Instead of talking specifically about what those are, however (see the tease?), today the focus is on resources. Why? Because it's through those resources those of us who love to write learn to take our ideas from our head, to paper, and finally to print. While the desire to get published is often extremely strong, most of us would agree that we want to put our best product out there. And that means learning - a lot!
When I began writing, I didn't have a clue what I didn't have a clue about. I remember vividly completing my first manuscript and starting to submit it. No one was nibbling, but I didn't know why. My questions were: Are they just not interested? Is it well-written or does it need major work? Should I keep submitting, revise it, or trash it? I really just didn't know. Now I cringe at what that first manuscript was like. I know know what it needed, and still needs.
And how did I learn what all the mistakes were in my first attempt at a novel? Perseverance was part of - I kept writing and writing and writing. But I could have just kept on making the same mistakes if it weren't for the resources I've had a chance to utilize.
First are the books. I once read this quote (or something very similar): Want to get published? Write a book about writing. And it's true at least in part. There are dozens of books on writing, editing, and publishing. And most of them are very good! They have great tips, examples, and rules for writing that will help a writer improve their craft. They are also the most reasonably priced resource - often only a few dollars and sometimes found in your local library.
Second are writers groups. The net makes connecting with other writers easier than ever, especially if someone can't meet regularly with others. Because these groups are made up of writers with all levels of experience, and generally off some critiquing, it's a great way to learn more about the craft of writing and grow to the next level.
Third are writers workshops and conferences. These are more draining on the wallet, but are another wonderfully helpful resource for writers. They are great for networking, taking classes that are geared to your needs, and for encouragement. There's nothing that compares to being around a bunch of other writers. Critique partnerships and friendships often begin and are fostered through these events.
The world of writing and publishing is something that lives under the radar of most people, but when you open the door to this world, you'll find that it's a rich one, full of people and resources that are generally helpful, supportive, and willing to share. I'm so grateful for everything I've learned from other writers, editors, publishers, and authors - helping me take my writing from okay, to good, to its best.