Friday, January 17, 2014

Life Lessons—Equip Yourself for the Writing Journey

by Edie Melson

Stephen King once said, “Life isn’t a support system for art. It’s the other way around.”

I'd like to go one step further and add that choosing the writing life isn’t a choice for the faint of heart. If you’re serious about having a career in publishing, you’re going to need some tools to equip yourself for the writing journey. Beyond that, you’re going to have to make some decisions about how you spend your time.  I did. And I haven’t regretted a moment of it.

Life is a series of small decisions that link together as a journey toward your goal.


So what is your goal? Do you want to be published, have a career filled with multiple books? Or are you hoping to become a full-time freelance writer or editor? Any of those are going to take time and commitment.

Then you’re going to have to decide right now if you’re willing to pay the price. Here are some of the things you’re going to need in your arsenal.

1. Writing is done alone . . . by yourself. It’s just not a group activity. You’re going to have to commit to considerable time spent one-on-one with your computer, banging out words.

2. Writers need a team . . . I know I said it’s done alone, but you still need a support system. We live in our heads. Something considered abnormal by the majority of the world’s population. We need people around us who understand the frustration and the exultation that comes with writing.

3. Writing is easy . . . mastering the craft is hard. It takes time and study to do it with excellence. You’ve got to be willing to put in the time.

4. Writers need drive and determination . . . most of all. We need it a whole lot more than they need talent. See the bullet point above. We can master the craft if we work at it. It’s the work-at-it part that’s hardest.

5. Writing is political . . . yes, I'm going there. I know, this one may not make me popular, but it’s true none-the-less. In this business, it’s important who you know. You need to be networking, online, locally, and at conferences.

6. Writers need to believe in themselves . . . no matter what. Sometimes an internal sense of I’m on the right path is the only thing that stands between success and failure.

7. Writing is a mind game . . . yes you write alone, I'm not changing #1. But I forgot to mention those voices that take up residence in your head when you make the commitment. You’ll hear things from inside your head like this. This is awful, why do you even bother? or Nobody want to read this, just quit.

8. Writers need to set priorities . . . and then stick with them. If you decide to write every Saturday morning, then do it. It doesn't matter if the house is a wreck before (or after if hubby is in charge of the kiddos). Honor your commitment to yourself!

These are the top eight things I’ve needed for my writing journey. What are some things that you’ve had to bring you success?

Don’t forget to join the conversation!
Blessings,
Edie

Tweetables


12 comments:

  1. Hi Edie -

    Thanks for an excellent post.

    I'm not sure I would have persevered or even started if I knew all of this in the beginning. The knowledge came as I read blogs, interacted with other writers, and from personal experience.

    As with everything we have choices: accept the realities of the writing life, settle for less than we're capable of, or move on to something else.

    Have a great weekend,
    Susan :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Susan, sometimes a little bit of ignorance is a good thing. :) Thanks for stopping by, Blessings, E

      Delete
  2. Appreciate and have experienced what you're talking about. Would like to see a blog on where Christian writers market their articles.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Poppy, Thanks for stopping by. I'll work on that topic for a future blog post. I'm actually teaching an online course at ACFW right now on how to support your writing through writing. If you're a member of the America Christian Fiction Writers, you should pop it. It's free to members. Blessings, E

      Delete
  3. Funny how I have been mulling through several of these things, particularly the difference between time alone writing and time spent in face-to-face ministry. The team part makes so much sense. Determination, craft, and discerning the voices in our head…you hit them all. Thanks friend:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ginger, thanks so much for the encouragement! Blessings, E

      Delete
  4. Thanks Edie! Those negative inner voices have been screaming lately. It's so good to hear that it is part of the writing life. Now to work at packing the rest of my "bags" for the writing life. God bless!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rene, I've nicknamed those icky voices my cheerleaders. I use their tormenting as confirmation that I'm on the right path! Blessings, E

      Delete
  5. Keep writing even after rejection is one...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jennifer, excellent addition! Don't let rejections stop you from writing. Thanks for sharing, Blessings, E

      Delete
  6. Like any challenge, it all comes down to a relentless belief that we will succeed. Tenacity wins in the end. There's never a guarantee, but I've known plenty of writers who are living their dream because they simply refused to quit. I'd like to add to your list: offer to help other writers, especially with blogs, volunteering at conferences, helping to promote books, etc. Just immersing yourself in the writing community will go a long way toward greasing the skids toward publication or self-pubbed sales.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ron, all very good thoughts. It's so important to help other writers. No matter where we are on the writing road we have people ahead and behind us. Thanks for stopping by, Blessings, E

      Delete