First, I want to thank those who have commented on this series. Particularly those I didn’t respond to personally. I do appreciate your notes.
Today, I wrap up this present series on how to succeed as a Christian writer. I’m sure there could be several more intermediary steps, but I’m limiting it to five. And so we now come to that final fifth step…which is really just a synthesis of the previous four steps into what is essentially a writer’s lifestyle. In this lifestyle, the journey that began with step one continues until your final day on earth. You’ve developed a rhythm of sorts. You write, you read, you market, you learn, you go to conferences….and perhaps most important, you always think like a writer. You experience something and immediately you’re writing about it in your head, almost as a reporter might do for a news story. You learn to discern when something sounds wrong and you change it. For instance, in the previous sentence, I originally wrote:
You experience something and right away you’re writing about it in your head.
But notice how clunky it sounds to have “right” and “writing” so close to each other. So I changed the former word to “immediately.” Small things like that become instinctive as you adopt a writer’s lifestyle. You also learn what activities can trigger creativity for you. In my case, my mind is very creative while driving and while in the shower….neither of which, alas, allow for effective note taking. Fortunately, listening to certain genres of music also works for me. So does people-watching.
My writing lifestyle may not look like yours. You may be more creative surrounded by utter silence. Your triggers may be playing a round of golf or taking a long walk. The point is your entire creative life is that of a writer. Writing defines you, in a sense. You become (healthily) consumed by writing….and yet you also handle rejection and disappointment with grace. After all, the four previous steps are not part of your history; instead they remain part of your ongoing present. So step number one remains fully intact: God has called you to this life and the results of your writing are fully in His hands. This means He will give you the creativity and He will open doors. You just do you part and walk through those doors….which sometimes means taking chances. Above all else, you learn to persist. Somewhere yesterday I read a quote that went something like this: What do you call writers who persist? The answer is published. I wish I could remember which writer’s blog that came from, but since I read several each day (as I hope you do), I often forget the source of a quote. (Where’s my notebook?)
And as you go along, I do want to mention one final thing about your writing: AIM HIGH. While it’s usually necessary for authors to be willing to start small, it’s not necessary (unless God has called you to it) to remain small. Dream big for your writing. Take risks. Expect to change lives with your writing. Ask God to bring about the maximum results from your writing. Right now I believe God has implanted the notion in my head to approach a particular person about helping write her autobiography….and it boggles my mind to even think about it. I feel like David in front of Goliath. But, Lord willing, I’m going to step out and write a letter to the person in question. All I can get is a “no.” Or, even better, a “yes.” Most of the breakthroughs I’ve had in my writing came about by aiming big and taking reasonable risks.
Well, there you have it. Five steps to success. Naturally there is more to be said about writing, otherwise I could just close up my blog right now and spend more time on my own projects. But the truth is, I enjoying writing about writing. So stay tuned. There will more to come. My next entry will be an interview, hopefully before the weekend.