Just Write

I received a request a couple of weeks ago.It simply said, “I would like to write a book. As someone doing it for the first time, it’s kind of hard without guidance. How do I start?”

First of all, I offer this caution. Mommas, don’t let your children grow up to be authors. It is a TOUGH road, especially if you are looking at writing as a career.

Now, with that caveat out of the way, my guidance — as I’ve consistently said — would be to just write. Everyone has a story.

That’s the good news. The bad news is there are about 7.7 billion people in this world. That’s 7.7 billion potential stories. The odds of success are pretty slim.

But I jump back a paragraph. Just write!

The key for successful writing — at least in my humble opinion — is writing from the  heart. If you have an audience of one — you — you’re a success. If you have a message to share, you’re a success.

Today, there are multiple ways to publish, and it doesn’t all have to be traditional. In fact, the old script of peddling your manuscript to a number of editors, dreading each rejection, might be passe. Unless you are already known, unless you have established yourself in a specific field, unless you have written something uniquely powerful, most editors will only give your manuscript a cursory glance.

But that still shouldn’t deter you from telling your story.

Of course, it’s important to recognize why you’re writing and, perhaps more important, to whom you are writing. Successful writers don’t just string words, they tell a story. Scenes and chapters aren’t just conventions, they should evoke emotion — love, hate, fear, peace.

I have read stories over the years where the hook was there, but so convoluted you couldn’t find it without backtracking or over-thinking. Rule No. 1 for any writer should be the reader. Don’t make them work. Make them want to turn the page. Give them a reason to continue. You could have the best story in the world, but if you can’t command the attention of your readers, it’s nothing more than words.

I did assume {always dangerous} my questioner was talking about a novel or a novella. There are other  options. If you’re writing for yourself, perhaps a journal might be appropriate. Short stories can be popular. Exposure in local newspapers and magazines can help build an audience and test your skills.

As an example, my novella Heaven Shining Through started as a serialized story on this blog and in my weekly newspaper. After publishing, the one knock — not the story — was the length. That has led me to an expansion, converting the novella into a novel. That is in beta reading and should be ready by summer. My second book — Wisdom From a Father … one dad’s thoughts on life — contained updated posts from my blog. It was released to expand my name recognition. As a recent reviewer put it, this “not quite devotional” book is inspiring and helps you to keep in mind what’s most important in life — living one in which God is leading.

My advice is start small and work your way up. But it all starts the same … with the  first word. So just write.

I am offering to beta read and critique your book plus mentor you. Get the details at fiverr.com/beta-read-and-critique-your-book-and-mentor-you . I will also be facilitating a second six-week class trying to demystify writing in general and taking the fear out of sharing your written words. The interactive Take the Fear Out of Writing class will begin Monday, June 3 at 1 p.m. at The Commons at Central Hall, Dover-Foxcroft, ME. It will continue weekly through July 8. Participants should bring their laptop, journal, or notebook. Contact me at wisdomfromafather@gmail.com or The Commons at (207) 343-3018 or info@centralhallcommons.org for more information or to register.

Before I go, an early Happy Mother’s Day to all  you moms out there. I have partnered with DaySpring, . I chose DaySpring because I believe in its products. Karen, in fact, had an account with them for quality cards and gifts. Hint. Hint. Mother’s Day is coming! I’m not pushing DaySpring, but if you’re looking for Christian-themed gifts, it’s a good place to start. As I become more business savvy, I’ll be adding permanent links.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Success does not consist in never making mistakes but in never making the same one a second time. — George Bernard Shaw


About wisdomfromafather

I'm just an ordinary guy walking along the journey of life.
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