We are three quarters of the way through the year. While fall can be energizing–nice cool weather relieving the clammy humid heat of summer–it can also be a time we loose steam on our writing. The holidays are a great excuse to procrastinate on writing projects. So, this month’s blog entry is from a blogger who sends out daily inspiration, advice, tips, (among other things) to writers. She is a successful freelancer and loves to share the secrets of her success in dealing with editors, keeping to a project and more. Her name is Suzanne Lurience. She agreed to be interviewed. If you do not subscribe to her blog already, I say, SIgn Up!
Joan: Please introduce yourself and your newsletter to my readers. Most of them
write short mystery ..talk about how a general writing blog can be good for
Suzanne:Thanks for inviting me to your blog, Joan. I love connecting with other writers. For your readers who don’t know me, I’m the author of over 35 published books, a
writing coach, speaker, and chief editor at http://www.writebythesea, a blog about the
business and craft of writing. Most of my children’s books were written under
contract from various traditional children’s book publishers. I also taught for the
Institute of Children’s Literature for over 8 years. Today, I write mostly women’s
fiction and I ghost write children’s fiction.
I live and write by the sea on the beautiful Treasure Coast in Florida. I love helping
people become better writers and get published. I do this through my various
coaching programs, my free monthly writing challenges at writebythesea.com, and
all the materials in the private Resource Library for Writers that I have available
for those who subscribe to my mailing list.
I think every writer should have a blog, and it doesn’t have to be a blog about
writing. My first blog was a food blog, and it gave me good experience that can
translate well to writing about most anything.
I like your positive affirmations and advice on planning and goal setting. Can
you speak a bit about that?
Every weekday morning, I send out a short email about writing to members of my
mailing list. This email is called The Morning Nudge because it’s my way of
giving writers a little nudge and encouragement to get some writing done each day.
Writers are creative people and tend to have all sorts of great ideas. But if they
don’t set some writing goals, they can lose focus and never manage to get much
accomplished. For that reason, I advise my coaching clients and my Morning
Nudge subscribers to create no more than 3 major writing goals for the year, then
put those goals on an index card next to their writing desk or computer, so they
will see them when they are working. Then, every professional action they take for
their writing career each day should be in alignment with one or more of those 3 goals. It’s surprising how helpful it can be to simply look at your goals every day.
Most people create their goals at the beginning of the year, then never look at them
again until December and then wonder why they didn’t reach those goals. Go
Joan: Do you accept guest posts? if so, what do you look for?
Suzanne: Yes, I welcome guest posts for writebythesea.com. Posts need to be between 300
and 800 words and related to some aspect of the craft of writing. My readers
especially like tips about writing mysteries or romance, so I’m always on the
lookout for good posts about those two genres. A short bio and author headshot
should be included with the post, along with the writer’s website or blog address.
Joan: What advice have you given on meeting submission guidelines?
Suzanne: When I taught for the Institute of Children’s Literature, many of my students
complained about submission guidelines. In fact, they didn’t like guidelines of any
sort for their writing. They just wanted to write what and how they wanted to write.
But I always told them to be thankful for submission guidelines. They let you
know what a publisher wants and doesn’t want. And when you get really good at
adhering to submission guidelines you just naturally become a better writer. I also
tell all my coaching clients, and friends who are writers, to make sure they follow
submission guidelines to the letter. If the guidelines for a magazine you’re thinking
of submitting a story to wants manuscripts up to 1,000 words, don’t send them a
3,000-word manuscript, thinking they’ll love your story so much it won’t matter
that it’s way over their word limit. It will matter, and they won’t love it.
Joan: In your experience, what are the top five things editors want from a writer?
Suzanne: Here they are:
1.The ability to follow guidelines to the letter.
2. The ability to meet deadlines.
3. Open to editing tips and suggestions and able to execute these tips and
4. Fresh ideas for the editor’s market.
5. Respectful of the editor’s time.
Joan: What else would you like to tell my readers about finding calls for submission
for entering contests?
Suzanne: I would tell your readers to look for free writing contests or ones with very low entry fees. Also, look for local or regional contests, which tend to have less
competition. Also, I suggest they read this article at writebythesea.com – 10 Good Reasons to Enter Writing Contests.
Joan: What do you think about writing prompts?
Suzanne: Writing prompts are a great way to get a little creative writing done each day.
Nonfiction prompts are also a good way to get to know yourself better. And the
better you know yourself, I think the better writer you are able to be.
Anything else you would like to say that I did not ask?
Many people get uptight and nervous about writing. I tell my clients that writing is
serious work, but it should be fun. Otherwise, why write?
Joan: Anything else you would like to share?
Suzanne: Sign up for my newsletter and also get free access to my Private Resource Library for Writers at http://www.morningnudge.com or http://www.writebythesea.com
Thank you, Suzanne!