Take the Fork in the Road...

 by Charlotte Bennardo

Photo by James Wheeler: https://www.pexels.com/photo/photo-of-pathway-surrounded-by-fir-trees-1578750/

There comes a time when you hit a point where you must make a decision about the path you're on. Crisis, turning point, options- whatever you call it, you must make a decision about where your path continues.

Writers reach many such points: writing time or time with the kids; writing for children or writing for adults; stay in one genre or branch out; and the biggest-should I give up writing because I'm not having any success. Each decision we make about our writing career/life/passion/hobby- whatever you want to classify it as, takes us on a different path after we come to a turning point.

My turning point came when the pandemic hit. The publishing industry was severely limited and a lot of authors struggled to keep their writing dreams and businesses going. I hit such a wall. Although I had several novels written and had three novels traditionally published, I wasn't getting anywhere with finding an agent or a traditional publisher. That was my turning point: either give up a passion to simply write for 'fun' (which isn't feasible to me) or try a different route. I needed something to reinvigorate my writing career. Time for a drastic move.

With so much shut down, I enrolled in school, which could be done online, to obtain my master's degree in creative writing, with a certification as a professional writer. 

What did I get from this new path? I had to start with the basic: studying classical pieces of literature both old and new; learn about plot points beyond merely conflict, rising action, climax, and resolution; revisit grammar rules; adopt new styles of query letters; learn how to tighten up synopses and refine my writing; acquaint myself with sound practices for my professional writing business; and mostly, force myself to write smarter, faster, and more focused. 

With my degree up on the wall I came to another turning point, another decision; would I put all that I learned to use, or just let the knowledge and motivation faded away....

My path follows a solid routine: Mondays are for social media. I write on my blog and if there is a deadline for the two other blogs I write posts for- YA Outside the Lines and Smack Dab in the Middle. If I have free time, I work on revising a manuscript and/or submit a polished novel to agents/publishers. Tuesday-Thursday are for working on manuscripts, with Tuesday night being reserved for my romance writers critique group, and Fridays are for short story writing and submitting. I leave time for personal activities like swimming (or, at the moment, physical therapy...annoying inconvenience), biking or hiking with the hubs, or such. By sticking to a routine I can make the most of my writing time. I believe this focused effort will produce results and rewards. It hasn't been easy, but success never is. Sometimes a turning point is merely a course correction to help us get what we want.


Charlotte writes MG, YA, NA, and adult novels in sci fi, fantasy, contemporary, and paranormal genres. She is the author of the award-winning middle grade Evolution Revolution trilogy, Simple Machines, Simple Plans, and Simple Lessons. She co-authored the YA novels Blonde OPS, Sirenz, and Sirenz Back in Fashion. She has two short stories in the Beware the Little White Rabbit (Alice through the Wormhole) and Scare Me to Sleep (Faces in the Wood) anthologies. Having finished her MFA, she's applying what she learned and is working on several children's and adult novels, along with some short stories. She lives in NJ but dreams of a Caribbean beach house. 


  1. Good stuff you've come up with. Keep at it while you have plenty of gas in the tank. I'm running on a quarter tank these days and my writing suffers as a result.

  2. This is a sound plan! I try so hard to come up with a solid routine and life has other ideas.

  3. I'm a BIG believer in sticking to schedules. Otherwise, everything sort of spirals into a giant mess.


Post a Comment