It’s an honor to be here today, to talk to you a bit about my writing path, and about what I learned regarding my writing partners along the way. Writing is subjective. What you or I may think is the best story ever written, someone else may shrug at, or worse yet, mark as absolute rubbish. Every great author has their negative reviews. If you doubt what I’m saying, simply take a look. Dr. Suess, Stephen King, if an author has written enough to find an audience, they have gathered negative attention. That’s okay. Honestly, it really is. If you are writing from your heart, finding your voice, it’s not going to please everyone, and that means negative reviews will come. But how do you find that voice and bring it to a place where it’s ready to meet the world? You write. And you write, and write, and write. Obvious, right? Except, writing alone isn’t enough. As writers, we need to open ourselves up to the voices of constructive criticism. Through the sharing of work and feedback we become better writers and storytellers. We hear that all the time. Except, not all criticism is worth your time. It’s through experience we learn which voices to listen to and which to dismiss. Long ago, I was in a cozy little critique group. Wonderful people, but they wanted me to change and cut so many parts of my story that eventually my voice became jumbled and my confidence obliterated. My story no longer knew what it wanted to be. I couldn’t see the path through the rubble of words remaining. That story got filed away (for what felt like an eternity), waiting for my head to clear. Writing partners are a lifeline in your journey. The relationship not only has to be cohesive, it has to spark―encourage your muse and energize your soul. If it’s not, it’s probably not be the right one for you. Don’t be afraid to walk away from an unhealthy writing relationship. I did and it turned out to the best choice I could have made. As difficult as it may be in the moment, in the end it will make you a strong writer. How do you find the right critique partner for you? You might strike gold right out the gate or it might be an evolving process. I suggest making a list of what matters to you regarding your writing and then looking for those same traits in another. Start there and expand your list as you grow. No matter what you do, never forget that your words have value and how others critique them makes a difference.
~ A huge thank you for having me here today! It has been a pleasure, and all the support is truly awesome. Thank you to the readers and fans! You are the most important part of being a writer.