Jot the GR Writers Mini-Conference is THIS Friday. Have you called that writer friend you know to invite them? You’ve got a sitter for the kids, right? You’ve remembered to request the night off of work? Good. Well done. It is going to be amazing.
Since we’re talking about amazing, Chad Allen, Editorial Director at Baker Books, is speaking at Jot. He’s here to encourage us as we chase our writing dreams.
Chad’s topic in a nutshell:
You Can Do This: An Editor’s Manifesto: How to Stay Motivated and Keep Moving toward Publication
The road to getting published can be tough. How can you improve your writing, build your platform, hold down a day job, and still have a life? What practices can writers use to find their voice and produce their best work? In this presentation editor Chad R. Allen shares strategies to help writers be successful over the long run.
I’ve asked Chad a little bit about himself and what advice he might have for the budding author.
1. Chad, I’ve read your book and follow your website. Explain why you decided to take up blogging and speaking. Where does that passion come from and how do you keep that energy every day?
I started the blog because I feel a deep calling to this work of helping creatives do their best work. This call is both the source and the sustenance for the whole shebang. Of course I’m as much the audience for the blog as I am the blogger! In so many ways I’m just a fellow beggar looking for bread. The blog at its best is a place where creatives can walk with and learn from each other.
2. I assume most of the attendees at Jot are serious about writing. It is more than a hobby and there is a desire to turn it into a career. What actions should the pre-published author be doing right now that would help them get noticed by an agent or publishing house?
Three things: Build your platform. Get better and better at writing. And stay on the lookout for a great book concept. The good news is that you can do all three at the same time by blogging.
3. Every writer has their unique style. It can be difficult to find your own voice. What are some practical ways a young writer can begin to draw that out?
Such a good question. I tend to think finding one’s voice starts with finding one’s muses—models out there whom we want to emulate in some way. Austin Kleon has this great two-column list that spells out the difference between good creative theft and bad creative theft. It’s worth Googling. One of his ideas is that good theft is stealing from many whereas bad theft is stealing from one. The more we expose ourselves to and learn from work we love, the more we’ll be able to riff off it and do our own thing.
4. Editing and refining can be an arduous task. After finishing a draft, what steps do you suggest a writer should take to produce a more polished second draft?
Show your first draft to lots of people and ask for input. Pay them if you have to. That’s what I did with Do Your Art. Honestly some of the feedback wasn’t that helpful, but some of it was absolutely priceless. Some of that priceless input came from a friend who gave it to me freely. Other pieces of it came from a freelance editor I hired.
5. Writers can burn out easily. Either their support group dwindles or life gets in the way. What are some tips to help the pre-published writer to stay motivated and refill their creative well?
Come to the JOT conference! This is a subject about which I’m passionate because I hear from discouraged writers regularly. The creative road is a tough one, but we can navigate it with the right practices in place. We need to be in touch with the why behind what we’re doing. We need to fall in love with the process of our art (the one thing we can control). We must have the support of other people. And we need to get serious about our calendars. I’ll be talking more about these areas in my presentation. I really hope it’s helpful to people, and I’m grateful to you and Josh for inviting me.
If you’d like to know more about Chad visit his blog (www.ChadRAllen.com). You can also connect with him on Facebook ChadRAllen or follow him on Twitter @ChadRAllen
Thank you Chad and see you all Friday!