Lessons from the Story Match: An Overview

One of the good things about learning from more experienced writers is exactly that—they are more experienced. They’ve done all the things you haven’t even thought of trying and then some, and they’ve learned from those experiences. And sometimes, if you’re very lucky, they share what they’ve learned and you can see if it applies to you.

I write in isolation. I have no mentors I can go to, no experienced writer who is further down the independent-hybrid publishing path than I am, no more established writer anywhere near, that I am aware of, who even thinks the independent publishing path is more than a form of vanity publishing—and that makes things difficult.

The only way I can learn is to do what I’m doing—experiment, copy the things successful independent writers do, and learn what works for me and why. I don’t even contact those writers I emulate, because I don’t want to infringe on their time, or to create a false impression of there being a connection beyond the one I have made to emulate an aspect of what they do.

I know Dean Wesley Smith by his internet presence alone, and he does not know me, but I am grateful all the same. Here are some of the things I learned while engaging in the challenge he inspired.

  • I need to develop a body of work
  • Even writers with 40 years’ experience feel self-doubt
  • Writing is possible no matter how your day has been
  • It is possible to write a story from a cold start
  • Research is a timesucker, but it helps with word count, sense of place, suspension of disbelief and other story stuff.
  • Writing in a known universe is both easier and harder than writing something stand-alone, but revisiting familiar characters and places, or discovering new characters and places, is fun;
  • I can’t do lots of writing AND keep up with university commitments… guess I’m NOT superhuman after all.
  • Life is made of choices, and only we know what choices are right for us.
  • I really, really want to write


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