How are you supposed to start writing again after someone has criticized your work?Read More
I have been away from my desk this week. Not the editorial desk but the other desk, the one I prefer, where I spend all my time thinking about plot lines and possibilities and if it really makes sense for a seer to respond this way to a guy who’s named after a color.Read More
I am working on a scene that loosely involves a dragon, a highwayman, a very round innkeeper, and a pile of towels in the process of being folded. Or so I thought.Read More
Today I’m working on the next chapter of my serial novel. A couple of years ago, I started posting the next chapter of my book on my website, and today I have a small but mighty following who are good for my heart.Read More
Today I am editing a book that has monsters in it. Ninety percent of what I write takes place in a fantasy world of some kind, so the presence of monsters is a given. Interestingly enough, this particular series doesn’t have any magic in it. It’s fantasy…without magic. I know. I was surprised, too.Read More
If it is allowed to, self-doubt will always try to keep you from stepping out and being brave. So all of us have to learn to write without fear.Read More
Have you ever caught yourself thinking something that wasn’t true?Read More
Growth takes time, and time spent growing is never a waste.Read More
The other day I ran into a problem with my book, but I couldn’t tell what it was. My character was sitting in a restaurant, easy as could be, as he waited for the rest of his party to show up.Read More
As a writer, you are a walking, talking, breathing well of experience and wisdom that can benefit other people.Read More
Trust is a courageous act that beautifies everything it touches. Though difficult, it is a key element that turns your writing into more than writing—it becomes worship.Read More
God is big into redemption. Just as He can redeem the most unlikely parts of your life story, He can do the same thing with your writing.Read More
The next time you feel like throwing your laptop in the lake, try to keep these things in mind...Read More
When I think about my marketing efforts as seeds I am planting, I am much more prepared to handle the waiting process.Read More
When we write with God, something amazing happens.Read More
The writer’s confidence is a slippery fish. No matter what we do or try to tell ourselves, most of us have trouble feeling confident as writers...Read More
Even if you write something that is truly terrible, you can always go back and fix it. From an editor’s standpoint, things are fixable.Read More
God has not given you a spirit of fear (2 Timothy 1:7). This doesn’t apply to certain fears only—it means any fear. It means the fear of messing up, the fear of lack, the fear of failing, the fear of being ridiculed, the fear of not finishing.
God has not “assigned” those things to you, so when they appear in your thought life, you can take a step back and recognize them for what they truly are. They have been sent by another source, a source other than God, which means you don’t have to listen to them or believe what they are trying to tell you.
Fear cannot be trusted. It is not a reliable source of information.
If you’re dealing with fear as a writer, take it to God. Sit down with Him and your journal and work it out. Listen to what He says about it and look in His Word for answers. God wants to be your help, and you and your book are safe with Him.
Editing your rough draft is a bit like dating.
Actually, it’s more like breaking up with somebody. There are times when you walk away and never look back, and you’re happy you’ve moved on. But there are other times when you realize you miss them and maybe you made a mistake, and so you decide to take them back.
You need a place where you can “dump” your text—a holding zone where all those words can live until you’re certain you really want them gone.
As a writer and editor, one of the important things I’ve learned to do is keep a file labeled “extra” for every large project I work on. This thing has saved my neck countless times. It allows me to start over, play with the text—and if I want, I can get back together with the words I’ve just cut out of my life. The text is always understanding and willing to give us a second chance.
Try the “extra” file and see what you think. It may just be true love this time around.
Are you a writer who hasn’t written?
Many people feel called to write or know a book will help their business or ministry, but they have no idea how to start the project. Here are a few things you can do to help get the ball rolling:
1. What matters to your heart?
Start thinking about the topics that are near and dear to your heart. What would you love to write about? What do you feel passionate about? What makes you come alive when you think about it?
2. What do you know about?
What would be fairly easy for you to write about because you have experience in it? Do you know a lot about marketing? Babies? Cave exploration? Carpentry? Photography?
Pray about it and see what God says. Compare the things you care about with the things you know about, and see if you come up with a topic that covers both. This should be a topic you love, AND you have experience in it.
Maybe you’re passionate about homeschooling, and you’ve been homeschooling your kids for twenty years. Maybe you’re passionate about missions, and you’re about to move to Africa. Begin to see these for what they are: book opportunities.
3. Make a wild list of messy ideas.
When you feel you MIGHT have a pretty good topic to write about, sit down and brainstorm the different things that could potentially go in your book. For example, if you’re writing a book on how to be a better spouse, you could include topics like ideas for date nights, how to be a good listener, how to deal with frustrations in marriage, ways to help with the housework, etc.
Make a rough-and-dirty brainstorm list that includes all your different ideas. This list doesn’t have to be perfect—it should serve as a “bucket” for all the possibilities, and you can dig through it and sort it out in the next step.
4. Arrange your list, giving it some kind of order.
Sort through your crazy “brainstorm bucket,” and make a rough list of the topics you think might fit well in your book. (Keep in mind that some items from your brainstorm list might do well as subtopics instead of main topics.) You don’t have to make everything perfect right now. All you’re doing is coming up with a list to use as a reference point.
Arrange your chosen topics in a way that makes sense to you. What order works best? What should probably come first in the book? What should probably come last? Again, this does not have to be perfect. The goal is to have some arrangement—any arrangement. You can always rearrange your arrangement later.
4. Feel successful—you’ve started your book.
Congratulations. You’ve written your first outline. This list will serve as a rough roadmap for your book. It can be changed at any point, so don’t feel any pressure. It is simply a first step in crafting this book that is on your heart.