Friday, October 26, 2012

COSCBWI October 2012: Overcoming Obstacles with Rae Carson

This month's COSCBWI meeting was a real treat, featuring author Rae Carson!  Rae is the Ohioana award-winning author of The Girl of Fire and Thorns and the recently released sequel, The Crown of Embers.  She led our group in a discussion on overcoming obstacles throughout the publication process--a situation many authors face throughout their careers.  She didn't focus on the common obstacles (such as scoring an agent or learning to write a winning query letter), but instead shared her perspective on deep-rooted and often unpredictable road blocks.

Some of the obstacles she brought to light included:

The Inability to Complete Projects
-There are lots of reasons and excuses why writers never finish projects
-Writers may get bored, outgrow an idea, or simply give up when the going gets tough

Outside Expectations of Failure 
-Writers often face a lack of support and understanding from non-writers (even family and friends)
-With the odds stacked against writers, many people just expect you to fail
-Writers may face resentment by loved ones due to the time and attention they dedicate to writing

-Money necessities often make writing difficult
-Job demands may force your writing to the back-burner
-The costs of conferences and networking can be a strain on your wallet

Not Writing Good
-Sometimes you learn that your writing stinks even though you thought it was awesome
-Sometimes when you learn your writing stinks, you want to crawl into a hole and pretend you don't exist

Really Crappy Luck
-Sometimes bad things happen and there's not much you can do about it
-Timing can be everything (i.e., you write an awesome ninja book and one is published the next day)
-Sometimes your feedback can be so contradicting, you don't know what to do at all

I don't know about you, but I find this list 100% accurate!  While these obstacles may seem a little depressing, Rae assured us there were things we could do to avoid and overcome them.  She advised us to hone our craft and attend classes, workshops, and conferences as much as possible.  She also said that sometimes it may be necessary to re-think your target audience, re-write a novel, or even get a second agent.  If you don't find support at home, seek out writing friends who understand what you're going through (and can offer critique feedback, too!)  And of course, she told us to never EVER give up!

A big thanks to Rae for coming in to speak to COSCBWI!  You can learn more about her and her books at  (I just loved The Girl of Fire and Thorns and can't wait to read the sequel!)

You can learn more about COSCBWI and our upcoming events at  I hope to see you at our next monthly meeting!  :)

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