Sandra Byrd’s excellence of craft is respected by readers and fellow authors. In fact, Liz Curtis Higgs referred to Sandra’s first novel in the Ladies in Waiting series, To Die For, as “a masterpiece of history and heart.”
I was blessed to have Sandra as my mentor at the 2010 Writing for the Soul conference, hosted by The Christian Writers Guild. This bestselling author helped equip me for an adventure of learning to write with excellence for God’s glory.
As a writing coach, Sandra shares her wisdom and experience. It was under her tutelage that I sold my first short story.
Be inspired as this best-selling author encourages fellow writers to seek the Lord as they hone their craft in excellence.
In the beginning of your writing career, what did you imagine life as a published author would look like?
Wealth and creative fulfillment. One out of two isn’t bad!
As a seasoned and successful author, what does a writing career really entail?
Lots of hard work. Research, and writing and rewriting and humbling yourself time and again to listen and to make changes.
Networking with other writers and taking time to really care for your readers. Reading and educating yourself continually, as a writer.
Discipline to stick to self-imposed deadlines. Remember – everyone down the line is waiting for your manuscript before they can begin their work, so you don’t want to hold them up.
There are a lot of disappointments and unmet expectations, but then there are moments of pure bliss and joy that cannot be replaced by anything else in the world and which over shine every disappointing moment that came before them.
You’ve had numerous articles published in periodicals. How can new writers benefit from submitting to magazines, anthologies, and themed collection books?
Our goal is, first, to deliver excellent content, and second, to build a growing readership. It takes quite a few times of seeing your name for it to resonate with readers, so you want to give them many opportunities to read your work, long and short, fiction and nonfiction, and connect with you. Then, when they see your name on a to-be-published book, or in a periodical, they’ll pre-order it, expecting the great material you always provide.
You are passionate about and have seen great success through your role as a writing coach. Why do you feel it’s important to encourage and invest in the development of other writers?
Writing is a difficult profession. By nature, we’re sensitive people: that’s why we can get into the hearts and heads of the people we write about. But the business itself can be life draining and brutal. It’s a maze of unspoken expectations and sometimes, though we want our craft to be good and strong, we’re not really sure how to improve it. We can miss the forest for the trees and the trees for the forest!
A coach can encourage you, reassure you about what’s normal for the industry (even though it doesn’t feel normal to you), and help see places in your work that can use some guidance and development.
Hopefully every writer has surrounded herself with people who mentor and coach her, peers, and those she can help, too. I’m here to comfort others with the comfort I myself have received, to sharpen iron, and help writers not grow weary in doing their good work, because eventually they’ll reap the harvest.
How has having a support network of fellow writers helped your writing career?
Oh yes, of course. Writers can see things in our work that non-writers cannot, and really, don’t we want to find all of the holes and thin places before the work goes into print? They also know how to apply the particular balm of encouragement we often need, and provide fellowship for the journey.
What would you say to aspiring authors who desire fruitful writing ministries that they can grow into?
I’m writing a series of books set in the 16th century, an era in which women chose mottoes for themselves, guiding principles. For 2012, my motto is: I Show Up.
Show up ready, show up prepared. Show up at the computer, every day, ready to work. Show up at your writer’s group, show up with your mentor or your writing coach. Show up to whatever social media you’ve chosen to use. Show up at worship. Show up with your spouse and your kids. Show up to learn about e-publishing.
Success comes to those who show up, time and again!
If you need help knowing how, when, where and why to show up, contact me.
Thank you, Sandra, for inspiring writers toward excellence of craft and a deepening relationship with Christ.
Thank you for hosting me; it’s been a real pleasure to visit with you!