere around productivity, right? It's usually that blend with confidence. You can go on Twitter, look for the hashtags that match and just start to contribute to those groups. [00:14:59].800] - Chris And that is such a big deal. We have a friend who he has an online course. He sells a bunch of the online course to a bunch of people. But the way that he markets the course is through not marketing it. All he does is he goes online to all the communities that are interested in the course that he's creating that subject, and he contributes, he answers questions. He becomes the authority in those communities. When he does that, people find him and they start to build up a conversation. He's able to say, Oh, yeah. If you want to know about that, I got a course. It's the same thing. Yeah. If you want to know about that, I got a book. So depending on what your genre is, you want to find that community and then just start to reach out to them. And then, of course, there's the other common thing is you can do ads. You can do ads on Amazon, you can do ads on Facebook, and you need to know what your audience is before you do that. So if you don't know what your audience is, go to writingmomentum.com and... [00:15:59].560] - Chris Look for the ideal reader worksheet. It's a free download we have on there. Just go to the search up at the top and search for that, and you'll find that and you can download it. And it has a list of questions that you can answer about that help you determine who your audience is to help you narrow that down. [00:16:16].820] - Gena That is so important. You'll hear us talk about that quite a bit about really understanding who your audience is, because sometimes when we get so excited as writers, we put so much work into our books or into our message that then we think everybody's going to love it. Everybody's going to love what I have to say. When the truth is, no, you're not. Or this is a real common one where they say, who's your audience? And the people say, I'm speaking to women aged 18 to 55. No, 18 year old, I have an 18 year old. She and I are not into the same things. We have different interests. We have different ways of thinking about things. We have different shows that we're interested in watching. We have different needs that we're trying to take care of. And that ideal reader worksheet really does help you narrow down and help you really think deeply about your audience. And the other thing that I would say about that is finding your audience is I would encourage you to learn about funnels, learn about marketing funnels, learn about creating something for free that your audience is looking for or that would be beneficial for them. [00:17:27].520] - Gena It's called a lead magnet. Start building that newsletter, your newsletter database, the people who have raised their hand and said, yes, you're talking about confidence? I want to know about confidence. Sign me up, and then you can start talking directly to them. And it doesn't matter if you start with just 10 people on that newsletter. It doesn't matter if you start with none. Start contributing and nurturing the people who do raise their hand to say, Yes, I want that. I want that download on six ways that I can build confidence today or six mindset shifts that can help me go into my day with more confidence, something like that. You can learn about those, what we mean by lead magnet. But find out about that because your greatest and most, the audience who is going to really attach or love when. [00:18:24].000] - Chris You resonate with them. [00:18:25].400] - Gena Resonate with them are the people that are going to be on your newsletter list. [00:18:29].660] - Chris Build up that newsletter list. That's something we talk about a lot on our podcast. If you look for the writing moment on podcast, we have several podcasts this month that we're talking about emails. And one of our favorite resources is one of our friends. Her name is Liz Wilcox, and she has an entire... She has a whole course and a regular club that you can join where you can learn about how to build that email newsletter. Here's the secret. It's dirt cheap. She charges like $9 a month for it. Go to writing.Fyi/Liz, I'll put that here in the notes, and you'll be able to find that landing page where she talks about that. I think that you'll find that it is quite a good resource. That is, we're in contact with Liz all the time because we love making sure that we are nurturing our email list, building that community. Because remember nurturing the list when you're... It is marketing, right? But marketing is about building relationships. And so you're wanting to build that relationship, build that community. And the newsletter is one of the best ways. [00:19:30].700] - Gena And I also think even though we're writers, we sometimes might need help with the strategy. And that's what I think that Liz does. Even if we are writers, and if I can write a newsletter, it is amazing how you can get about six weeks into writing a newsletter and feel completely tapped out. I have no idea what to talk about. What else can I say? What else can I say? So it's nice to have that third party that's able to say, Okay, you know what? This week you're going to give something away for free. This week you're going to share a bit of advice. This week, you're going to whatever. And Liz is a master. [00:20:03].760] - Chris At that. Yeah, definitely a master at that. So check her stuff out. But we always love getting stuff from her and learning from her. So yeah, that's really good. So I hope that helps. Brenker Studios. All right, the next one. This is someone who's wanting some advice for building an author platform. This is from a host Mo. I kept saying that wrong. Something like that. They say, as a self published author, I've been trying to build my author platform. This is entirely new to me as I focus more on the craft of writing than on the publicity or even networking. I've also published in a really small journal, but it doesn't help me much in the form for my novels. Does anyone have any advice for newbies or things that were beneficial as they were building their author platforms? Good question. Fabulous question. Yeah. So you want to start. [00:20:52].170] - Gena I just first want to applaud you for focusing on the craft of writing. There are so many people that neglect that side of it. They think that comes naturally, and it's just this idea of if I say it, somehow everybody's going to be able to sift through it and figure out what I'm trying to say, whether it's a novel, non-fiction, just whatever. There is a learning curve to any genre, to any type of writing that you do. And so I applaud you for really focusing on that side of it, first of all. That I want to say, just fabulous that you did that. But I'll let you take it from there. I'll let you start. I've got some things that I want to say. [00:21:33].720] - Chris I guess my first thought is, okay, again, this isn't a whole lot different than what we've talked about as far as building that community, having that newsletter, finding that genre, going into those groups, starting to interact with people. You want to do that? Just take a moment here, think, what are two or three groups that might be interested in this topic that I'm talking about? And when I say groups, you may not know the exact name of the group, but what's the group? Write those down on a piece of paper. When we're done here, start searching Facebook, search YouTube, search for online forums, and look for people who have groups like that. They're already out there. Yes, eventually you might create your own group, but why not start with some where people are already gathering? Because that's where the people are. A lot of times people want to bring other people to them. That's much more difficult than going where people already are. So find out where they are. Once you do that, yeah, you want to start in with the whole marketing funnel, all that stuff, which there's a lot to learn about that. [00:22:34].650] - Chris But also, I want to applaud you for realizing that, yeah, you need to do the marketing, too. You have to go after that side of it. Especially as more and more of us become self published authors. We've done regular publishing through traditional publishing, but we've also done a lot of self publishing. And when you do that, you realize what's even happening with traditional publishing. But you are fully responsible for your marketing. You are fully responsible as to whether those books sell or not. It's all on you. That's the sad truth. But that also means, hey, it's all on you. If you want this thing to be a success, all you have to do is get out there and start working it and you can make it happen. [00:23:11].340] - Gena I would also encourage you to look for some... There are groups out there that are marketing groups. These are authors who have come together, who are in the same genre that have said, Oh, I have a small mailing list. You have a small mailing list. Let's get together. Let's offer each other books, or let's maybe even do some type of contest where the winner gets all one of our books, each of us, so we get a package together. So I would look for either an existing group or think about maybe even reaching out to some authors, other independent authors, see if there's maybe a collaborative effort that you can put together with that. You can also look for podcasts that talk about that. [00:23:55].330] - Chris I was just going to say, podcasts are a huge way to market yourself today, right? [00:23:59].300] - Gena It's very grassroots and it's a great way. So look for those podcasts that maybe focus on your area. Don't discount the podcast. Also look for podcasts for your state. So I know in Oklahoma, Oklahoma has a great podcast that highlights Oklahoma authors. And so look, there might be one wherever you are, there might be somebody who is looking for that, looking for authors. And they are always looking for content from what I understand. [00:24:28].020] - Chris That's the thing about podcast is that people who create podcasts, we know because I do two of them, Gena does one of them with me. Every week you're sitting down going, Okay, we got to come up with content for this. It's a content game. You have to constantly have content. There are a lot of podcasts out there who are like, this week, they don't know what they're going to put out there. So contact them. Let them know what you do, what you can talk about. If you have a sample of you talking about it, you did say you had this, you were published in a really small journal. That's awesome. Go ahead and submit that to them as an example of the thing you talk about and what you can do, and then also what your novels are about. It's a nice transition. And don't discount the fact that some of the podcasts may be small. Some of them may have small listenerships, 50 people, maybe a month. It's okay. It's 50 people who are dedicated, sitting in a room, ready to hear from you. If your local library invited you to come and speak on your topic and 20 people were there, you'd do that, right? [00:25:23].180] - Chris Most of us would. This is even more people, and it lives on because that podcast doesn't go away. It's there forevermore. We've noticed with our podcast, it's amazing sometimes to look back each week and see how many of your old podcast, the ones that are not the current podcast, but the ones that were from last week, the week before, sometimes months ago, people still listen to because when they find a podcast they like, they'll usually binge it. So yeah, check out the podcast. That's a really good one. [00:25:49].210] - Gena And the other thing that I wanted to recommend is look for those reviews from people. You say you're a self publisher, an independent author, see if you can start getting some reviews from people and asking for those reviews from your readership or from people who've written you and said, Oh, I just loved your book. Or send your book out to someone and say, Would you read this and give me a review? Look for those. Those are very powerful that you can use on social media. You can use them on your Amazon author page as well as Amazon itself. So look for those. And then the other thing I wanted to mention is just contests. For contests, if this is your first novel, you are a first time novelists. There are contests strictly for first time novelists who are independent authors. So look for those as well. That can be another way to get your name out there. If you're able to win, you can know one, you can advertise that. Put that on social media. Hey, this is an award winning novel. But also that award contest is going to publish their winners as well. [00:26:59].700] - Gena And if they have any following, you're going to be reaching new people there as well. [00:27:04].720] - Chris So a lot of this is just about getting the word out. And sometimes it's not all that fun to do that. It can be more fun to sit in your office and sit down and write your novel. That's what I love doing. But this is all part of it. We're modern day writers and the modern day writer needs to build a community, build an audience, and let them know about it. And so there's some ways we do that. [00:27:24].450] - Gena Chris said modern day author. That's not just for the independent. That's also traditional. [00:27:30].300] - Chris As well. It's also traditional, very much. All right, this is from jazzgrackel. I love the names. What's this one say Gena? [00:27:42].330] - Gena This one says publishing and networking. I'm in a position now where I want to send my articles and queries to magazines, but they're so much assumed in submissions that I'm not sure what to do. There's that in just the obvious networking problems. For those of you who have been published in magazines, how do you contact and address editors? How do you network? [00:28:05].720] - Chris Yes. Okay, so here's what you want to do. I want you to go to Amazon and search for the Writers' Market Guide 2023. [00:28:14].300] - Gena It's actually online now. It's online now. You can get the physical copy, but you might as well just get the subscription to the website. [00:28:20].370] - Chris Yeah, search Google then for the Writers' Market Guide. Let me put that in here. Writers's Market Guide. What you want to do is you want to search for that on Amazon or on Google. And what it is, this is a super handy guide. It has in it thousands of publications from around the world, who the editor is and what they are looking for, exactly. So you know exactly where to target those submissions. And here's the thing. There are also writer's market guides like that for different genres. So there's a Writers Market Guide for the children's genre, for the Romance Genre. I think there's one for non-fiction books and there's one for the operational market. You can go ahead and find the one that pertains to you. The general writer's market guide is definitely one you want to look up. It will show you who to write to and what they're looking for. If you don't know how to do the query, they have articles there on how to do that. You can come to writingmomentum.com and click on the training button and we have some trainings on it, too, how we do that. [00:29:33].540] - Chris But it is actually easy once you have that book because you've got this huge list and it's. [00:29:41].080] - Gena Easy to query. It's not be easy to get through. There may be a lot of people query. So you know that this is going to take work. [00:29:48].750] - Chris But the key is if you're one of the few who are actually paying attention to what they're looking for, that puts you above probably 95 % of the submissions. Really through a lot of that red tape or that sludge pile when you're querying for exactly what they're looking for. And so that's a big secret and I would definitely look at doing that as far as that goes. They also have in there the guidelines, how they want you to submit the material. If you're submitting, for instance, by mail and they only accept by email, or if you're submitting in PDF format and they only accept Word format, those are big deals. You can have your material tossed out without even getting a look if you don't follow their rules, whatever they set those up to be. So that is all listed in that book. And then I always recommend before you just follow what's in the book, also go to the website and see if maybe there's any additional information or changes because guidelines update all the time. Editors move around to other houses all the time. So you want to make sure you're querying to the right person in the right place. [00:30:52].700] - Chris And then there's also writers conferences, right? [00:30:55].890] - Gena Definitely writers conferences. A lot of times editors will come there specifically looking for new writers, especially if they've got a group of writers that they'll work with, somebody moves on, somebody doesn't have time. They want to have a resource, this reservoir of writers that they can pull from. So definitely do that. I would also encourage you to definitely, if you are writing for a magazine, make sure you look at that magazine before you submit to them because you want to look for things like, what point of view do they use? Do they use second person? Do they use third person? Is it really more academic or is it more casual? Don't waste your time. Don't waste the editor's time. Do your homework before you submit to them. And then some friends that I have known that have really made a living on magazine writing, they will have 10 to 25 queries out there at once. [00:31:52].780] - Chris When they receive one rejection back, another one goes out. It's always 10 to 25 on any particular article at once. [00:31:59].780] - Gena Yes. So definitely you are... I have been to writers conferences, and Chris, you remember this from years ago, but where I would have... They'd have a panel of editors and the editors would sit up there and say, If somebody wants to write for me, they will write only for me, and they will wait until I respond to them, which may take months, before they submit it to anywhere else. And you all, that is not the way it works for the writer. That is not reality. So I'm hoping that you're not going to have to deal with any editors like that. I remember sitting there listening to that thinking, but I have to feed my family. So we're just going to have to move on and find somebody. It's first come, first serve. We're going to submit this out here. And there is a way to let them know that you are shopping your article to many places. But I think the best thing to do is to create that relationship with an editor so that the editor knows that I can always count on that person to do the work and do the work well. [00:33:08].080] - Gena So that when that editor has a need and says, I want an article on X, Y, Z. Oh, I know that I can reach out to that person to do it. So that's your goal is not just for you to be constantly pitching to them, but to create that relationship where they know they can count on you for what they need. [00:33:25].720] - Chris Yeah, that's the other side of the magazine writing coin. Editors are also always looking for content, and they don't want to have to look for new writers every single time they need to write another article. If they have someone they can trust whose writing is well done, who submits it in the way they're looking for, who has the voice of their magazine, guarantee you they are going to be asking that person that they already have a relationship with to please, can you do this for me? And if not, then I will look outside the magazine. Once you build a relationship with some editors, you could have one that goes on for years. I've been writing for some magazines for I think well over 20 years now on a regular basis because I established that early and they liked me as a writer. So we have this great relationship going back and forth. That's what you want. You want to go ahead and build that and you can make a career doing that. It's not always an easy career, but it is certainly fun if you like doing magazine writing. [00:34:25].530] - Gena I think also the thing to keep in mind is that there are a lot of websites. Even though you want to write for a magazine, there are websites also that maybe they used to be a magazine and now they're just strictly online. Or they may have a magazine, but they have a whole online component where they're looking for writers. While you're pitching for magazines, also be open to writing for websites. [00:34:48].840] - Chris As well. Your opportunities are up there for sure. All right, well, we hope that helps jazzgrackle. All right, the final question today is, what is the best writing investment you've made? They say, I've been thinking about my approach to writing and potential steps I can start taking to improve it for a variety of reasons. My question to you all is, what do you think is the best investment you've made in regards to writing? Mostly in terms of financial investments. What purchase do you think really paid off? I'm not looking for any magic bullet or anything that would likely dramatically change my writing. I'm just curious about what purchases have impacted you in a positive way, or perhaps what classes or courses do you feel have you gotten the most value out of? I tried searching, but I didn't find other threads like this yet, but that's a great question. Really interesting. Do you have one that comes to mind for you immediately? [00:35:39].710] - Gena My MacBook Air. You guys, I used to be a PC girl, and Chris finally went towards the light with the Apple world, and he dragged me with him. That is just such a slick machine. I absolutely love it. I have a pretty scaled down model. Chris needs something a lot more robust because he does design websites. A lot of times for authors. So if any of you are looking for an author website, hit him up. But he also, in addition to his writing, does a lot of technical type work. My MacBook Air is my first thing because I can take it anywhere. Because I'm not super techy, I love that my talks to my phone and that they are working together. So my iPhone, I work with that. So that whole ecosystem, and I used to have an iPad and I could work on that. That whole ecosystem has been game changer for me. It's just made it easier. It's easier. I can take it wherever I go. It's got a long battery life. I can take it when I travel. It's easy. So that's my thing. That's a good answer. That was my first thing that I thought of. [00:36:49].610] - Chris And that would probably be the first thing I'd say, too. This is also, this is from DAI21DYDE21. Having a good computer is super important. You want to have something that you can rely on that automatically backs up your files for you, that doesn't get you caught in the trouble of every time you want to do something, you have to install drivers and updates and all that mess. That's something that we just enjoy about our Macs is that it's Macs versus PC, want to get into the whole debate, but I use PCs for decades. [00:37:24].800] - Gena Let me just say, when Chris says that he used PCs, he would build PCs. [00:37:30].000] - Gena Built them from scratch. He built them from scratch. He was hardcore for years, PC. [00:37:35].780] - Chris But the difference is that to me, I loved doing that as a hobbyist, but when I needed something to get my writing done, I just needed something that works. That was more like an appliance. I say sometimes that my Mac is like a toaster. It doesn't do everything a PC does. Most of it, if you want to look for, but it is more of a closed system, but it just works well for us. I know there are arguments out there about the cost of a PC versus a Mac, but the truth is, our Macs last for years. I used to have to upgrade my PC every couple of years. The Mac, I was working until about a year and a half ago. I was working on 2014, man. It worked great. And the only reason I upgraded was because we wanted to start doing this stuff. We wanted to start doing the broadcasting online and editing videos, and I needed something faster for that because it was over seven years old at that point. So they last a really long time. Definitely invest in good computer hardware, software, look for some good writing books. I'd recommend that. [00:38:38].390] - Chris We shared in our last Q&A, some of our favorite writing books. My own was Twelve Master Plots by Ronald Tobias. Really strong, good book if you're into fiction writing. Then last thing, I feel like we're a broken record with this, but invest in a good writers conference. [00:38:54].750] - Gena Absolutely. I was going to say. [00:38:55].680] - Chris That too. Go and spend the $100, $200, $400, $500, whatever it is, to attend. They're different prices depending on how many speakers they have, how many days they are. But find a good writers conference and you will find that you're going to make relationships there. You're going to learn things about the craft there. You're going to learn things about marketing there that you wouldn't otherwise learn. And that will change your writing life, which is why we're so big on writer con. We're so big on some of the online conferences. We love to have people at the part of writing moments, our writing group. All of those things work together to build this writing life and help you so that you're not doing this completely alone. [00:39:36].010] - Gena I think a lot of times we've heard people say, should I go back and get a master's degree? I have even questioned that as well. I don't have a master's degree in writing. Chris does. But I believe that you learned while your master's degree was very valuable, and I take nothing away from that, the lessons that you have come back and shared with me from writers conferences and the lessons that I have learned at writers conferences have been really invaluable because you are learning from... You're not learning from a theoretical level. You're learning from a boots on the ground level. You're learning from writers who have been in this, who have been published for years, and they're sharing, this is how I do it. This is what I'm thinking of. This last year at writer con, we were there and who was there? Their names are going to... Steven James and Robert De Gañer. They were there talking about how do you build tension? [00:40:33].440] - Chris How do you write a book. [00:40:34].000] - Gena How do you write a book? And they're thriller writers. And they've been doing it for years. Bestsellers. And they're there talking about how do you build tension? Here are the different ways that I use to build tension. You know what? You sit there in those classes and all of a sudden your mind starts going about your own book and, Oh, I could do that. Oh, my gosh. I never even thought about that. And all of a sudden your creative juices are just flowing. So I am a huge fan of writers conferences. I know that it's easy to look at them and think that's a lot of money, but it is way cheaper than a master's degree. And it is that practical application. Even this last year, I got to speak with one of the writers about her process afterwards, just one on one. Here she is, this award winning author that I just got to talk to, ask her. And she shared about her... She was a lot of fun to listen to. But she got to share about just her writing process, which is fabulous because I love to hear about people's writing processes because they're all so different. [00:41:39].500] - Gena You've got the strict outliner who's just outlining, going through different phases of outlining all the way to the person who just sits down and wings it and just writes from the heart and from the seat of their pants. Anyway, I am a big fan of writers conferences. I think they're a great way to really hear from people who are in the trenches doing the work day in and day out. [00:42:02].760] - Chris Absolutely. All right, those are our questions for today. This has been really good. I love questions like these. Next month, Rene will be back with us on the 28th. On March 28th, we're going to do another Q&A, but we don't have the topic solidified for that yet, so that's upcoming. We'll let you know about it. If you haven't subscribed to our newsletter, go to writingmomentum.com. We got some free goal setting downloads. You can get their ebooks, posters, all kinds of stuff. Get on our list. You'll find about these Q&A's. You'll find out about Writing Moments where you can write with us. You'll also find out about a bunch of these great resources that we shared today. We just love helping writers. We love to be in the trenches with you guys. And so if you have any questions between now and the next Q&A, send them to us. We'll be happy to answer and we can add them to that, too. But I think that's it for today. That's it. And so don't forget this, what Gena? [00:42:48].960] - Gena Together we have Writing Momentum. [00:42:51].380] - Chris Bye.
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