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Writing Tribe to Writing Ship by Wendy Terrien

I started this writing journey six years ago, clueless and alone.

The alone part I expected—I didn’t know any professional writers. But the clueless part was a surprise. I thought I was a pretty good writer. I thought I could do this with a little studying, a little tweaking. I thought I knew how to write a good story.

I did not.

I turned to Google for guidance and I dodged my share of charlatans and swindlers who promised to hold my hand and publish my book for a fee. I found resources to explore. And I did a lot of research. 

Through all of this, I discovered the Pikes Peak Writers Conference (PPWC) about to happen in my own back yard, and I signed up. A few weeks later I found myself at a hotel in Colorado Springs surrounded by people—writers—asking me what I wrote, if I was pitching, and had I been querying. To each I answered, “Nothing yet.” “What is pitching?” And, “No—how does one query?” Suffice it to say I was that deer in those oncoming headlights. But I learned tons. And my brain loved it. And I felt a whole new kind of excitement about what I was doing.

All of it was fantastic. But the best part was the beginning build of my writing tribe. 

At PPWC I met writers who are still friends today. And they’ve led me to new experiences and new people. To new workshops, and training, and books on craft. To new ideas, and new writing projects. I’m thankful for every bit of it, and I share my knowledge and discoveries with them, too. We grow together.

But most of all, the writing tribe I’ve built around me has become that thing, the significant variable that’s carried me from newbie writer to published author. And they’re not just a tribe—they are my solid ship on what can be a turbulent ocean. They are an aircraft carrier.

A strong writing tribe carries great power. They offer valuable feedback, they understand your trials, and they celebrate your successes. I’ve learned a lot, and continue to learn, from my tribe. I know I can lean on them when I need it, and I’m motivated by their success. They inspire me. They lift me up. And honestly, they are the reason I’m about to release my debut novel, THE RAMPART GUARDS. I believed I could do it because I saw them do it. And they believe in me.

A lot of people ask what advice I’d offer new writers. Hopefully I’ve made my advice clear in this post. Find those supportive people and surround yourself with them, share this journey with them. Doing so makes a huge difference in your overall experience. But note the key aspect of this advice—supportive people. Supportive, positive writers who have the same goals and dreams you do—to write a great story and share it with the world.

Does that mean finding writers who are brimming with self-confidence and expect to rule the world? Thankfully, no. I mean how many writers have you met that are free of self-doubt and never question their own ability to produce quality work? I think the imposter syndrome sneaks up on the best of us. We’re human. Doubt happens.

What it does mean is finding those people who, bottom line, sincerely celebrate your successes, whatever those may be. Small, big, grand—they are truly happy for you in every instance. Having that around you is an amazing energy. It’s the true essence of honor and love. It feels damn good, and it’s a feeling we all deserve. 

Embrace the writers with heart. Leave the phonies back at the dock—no one needs those types of people in their tribe. And remember, a rising tide lifts all aircraft carriers. Your success radiates out and touches others in a positive way, as does their success to you. Celebrate all of it.

About the Author

Wendy Terrien has been writing stories since she was in grade school. Her debut novel The Rampart Guards (February 29, 2016) is the first in her intriguing urban fantasy series.

Inspired by an episode of Bones that suspected a killer to be a fabled chupacabra, Wendy was fascinated and dove into research about cryptozoology - the study of animals that may or may not exist, or cryptids.  Pouring over stories, videos and photographs of creatures others had seen all over the world, Wendy developed her own story to share with middle grade, young adult and grown-up readers.

Raised in Salt Lake City, Wendy graduated from the University of Utah and soon transplanted to Colorado where she completed her MBA at the University of Denver.  Having applied her marketing expertise to the financial and network security industries, it wasn’t until a career coach stepped in that she fully immersed herself in her passion for writing. Wendy began attending writers conferences, workshops and retreats.

She regularly participates in two critique groups and is the Secretary of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and a member of Pikes Peak Writers and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. In 2014, she was a finalist in the San Francisco Writer’s Contest and in March, will release a novella in the anthology Tick Tock: Seven Tales of Time.

Wendy lives in Colorado with her husband Kevin and their three dogs: Maggie, Shea and Boon. All three of her dogs are rescues and Wendy is extremely passionate about promoting shelter adoptions. If you’re ever in Colorado, you may even be able to spot her by her “Adopt a Shelter Pet” license plates.

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