I see you over there. You’ve dabbled, you’ve journaled, you’ve gotten lost in daydreams of a Michael B. Jordan-type professing his love to a Rachel McAdams-type. When you read books by Janine Rosche, you think “I could write just as well as this gal and I actually know where to put commas.”
You have the heart of a writer.
I’m sorry to say there isn’t a cure. I should know.
I first met Daniel and Elizabeth in 2008 when I was minding my own business, having babies, and rereading Redeeming Love for the second time. I loved how Francine Rivers was able to tug my heart into a literary world and inspire me to stronger hope and faith. That was when a damaged womanizer and a naïve, compassionate loner randomly started waking me up at night with their story. Finally, I gave in and wrote two chapters.
And six months later it was a bestseller!
Just kidding. Actually, a loved one read it and made fun of it. Clearly, I wasn’t talented enough, so I stopped writing. Eight years. That’s how long Daniel and Elizabeth lingered in my mind before I finally got back to their story.
Does any of that sound familiar?
If it does, I challenge you to find your Stetson and your best chaps because it’s time for you to get back on that saddle, partner! Here are a few tips to get you going:
You heard me. Grab a piece of paper, notebook, or fresh Microsoft Word document and get your ideas down. It doesn’t matter how sloppy or disjointed it is. Just write.
It’s astounding to me how many new authors haven’t read many books in their genre. This is imperative. Even if your writing doesn’t fit neatly in that genre, it’s important for you to know what has been successful in the past.
3. Join a writing group or association.
This is a great way to meet other new writers who understand where you’ve been. It also provides opportunities to learn from current successful authors. Sometimes these places offer practical ways to improve your writing such as critique groups and conferences. The best choice I ever made in this career was attending the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) conference in 2017. The connections I made there have made all the difference in my world.
4. Practice Patience.
For most people, it takes 5-10 years to break into the writing industry. For some, it’s less. For some, it’s more. Trust me when I say that you don’t want it to happen before you are ready.
5. Prepare your hide.
My brother is a taxidermist. Now I’ve tried my best to avoid all conversations about his work, but I do know this: taxidermy and leather tanning takes quite a long time, and there are many steps before you get to a final product that will last. Fellow writers, we need to undergo a lengthy process so we can survive the long haul as well.
Our steps may look quite different. You may use soul-searching, prayer, and vision boarding to create motivation to get you through rough patches. You may use contests, critique groups, or beta readers to get used to criticism and advice. If you don’t think you need to do this, go and read the 1 and 2-star reviews for some of your favorite authors. Yikes.
I hope that is enough to get you out of the stands and at least onto the sideline! Oh, and in case you were wondering, Daniel and Elizabeth did get their story. Their book Summer above the Pines will finally be coming out in June! Oh, and speaking of hopes and dreams, check out my novella Dreams in Toyland in the Christmas in Mistletoe Square collection!
Mary Preston says
I have never had dreams of being a writer. I am a READER though.
Hi Janine! Thanks for sharing your journey in writing and giving such great tips. This retired high school teacher enjoys writing. I have written 930 Amazon reviews in the last 9 years. While I still haven’t published a best seller, my writing has helped me accomplish my dreams. As a teacher my juniors as college admissions and AP German students were all required to write essays. I challenged myself to be an example for my students. There are many genre – poetry, drama, essays, fiction, non-fiction . My dreams were to visit Switzerland and Japan. So in 2006 I was happy to learn about a week trip to Switzerland sponsored by the Swiss government for American German teachers. It took 3 months of reading up on Swiss culture and preparing my application, which included an essay an my 5 favorite books. I was one of 10 selected for the trip of a life time – June 2007. My students now understood how persuasive essays can be worth the writing effort. Upon my return a similar 3 week trip was offered for teachers to Japan. Just I was on a roll, I tried my persuasive skills again. More prep work, lots and lots of writing and rewriting. Once again my efforts paid off. June 2008 I spent 3 weeks in Japan. Then life got in the way. NOW if I could do the same for a best seller. Have some ideas in a journal. At my age #4 is frightening. I always teased that I would be the age of Grandma Moses when my book is published. Maybe a little easier today with self publishing. My reading and interacting with many wonderful authors will definitely help my endeavor. Best wishes and thanks.
I’ve been reading since I was 3, and I’ve wanted to be a writer since 3rd grade when I wrote my first play. I have no idea what happened to that spiral notebook. I went on to graduate with a BA in English but my lack of self-confidence and parental input that I needed a real job scarred (and scared) me for many years. Over the last 20 years, I’ve been published in non-fiction (church newsletters, magazine articles and blogs) but my one true love is writing fiction. I’m currently revising my first novella (part of a trilogy) and could use some prayers to cross the finish line. I really just want to be done and have it out there already but the Lord is reminding me to trust the timing and be still and know. It’s definitely not ready yet and the revising process is not nearly as fun as the drafting.
I wish I’d done all this sooner and have been working on fiction pieces for the last 7 years but changed genres last year. Also, when you juggle 2 part-time jobs, it can delay things but I am ever grateful to have those jobs. One of them allowed me to be published in a regional magazine.
Onward and forward!
Not a writer. A reader.
I actually did write a book once. It’s since been destroyed, and I can’t even remember most of it!! I much prefer reading and being a proofreader/editor!!
Hi, Janine! I write poetry and fiction. I have shared a few poems here at IR. I finished my first novel at the end of last year. It’s been a challenge to get more experienced storytellers to read it and give feedback (they’re too busy, lol). I have been toying with the idea of a second novel, perhaps in a different genre. I have also done lots of little creative writing things over the years. Long before blog posts existed, I would send emails with a bit of a flare.
I am already a voracious reader, have been for years. The pandemic has made the group thing more of a challenge. I don’t have the resources now to travel far and wide as I did in my younger days. God may provide a way at some point. We’ll see. As for patience, it crops its ugly little head up as the roadblock to get over in starting. I know I have patience. I just like to hang on to my supply and not commit to using it all up at once :-).
Toughening my hide is probably the tallest pole in the tent for me. I don’t do social media. The idea of putting myself out there with a target on my chest is REALLY unappealing. Maybe I could create an alter ego, a super hero persona who could be the one who reads my reviews and filters the unkindness from the constructive criticism. That’s IT! I’ll call him “The Shield”. He can be a hero to authors everywhere. I do a little cartooning, too. Maybe, when I can go to one of the conferences, I can set up a table with a graphic novel and t-shirts with a shield with a book at the center on the front and, on the back, the phrase, “I eat reviews for breakfast!”
Kendra Muonio says
No I never have dreamed of being a writer but I am a reader
Alicia Haney says
Hi, thank you for all these pointers. I have written some poems here and there , and I have an idea about a book, just don’t know how to start it, it has been on my mind though, I am a much better reader though, and who knows one day I will write it for myself. Have a great week and stay safe. I enjoyed reading your post.
Priscila Perales says
I’m not a writer, nor do I have that dream (though I certainly do admire the people who have followed it). I’m actually a reviewer who dreams of working in the editing world but first need to finish my (unrelated) degree. Any and all prayers are certainly appreciated. 💕
I’ve always wanted to write something even before it became my main dream. When I was a child I wrote little stories, I won second place in a story contest at the age of 11 in my school (curiously it was a story about a really powerful and bad king who received a visit from Jesus in his dreams to change, this is Christian fiction? LOL).
Growing up I was away from God for a while but I always kept the love for fantasy and writing and around that time I began to love romance (and the Narnia Chronicles I had problems with God but I loved Aslan I had a wrong vision of God at that time ).
Since my adolescence I started to write fanficiton (around the time where I became, let’s say, older teenager) and I will not say my author’s name hahaha I’m still active in relation to some stories from series or books, it is good practice especially when you still do not know if you are good writing no. Starting with worlds already created where you can play with the characters and the rules that already exist helps to worry about consistency and character development without the burden of creating the world or your own characters yet. It works the same when you still do not have time to work on a novel and you just want to have fun, I have also played to create original hiatuses with some friends it serves to receive criticism and it is fun to work as a team. I discovered that I am good at creating relationships between characters and carrying on romance while my friend is better at creating the world and science fiction.
These experiences made me see that I wanted to write Christian fiction. My dream is to write a saga of books that is for children what Harry Potter was but based on Christianity and with more positive messages on a spiritual level, and romance of course!
Lelia (Lucy) Reynolds says
I wouldn’t make a writer but I love to read.
I’ve been published four times in short story (one was a multiple awards-winning story). I have several full novels written, and I hope one of them will eventually be published.
Amy Perrault says
I’ve been writing my own books since I was a young child & still do. I want to now publish a special book unlike my others which are more for my family type books. After getting this one published then I want to write one about a personal experience with brain surgery.
Sylvain P says
I read but would be no good at writing a book. I love reading & will not stop but if I decide to write one day then I know ideas how to start.
Julie Waldron says
I enjoy reading but I’ve never dreamed of being a writer.
Debra J Pruss says
After I became disabled, I pondered the idea. As my Mom’s health declined, I was needed more and more to make decisions. In the meantime, my health also started declining. I have given up the idea. I do not have the physical strength needed to do all he work involved. I love to read. I do not want to turn that into a job. Thank you for sharing. God bless you.
Natalya Lakhno says
I am not a writer and have never dreamed of being one LOL
You need readers, right :)