Friday, August 19, 2016

Remembering the Power of Words by Kelli Stuart

Kelli Stuart

Sometimes it takes years for a story to find its way to print, but the end result can be worth the wait. Author Kelli Stuart shares her journey to publication and encourages us to remember what’s important as we pen our own creations. ~ Dawn

Remembering the Power of Words

“Do you write every day?” he asked. We all nodded our heads up and down fiercely. “Well, then you’re writers, every one of you.”

I was a fresh-faced college student with stars in my eyes when a professor confirmed what I already knew in my heart: I was born to be a writer. His diagnosis of my future was a commonly heard phrase, of course.

“A writer is one who writes every day.”

So simple, and clearly encouraging, but it didn’t take long after I entered the real world to find out that there's a difference between a writer who simply loves the craft and does it for fun, and a writer who loves the craft and wants to make a career out of it.

Writing is a process. Of course, writing every day is a start to building a career as a writer, but let’s face it—we want to be published.

The world of blogging opened up new opportunities for many people who loved the process of writing, and the instant gratification of hitting publish and knowing that their words were being read by someone...even if it was just by mom...created a whole world of accidental writers. Blogging, it turns out, changed everything.

The craft of writing has been diluted in the last decade. Short, pithy quotes are the norm, and the more laid back, blogging style of writing has become the go-to method of sharing words. These days, the world is full of writers, so standing out among the pack is paramount if you’re interested in taking your writing to the next level.

We need to go back to studying the art of writing. We need to remember the beauty and power of a well-crafted sentence, a story that transports us to another time, and a book that makes us sigh in satisfaction when we put it down.

Writing is more than just tapping out a few words every day. Writing takes the emotion of a single moment and pulls the reader directly in, making them feel as though somehow they had a part in that moment.

Writing is powerful, and we need to respect it as such.

I left college with stars in my eyes and a story scratching at my heart. Certain I was destined for the New York Times Bestseller list, I set to work writing this little novel of mine. But I quickly realized that a story isn’t to be forced.

I had too much respect for the craft of writing, and for the story itself, to rush the process. So I took my time, and as I waited for the story to reveal itself fully to me, I paid my dues.

I worked as an editor, a blogger, and a ghostwriter. I helped other people craft their stories, then watched their name go on the cover of a book I’d mostly written. The paycheck at the end of the process took the sting out of it a bit.

In the background, I continued to slowly tap my way toward a story that felt right—one that I could be proud of. I had no idea it would take me a decade to get to The End. I had no idea that I’d end up with a stack of rejection letters an inch thick. I had no idea how much tenacity and perseverance I possessed.

My first novel, Like a River From Its Course, is now available for purchase. A historical fiction novel set in World War II Soviet Ukraine, the book is based on the true stories of Ukrainian World War II survivors, many of whom I interviewed myself.

Hailed as “gritty and touching” by Publisher's Weekly, Like a River From Its Course has received rave reviews from readers.  And here, at the tail end of this project, I find myself once again thinking of that starry-eyed girl of long ago. She's a little wiser now, and little less idealistic, but she still really loves words. 

The city of Kiev was bombed in Hitler’s blitzkrieg across the Soviet Union, but the constant siege was only the beginning for her citizens. In this sweeping historical saga, Kelli Stuart takes the reader on a captivating journey into the little—known history of Ukraine’s tragedies through the eyes of four compelling characters who experience the same story from different perspectives.

Kelli Stuart is a wife and mother, a writer, and the driver of a smokin’ hot minivan. Kelli is the author of Like a River From Its Course, a sweeping historical saga set in World War II Soviet Ukraine. Kelli's second book, Life Creative: Inspiration for Today’s Renaissance Mom, releases in September with Kregel Publications. You can connect with Kelli on her website, You’ll also find her on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.