Last time on My Journey to Publication, I shared my experiences from attending my first writer's conference.

Driving the six hours home from North Carolina, I felt like I was flying. My dreams seemed possible and I had a new found confidence in calling myself a writer. I had direction and peace. All the way home, I thought about what I had learned at She Speaks and how I could apply all of these tips into my writing routine.

In the first few weeks after the conference, I put into practice many of the suggestions that I learned. I started a Twitter account and updated my Facebook blog page. I subscribed to many writing blogs to receive their monthly newsletters and connected with the other bloggers I had met at the conference through various forms of social media. Since I am a goal-setter by nature, I created an Excel spreadsheet that tracked my platform growth over a variety of mediums each month. I also purchased a copy of the Christian Writer's Manuscript and began to submit my work to blogs and magazines. Through these efforts, I guest blogged on Mary DeMuth's website and (In)Courage and my work was published in Alabama Baby Magazine and Inspired by Him (a local Dothan magazine).

Then, rejection started to trickle in. First, I was rejected by one of the publishers that I met with at She Speaks. I took the rejection a bit harder than I had the first time. I don't know if it was because I hoped that this time it would be different but this rejection brought in a case of the doubts. I began to question if the book was really worth being published and I spent a long time analyzing over my story. During this period, I joined a writing critique group that formed after She Speaks. The group consists of around six women and we all take turns submitting and critiquing each others' work. It has been a nice way for me to receive feedback from other writers and the group has also given me a chance to read work from writers who aspire to be published.

One of the biggest things that I learned in this window of time after She Speaks was my value. I was able to look at myself as a writer and really see where I stood in the grand scheme of things. What I determined during this season was that I still needed to grow. My blog, my writing style, and my platform all needed more time to develop. Instead of rushing to send my book proposal off to other literary agents, I made a very important decision to wait. The last thing I want is to submit work that still needs work. Growing is not easy, quite frankly - it hurts. But, I have to believe that something beautiful will rise from the dirt. Something that is worth the wait and the pain. Something that will motivate others and inspire individuals to grow themselves.

I daily wrestle with what that something is. There a key points that keep staring at me in the face but I haven't quite wrapped my head around how to organize these points into chapters for a book. I'm sure I'm being overly analytical but the details are what weaves a story together, you know? I would love to write a book and have it published by a publishing house but until I receive that clarity on the specific story that needs to be written, I am spending my time growing my platform and finding my voice.

Question: If you are a reader, what type of story would you love to read? If you are a writer, what steps have you taken to grow your platform after attending a conference like She Speaks? Till next time, let your light shine!

Blessings, christen

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