online writing workshop and what it has done for me

I was asked recently to contribute what my favorite online review site has meant to me and I thought it would be helpful to share it here as well.

I discovered the online writing workshop for science fiction, fantasy and horror (OWW) on the website of one of my favorite authors, Cecilia Dart-Thorton as a resource for writers. At the time I was a stay at home mother with a disability. I was an author of several unpublished manuscripts. I knew my writing needed work, lots of work, but any attempts I made to get feedback came up short. Trading with other authors would have me pouring over their every line and getting nothing from them in return. I had sent out my manuscripts to dozens people who never read any of it at all.

I was stuck. I could not take classes. I could not make it to writing group meetings. Being an author is my dream but I had to get better.

When Ms. Dart-Thorton’s website directed me to OWW I knew I had my answer. I joined immediately and was promptly crushed with constructive criticism. I went through a month of denial and then I grew the thick skin I needed to be a writer. My work improved. I read the work of other writers and I found my feedback to them developed. And my work improved more. I identified my weaknesses. I learned how to strengthen them.

What does OWW mean to me?

It made the difference between feeling like I could be a writer someday and being a writer now.

It taught me how to be discerning and harsh with my own work. How to take criticism and be thankful for it.

I am a better writer. I am a more confident writer. I am a writer whose ego no longer rules my edits.

My newest manuscript is on its last round of edits. I have received amazingly helpful feedback on OWW that have shaped it into the very best thing I have ever written. I am confident that it will be my first published novel.

I recommend this site to every writer I meet. I warn them, it will strip you of your ego and then it will build you up again as a writer.

It has been my most valuable resource.

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