Friday, December 2, 2011

The Three Ps of Writing by Melanie Dickerson

Welcome to another Fortifying Friday, the day here at Seriously Write devoted to sharing personal journeys to publication and encouragement to writers. Have you been a little discouraged in your own writing path and accomplishments lately? Author Melanie Dickerson is here with motivating words to help keep you moving toward your goals. Thanks, Melanie!           ~ Dawn

The Three Ps of Writing
by Melanie Dickerson

Thanks to Dawn, Annette, Angie, and Ocieanna for inviting me to be on their wonderful writer’s blog, Seriously Write. Making friends with other writers has been one of the greatest blessings of this whole writing journey. There is no encouragement for a writer like the encouragement of another writer who understands and has been where you are. That’s why blogs like this one are so important.

And today I hope to give you all a word of encouragement—three words, actually, and they are Perseverance, Priority, and Prayer.

Perseverance is perhaps the most necessary attribute for a writer trying to get published, simply because one never knows how long it’s going to take. You can be the most talented writer in the world, but if you’re not willing to learn and work hard, to persevere through the rejections, you won’t ever get published.

After I finished writing The Healer’s Apprentice, I found out CBA publishers weren’t publishing a lot of YAs, they didn’t publish YA romance, they believed Medievals didn’t sell well, and there were absolutely no fairy tale retellings in all of CBA, as far as anyone knew. My book had absolutely nothing going for it.

However, I didn’t give up on that book. I kept revising it, learning all I could about writing and editing. It took me two years to find an agent brave enough to take on my Medieval YA fairy-tale-retelling romance. She sent it out to nearly every CBA publisher, but one by one they all rejected it. Finally, when it seemed all hope was lost, the YA editor at Zondervan got hold of it and was able to convince Zonderkidz to publish it.

And the second thing a writer needs is very much related to Perseverance, and that is Priority. We have to make writing a priority in our lives. I’m not saying it needs to have priority over everything else, but it needs to be enough of a priority that we will make time for it. We make time to do the things that are important to us. If watching that TV show you like is more important to you than writing, then you will not get any writing done. Which is why we have to consciously make writing a high priority. We have to learn to say no and not volunteer for every little thing. Guess what? It may not be God’s will for you to volunteer for every committee, every activity, everything someone asks you to do at school, church, work, etc. They’re only asking you because you always say yes. If you say no, someone else will get a chance to do something worthwhile. And you will get a chance to write another chapter.

And my third “P” is Prayer. Pray hard, because God has something for you. Are you willing to find out what it is? I’m not just talking about publication, although that is the goal, certainly. But God is longing to teach you other things through this tough writing journey. He wants you to draw closer to him through the struggle, through the triumphs and disappointments and interesting discoveries. Will you walk this journey with Him? The only way to really do that is by praying.

It’s okay to ask God for what you want. Do you want to be published? Tell God. Go boldly to his throne and ask for what you want. Tell Him how you felt when you got that rejection, when your husband didn’t seem to understand that you needed some writing time, when you were frustrated you didn’t final in that contest, or when you were happy an agent requested your full manuscript. Pray without ceasing. Praying throughout this writing journey, you have the potential to learn more than you ever have, and to draw closer to God than you’ve ever been.

And there you have my 3 Ps—Perseverance, Priority, and Prayer. I hope this encourages someone today! May God bless your writing!

Melanie Dickerson is the author of The Healer’s Apprentice, a Christy Award finalist and winner of The National Reader’s Choice Award for Best First Book. Melanie earned a bachelor’s degree in special education from The University of Alabama and is a former teacher and a missionary. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Huntsville, Alabama.

To learn more and connect with Melanie, please check out:


  1. Melanie, have you been looking over my shoulder? God must have laid this on your heart just for me. Oh, how I needed to be reminded of the "three P's!" Thanks so much for your post!

  2. You're so welcome, Angie! So glad I could encourage you today! All we have to do is be faithful to what God is telling us. Sounds simple but sometimes it's not! God bless you.

  3. I'm so glad that you got your book published. The cover looks really awesome! :D

  4. Great post! I loved the Healer's Apprentice! Am reading The Merchant's Daughter now! Awesome writer!

  5. Melanie... just wanted to mention that I am so thankful for YOUR perseverance, priority, and prayer! I am waging a war on behalf of the young people in my family who are daily being enticed by evil, and have spent many hours searching for quality fiction that will "cover" them. Great is the battle, and much is at stake for the hearts of this impressionable age. May God go before you and make "the crooked places straight" as you continue to walk down this road. And may your books touch countless yearning souls who wander daily in a land without hope.

  6. Thanks, Krysti! I LOVE my covers! Feel so blessed.

    Thanks, Terri! Hope you love it!

    Lilly, thanks for waging war on behalf of young people. There is so much out there that seems to want to drag young people down and pull them toward "dark" subjects and dark thoughts. I like to think I am shining some light in the darkness!

  7. Thanks, Melanie, for such an inspiring message. The reminder of the 3 Ps are just what I needed today.

  8. Melanie, just what I needed when I needed it because sometimes it'd be so easy to give up. I'll post the three P's over my desk.

    I've ordered the Merchant's Daughter and can't wait for it to get here!

  9. Thank you so much for this beautifully written and encouraging message!

  10. Kelly, Pat, and Debbie,
    thanks so much! I'm glad it was helpful. It's really not original with me. Thankfully, I've heard this basic advice a few times in my writing life, but I'm glad I could provide a reminder.


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