Secret to Success


Actually, I think I have found the answer, but only time will tell. I found the secret before my Adventures in Romance ever started. I’ve been through two major careers with what I would consider success. Each time my philosophy was to find the people who are doing what you want to do. Find the people at the top of your profession, surround yourself with them, and learn from them. It’s never failed me before.

For writing, I believe that community is Romance Divas. I don’t have enough bandwidth to hop around from forum to forum. This is the only writing forum I’m really active on. So I’m biased. But here’s my recent evidence on why RD is the place to be:

I beta read and critique a lot for other authors. I really enjoy it and will read from any genre for authors at any level. I believe that every story has at least a golden thread in there and I try to give thoughtful, objective feedback. I don’t think I’m mean, but I am picky. I come from the tough love school of critique – If I like your story, it’s even more likely to come back marked up.

I also judge for romance contests. Several in the last couple months. And I have to say the average Diva beta read is head and shoulders above the average contest entry. Hands down. I can usually sense it off my sparkle-meter after reading the first page.

At Romance Divas, you’re surrounded by like minded people. You’ve bounced your ideas around, probably had authors with a good eye critique your work and you’ve likely read examples of quality writing either from purchasing books from other members, reading posts in the Critique Boutique, or picking up one or more critique partners.

I suppose any such forum will do. Or an active critique group if you’re lucky enough to have one. Surround yourself with authors and absorb what they have to offer. And give back to others to complete the cycle. You can’t help but improve. Every time I see a long time Diva sign a contract or land an agent, I know I’m in the right place.

Oh yeah…and you must also write. *whip*

No Comments

  1. Dayo
    Jan 31, 2009 @ 08:14:04

    Good post. Do you think Success and Failure are fuctions of time?.

  2. jeannielin
    Jan 31, 2009 @ 10:13:39

    Thanks Dayo!
    I would say a bit more than time is involved, but time is a factor.

    I have to believe you have some control over success. A good analogy is that students who believe that studying equals good grades are more able to change their habits and succeed than ones that believe smart people get good grades.

    I do believe good writers are created, not born. “Natural talent” is the product of a LOT of blood, sweat and tears.

    Thanks for stopping by. Do you write?

  3. Lanie Fuller
    Jan 31, 2009 @ 10:36:20

    Great post, Jeannie.

    I agree completely about Divas. Since I don’t frequent any other writing forums, I’m probably a bit biased, too, but who isn’t?

  4. Michelle (MG) Braden
    Jan 31, 2009 @ 10:43:47

    Very well thought out and written post, Jeannie! And very true! πŸ˜€

  5. Inez Kelley
    Jan 31, 2009 @ 10:47:43

    I have wondered the same thing! I read other Divas work and am in awe. Then I go elsewhere and an underwhelmed.

    And Jeannie is tough but damn if she isn’t dead on most of the time too!

  6. jeannielin
    Jan 31, 2009 @ 10:54:03

    I thought some of you might agree. πŸ˜‰

  7. cass
    Jan 31, 2009 @ 10:54:25

    I think that if you join Romance Divas and are not a good writer to begin with, by the time you’ve spent serious time exploring and participating there, YOU WILL BE. πŸ™‚

    The talent pool at RD is simply amazing. No wonder publishers and agents scout the place from time to time.

    I used to participate at other writer forums, but found over the years I learned more at RD.

  8. gwen hayes
    Jan 31, 2009 @ 11:11:22

    I so agree!

  9. Kimberley Troutte
    Jan 31, 2009 @ 11:16:04

    I have learned a ton at Romance Divas. It is so wonderful surrounding yourself with a group of people who have been on the same journey and know the ups and downs. I love it!

  10. laurenmurphy01
    Jan 31, 2009 @ 11:26:54

    RD is the best! I don’t know where I’d without My Divas. πŸ˜€

  11. Ginny Glass
    Jan 31, 2009 @ 11:58:35

    Best place ever, that’s all there is to it.

  12. Crystal Jordan
    Jan 31, 2009 @ 12:13:42

    Well, you know I agree. I’ve been with Divas for years and they’ll never get rid of me. I was so new I squeaked when I joined; I’d only put hands to keyboard for 3 weeks. 3 years later I’m one of those contracted, agented authors at RD. I *know* it would not have happened–and certainly not that fast–without my Divas.

  13. Linda
    Jan 31, 2009 @ 12:23:47

    Honestly look how often one of us says ‘I just got agented, or I sold to NY’. The pool of established, new, or ‘almost in NY’ authors is massive there. I’m sure I’m a little biased, but I’m also honest..divas is the place to be if you want a career in romance writing. We’ve constantly got editors prowling the place, the diva mods have magical strings to pull in some of the best of the best authors (anyone remember the little chat with Piers-freakin’-Anthony???). Yeah, romance divas not only rawks, but we do have some of the best writers around. And I’ll defend it ’til the death!

  14. Jen
    Jan 31, 2009 @ 12:28:19

    I love Divas!!!! I don’t know if we’re better, but I think we’re less likely to disappear or get discouraged. Probably because Divas won’t let us.

  15. Amanda Kelsey
    Jan 31, 2009 @ 12:53:46

    Very true. I’ve recently had my own experience in this as well.

  16. writingchick4e
    Jan 31, 2009 @ 13:21:49

    I absolutely agree! There is support in good and bad times! No question or answer is turned down and everyone there has the same goal….To be published!

  17. Kim Knox
    Jan 31, 2009 @ 14:06:23

    I started hanging out in the chat room in August and my production – and sale – of stories rocketed, lol So yep, I love Divas!

    It’s nice to find people who don’t think your crazy – well, too much *grin* – and support and understand that need you have to write the best story you can.

  18. jeannielin
    Jan 31, 2009 @ 14:54:12

    No wonder it’s the fastest growing romance forum on the net. (I made up that statistic by the way. Just now. πŸ™‚ )

    I think any place where you can share ideas will work as well. I started in a regular critique group that taught me a lot. But nothing can match the huge range of expertise there is on a forum. I was quite squeaky like Crystal when I joined too. I’ve gotten critiques, equestrian info and good old hand holding when I needed it. I squeak a little less now, but there’s always so much more to learn.

  19. Ms Menozzi
    Jan 31, 2009 @ 16:41:30

    I have to credit the Divas with my achievements of the past year, no doubt about it. I have gone farther with my writing since I joined the group than I have in all the years previously. I’m not published yet, but I will be. The support and help I get from this bunch is some of the greatest I’ve ever found.

    I’m not even a romance writer, really. But the best part is, they don’t hold that against me. And some of them say I have the best eye candy, too (and they know I like to share it)!



  20. Kate Pearce
    Jan 31, 2009 @ 18:13:13

    I enjoy divas too, (although sometimes I feel like an old hack LOL) But the enthusiasm and the support do remind me of why I love to write and why it is so nice to be around other like-minded lovely writers.

  21. dara11
    Jan 31, 2009 @ 19:37:14

    Great Post! But then I may be just a little biased. πŸ˜‰

    –Dara England

  22. Jodie
    Jan 31, 2009 @ 19:56:44

    Too right! I have been with the divas for an age, and made awesome friends, learned from others and found a group that can be super supportive in all facets of life, not just in writing.

  23. Feisty
    Jan 31, 2009 @ 20:11:27

    You’re made up of awesome sauce.

  24. debbiemumford
    Jan 31, 2009 @ 22:11:55

    Excellent post!

    I definitely agree about Divas. I bounced around a few writing and critique sites before I landed at RD, but I’ve had no desire to seek further since I dropped anchor.

  25. Dayo
    Feb 03, 2009 @ 04:01:14

    Sure I write from time to time about how to help students pass their exams and be successful in life generally with the tricks I know worked for me. Here is a particular thing that captured my attention: Each time my philosophy was to find the people who are doing what you want to do. Find the people at the top of your profession, surround yourself with them, and learn from them. It’s never failed me before. I wrote something similar to that previously,advising students to surround themselves with those at the top ( previous year students ), in order to get enough information and materials from them. Thanks once again.

  26. jeannielin
    Feb 03, 2009 @ 06:48:54

    Dayo – I used to teach too in low income high schools. (One of my careers) The probability of a student getting to college once an older sibling had gone would skyrocket (sorry I don’t have the numbers!). Of course, the statistics were even higher if a parent had gone on to higher education. For a lot of those students, I was working with them to become the first person in their family ever to graduate and go to college with the everlasting hope that the success would inevitably lead to more down the line.

    We also had a program where previous graduates would come back to work as tutors. They’d also come and speak to the students in a panel when they were all home for Spring Break.

    I think you’ve set your students on the right track. Only time will tell!

  27. Dayo
    Feb 03, 2009 @ 09:32:59

    You said it all. I am neither a teacher nor an instructor. I am a second year student of polsl :). I will stop by from time to time to. Keep the good work on and I wish you more grease to your elbow.

  28. jeannielin
    Feb 03, 2009 @ 10:02:44

    Good luck!