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!