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7 Things I've Learned So Far (Using Songs), by Jessica Lee Anderson

This is a new recurring column I’m calling “7 Things I’ve Learned So Far,” where writers at any stage of their career can talk about seven things they’ve learned along their writing journey that they wish they knew at the beginning. This installment is from writer Jessica Lee Anderson. Jessica Lee Anderson is the author of Trudy, which won the 2005 Milkweed Prize for Children’s Literature, as well as Border Crossing.

This is a recurring column I’m calling “7 Things I’ve Learned So Far,”where writers (this installment written by Jessica Lee Anderson, author of TRUDY) at any stage of their career can talk about writing advice and instruction as well as how they possibly got their book agent -- by sharing seven things they’ve learned along their writing journey that they wish they knew at the beginning.

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Jessica Lee Anderson is the author of Trudy,
which won the 2005 Milkweed Prize for Children’s
Literature, as well as Border Crossing. She’s
published two nonfiction readers, as well as
fiction and nonfiction for a variety of magazines
including Highlights for Children. See her
website
and her blog.

1. “You’ve Got a Friend” by James Taylor. In this business, sometimes the north wind of rejection blows, an agent might desert you, or reviews seem like they’re taking your soul. There is nothing like having a network of friends that are willing to support you through it all!

2. “Lean on Me” by Bill Withers. I’ve leaned on the advice of my critique partners to strengthen my writing. I’ve also sought out the counsel from my mentors when I’ve needed a hand making important career decisions.

 3. “With a Little Help from My Friends” by Joe Cocker. I’ve discovered there is definitely power in group marketing, and getting by with each other’s help. Jo Whittemore, P.J. Hoover, and I recently started a group called The Texas Sweethearts for this very reason.

4. “On the Road Again” by Willie Nelson. The life I love is writing, and I’ve learned that I need to hit the road to make new connections by attending conferences (local, national, and international), book festivals, assemblies, book clubs, etc.

5. “Patience” by Guns N’ Roses. I’ve made some progress over time by trying not to focus on the things I can’t control (like how long it takes to get a response), and I try to focus on staying productive instead.

6. “Taking Chances” by Celine Dion. What do I say about taking chances? I’m all for it, especially since my first novel, Trudy, was pulled from the slush pile. I felt like I’d jumped off the edge when I wrote about schizophrenia in my second novel, Border Crossing. What I do say about taking chances? Go for it!

7. “Don’t Stop” by Fleetwood Mac. Yesterday is gone, and even though there are many things I didn’t get accomplished, tomorrow will be here soon. I can only hope it will be even better than before!

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