Getting Ready to Write in 2012 – Greetings from Leslie Lynch

Editor’s note: We asked Leslie to take this week to introduce herself.  Why don’t you do the same? If you haven’t said hello yet, now’s a great time!

Howdy! I’ve posted as a guest on The Catholic Writers Guild Blog a couple of times in the past few months, and am honored to join the great team here on a regular schedule.  

 My topic (4th Tuesdays) is Advice for New Writers – and the first thing I’d like from you is some feedback.  I’ve looked at past posts and am impressed with the depth and breadth of subjects addressed.  What would you like to see in the next twelvemonths?  Do you have questions or ideas you’d like to ask or discuss in more detail? Please let me know, and I will incorporate your needs in my posts.  Don’t be shy! My skill set does not include mind reading!

A little about me, a resume of sorts.  Like most writers I’ve met, I’ve been writing(and in love with writing) most of my life. I wrote my first song lyrics as a grade schooler, and submitted a poem to the New Yorker magazine while in high school.  I still have their form rejection letter, although it’s in danger of crumbling by now! I love to play Scrabble and Upwords, and love crossword puzzles, the Jumble, and Cryptoquips in the paper.  In an attempt to develop my mathematical side, I beat my head against brick walls trying to do Sudoku, but have developed…um, more persistence than improvement on that front.

As a writer, my first love is fiction.  I am a member of Romance Writers of America and my local chapter, Louisville Romance Writers.  The learning opportunities offered via this organization are many and varied, and my craft has improved vastly through online and in-person classes.  I’ve attended regional and national conferences, have met and pitched numerous times to editors and agents, and have entered and judged many contests.  I’ve won a few contests, placed in a few more, and have completed two full length fiction manuscripts that I’m actively querying.  I’ve also sought out non-fiction opportunities and have been published in my weekly archdiocesan newspaper.  

On a personal level, my husband and I recently celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary. We live near Louisville, Kentucky, and are extremely blessed to have two of our three adult children nearby, along with our grandchild, with whom we spend time frequently.  Our third child currently lives on the East coast, and our roots are in the Rocky Mountain west.  My husband and I are pilots – he is a retired airline pilot; I am a general aviation pilot and flight instructor, and active with the Civil Air Patrol.  I’m also a registered nurse, although I haven’t practiced for many years.  Like most writers, I also have an artistic side, and enjoy creating pottery and quilts.  Lest you think I’m good at everything, I occasionally make spectacular mistakes in the checkbook, and have created some legendary culinary disasters. When the kids still lived at home, they knew dinner was ready when the smoke alarms went off.

Being Catholic in a secular publishing world is a challenge for me, and sometimes I struggle to find the best venue for my work.  But prayer and constant refocusing (continued conversion) help me keep it all in perspective. I hope that my experiences prove to be helpful to you as we journey together, and I look forward to a year of conversation along the way!

Merry Christmas!

About Jennifer Fitz

Jennifer Fitz is the general editor of the CWG blog. She's the author of Classroom Management for Catechists. She writes on religion at her Patheos blog, Sticking the Corners, and also at CatholicMom.com, NewEvangelizers.com, The Happy Catholic Bookshelf, and AmazingCatechists.com.
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13 Responses to Getting Ready to Write in 2012 – Greetings from Leslie Lynch

  1. Reviewer11 says:

    Hi. I'm Hilda. I became a member this year in November 2011, I believe. Believe it or not, my whole family and I suffer from illnesses. Thanks to God, He provides for us. But that's another story.

    I have been in love with books and writing, using my imagination to tell (write) a story, but the problem is actually getting it published. All I want is a tiny room for me to see my stories published and actually hold it in my hands. But it seems like there's some sort of "Do-not-hire-this-person" list with my name on it. I followed the guidelines by the word and formatted my manuscript according to the "Formatting and Submitting your manuscript" book by Writer's Digest and even took an online course of Freelance writing. So I need help in getting my stories published but I keep getting blocked. Any advice? :( **feeling down

  2. Leslie Lynch says:

    Hi, Hilda,

    First, my prayers are with you in both your health and publishing struggles. Above all, remember God is in charge, no matter what we perceive, and that publishing, like life itself, is a journey.

    Regarding your hopes for publication: The most important thing to recognize is that rejection is not personal. Editors/agents receive many, many submissions, and there is not time or space for all of them. If your work is not picked up, it only means that, for some reason or another, your work did not fit. From our end, it seems random and cruel, because we authors always believe we've written awesome stuff! But from the agent's/editor's perspective, the work may have been stellar yet not suited to the needs of the publishing house.

    What can you do? Keep taking classes, in person or online. Writer's Digest has a full line of exceptional resources. Utilize Catholic Writers Guild's forums and seek help from fellow authors. Look into a critique group, again, online or in person. See if there are other writing groups locally that might be a good fit for you.

    Above all, pray, keep your focus on God and His will for you, and don't give up. Keep your chin up, and keep writing!

    Blessings,
    Leslie

  3. Reviewer11 says:

    Aw thank you so much Leslie. It sounds difficult but I'll keep trying. It would be helpful if editors tell you what they want to see or something like that, that way we'll know what to do.

    As for the CWG forums… I wonder if I can share my submission for others to critique and see where I went wrong. In my last rejection I was told I can resubmit my work after it has gone a lot of revisions (ouch!) but like most writer's I worry someone might steal my work.

    What should I do?

  4. Leslie Lynch says:

    Hi, Hilda,

    The first thing to do is research your target publisher. Read what they publish. Go to Writers Digest's annual book for up to date and detailed information on each publisher. The book is available at your library or for purchase. The Christian publishing industry puts out a similar book. Beyond that, look into a critique group.

    Can you trust your critiquers? I would hope so, especially in CWG, but I understand that one must develop trust before reaching a comfort level with the process and your partners. I've never worried about anyone stealing my work – and maybe I'm naive. But no one can write with my voice, nor do they have my imagination, and the same goes for you. We live in the same world, so our collective consciousness may produce similar ideas on occasion, but don't let fear keep you from improving your craft. Stick your toe in the water, try out a CWG critique group for an exerpt or small piece, and see how it goes. It may be the one thing that raises your work to a new (and more publishable) level.

    Blessings,
    Leslie

  5. Reviewer11 says:

    Thank you so much, Leslie! Your inspiring advice is very encouraging. I think I'll dip my toe in the water and give it a try.

    May God bless you always.

    ~Hilda

  6. Reviewer11 says:

    Hi Leslie. I just came from your website and left you a comment. :)

  7. Leslie Lynch says:

    Thanks, Hilda. I truly hope you find some good friends and critique partners in CWG – and I know God is guiding your every step, even though it may not seem like it at times.

    Blessings,
    Leslie

  8. Karina Fabian says:

    Hey, Hilda,

    Welcome to the Guild. Getting published can be a frustrating business, but don't take it personally. Editors receive literally hundreds and even thousands of manuscripts a month that they have to choose from. Being good is no longer enough, and editors no longer have time to personally comment on each submission. Over 250,000 books are published each year when self-publishers are included. The market is swamped. Anyone with a computer thinks they can write (and publish) a book.

    One thing that can help you stand out to a publisher is if you have a built-in readership or a marketing plan.

    Leslie's advice is sound: Keep attending classes and conferences. Make connections. Find your target audience. And start now to develop your audience–through a blog, a newsletter, social media, etc. There are plenty of free online conferences and courses, perfect if your illnesses make it hard to get out. I have two favorites:

    The Catholic Writers Conference Online, March 17-31: Even if you aren't looking to write or publish a Catholic book, you will get a wealth of information, and we have opportunities to pitch to Catholic and Christian publishers. http://catholicwritersconference.com

    The MuseOnline Conference. (October 8-14) This is a fully secular conference, though we share many of the presenters. They also have pitch sessions for authors to propose books to small press publishers and agents. http://themuseonlinewritersconference.com/

    Finally, come to our Sunday chats and ask your questions. We talk about everything under the sun, but always take time for writing questions.

    Blessings,
    Karina Fabian
    Committee Coordinator, CWG

  9. Leslie Lynch says:

    Thanks, Karina, for bringing these opportunities to the discussion! The forums and the Sunday evening chat are excellent places to get a sense of who else is out there – and to discover that we are not alone on the sometimes lonely path towards publishing. The support of peers is extremely helpful in getting past the rough spots, which we all experience.

    Blessings,
    Leslie

  10. Hilda says:

    I posted a reply but now I don’t see it. ?? I love the new look, though. Much much better. :)

  11. Hilda, Here’s the text of your reply. (It slipped through the crack when we moved locations):

    “Thank you both so much! I’ll check out the links when I can. Right now I feel tired.

    The CWG chat, I wanted to join but because the time it’s on, I can’t make it because that is when my mom and I are in church. I live in California, so the chat times are a bit too early for me. Is there a way it can be bumped a little later? “

  12. And now answering Hilda:

    -Glad you like it!

    -Re: Chat times: I have the same problem, the timing doesn’t work for my family either. Unfortunately, if it bumps any later, we lose a lot of participants on the other coast (everyone’ll be in bed).

    –> What I am finding is that if we offer a variety of ways for people to connect, not every choice will work for everybody, but at least we can all find one or two options that work. Definitely come out to the online conference, I think you’ll find it very helpful.