Monthly Archives: October 2012

Why don’t YOU give up?

No one is born a published author.

I’ll wait while you slip back into your chair.

Brace yourself, because I’m going to rephrase it: Every published author was unpublished at one time. So how did they eventually get published? What do you think were the common denominators for them?

As an unpublished writer, I’m working hard to study the craft, sharpen my writing skills, and build my “networking” muscles. I’m investing in my writing by entering contests, hiring a freelance editor to edit my just finished book, driving an hour to the closest ACFW chapter, going to conference, buying books, etc…. Why do I do all of this? Because it’s part of the journey.

And there is one thing I know with absolute certainty:  I’ll never be published if I give up.

Let me check my calendar/planner…just a second…nope, no plans to give up penciled in anywhere! Nor will I invest a lot of time and effort in whining about how hard it is or how unfair the process can be or whatever else would make for one whale of a pity party. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with venting and snacking on huge amounts of comfort food, or of crying on a trusted friend’s shoulder. But I don’t think any agent or editor would ever say, “I decided to publish that writer’s book just to shut them up.”

What do YOU plan to do to keep pushing for publication? Share your thoughts, please, because your words may just be the encouragement that another writer is needing. Thanks.

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Platform–vs–Priorities

PLATFORM…it’s a buzzword that gets attention. Depending on the person using it, it can mean having a blog, a Facebook page (or two: a personal page and a fan page), learning to tweet regularly, and a host of other “look-at-me” possibilities. As a writer trying to get noticed so that people will read what I write, all these things seem to be part of the process.

But I’m noticing that building a platform can become one of the biggest “time-suckers” and can leave me with little energy to do anything else.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m on this journey with stubborn commitment  I WILL do what is required/expected to stay teachable and focused. I will listen to those who’ve been there and done that. I’m not smarter or more called than those who have gone before me. I have great respect for Christian fiction writers who not only have worked to reach levels of success, but who remain there. It’s not easy!

But in our pursuit to build a platform, may we not forget our number one priority: to follow Jesus in total submission by loving God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love our neighbors as ourselves. Lets not substitute our platforms for our foundation. Building a platform is great if it’s built on the Rock.

How do YOU keep your priorities straight?

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The Right Source

Have you heard about the young lady who was nervous about an upcoming knee surgery? One day during a slow time at the veterinarian clinic where she worked, she reminded her boss that she’d be off work for a few days while she recovered. The she asked him if he had any advice that might help her heal faster.

He thought for a minute. “Well…get plenty of rest, and don’t lick the incision.”

It really does matter where you go for advice.

Where should a Christian writer go for advice?

It’s hard to overstate the importance of reading good books on writing. Thankfully there are many great books available (comment and leave a suggestion or two). But as useful as books can be, nothing takes the place of spending time with other writers.

American Christian Fiction Writers offers several good opportunities…from a once-a-year national conference to local chapters that meet monthly. There is also the email loop and online courses.

There is nothing better than spending time with people who have “been there and done that.” No one understands the journey better than those who’ve walked, stumbled, crawled, walked, fell, ….you get the point.

Who’s given you the best advice as a writer?

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Let’s Create A New Holiday

As a minister–one of those clergy type people–I’m always blessed and humbled when October rolls around and my dear congregation at Gracepoint shows an extra measure of appreciation for our ministry together. I didn’t create “Clergy Appreciation Month” and, to be honest, I’m not really sure it’s necessary, but the kind words do affirm and encourage me.

But I’m urging you to join me in calling for a new holiday: a holiday that honors those who support our journey as Christian fiction writers. And don’t say, “Well, we already have Thanksgiving.” (Insert game show buzzer here). I’m not talking about sticking this on the backside of a holiday that already exists. No siree, Bob (or whatever your name is). I think we need to give birth to a brand spankin’ new celebration–maybe even one that lasts a week or an entire month.

The point of this purposeful observance would be to honor those dear people who faithfully, optimistically, and sacrificially support us as writers. People like our spouses, children, extended family, friends, local ACFW chapter members, agents, editors, critique partners….you get the point. (Although I may not include my eleven-year-old daughter, Jayne, who just shot a nerf dart at me while I was typing this post, and scared about 36 months off of my writing career…okay, I’ll forgive her. By the way, she’s a pretty good writer herself.)

Now, as I hunker in my bunker, hoping to escape more incoming nerf projectiles, let me return to the proposal.

I propose that all members of the family known as Christian Writers begin the discussion of creating a special observance during which we honor those who support us in the stewardship of story that God has entrusted to us.

I’m serious about this. I especially call on my fellow members of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) to begin considering this proposal. Here’s how you can help:

  1. Share this post everywhere you can.
  2. Make this an agenda item at your next ACFW chapter meeting.
  3. Mention the idea–in your own words–on every social media site you have a presence on.
  4. Discuss it on the ACFW loop.
  5. Begin a contest to see what we could call this time of special observance (Thanksgiving Day is already taken).
  6. Offer suggestions on when to have this special time. Should it be a “universal time” that we all observe in the same month, or can we go State by State?

And let’s not forget to pray. I really believe that God can use this to encourage our encouragers.

I can’t wait to hear your comments! Will YOU help spread the word?

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