Back when you wrote your 1st book, what were your thoughts about a career in writing? Where are you now in your writing journey? If you’re starting out, what are your goals?

Insecure Writers Want to Know

My first full-length book is the college memoir I’m trying to get published. I’ve sent out that cover letter to Zibby Books with the completed manuscript. Here’s hoping!

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In my writing journey, I’m a short story writer, essayist, and poet. And I’ve always wanted a career in writing. I dreamed of editors asking ME for stories or poems or asking ME to research topics and create non-fiction pieces for their magazines or papers. You know. “Hey, we need an adventure story. Let’s contact Victoria Marie Lees and have her create a five-thousand-word story for this issue. Like I was in their rolodex on the desk as a creative writer on call. Back when I saw a few of the same author names each month in the magazines my children or I received. Or maybe I’d write a column regularly that everyone waited to read.

Right! That’s back in the olden days.

Now I write and create and hope that someone finds my writing thought-provoking. Exciting enough to rise to the top of the “slush pile” to see the light of day. To be brought by the first readers to an editor’s attention and say how about this piece?

Now most periodicals and papers are online and writers need to contribute stories and articles—or posts—for free just to get their name out, just to be seen and recognized for what they do and know. I guess it’s called marketing your brand.

What do you think about writers feeling the necessity to share their expertise online for free; when back in the dark ages—before all this social media and forums—a writer would be paid for sharing their knowledge with others?

I’m not bitter. I understand how the times have changed. I try to share my knowledge, too. For me, it’s mostly called blogging or writing newsletters to obtain that all-powerful mailing list.

** Please, if you’re interested in learning what I know about creative writing or family camping, just sign up for “A Dose of Life’s Adventure” here at my website. It would be greatly appreciated. I create a short newsletter maybe once a month. **

But I’ve contributed articles and blog posts for free for South Jersey Mom, a monthly periodical, and for the blogsite Easy to Love, But Hard to Raise, personal experiences of raising a child with special needs. I couldn’t find a live website for Easy to Love. It might not have the blog anymore.

Still, I try to make money when I can with my writing. Last month, I submitted an essay about my college journey to The Writer Magazine for a contest. In it, I condense what it’s like to be a mother in college.

And I’ve submitted poetry, two different series of poems, for two different contests. A total of ten poems.

Here’s hoping that at least something resonates with the contest gods. Fingers crossed!

I’ve been working on short stories for my middle grade collection about Dealing with Death. A tough subject for young people for sure. I add a touch of adventure and danger and have the protagonists not only be the hero in the story, but also come to realize that their parent or sibling, etc., is still with them, guiding them from the knowledge they had shared.

Now I’m off to see how you’ve tackled this month’s question. I am extremely thankful for all of you for being my sounding board and advisors on this scary writing and publishing journey.

Thanks for stopping by my little spot on the web. Please come again!

This post was written for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. I’d like to thank our co-hosts for April: Jemima Pett, Nancy Gideon, and Natalie Aguirre! Please visit them if you can.

Our group posts on the first Wednesday of every month. To join us, or learn more about the group, click HERE

28 thoughts on “Back when you wrote your 1st book, what were your thoughts about a career in writing? Where are you now in your writing journey? If you’re starting out, what are your goals?”

    • I always get that “warm fuzzy feeling” whenever anyone reads what I have written–and let’s me know. I realize that we write to get our name out there, to say something important, and to attract those precious followers who enjoy what we write.

      Thanks for being one of my precious few followers who reads my writing posts. All best to you, sir!

  1. Fingers crossed for you on the manuscript you just submitted. Fun how your dream used to be to be contacted by editors asking for your work. We can only wish it would work like this.

  2. I think you have done very well getting your name out there. It is increasingly hard to make a full-time living at it though, so we must balance it with other endeavours, but it is just great for someone to read and connect with what we wrote.

    • Absolutely, Nick. Writers want [I think it’s more a need] to be read. Thank you for your kind words. I truly appreciate them.

      Have a beautiful week. And thanks for stopping by Adventures in Writing and leaving a note.

  3. Sending cyber support for your manuscript. I sense wonderful things about to happen for you, Victoria. You have a lot to offer readers and writers alike. I’m still remembering how moved I was reading your memoir. A wonderful story.

    • Thank you so much, Joylene. I truly need to hear these kind words. Please remember I’m here for you, if you need me. All best to you!

  4. While times do change, I’m not sure that this change is for the better and it’s something we should (if we feel called) to challenge. I think writers should be paid for their craft. It really stinks that they can’t for many online mags. It is great to get an opportunity to your work in an online magazine, and I think it helps add a measure of credibility to your resume so to speak. But *sigh* I don’t have to like that it’s art for art exposure and not compensation.

    • Hello and welcome to Adventures in Writing! I’m so glad you stopped by.

      This is so true, Kristina. And no, we don’t have to like it. Unfortunately, now it seems to be the only show in town. *Sigh* is right! Have a beautiful weekend!

  5. There’s a nostalgia for those days, isn’t there? A time when we knew that authors were sought out and given assignments or asked to contribute. A time when authors could physically go to a publisher and present their work and know it was actually read. Now we fight to have one page read and hope to communicate our full story and ability in just those few paragraphs. Times change and we must adapt with them. It’s been hard for those of us who have been writing for years but it’s also been interesting. I guess we should call it an adventure.

    Knowing that most of what I do right now is for free and for marketing or platform building is hard. I’d rather focus on writing projects and submissions. But, again, that’s all part of the new adventure that writing has become.

    Best of luck with your poetry and memoir! And thank you for this thought provoking post.

    • Hello and welcome to Adventures in Writing, Jen! I’m so glad you stopped by.

      Thank you for your kind words. You have the right attitude. This writing life we try to sustain is certainly an adventure. Thanks for sharing your insights here at Adventures in Writing. Please stop by again!

  6. I submitted online work for free to a local publication. It led to paying articles in their print magazine. I had to prove myself first and since I loved writing those online pieces, it didn’t bother me. They were more like practice. Hope your poems get accepted!

    • Thank you for this, Liza. You are right, of course. I need to remember this. We do NEED to prove ourselves to publications in order to move into paid article gigs. I’ve done free articles as well.

      Thank you so much for visiting Adventures in Writing and leaving a note. Please stop by again!

  7. Hi Victoria!
    Yes, writers want to be read. Nothing wrong with that. That’s why we find ways to promote. All the best for future publications! And thanks for your visit to my humble blog and your kind comments!

    • You have the right attitude, Anna. Thank you for your positivity. More people need to do for others out of kindness rather than “what’s in it for me.” I help others as well.

      Have a beautiful weekend!

  8. Yeah, it’s funny how it’s “here’s a free contribution with my name, which hopefully you’ll recall in a positive way and maybe buy something with my name on it one day.” Which doesn’t sound like it should work. Then again, I have bought other books because I liked something in an anthology or whatever. We’re all just doing the best we can.
    Happy IWSG day! Here’s a giveaway-
    It’s April, so I’m focused on the #AtoZChallenge.
    Proof of Existence, book two in my dark urban fantasy series, is out this month.
    I’m running another giveaway on my blog.

    J Lenni Dorner (he/him 👨🏽 or 🧑🏽 they/them) ~ Reference& Speculative Fiction Author, OperationAwesome6 Debut Author Interviewer, and Co-host of the #AtoZchallenge

    • Hi Lenni! Thanks for visiting Adventures in Writing and sharing your insight. It’s appreciated.

      All the luck with Proof of Existence and your giveaway. Bravo! And good luck with the A to Z Challenge. You guys are amazing!

  9. Good luck on hearing from Zibby Books! It’s great that you’re putting yourself out there. That MG collection on death sounds like something that is sorely needed. My dad died when my kids were at already tough ages, and it was hard on them.

    • Thank you for your kind words, Shannon. Yes, I think this MG collection on death is needed as well. My sympathies for your loss. My Dad passed when my kids were middle graders as well.

      Stay well, my dear. Bravo on your new release, by the way.


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