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*