Monday, March 7, 2011

Writing for a Woman's Heart by Janet Chester Bly

Happy Manuscript Monday, dear readers! Is it difficult for you to open your heart and share your own struggles? This month, we welcome Janet Chester Bly to share her series on writing for women. She shares that the best way to minister is to be honest and open about your own struggles. Fiction or non-fiction writers can glean from this topic. Read on!

Writing for a Woman's Heart
by Janet Chester Bly

Driving home from my last day on the job, after helping hubby Stephen get through seminary, I wondered what God wanted me to do next. Hubby had been called to be a pastor, so I asked him. “That’s easy,” he said, “you’ll do stuff for me and stuff for the church.” Well, I wanted a more specific job description. . .which eventually led to the discovery of writing as a spiritual gift and the impetus for one of my first books for women: Managing Your Restless Search/Finding Your Place of Service in God’s Plan.*

What Are The Steps To Write for Women?

First, open your own heart.

A writer who shines draws from her own felt needs first. She addresses issues that hit women where they live. She finds a hot topic that fits her and meets a need in the marketplace.

Second, look into your past.

Where have you struggled? What problems have you faced and found some answers?
What personal experiences make you qualified to opine on certain subjects?

Third, solve the issues in your own life.

You don’t have to be perfect, but you need to be a woman in process. Be honest with yourself before you mete out advice to others. Take the wisdom you’ve gained and pass it down as practical helps to others.

Fourth, listen to your own voice.

What is the central theme you come back to over and over again? What are the ideas that don’t seem to go away? What is your life message?

Fifth, determine to be transparent, honest.

This is crucial to minister life-changing insights to other women. Let your genuineness show through from your heart to hers.

Sixth, define your present.

Who are you right now—education, career, hobbies, experiences? Before you try writing/selling a book, have you written articles on the subject? Are you willing to do proper research with reading, interviews, perhaps travel, if needed? Above all, can you walk what you write?

Seventh, listen to her voice.

Pay attention to other women. Hear her concerns, the passion of her heart. Jane Struck, editor of Today’s Christian Woman, says, “If two or three friends bring up the same topic, then it’s a hot topic.”

Subscribe to women’s magazines and blogs. Read advice columns and women’s how-tos and fiction. Scan Letters to the Editor. Go to women’s conferences. What trends catch your interest? What are her main problems? Sometimes when you listen to whines, you get writing ideas.

Eighth, study the Scriptures.

What does God say about a woman’s heart? Line up what you have to say with eternal truth.
Ninth, touch the emotions.

Make her laugh. Make her cry. Tell compelling, true stories, such as in Hope Lives Here.*
Tenth, provide help, hope and healing. . .with a special oomph.

Be creative with catchy principles. Give her handy things to do. Study what’s already out there—make it as good or better. Develop a different slant. Explain why your manuscript should be published, compared to what’s already in the market.

To write for a woman’s heart, you must expound from your own. Be honest about who you are, where you are. Study what’s already being said—how can you say it differently or better?


Janet Chester Bly has authored and co-authored with husband Stephen 30 books, including Words To Live By For Women, Friends Forever, Hope Lives Here, Awakening Your Sense of Wonder, How To Be A Good Mom and The Heart of a Runaway/Hope & Understanding For The Woman Who Longs To Escape. Find out more at and

* Managing Your Restless Search and Hope Lives Here, as well as other Bly books available at


  1. Annette: Delighted to be on your blog today. Thanks so much for the privilege of the post.

    Janet Chester Bly

  2. My pleasure, Janet! We love having you! Looking forward to the rest of your series this month. :D


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