Life Coach Magazine

Seven Habits of Published Christian Writers

By Writerinterrupted @writerinterrupt

Author Mike DellossoWe all want to get published, to see our work featured in some magazine, or on some website, or nestled between the covers of a book, but for most the “promised land” of publication seems like it might as well be the moon—totally out of reach. But maybe we just need to be doing the right things. From the conferences I’ve attended, the writers I’ve spoken with, the study I’ve done, and my own experience, I’ve found seven habits of writers that, if practiced regularly, are guaranteed to dramatically increase your chances of getting published.

1. Read . . . Stephen King once said, if you’re too busy to read, you’re too busy to write. Writers need to be readers. Read a variety of authors, both in your genre and in other genres (I write suspense but also enjoy westerns and sometimes romance), but read quality authors. And don’t just read for pleasure, read to learn. Study how they craft the story, words they use, how they develop characters, use dialogue, describe events and settings. Take note of their voice and the subtle nuances therein. Also, read poetry, it’ll get your creative juices moving. Having three daughters, when I read poetry it’s often children’s poetry but the cadence and creativity is the same.

2. Write . . . find a schedule that works for you and write regularly. I won’t say write every day because for some (myself included) it just isn’t possible, but write regularly. If you schedule will only allow you to writer every other day or only a couple days a week, so be it, but stick to it. That may mean making some sacrifice, getting up early or staying up late, and saying no to other things (like that attention-craved idiot box, the TV).

3. Research . . . published authors make sure they have their facts right. Research settings, events, characters, time periods, fashions, inventions, moon phases, everything. Make sure the world you are creating in your book is accurate and realistic. And research the market. Spend time reading up on the publishing industry, learning what’s hot and what’s not, what the latest trends are, who’s publishing what, and what your local bookseller is pushing.

4. Learn . . . never stop learning. Never stop studying the craft of writing. Some of it is God-given, it just is, but most is learned. Read books about the craft, study online resources, go to writer’s conferences, learn from critiques of your manuscript. And above all, have an open mind and humble spirit. I know this is hard to hear, but you haven’t arrived, not even close, and you will never arrive. Even the best of the best, the Koontz’s and Kings, will say they still have a lot to learn. Learning is part of the deal. If you don’t want to learn or think you don’t need to, throw your computer out now, because it will never do you any good.

5. Network . . . it may not seem fair and probably isn’t but a stark reality in the publishing world is that most of the time it’s who you know. Contacts are very important. The majority of clients signed by agents are referred to them by another author or friend. Fair or not, that’s a fact. Make contacts by being involved in a writing group, doing critiques, joining online networking groups, and attending writer’s conferences. Keep business cards, write notes about people you meet, and follow-up on your meetings, but by all means, please oh please don’t become some psycho stalker hounding people with twenty emails a day and questions about everything. A little discretion and professionalism goes a long way.

6. Persevere . . . rejection happens, it’s a fact of life and more a fact of the writing life. Not everyone will think the writing you poured your soul into is as wonderful as you (or your mom) think it is. Some will love it, some will hate it. When rejection comes, learn from it, put it behind you, and move forward. As a writer you have to develop thick skin, take risks, and be prepared to dust yourself off when you stumble and get back at it. I remember one editor at a writer’s conference saying that the writer who gets the contract is the writer who never gave up. And an editor once told me it takes just one influential person to champion your work for it to wind up getting contracted . . . don’t quit until you find that champion. Great advice.

7. Pray . . . Give your writing to God. He is the one who put the passion in your heart and the words in your head, let Him guide you each step of the way. Write for His glory!

There you have it. The seven habits of published Christian riters. Let me know if you can think of any other ones that haven’t been mentioned!

2008

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Seven Habits Published Christian Writers
Seven Habits Published Christian Writers
Seven Habits Published Christian Writers
Seven Habits Published Christian Writers
Seven Habits Published Christian Writers
Seven Habits Published Christian Writers
Seven Habits Published Christian Writers

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