If you’ve reached this page, congratulations are in order, since you’re probably already working on a story of your own or are interested in writing in some form. When you chose writing (or it chose you), you signed up for an amazing career.
As you’ll see from my bio, I was not always interested in becoming a full-time writer, but God had marvelous plans for me and my love of storytelling.
Writing is not really an easy line of work. The deadlines, rejections, rewrites, and solitary hours spent researching and crafting a story can be challenging at some times and downright discouraging at others. But the joy of creating something in partnership with God, something that will encourage and strengthen through the power of story, is a privilege like no other.
Since you’re here, I’d love to share a few things with you that helped me on my writing journey. Due to time constraints, I am not able to read unsolicited manuscripts, or send your work to my agent or publisher. But what I can do is tell you what worked for me in my pursuit of publication. I hope these tips will be helpful to you!
Things to remember when getting started:
Read a diversity of books, not just the genre you like most. Taste a variety of authors and genres. Watch the best seller lists; ask friends and other writers who they like.
My favorite author is John Steinbeck. He’s a magician with words. His books tend to be a bit dark, but his technique is inspiring.
In your reading, make sure to include books that teach writing techniques. I’ve listed a few here:
You may also find the following blogs and web sites helpful:
Attend writing seminars and workshops. They’re a good place to learn and to connect with other writers. You can go online to search out groups for your state or community or inquire at your local library or college. Watch the newspaper for announcements, and writer’s magazines often list upcoming conferences.
Study novels. Sometimes writers need to read for instruction rather than pleasure. Take a close look at how an author creates scenes or how they move from one scene to another. Explore what it is they do to generate drama and to build tension. And ask yourself why you care about the characters.
Read one or more of the writer’s magazines such as Writer’s Digest or The Writer. You can subscribe to them or borrow from your local library.
No gift can be properly executed without practice and exercise. If you want to strengthen your writing muscles you have to work out.
Michele Kwan is an extraordinary figure skater, but without dedication to hard work the world would never have been inspired by her artistry on the ice. Bottom line—she had to show up at the rink.
Be prepared to make a financial and personal investment. You’ll need to cut out time to write, which means you’ll be forced to choose what stays in your life and what goes. The adage that ‘we can’t do it all’ is true.
Computers, a good chair, reference books, conferences, travel, and a number of other writing necessities are part of your expenditures. Only you can decide where your money is best spent, but some outlay is necessary. You’re educating yourself and launching a business. You’re making an investment in you and in your future readers.
A critique group is a collection of writers who regularly get together to evaluate each other’s work. I’ve been part of a critique group from the very beginning. I love how the group’s gifts work together to bring about our best writing. I never want to be without one. If you don’t have one, find one or create your own.
Writing is rewriting. First drafts are just that—first drafts. Some writers do a better first job than others, but no one does it “just right” on their initial attempt. Don’t get frustrated with the process. Refinement takes time. I go through my books at least eight or nine times before they end up on bookstore shelves.
No one ever made it at anything worthwhile by giving up. Being a writer can be grueling work. Sometimes it’s tough to stay upbeat when you go to the mail box and find another rejection letter. Like it or not, they’re part of an author’s journey. All writers receive them; some have collected hundreds before making a first sale. Try to think of them as taking one more step, one step closer to success.
This may be the most difficult challenge of all. Writers need to have thick skins. In order to become an excellent author you must be willing to learn, which means accepting instruction, sometimes painful instruction. Be prepared for the pain and for the rewards. Keep a good friend nearby to share the sorrows and the joys. There will be both.
May the Lord bless your endeavors.
Luke 1:37 “For nothing is impossible with God.”