Personal, Update

MFA Update and 5 Writing Tips

I just finished my sixth quarter at Lindenwood University. For those of you who don’t know, I’m working on an MFA in writing fiction. I can’t believe I only have two quarters left! If everything goes according to plan, I will be finished in March 2018.

Overall, my experiencing in the MFA program has been very positive. I think that I’ve grown so much as a writer, so I wanted to share some things with aspiring writers. Here are my five top tips for writers:

  1. Discipline is so important. It doesn’t matter that you have millions of great ideas if you never get them down on paper. It is a great idea to come up with a writing routine so that you get in the habit of writing every single day.
  2. Editing is crucial. No one’s first draft is perfect. Yes, publishers provide editors if they decide to take on your project, but it’s important to do your best so that you can even get to that point. Make sure you’ve done all you can to make your project the best before you send it out.
  3. Feedback is so helpful. You can’t objectively analyze your own writing. You just can’t. It’s so important to have a beta reader you can trust that will provide you with honest feedback of what isn’t working in your project.
  4. Rejection is unavoidable. Whether your peers hate your story in workshop or several publishers say no to you, every writer will face rejection at some point. In fact, rejection is going to happen a lot more than acceptance. If you want to be a successful writer, you’ve got to develop a thick skin. Don’t let rejection get you down. Let it inspire you to become a better writer.
  5. Conventions exist for a reason. Sure, rules can be broken, but most publishers won’t take a chance on something too experimental. There’s a reason that children’s books are shorter than adult books – children don’t have a long attention span. There’s a reason that most novels aren’t written in second person – it’s hard to sustain for longer projects. Have you noticed that most horror movies are exactly 90 minutes long? It’s difficult to create suspense and have escalating tension for much longer than that. Learn why the conventions exist in each genre before trying to break the rules.

I hope that these suggestions can be helpful to anyone reading this blog who is considering becoming a writer or sending things out to publishers. Writing can be discouraging – only about 4% of writers can live off what they make from their writing – but it’s also very rewarding to see your name in print. Honestly, I think that the process of writing is so enjoyable that it makes up for all the rejection and poor pay. Still, if you want to pursue writing, make sure you’re doing it because you love it and not because you think it will make you rich.

Thanks for reading!

-Tiffany

Personal, Update

Life Update: Poem Published

Yellow Spiral Notebooks

I just wanted to thank Outcast Poetry for publishing my poem “Dreaming.” You can read it HERE if you’d like. It’s been about two years since I’ve had something published, which is definitely my fault. I went for a whole year and a half where I didn’t send anything out for submission. I went through a big slump! Part of this was because life was so busy and part of it was just due to being discouraged. I think discouragement is a big part of life for most writers because it’s hard to edit and send things out and get rejected over and over again.

Thankfully, since beginning my MFA program at Lindenwood University, I’ve been a lot more productive. I think I’ll do a whole post about my experiences there soon because it’s already impacted my life quite a bit.

Anyway, over the past two months, I’ve sent lots of things out to journals. Now, I’m waiting for those inevitable rejection letters and maybe another acceptance somewhere!

 

Industry News

Where to Submit Your Writing?

Becoming a successful writer is hard work (I assume, since I’m not yet a successful writer). Still, you will never get published if you don’t put yourself out there and submit your stories, essays, poems, etc. Once you’ve written something you’re proud of – what next? Where do you go? I have found one resource that helps me with these questions – Duotrope.

Image result for duotrope
Credit: Duotrope.com

Duotrope is a website that helps connects writers with publishers. It mostly deals with places to submit shorter works like individual poems, short stories, or essays, but there are a few publishers listed that take unsolicited larger works for consideration as well such as novels and poetry or short story collections.

There is a $50 annual fee to use Duotrope, but I think it’s worth it. If you’re not so sure, consider giving their free trial option a try and check it out for yourself. Duotrope allows you to search for the perfect home for your writing. You can put in your genre and the length of your work, and it will give you places that are looking for that. You can even limit it by how much you want for your product: no payment, token payment, semi-pro payment, or professional payment. They are constantly adding new publishers or contests for you to consider. This website has helped me cut down on my googling considerably by bringing the publishers to me.

I have wanted to be a writer since I was six, but I still feel like I’m still at the beginning of my journey as a writer. I’m taking baby steps and still trying to find my voice, but I’m going to get there! And you can too! I’m glad that I’ve found Duotrope to help me along the way, and I just wanted to share it with you in case it helps you too.

Industry News

New University of Cincinnati Press

Academic publishing is a really big part of the publishing industry, and I was excited to discover that my alma mater The University of Cincinnati has finally launched their own university press. The University of Cincinnati released an official press release!

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Credit: The University of Cincinnati

I’ve always been proud of going to UC and of my hometown of Cincinnati, but I was especially impressed by this new publishing platform’s goal to focus on “social justice and community engagement.” I think that this is an important step towards bridging the gap between academic writing and the rest of the world. I love when lines blur, and that will be exemplified here. Cincinnati has had a lot of social concerns in the past and the present. I think it is amazing that the University of Cincinnati continues to take an active role in creating and maintaining community connections and making a difference in the lives of all the diverse people in the greater Cincinnati area.

We don’t know much yet about the forthcoming publishing products of the University of Cincinnati Press, but I’m very excited to see what comes next. I do know, based on the press release, that they will be publishing in both physical and digital formats, which is wonderful since digital formats can often have a larger reach these days. Hopefully, good things will come of this!