Wednesday, April 28, 2010

What I've Learned on My Writing Journey by Cathy Marie Hake

Welcome to another Writer’s Journey Wednesday. (Dawn here.) You’re in for a treat and words of wisdom as author Cathy Marie Hake shares what she’s learned on her own journey. I loved this - and I think you will, too. Enjoy!

What I've Learned
on My Writing Journey

REAL STORY: A writer wrote only two pages. He gave them to his best friend and said how much those pages meant to him. His friend told him they were great—he was even willing to represent the writer. People were too busy partying to pay attention when it went to print. In fact, the work was rejected. Critics hated it. The marketing department destroyed it. Oh. And it was a really small print run, too. Work: The Ten Commandments. Author: God. Friend/agent/marketing director: Moses. Print run: 1 - but God did a reprint. And those Ten Commandments became a portion of the Bible: the best-selling book ever!

I have 10 commandments for writing. They’re not nearly as important or wise. I can’t even claim they are original, but they work for me. I apply truths Mom taught me:

10 Writing Commandments

1. People are important.
Especially your family. Keep them your priority.

2. Bring a friend.
No one understands the joys, despairs, effort, and time writing takes than another writer. Be part of organizations, networks, and/or critique groups. Celebrate each accomplishment. Take delight in everyone else’s good news and success. A high tide floats all ships.

3. If you can’t say something nice, don’t say it at all.
Just write it in a book. (Mom didn’t mention that part.)

4. Education is important.
Attend workshops, do online courses, read books on craft. There’s always something more to learn. Study books in your genre that you love and analyze why they’re so good. What tools did that author use that you could add to your toolbox?

5. Look it up!
Research everything. Have at least three sources on it. A reader suspends disbelief because everything in that fictional world is true and things make sense.

6. Anything worth doing is worth doing well.
Give your best effort. That means sit in the chair and write. A first draft is okay. A critiqued and improved draft is better. Revision means the writer honors the readers and God so much, only the best will do.

7. If at first you don’t succeed . . . try, try again.
Rejection is part of the game. Give yourself 24 hrs of being crushed, crying, eating chocolate and going out for dinner. Then improve it. And send it off again.

8. Ice cream is good for you.
Yes—the Promised Land was flowing with milk and honey—that’s the recipe for ice cream. Have a scoop.

9. Actions speak louder than words.
Live authentically. A book doesn’t ring true if you’re not walking in the light.

10. Ask your Dad.
This was the best commandment of all. Ask God. Before putting your hands on the keyboard, ask Him to give you the message, a loving attitude, and fortitude. Because seeking His will and pleasing Him is what life - and writing - is all about.

Writing is a unique profession. It’s putting your heart and soul on a page, then setting it before others to be critiqued, edited, and reviewed. Be brave. Be obedient. Be true to the One you serve. He’ll equip you for the message he desires. Who knew He’d started the lessons even before we put crayons to paper?

Cathy Marie Hake is a Southern California native who escapes the concrete jungle for the wide-open spaces and tree-filled world in her best-selling humorous historical novels. In her writing, Cathy attempts to capture a unique glimpse of life and how a man and woman can overcome obstacles when motivated by love. In her inspirational pieces she enjoys the freedom of showing how Christ can enrich a loving couple's relationship. She met her sweetheart in the High School department at church and married him after finishing nursing school. They have two children and two dogs (one of them even moos - one of the dogs that is, not the kids). Faith in God, a loving family, and a wacky sense of the ridiculous keep her going.

You can find out more about Cathy and her work by visiting:
Cathy’s Web site:
Saturday blogger at:

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