Today Terese Belme, another of our first-time contributors to the Inspire blog, will be sharing some of what she’s learned as a new writer. So please give Terese a warm welcome.
Our life experiences are simply words waiting to be beautifully strung together for the benefit of others. God has called you to write about your experiences that He has intricately woven together in an elegant tapestry like the ornate coat of many colors Jacob made for Joseph.
As beautiful and exciting as that sounds what comes next? In this article we look at practical suggestions that will help you in your new career as a writer.
This seems obvious but there are times we can forget to invite God into the process of the writing He has given us to accomplish. As you practice meeting with God before you write, you will learn to recognize the difference in your writing when you try to proceed on your own versus when you’ve asked the Holy Spirit to give you His words and the order in which to write them. Additionally, ask God to place a circle of prayer around you with people He has hand-picked and who are committed to intercede for you as you commit to writing for Him.
Carry a Notebook
As writers, we become acutely aware of the world around us, which becomes a virtual playground of writing experiences waiting to be acknowledged. We never know when inspiration will shine upon us. Making notes of life around us and the inspiration that comes gives us the ability to go on with our day and come back to our notes when we’re ready to sit and write.
I cannot express enough the valuable resource writer conferences* are and I encourage you to attend as many as possible throughout the year. Conferences give you the opportunity to make connections with publishers, editors, agents and other authors. You will have the opportunity to attend a plethora of workshops and you will wish you could attend all of them! Workshops are taught by industry professionals who were once new to their career and have paved the way before us with a collective combination of wisdom, knowledge and encouragement. Conferences are also a great place to learn industry jargon, such as, elevator pitch, proposal and query letters, to name a few. Having business cards available is an easy way to stay connected to all the wonderful people you will meet. Even if you don’t have a published work, carrying business cards helps present yourself as the author God has gifted you to be.
Submit, Submit, Submit
Take every opportunity to submit your work even if your submission won’t earn you a monetary outcome. Continuous submissions are a wonderful way to practice writing and an opportunity to have your work published. Only God knows who He will cause to read your work that can turn into a paid project.
Triathlete’s do not reach their end goal overnight. They train and practice a little every day adding on more and more training until they reach each event’s required distance. The same is true with writing. Set a daily word count to write. If this task seems overwhelming start small with 50-75 words per day. Once you’ve reached this goal add another 50-75 words continuing with this method and before long you will be writing more than you thought imaginable. If you find it hard to make time to write schedule time in your calendar like you would any other appointment.
Investing in the current year’s Christian Writers Market Guide is a wise choice. This guide is filled with important, useful and constructive information from self-publishing, periodical publishers and specialty markets (with submission guidelines), support for writers and writing contests.
Writing is a solitary job and the enemy would love nothing more than to take something beautiful and put his ugly twist on it by using your good work for God and keeping you isolated from your community and fellowship. Make time for yourself by meeting a friend(s), mentoring someone new to their faith, joining a weekly Bible study or community group, regular visits to the gym or a weekly prayer meeting.
Whether you are a seasoned author or new to your calling I pray these simple and practical steps encourage, inspire and motivate you! Like Jacob’s gift to Joseph, God’s gift to you is a beautiful, multi-colored coat filled with His essence, creativity and His desire for you to share the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ through your writing. Wear your coat well because you are a writer.