There’s a lot to be said for dreaming. That’s how many writers come up with stories, after all. Dreaming of writing success can help lay its foundation, but only if you can move from dreaming into doing.
Becoming an author is not unlike the process a caterpillar undergoes to turn into a butterfly. You start out a lowly worm, wrap yourself in a protective cacoon, and then burst free to fly. Here are some tips to help you spread your wings sooner. D is for Discipline: The art of writing is the art of applying the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair [Mary Heaton Vorse (1874-1966)]. The old-fashioned trait of self-discipline still wins the day. A writer willing to put in the time to improve increases the chances of success. R is for Read: There are few ways to learn the writing craft as pleasurable as reading good books. Reading books from the masters teaches the craft of writing by example and helps you discover your own writing voice. Don’t make the mistake of cutting reading out of your schedule. E is for Edit: Setting a manuscript aside and returning to it later with fresh eyes can be humbling, but push yourself to write your best. Muscles tear a little with exercise but heal stronger. In the same way, stretching as a writer can seem painful but causes you to grow. A is for Attitude: Any battle takes place first in the mind. Hold each thought captive and measure it against truth. Common areas of struggle for most writers are overcoming a negative self-image, jealousy of others’ successes, apathy because it seems no one cares about your writing (not true: you do), and fear of success or failure. Prayer helps. M is for Monetize: Even if you don’t have a mercenary bone in your body, offering your writing for pay helps you set the bar higher for quality. Besides the obvious benefit of putting money in your pocket, monetizing your writing helps you take yourself seriously as a writer. S is for Serve: Giving to others helps take your focus off yourself and can save you from becoming an insular, self-focused artiste. Besides, it’s rewarding and will enrich your life. Look for ways to benefit another writer, even if you’re a fledgling yourself. You can at least encourage someone dealing with a rejection.
You’ll notice that the bolded letters spell out a special word.
Never stop dreaming. Which of my suggestions most resonates with you? Do you disagree with any? Have thoughts to add?
Janalyn Voigt, escape into creative worlds of fiction.
Linda Apple is the author of Writing From Your Soul, Writing Life ~ Your Stories Matter, Connect ~ A Simple Guide to Public Speaking for Writers, POW; Promises Kept and Women Of Washington Avenue, her debut novel and the first book in her Moonlight Mississippi series. Her personal experience stories have been published in 16 of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Her devotions have been published in numerous devotion magazines and books. She lives in Fayetteville Arkansas with her husband, Neal, their five children, five children-in-love, and ten grandchildren.
Jody Bailey Day writes inspirational fiction from west Texas. Her debut novel, Washout Express, released June 2013 from Harbourlight Books. Her short stories, poems, devotionals, and articles have appeared in Mature Living, Splickety Magazine, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, Southern Writers Magazine, and Christiandevotions.us, She is a two time Grand Prize Winner at the East Texas Christian Writers Conference, and a Faithwriters.com Best of the Best award winner. She and her pastor husband have six grown children and nine grandchildren.
Deborah Dee Harper writes from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, by way of Michigan, Kentucky, Alaska, Mississippi, and Alaska (again). Deb is a graduate of the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild classes and writes Christian humorous and inspirational books for both children and adults. Her children’s adventure series, Laramie on the Lam, available in both e-book and print, is being re-published as six individual print books. Her Road’s End series (Misstep, Faux Pas, and Misjudge) for adults is also contracted and should be published soon. She is currently nearing completion on the first book of another series. She is represented by Terry Burns of Hartline Literary Agency.
Lisa Lickel is an award-winning multi-published inspirational novelist, blogger, reviewer, and writing mentor. A freelance editor, Lisa loves all things historical. Her work has appeared in Writer's Digest and Christian Fiction Online.
Liberty Speidel has been a voracious reader since reading her first Nancy Drew book. But she was telling stories long before then with her figurines from Disney's Rescue Rangers. When she's not writing, you may find her gardening, baking, crocheting, or hiking. A lifelong Kansan, she now resides in the Kansas City metro area with her husband, children, and chocolate Labrador, where she could rival Captain Jean Luc Picard in consumption of Earl Grey tea. She is the author of Emergence, Retaliation, and Capitulation, novellas and novels in her series featuring superhuman and police detective Darby Shaw.
Donn Taylor led an Infantry rifle platoon in the Korean War, served with Army aviation in Vietnam, and worked with air reconnaissance in Europe and Asia. Afterwards, he earned a PhD in English literature (Renaissance) and for eighteen years taught literature at two liberal arts colleges. His poetry has appeared in leading journals and is collected in his book Dust and Diamond: Poems of Earth and Beyond.His fiction includes a light-hearted mystery, Rhapsody in Red, and two suspense novels, Deadly Addictive and The Lazarus File, and a historical romance, Lightning on a Quiet Night. He is a frequent speaker at writers’ groups and conferences. He lives near Houston, TX, where he continues to write fiction and poetry, as well as essays on writing, ethical issues, and U.S. foreign policy.
Editor/Author Linda Yezak lives with her husband in a forest in east Texas, where tall tales abound and exaggeration is an art form. She is a speaker/lecturer for various writers' groups and conferences. Her fiction books include Give the Lady a Ride, The Final Ride, and The Cat Lady's Secret. Her nonfiction books include Writing in Obedience, co-written with retired Hartline Literary agent Terry Burns. "Slider," her historical short-story, won Honorable Mention in The Saturday Evening Post's Great American Fiction contest and is published in their 2016 Anthology.
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