We’d like to thank Leah Henderson for today’s blog post. Leah is a frequent faculty visitor to our Retreat Center and she is serving as Program Facilitator for our Diversity Fellowship in Children’s Literature.
Life has taught me that in order for my dreams to take root and flourish, I must invest in them. I must make them a priority. This might be obvious to some, but for many writers, we seem to forget this. We think we need to sell a book or have a completed manuscript before we’re willing to consider investing in our dream.
Why is this?
If we want to become a dancer, we take dance classes. If we want to strengthen our singing, we take voice lessons—not waiting for the record deal to be signed. Instead, we do it in pursuit of that dream. But for many writers, especially when we’re just starting out, we believe the only thing we need to do is sit in solitude and write. Yes, this is vital. However, for most, investing in our writing takes more than just carving out time and tapping a string of words into a keyboard. It’s about finding ways to help put our best manuscript forward. As writers, we need to understand that it is okay (and necessary) to invest in ourselves and our writing.
Still not sure? Here are a few simply reasons why:
- As we learn, we grow. Take time not only to write, but to read widely and continuously. Whether craft books or others as mentor text, take the time to study the market and writing styles, not only to learn from the best, but to gain valuable understanding from weak writing as well.
- Writing is solitary. By attending classes, workshops or conferences (whether in person or online) we find community. We find people of like minds who help motivate and encourage, and more importantly, people who can experience this journey with us.
- Building connections. Events are a wonderful way to hear editors, agents, and authors talk about the business of writing. It is also an opportunity to meet with professionals to discuss our work and how it compares.
- Add to your toolbox. With every class, workshop, or conference I’ve ever attended, I’ve come away a little richer in knowledge. There is always at least one takeaway to add to my ever-expanding writer’s toolbox.
- We don’t know what we don’t know. Through attending these events we not only learn craft-based lessons, we also gain a better understanding of the publishing business, elements to consider, and just exactly what we still need to learn.
- Telling ourselves (and the world) this matters. By investing in our dreams, we are acknowledging their importance. We are saying that we are taking this pursuit seriously and are ready to try.
If money is a concern, start with books from the library, free webinars, and online videos. Join meetup groups to find critique buddies. Seek out scholarships, and local author talks or community writing events.
It is only fair that we give ourselves all that we need to succeed in our dreams. So why not start investing in you now?