Friday, December 16, 2011

The Winding Way of Writing by Lisa Lickel

One of the wonderful things about writing in the Christian market is that authors are generous in sharing their knowledge and experience with other writers aspiring to be published. Today, author Lisa Lickel gives some helpful tips. If you look at her number 10 suggestion, you’ll see that she follows her own advice. Enjoy! ~ Dawn

The Winding Way of Writing
by Lisa Lickel

I am an historian. Really. I did my university studies in anthropology, geography, and world history. The closest I got to English was the history of the English language. Which I ended up quitting. When I moved into a historic home, helped start a local historical society and worked on press releases, articles and editing books, one of the members kindly told me, “You should be a writer.”
That comment stuck with me. I was gainfully employed at the time and took the Christian Writers Guild course and started selling my articles before I finished the two-year apprentice program. With the afore-mentioned nudge of encouragement, I began writing novels and a lot of other things in-between. The course was an excellent tool to show me what was important about writing and being professional at it. I learned a lot more about the ups and downs of writing partners, agents, contracts, public persona, and publishing connections when I joined larger writing communities, like American Christian Fiction Writers at the advice of a friend, and Wisconsin Writers Association. I diversified by learning to edit for others and picking up a couple of magazine gigs. I learned also that networking in person at conferences and making yourself available to speak and teach helps build name-recognition and a fan base, because, unlike Field of Dreams, the “if you write it, they will buy it” philosophy doesn’t work. Authors and publishers have to work hard to be heard in the great cacophony of the public market.

While writing may be a lonely business, it is a business. The bottom line is that being Published should not be a writer’s goal; being Read is your true goal. Whether hobby, career, or ministry, authors need readers, and friendship evangelism, or building relationships, is the key to making sure your gifts reach those who need them.  

Some lessons in a nutshell:

1. Professionalism starts at the very beginning. Patience is a virtue. Take neither rejection nor flattery personally.

2. Find mentors and critique partners who can work together consistently and competently.

3. If you can’t write every day, learn something new every day. Enjoy.

4. Networking is as important as coming up with a good story.

5. Support other authors in many ways, such as through reviews, interviews, press releases, attending signings.

6. Go where the readers are. You’re a reader too!

7. Learn and practice social networking.

8. Stand on a solid promotion platform and be adaptable.

9. Moderation in all things: scheduling your time, adverbs, clich├ęs, promotion, word count, submissions, saying “yes” and saying “no.”

10. Give something back.

Lisa Lickel is a Wisconsin writer who lives with her husband in a hundred and sixty-year-old house built by a Great Lakes ship captain. Surrounded by books and dragons, she writes inspiring fiction. Her novels include mystery and romance, all with a twist of grace. She has penned dozens of feature newspaper stories, short stories, magazine articles and radio theater. She is the editor in chief of Creative Wisconsin Magazine and of OtherSheep, a Christian spec fiction/nonfiction magazine. She loves to encourage new authors. Find her at

Now available: Meander Scar, A Summer in Oakville (with Shellie Neumeier), Lavender Dreams 

Coming in April 2012, The Map Quilt

To find out more about Lisa and her books, please visit:


  1. Thank you so much for having me here today, gals!

  2. Lisa definitely has #10 down pat. Thanks for sharing Lisa and Dawn!

  3. Loved them all! Especially #1,#5, and #10. Lisa rocks, is so knowledgeable and giving, and I feel very blessed to know her! Thank you for post this.

  4. Great tips, Lisa! So glad to have you. And thanks for practicing #5! :)

  5. Thank you, people! It's a mutual admiration society.

  6. I have worked with Lisa on a project and believe she exemplifies all 10 of them! Way to go, Lisa!


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