The 3 B’s of Writing
1. Be patient.
Like any career, writing requires preparation and training. The learning process takes time, so gear yourself mentally for a marathon rather than a sprint.
2. Be teachable.
The more I write, the more I realize how much I still need to learn. There is always the joy of growing, of improving my skills, of learning to be a “workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” (from 2 Timothy 2:15 NIV)
3. Be willing.
If we’re called to write for the Lord, we need to do this for His glory and not our own. Place your writing in God’s hands and be willing to give Him control as to what happens with it. He’s the one who sees the big picture and knows what’s best—both for us and for His plan.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some things you have found helpful? A waste of time?
Helpful things: Connecting with other writers. Reading books on the craft of writing. Learning about different approaches to plotting, etc., and deciding which one works best for me.
Waste of time: Stressing over the direction my career takes. (God is in control, and I need to remember that.) And I’ve really tried to cut back on that head-banging thing. It seems to create a great deal of distress for my chiropractor.
What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Study the craft of writing. That sounds simplistic, but it’s amazing how many people assume they’ll be able to sit down with no training and turn out a polished, publishable manuscript. Take advantage of every opportunity to learn. There are excellent books available, covering everything from basic grammar to character development to plot and structure and much more. A number of organizations exist today that offer teaching, encouragement, and support to both aspiring and experienced writers. And writers conferences are held all around the country. Attending conferences is a wonderful way to build on your knowledge as well as getting to know others who share your passion for writing.
Read in a wide variety of genres to discover which holds the most appeal for you. Your writing will show far more depth and passion if you’re working in a genre you love.
When those inevitable rejections come, remind yourself that the Bible tells us perseverance produces proven character. What a wealth of opportunities we writers have to develop character! The good news is, more training and support is available than ever before. Get involved with a local or online writing group. Find a writers conference in your area, where you can learn both the craft and business aspects of writing and connect with others in the field.
Above all, remember that it’s God’s business when and whether we get published. Our responsibility is to obey and be faithful. Delight yourself in the Lord. Focus on becoming the person He wants you to be. Career accomplishments only last for a fleeting moment. Eternal rewards are. . .well, eternal.
You keep mentioning writing organizations and conferences. Can you recommend any?
I’m glad you asked!
American Christian Fiction Writers has more to offer than I can begin to describe here. Open to both readers and writers of Christian fiction, their site is well worth a visit. They also hold a conference geared solely to fiction writers every fall. The location changes from year to year, so there’s a good chance you may find it coming to a venue near you some day.
There’s a reason the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference has been going strong for 35 years. Held each spring during Palm Sunday weekend, this is one of the best writers conferences available.
- Hannah Alexander – Medical thrillers that will keep you turning pages late into the night
- James Scott Bell – Riveting legal thrillers and suspense, as well as two of my favorite books on writing, Plot & Structure and Revision & Self-Editing
- Kristin Billerbeck – Creator of Ashley Wilkes Stockingdale, heroine of the first Christian chick lit
- Stephen & Janet Bly – Tales of the West and non-fiction titles on family and Christian living
- Wanda Brunstetter – Amish novels that will simplify your life
- Colleen Coble – Spine-tingling suspense set in both Hawaii and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula
- Michelle Cox – Glimpsing God’s fingerprints on everyday life
- Kathy Herman – Weaving suspense and inspiration into contemporary, life-changing stories
- Diann Hunt – Mom-lit that turns wrinkles into laugh lines
- Denise Hunter – Gripping stories that demonstrate God’s boundless grace
- Randall Ingermanson – Settings from first-century Jerusalem to Mars to San Diego. . .but not all in the same book. Randy is also the publisher of the Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine.
- Judith Miller – Step back in time with historicals that make the past come alive
- DiAnn Mills – Edge-of-your seat mystery, suspense, and romance
- Tracie Peterson – Historical and contemporary stories woven with Bible truths
- Deborah Raney – Contemporary women’s fiction to engage your mind and touch your heart
- Gayle Roper – A delightful blend of suspense, humor, and romance
- Kim Vogel Sawyer – Gentle stories of hope