Monday Musings: The Big Kids Clubhouse Secret Handshake…Finally!

This post is for all of my author friends out there. I wrote it several years ago but it’s as appropriate now as it was then. And this “renewed” post has nothing to do with the fact I spent the entire weekend writing my heart out with my fellow writers at Colorado Romance Writers’ annual retreat in the beautiful Rocky Mountains!


The Big Kids Clubhouse Secret Handshake…Finally!

Wouldn’t it be lovely to show up at your next writers’ meeting or conference and sit right next to that one author who knows “the secret?” You know she’s out there somewhere, willing to share the one tidbit you need to take that all-important step into publication, be invited to write for the publisher that pays “big bucks”, and top that Best Seller List that proves you’ve touched the hearts of a gazillion romance writers.

If only you could find this author and cultivate her cooperation, you’d be there! You’d finally learn the Big Kids Clubhouse Secret Handshake. Senior editors would fly you in for cocktails. Famous agents would drop all their other clients so they could grab the tail of your rising star with both hands.  Readers would cry when they close your latest book because your next novel won’t be released for two more months!

Are you salivating yet?

Now, we all know there are no magic formulas, no shortcuts, and no secret handshakes. That does not mean this author is a figment of our all too vivid imaginations. She does exist.

She’s that author who taught the last workshop you attended.  She’s the woman who advises you to send your book to another editor because so-and-so can’t stand the kind of hero you’ve written. He’s the recently-published author who shares his newbie mistakes so you don’t have to learn them all over again the hard way.  She’s that wonderful critique partner who gently tells you your story needs to start on page 92.  And, finally, she’s the New York Times best-selling author who reveals her own struggles with her forty-second novel she’s sure is “the worst drivel she’s ever written.”

No one said publishing was easy. If it were, everyone would be writing the great American novel, making beaucoup bucks, and being shamelessly feted by the

That means the path to success falls upon you.  Join that local writing group, attend meetings.  Take online workshops to build your skills.  Network like crazy.  Read prodigiously across the genres.  Pick the brains of every author, editor, agent, publisher, marketing expert, and reader on your social loops.

The secret is there…at your fingertips.  All you have to do is take the initiative to find the resources that best serve your needs, then share your own experiences and knowledge.  The truth is you might be the one who holds the key to the Big Kid’s Clubhouse Secret Handshake for another writer.

Welcome to the club!

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4 Responses to Monday Musings: The Big Kids Clubhouse Secret Handshake…Finally!

  1. Great post, Karen. It is all about hard work and supporting each other. Actually, I think that IS the secret handshake, and it’s what makes writers such a special group of people.

    Lucie j.

  2. Karen Docter says:

    Thanks for commenting on the post, Lucie. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

    Yes, I agree 100%. In fact, I originally wrote this piece years ago after I ran into a writer who seemed to think she wasn’t getting far in her career because the writers around her weren’t telling her what she needed, like they were deliberately keeping her out of the club. (Thankfully, I only run into this kind of writer occasionally. How sefl-defeating!!)

    Anyway, the experience prompted me to respond. 🙂 🙂

  3. Amy Denim says:

    I loved this post. It was a good one to read coming off the heels of the annual CRW retreat. I too wrote my little heart out up there in the mountains, and it being my first time there was sure I would sit next to one of the big kids and would get to join the clubhouse. Thanks for the insights.

  4. Karen Docter says:

    Hi, Amy. Thanks for commenting! The retreat was wonderful, wasn’t it? I’m hoping to post pictures here tomorrow for my Wacky Wednesday post.

    Wish I could say I was timing the post with the retreat but I wasn’t! 🙂 I think of this often though because I go to meetings every month and draw on my resources all the time. It’s a building process, isn’t it?

    I’m so glad you wrote your heart out. I’m certain you probably did sit next to someone with something you needed. If nothing else, the support of so many writers has to rub off! 🙂 🙂


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