Every writer’s journey is as unique as the writer itself. And while our paths may look different, there are a few universal stops along the way. I call these the 3 C’s of the Writing Journey.
We must study the craft of writing, especially as beginners. Natural talent doesn’t mean you know and understand all the rules of good writing. Just as an athlete or artist much learn techniques to strengthen their skills, so must the writer who wants to grow and achieve. That means studying the many aspects of writing (which are, honestly, too many to list in this blog post). Read books and writing blogs, or take online courses.
No writer is perfect or without flaws. Just as characters have strengths and weaknesses, so does the writer who creates them. You must learn to recognize the areas in which you need improvement.
Which brings me to the next C…
Writing may a solitary endeavor, but a writer shouldn’t go it alone. You need a community of other writers. Being part of a critique group is helpful, especially for new writers. Having others take an objective look at your work will help you find those areas that need improvement (as we talked about in the first C). The writing journey is a long one, and there will be many times of disappointment and discouragement along the way. You need writers who have been there, done that, and got the tee shirt to encourage you when you want to give up. Seasoned writers can offer advice and mentoring.
If there isn’t a group in your area, look for groups you can join online. And while we’re talking about community, make sure you are engaging with the #writingcommunity on social media. Look for Facebook groups of both writers and readers. Read their posts and respond. Re-post others’ book news, sales, and great content.
This will also help you with the next C…
This is a bit different from community. A community is your tribe of writers who help and encourage you. But you must also be connected to the writing industry itself. A lot of success in publishing comes about from networking. To do this, you need to do the first 2 C’s we discussed, and then you must take the next step.
Attend writing conferences, send your work in for a paid critique, enter contests, pitch to and query agents and editors. Get to know the industry professionals. Know who they work for and what they publish – and what they are looking to publish next. Pay attention to the trends in the publishing world. Become knowledgeable about the various paths to publication to find what works best for you.
I want to end with one more C – and that is…
As Christian writers (and as Christians in general), our purpose on earth is to glorify Christ (I Corinthians 10:13) and to point others to Him (Matthew 5:16). No matter what we write or for what audience, this is the ultimate point. And we cannot write without Christ’s strength in us, enabling us to do the work which He has called us to do (Philippians 4:13).
As you study the craft, find a writing community, and get connected within the publishing industry, never forget to start and stop with Christ. Pray over your work. Pray with and for your writing friends. And pray for those who daily make tough decisions that put stories out into the world and into the hands of readers.
Hope Welborn creates spine-tingling suspense, sprinkled with romance, and saturated with faith. Her manuscripts have won the ACFW Genesis Award and the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference Foundations Award. She is represented by Jim Hart of Hartline Literary Agency.
She serves as President of ACFW North Georgia and is a member of the Suspense Squad. She is the Website Manager for Spark Flash Fiction. By day, she masquerades as a Digital Content Marketing Technologist, and by night, she stays up too late putting words on the page.
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