What the Acknowledgment Page Reminds Me

I’ve taken to reading the Acknowledgments page in every book I read.

Before I became a writer, I would get to the end of the book and flip the cover closed – leaving behind the part where the author thanked this person and that person for helping to craft the novel. Reading the book made me feel a bit closer to the author, but the other people she named seemed like strangers, insignificant to my story experience.

Now I understand that page is golden.

And it reminds me of something I’ve learned about writing: You don’t write well by yourself. Sorry, but it’s the rare individual who can crank out something beautiful and professional and worthwhile without assistance. The vast majority of successful writers have had beta readers, critiquers, editors, consultants, cheerleaders, accountability partners, and family and friends drawing out the best within them and helping them reach their goals. Reading the Acknowledgments page, I see who influenced and inspired the author.

Acknowledgements Page
Page from THE SCORPIO RACES by Maggie Stiefvater

Being a writer isn’t a solo performance. As much as it may look that way based on your name on the cover, your best writing comes together when you enlist the help and encouragement of others.

Which is why I love writing communities like A Round of Words in 80 Days, WANA International, and RWA.

Among them are those beta readers, critiquers, editors, consultants, cheerleaders, accountability partners, and family and friends who help you whip yourself and your story into shape. You might be able to write a novel on your own, but it’s going to be much better with people on your side, evoking your best and keeping your focus where it should be.

Surround yourself with good people, the kind of people you wish you could acknowledge in every book – if only your Acknowledgments could be ten pages long – and then get to writing. You’ll learn what every successful writer, and the Beatles, already knows: Creativity flows best with a little help from your friends.

ROW80 Round 2

Speaking of community, it’s time for me to declare my goals for this round of A Round of Words in 80 Days (ROW80), the writing challenge that knows you have a life.

1. Read 12 books. Even though I completed 15 books last go-round, this number seems like a good goal point. Both nonfiction and fiction count.

2. Finish editing SHARING HUNTER, a young adult contemporary novel. I’ve been working on this novel for what seems like forever, but I believe in the story and the characters and I’m eager to finally get it all put together.

3. Edit one short story to publication quality. I have four short stories in drafts which all need to be edited and polished. I want to get through one of those four stories this round.

4. Publish and promote two short stories. I have two other short stories pretty much ready to go. I plan to self-publish both of these young adult paranormal tales during this round. Look for a demon story and a vampire story from yours truly in the near future.

5. Stay on top of ROW80 sponsor duties. Once again, I volunteered to be a sponsor for this fabulous writing challenge. I enjoy seeing the various updates and look forward to lots of progress from fellow writers. Indeed, I’ve already submitted my article for the ROW80 blog.

That’s it!

Do you read the acknowledgment page of a book? If so, what do you gain from doing so? Are you involved in a writing challenge? And how was your week?

Jess’s Playlist and ROW80

Welcome to Scarlet Thread Sunday, the day I toss out a thread of something I’ve learned in the labyrinth of life. 

I have a special place in my heart for those who introduce me to wonderful music. I don’t just listen to music; I soak it up through my pores and into my veins and let it swirl around and awaken my senses. Yeah, I love music.

Jess Witkins
Jess

So when Jess Witkins, my fabulous author friend (and DFW Writer’s Conference roomie), asked for suggestions for her Ultimate Mix Tape, I was totally in. I love sharing some of my faves with others and discovering what musical treasures others have found. Jess drew some winners from her experiment, and I was among them, getting to post on her blog about my guilty pleasure and receiving two “mix tape” CDs from Jess.

Today I want to share my Top 10 Favorites that Jess in turn introduced me to through listening to her mix tapes. Maybe you’ll find something you like here too.

Anything Could Happen – Ellie Goulding

Wild Young Hearts – Noisettes

Me after You – Maia Sharp

Stompa – Serena Ryder

Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright – Emilie-Claire Barlow

Angels – Lindi Ortega

You and Me – Sara Watkins

Jolene – Mindy Smith

All for You – Imelda May

Amen – Edens Edge

Thanks, Jess! You’re awesome.

ROW80 Round 2

A Round of Words in 80 Days is the writing challenge that knows you have a life. Participants set their own goals and report at least weekly (or twice weekly) on their progress. Round 2 runs from April 1 through June 20.

I have 10 goals this round–broken into three categories.

Reading

  • Read 8 fiction books.
  • Read one craft book: Writing Young Adult Fiction for Dummies by Deborah Halverson.
  • Visit and comment on ROW80 blogs as a Round 2 sponsor.

Writing/Editing

  • Finish writing BREAKING THE COMMANDMENTS, YA mystery.
  • Complete first round of edits of BREAKING THE COMMANDMENTS.
  • Write one short story.
  • Edit two short stories–one needs a final polish, the other a full edit.

Additional Goals

  • Exercise twice a week.
  • Prepare for and attend DFW Conference in May.
  • Prepare for and attend Immersion Master Class with Margie Lawson in June.

This past week, I wrote 10,930 words on Breaking the Commandments.

So what new music discoveries have you made? Do you like to share your new finds with others? And are you participating in Round 2 of ROW80?