I remember the first time I dipped my toes into the publishing world. It was 15 years ago. Excited and terrified, I spent hours online searching for local writing groups and didn't have much luck finding anything in my rural area. What I found online was an enormous amount of writing groups and forums. At my fingertips, I could share, critique, and learn from writers around the world. It was exhilarating.
I enrolled in many writing workshops and began stretching out of my comfort zone and embracing that I was a creative writer. In no time, I was exploring the world of nonfiction and submitted my work to print magazines and literary sites. It was a period where I learned what it meant to be vulnerable and how to receive (and give) feedback.
We all have limiting beliefs that can hold us back. Our inner critic can tell us a range of false things like we aren't good enough or experienced enough to write a book or pitch a chapbook to a publisher. It's important to acknowledge these thoughts, even when they are hurtful, and do whatever we need to keep moving forward.
The more connections I made online, the more opportunities began falling into my lap. I started writing for online websites, and I launched my literary magazine, Eye Candy. Boxes of Eye Candy were delivered on my doorstep every month, and I'd embark on the journey of distributing them to all the eclectic shops, coffeehouses, and colleges within an hour's drive. I interviewed local artists and writers, hosted open mics, and explored traveling to writing events. I felt like I was creating a movement in my sleepy town.
Most of what I learned about creative blocks, writing, and publishing happened by doing the work and making mistakes. I used the mistakes as teachable moments and tried again and again until I got the results I was looking for. After years of having my work published, I began mentoring other writers with their projects. It was soul food to watch them conquer their fears and publish their work. And that's when it was clear what I was supposed to be doing.
A few years ago, I thought it was time to explore new territory in my work. I launched an online summit where I brought speakers and authors together who each specialized in something specific in the publishing world. I reached out to some of my favorite folks and began recording workshop-style sessions with them. These sessions ranged from writing diverse characters to finding your unique writer's voice to the steps for turning your work into an audiobook. It was a win/win experience. I could bring my writing tribe skilled people who could guide them through things that I couldn't, and it also opened more doors for me to network with other creatives, which I love to do.
The event is fun and free. I set up a schedule where I feature one session each day of the event. People who register receive a daily email with the speaker's video so they can watch it at their leisure. I had around ten speakers on the first Finding the Writer Within event and then the second one grew to sixteen speakers. The event also spread out into other online workshops for writers. Right now, I'm working on a bonus summer edition of Finding the Writer Within. It's become an annual project of mine.
My mission with Finding the Writer Within is to provide an online platform where writers of poetry and prose can learn about subject matter that will help them in their writing projects, while also joining a community of other creatives from the comfort of their home. Not everyone has the time, finances, or accessibility to travel, and so this provides an interactive experience without the pressure.
Also, some creatives can fall into a "lone wolf" mentality with writing and sharing their work. Yes, writing can be a solitary practice, but it doesn't have to be. There are a variety of ways to connect with other "lone wolves." There is also a huge growth piece in being able to share your writing and receive feedback. This is incredibly important if you want to embark on a publishing journey, whether that's indie or traditional.
I believe in the power of telling our stories. It's an honor to work with creative people. I continue to learn and grow, which is exactly where I want to be – in the constant stretch of being the best writer and human as possible.
Do you have something say about poetry? An essay on being a poet, tips for poets, or poetry you love? TrishHopkinson.com is now accepting pitches for guest blog posts.
Sage Adderley-Knox is amazing at helping writers on their self-publishing journey. She has 15 years of self-publishing and book marketing experience. She is passionate about writing, teaching, and networking with other creative people.
Since 2004, Sage has been distributing and publishing zines, magazines, and books through Sweet Candy Distro & Press. Her writing has been featured in Print Magazine, Skin & Ink Magazine, and Yahoo. Sage loves coaching and traveling throughout the Pacific Northwest and beyond to lead zine and writing workshops at various high schools, colleges, and universities. She is currently working on the final book in her young adult trilogy!
Learn more about Sage's coaching program and marketing services on her website: https://www.sageadderleyknox.com