The Changes I See in Me...

 by Charlotte Bennardo

The theme this month is "How to grow as a writer and not stagnate." Not progressing, spinning our 'author' wheels is common. We get so involved in writing our novels, subbing our novels, and promoting our novels, that it becomes routine. Life goes on....

So, How Do We Grow? 

Growth means change. Think of the butterfly analogy; caterpillar, pupa, chrysalis, butterfly. Writers go through stages of change too. (Well, if they want to be successful, they do.)

Photo by Miriam Fischer:

I write novels, revise them, submit them and wait for a response. The last few years though haven't brought me success. I was stuck in a rut, on a hamster wheel, becoming a tired cliche. I needed to do something to bring about change . 

Thank You, Pandemic 

The pandemic changed almost everything for everyone. For writers, book festivals, writing conferences, in-person events, and publishing acceptances ended or were severely curtailed. Sure, it sounded great that I had all this time to write, but I had time previously and wasn't getting results. What was I going to change? Taking a good hard look at my goals, my failures, my skill set, my dreams. I could sharpen my skills, learn more about promotion, and accomplish a dream by applying for a Master of Fine Arts degree program with a Professional Writer certification. Getting my MFA was a dream and the program would help me sharpen not only writing skills, but editing, organizational, and social media skills. Additionally, the Professional Writer certification helped me develop business acumen and skills whether I wrote novels or corporate pieces, whether I started an editing, ghostwriting, or freelance writing business, or started an independent publishing business. 

Cha-cha-changes (yes, you have to sing that)

The MFA program from Southern New Hampshire University was online, making it a perfect pandemic activity. But honestly, sometimes it was grueling (so much reading and writing), it took me out of my comfort zone (social media marketing, ugh!), and showed me a different (and usually better) way to do things so I had to change not only how I thought about writing, but also how I went about it. Not only am I writing novels, but I am considering other writing forms: corporate content, short stories, and novellas. But it won't end there. Newer skills, changing publishing models, and other changes will require continuing education, classes, conferences, networking, and.... changes. It's the only way to survive. 

Charlotte writes MG, YA, NA, and adult novels in sci fi, fantasy, contemporary, and paranormal genres. She is the author of the award-winning middle grade Evolution Revolution trilogy, Simple Machines, Simple Plans, and Simple Lessons. She co-authored the YA novels Blonde OPS, Sirenz, and Sirenz Back in Fashion. She has two short stories in the Beware the Little White Rabbit (Alice through the Wormhole) and Scare Me to Sleep (Faces in the Wood) anthologies. Currently she is working on several novels for both children and adults, and her MFA. She lives in NJ with her family and her floofy cat. When they trimmed the backyard tree, the crazy squirrel couple had to move out.


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