How would you describe your writing apprenticeship and transition to an actively publishing author? What were the surprises, challenges and strategies that have defined your experience along the way?
The biggest surprise—and challenge—was probably how much my writing process had to adjust to working on a deadline. I was used to cranking out academic papers and pieces of short fiction and poetry for school, but novel-writing was always my labor of love. I let myself be precious with every word.
There’s no time for that in publishing. The goal isn’t “write the best book you can;” it’s “write the best book you can in the time that’s been given to you.”
I had to learn to be a lot kinder with myself and let go of some of my perfectionism—and I think, in the long run, it’s made me a better writer.
From whom do you receive creative feedback—critique groups/partners, writing teachers, expert/sensitivity readers, family and friends, editor and/or agent? How do you digest and process that feedback? What advice to you have for other writers along those lines?
I went to The New School for their MFA in Writing for Children, and I feel like I got a fantastic writing community out of it. My classmates are still my close friends, and we still write together and look over each other’s work. And the mentorship I received from my professors and advisers was incredibly encouraging and gave me the confidence I needed to pursue a career.
But you certainly don’t have to get an MFA to form a writing community of your own. There are some fantastic mentorship programs online, especially for marginalized writers.
You can find writing friends and critique partners online, too—I have. I think it’s just a matter of taking the time to follow your favorite authors on social media, immerse yourself in the writing community, and find people you get along with and trust and who share your interests.
Charlotte Nicole Davis is the author of The Good Luck Girls, a young adult fantasy novel releasing in Fall 2019 with Tor Teen.
A graduate of The New School’s Writing for Children MFA program, Charlotte loves comic book movies and books with maps in the front. She currently lives in Brooklyn with a cat with a crooked tail.