Dear Unpublished Leisl Leighton,
So, what do you need to know about the journey ahead? I don’t know that there’s anything I can tell you that will make it not hard, but I can tell you 10 things that will make it easier:
- Get some writing peeps. Family and friends are amazing but they can never really understand the insanity that is the need to write. You need to surround yourself with other writers. You will meet some of your best, most supportive friends in your writing groups and through Romance Writers of Australia (RWA).
- Join RWA. Join RWA. Join RWA.
- Go to the conferences RWA holds every year. I know it will be hard – the idea of walking into a room full of people you don’t know is as appealing as a punch in the head – but you will fall down on your knees and thank me for insisting you go do that.
- Don’t stop learning. Read books and more books and learn from the good and bad. Read blogs and books on writing. Do workshops. Learn from every book you write. Even the crappy ones that will never see the light of day will teach you something important.
- Finish the book. Then, understand that first draft is word vomit on a page and it’s simply there to help you understand what it is you truly want to write about. Go back and write that. Then redraft and polish and get feedback and polish and make it as good as you can and believe in that.
- Learn that writing pitches and synopsis aren’t something to be afraid of, but a great way of figuring out what might be lacking in your novel.
- Back yourself. Put your work out there. In contests both here and in the US (the US will be where you will have the most success, winning and placing in many contests). Pitch at conferences and send when asked to send. Read submission guidelines, follow them then press send. Actually talk to agents – it will lead you to getting one.
- Nobody is ever going to hand anything to you in this business – you have to work for it. Keep writing and getting better and trying different things until you figure out what way is your way then write that way and keep going. Don’t stop. This is what we want and it will happen, and then you will learn that when your books are out there and others are reading and enjoying them, it is glorious.
- Know that life happens and things get in the way and that’s okay. Don’t expect to write in school holidays and weekends – you may get time and that’s great, but don’t expect to, because it will only make you miserable. Enjoy the writing – it’s important – but so is family and friends and life. You can’t write about it if you aren’t living it.
- Say yes. Even when you think you can’t. Saying yes leads to some of the most amazing experiences, including being RWA President where you learnt so much and met so many amazing people. Saying yes also led to writing one of the best selling books you’ve written to date.
So dear unpublished me, as you start on this wild, amazing journey, know that all the above is true and that if you trust in that, you will be okay. More than okay. You will be a multiply published award-winning author of paranormal and romantic suspense novels, be starting up a manuscript assessing and mentoring business, and thoroughly enjoying every moment.
Have fun and may the muse be with you.
Award-winning author, Leisl Leighton, is a tall red head with an overly large imagination. As a child, she identified strongly with Anne of Green Gables, and like Anne, is a voracious reader and born performer. It came as no surprise when she did a double major in English Literature and Drama for her BA and Dip Ed, then went on to a career as a performer, script writer, script doctor, stage manager and musical director for cabaret and theatre restaurants.
After starting a family, Leisl stopped performing and began writing the stories plaguing her dreams. She is addicted to the Syfy channel, her shelves are full of fantasy, paranormal, Sci-fi and romance books and DVDs, she sometimes sings in a choir, has worked as a swim teacher, loves to ski and horse ride, and has been President of Romance Writers of Australia from 2014-2017. She continues to write novels and also helps other writers make their manuscripts shine with her manuscript assessing and mentoring services.
Leisl is the author of the paranormal Pack Bound Series, Pack Bound, Moon Bound, Shifter Bound and Wolf Bound, romantic suspense novels, Dangerous Echoes (Book 1 in the Echo Springs Series), Climbing Fear and Blazing Fear (Books 1& 2 in the CoalCliff Stud Series – due out 12/6/19 and early 2020 respectively).
Climbing Fear is available for pre-order at: iTunes, Amazon Aus, Amazon US, Kobo, Google Play
You can catch up with Leisl at:
Thanks for letting me guest on your blog, Monique. It was fun writing this letter and thinking about all I’ve learned and the more that is still to come. I hope some of the newer writers out there get something positive from it too.
Comments are closed.