As we move into a new year, I hope to grow in writing skills and in knowledge about all the moving parts in the publishing industry. We can’t know too much, can we?
Today I’m sharing six things I’ve learned about the writing journey itself, and I hope you’ll find my words encouraging.
1. It’s important to do what feels right for us.
I once thought that I’d never self-publish. As they say . . . never say never. I’ve now become an indie author, and although that decision has brought some challenges, the rewards are many. Some of us may choose traditional publishing. Some may choose indie-publishing. Others may want to live in both worlds as a hybrid. Regardless, there are decisions to make in terms of platform, marketing, website formats, blogs, social media, etc.
2. It’s not a race.
It doesn’t matter if critique partners are published before us. It doesn’t matter if so-and-so has released twenty books to our one. That one book published at the right time can impact lives. So, are we writing to fill up bookshelves? Or are we writing to touch people’s hearts and minds?
3. It’s never too late, and we’re never too old.
I sat at the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) conference five years ago wondering if it was too late for me. Talented writers half my age were signing contracts with publisher and agents, and the door hadn’t opened up for me yet. I came home from that conference filled with anxiety and a drive to work faster and push harder.
But, I don’t believe that’s what God wants for any of us. Thankfully, with a little time, and God’s help, I chilled out and began to relax with the process. I recently turned sixty (yikes!), and I feel like I’m just getting started.
By the way, did you know that Laura Ingalls Wilder didn’t publish Little House in the Big Woods until she was sixty-four? Frank McCourt published his first book, Angela’s Ashes, when he was sixty-six, and he went on to win the Pulitzer, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the L.A. Times Book Award.
4. We shouldn’t forget to enjoy the journey.
I don’t personally know what it’s like to write for the secular market, but in a field that is so competitive, Christian writers are still generous with their time, knowledge, and encouragement. The friendships I’ve made with other writers have been and continue to be priceless. That alone has made this journey so worth accepting the struggles and disappointments that come with it.
5. We’ll never arrive.
What do I mean by that? One of the things I love about writing is that it will always be challenging. I don’t think we’ll ever arrive at the point where we’re unable to gain additional knowledge and skills. There will always be more things to learn and more ways to improve what we do.
6. Through writing, we’re given opportunities to make a difference, and with God’s help, we can even change lives.
From my perspective—that’s pretty exciting!
What have you learned while on your own journey?
In 1904, Hope Andrews, an aspiring fashion designer, struggles with leaving New York City. But with no job, her parents leaving the country, and an abusive ex-fiancé refusing to accept their broken engagement, Hope doesn’t have much choice but to give in to her parents’ wishes that she move far away and live with her cousin indefinitely.
Talented Benjamin Greene can’t deny his passion for painting, but guilt over a painful incident in his past keeps him from sharing his gift. Instead, he devotes much of his days to helping his younger sibling rebuild a farm inherited from a great-uncle. Only his brother is aware that Ben spends his spare time in a studio on their property.
In the small rural town of Riverton, Wisconsin, Hope and Ben can’t help but be thrown together. But as feelings for each other deepen, tension thickens over how talent should be used. Their mutual passion for art brings them together, but will it also drive them apart?
Dawn Kinzer is a freelance editor, and her own work has been has been published in the Christian Fiction Online Magazine, Backyard Friends, The One Year Life Verse Devotional, A Joyful Heart: Experiencing the Light of His Love, and featured numerous times on the radio ministry, The Heartbeat of the Home. She co-hosts and writes for Seriously Write. Her personal blog, The Garden of Dreams, focuses on encouraging women to find purpose and pursue their dreams in the different seasons of their lives. Sarah’s Smile is the first book in her historical romance series The Daughters of Riverton, and Hope’s Design is the second.
A mother and grandmother, Dawn lives with her husband in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Favorite things include dark chocolate, good wine, strong coffee, the mountains, family time, and Masterpiece Theatre.
You can connect and learn more about Dawn and her work by visiting these online sites: Author Website, Dawn’s Blog, Goodreads, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.