Last week I shared a questionnaire from our recent local event for aspiring authors. It was designed to help you understand yourself and your calling a bit better as you step out into the world of writing on a new level. If you took the time to fill it out, send me an email and tell me what you learned about yourself.
This week, I’m offering some specifics to help you in your quest. To these I would add this one thing: BE BOLD. It takes a warrior’s heart to persevere in the publishing world. Walk in the confidence that God has put a story in your heart and He will equip you to tell it. After all, it’s really His Story, isn’t it?
Now that you’ve put your first thoughts down on paper, it’s time to take the next steps. The following are some guidelines to help you in the process. Blessings on your journey!
Read all you can, especially in the genre in which you’re interested.
Get to know who the best authors are and check out their websites to see what they’re doing. Why do you enjoy their work so much? In what ways do they connect with their readers?
Invest in some good books on writing and learn the craft.
Thomas Edison is famously quoted as saying that genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration. This is especially true for writing. It takes a considerable investment of time and hard work to get what’s burning in your heart down onto paper. The Chicago Manual of Style is the gold standard for correct manuscript style as you begin to edit your writing.
Sure, it helps to have some natural talent in writing. But like any profession, repetition is crucial in training for the best results.The more you write, the easier it will get and the better you will become. You can’t wait for inspiration to hit. Set aside a regular time and treat it as an important appointment with God. Without discipline, your dream can’t get into print.
Be willing to be vulnerable.
Paul Gallico, author of The Poseidon Adventure, one wrote, “It is only when you open your veins and bleed onto the page a little that you establish contact your reader.” As hard as it is, it’s important to let yourself be vulnerable as you write. You will also feel vulnerable when others begin to read and critique your writing. It can be painful to have the baby to whom you’ve given birth casually tossed around by others. But once again, the ability to allow criticism and critique is crucial to becoming a better writer. These things give us perspective and help us to see our work through the eyes of our readers.
Join at least one writer’s group.
It can be a national group or a local group, but the fellowship and information-sharing between writers is critical for success and growth. Other writers can help with providing an objective critique of your writing and pray for you when the going gets tough. Go to a writer’s conference if at all possible.
Check out the many resources online.
Today’s Internet offers many great resources for both the beginner and the advanced writer. Take advantage of these free sites and learn all you can.
Begin to build your platform.
This generation of authors is expected to be proficient in social media. Work to make contacts through such media as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. You’ll meet some great people and begin to get your message out to others. Take advantage of any opportunities to speak at church, work, on community events.
Commit your writing to prayer.
The Bible tells us:
Unless the LORD builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it.
Psalm 127:1 NASB
Let the Lord let you. You want His anointing on everything you do, say, and write. If you let Him guide you on this journey, you will have the satisfaction of knowing your have been obedient to your calling, no matter where your writing takes you.