In the past, life experience taught me what I know. As a result, I have memberships in several elite clubs, and graduated from the school of hard knocks.
One club I belong to is the 360 Club.
I received this membership when I was at the helm of a medical mission ship named La Gracia and we were sailing from Ft. Pierce, FL. to Haiti. Entrance into this club is earned when one ‘follows the compass’ and turns the ship around in a complete circle, or 360 degrees. The funny thing is; no one corrects you when this is occurring, yet all seasoned sailors can tell a novice is at the helm as the ship swings about. And, once it happens, you do not repeat the error.
We live—and hopefully—we learn.
There are different club offerings available to writers with varying levels of accomplishment and status. Along your writing journey, you might have picked up a membership or two. Here are a few examples:
Club Rejected: A large writing club with several levels. Level One: you have received at least 10 rejections (on a single project) from agents or editors. Level Two: 30 to 45 rejections, and Level Three: Grand Master Status: 60 to 100 rejections. (Several bestselling authors had their first published work rejected up to 60 times. I am sure the material ‘accepted for publication’ was nothing like the first draft they sent out).
Conference Junkie: You have attended the same writing conference for 5 or more years, and have the badges to prove it. Hint: It is helpful to attend different conferences that can offer you fresh voices and insight.
Re-write Champion: You rewrite the same story though it has been suggested you set it aside and further hone your writing skills or begin a new one.
I Did it My Way: You self-published your title and due to poor sales contacted an agent to help you re-sell your title to a traditional publisher. Degrees of status: professionally edited or not.
The Misinformed: Level One: You have written to an agent and/or publishing editor—informing them God told you they were meant to be their agent or publisher. Level Two: You bypassed the submission guidelines because you were the exception to the rule. Level Three: Though the agent and editor guidelines specified a top word count of 100,000 for a fiction, your 240,000 word ‘literary’ manuscript cannot be tightened further without losing the story line.
The Newbie: The largest and oldest writing club, this club boasts the most members and has built many wonderful friendships, critique partners, and writing groups. You might have gained entrance into this club through the joint membership of a few others. An example of newbie activity: 1. You hastily grabbed a screen address of the social media outlets you were told you needed to ‘build a platform’, but never learned how to use them properly. 2. You began to blog or tweet, posting every day, and then found the pace too strenuous to maintain. 3. If an agent or editor were to Google your name, your last social media activity is May 2016.
One Dimensional Spam Lover: Social media is not hard for these club members. They tweet the same personal promotion twenty times a day, speaking exclusively about their blog, book, or political persuasion. Unfortunately, a side benefit of this is ‘un-friending, un-following, and black listing’.
The One-Step Two-Step: This writer is willing to step back and reevaluate what is working or is not; learn what they need, then begin again. This club is growing, and the benefit is far reaching.
Writers that Speak: One of the healthiest clubs, this one seeks speaking engagements of various sizes in an effort to share their gifts and calling with as many as possible. Side benefits of this club membership are a larger area of influence and a wider reading audience.
The Curmudgeons: These are the wise ones that have paid their dues in most of the above mentioned clubs, lived to share and blog about it, teach at writers conferences, and have ‘well published’ associated with their names. It is good to associate with these people as often as one can.
We live—we write—and hopefully we learn.
How about you? Are you a card carrying member of any of the above clubs? Confession is good for the soul—and—it helps others along their writing journey.