Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Stretching Ourselves as Writers by Missy Tippens


Have you ever declined a writing opportunity because you were scared or felt underqualified? Or have you felt as if all doors are closed and you can’t even get a toe in the world of publishing? Today, I’d love to encourage you to try again.

I recently learned of a writing project from my agent. I told her I might submit a short devotional, but then the illness and death of a family member kept me from writing the piece. Thankfully, the editor involved contacted me directly a few weeks later, and—despite my fear over trying my hand at something new—I told her I would send a writing sample asap. I was anxious, because up until that day, I had only written a couple of devotionals for my church. This felt like brand new territory. But I was glad I followed God’s leading and sent in my work, because it felt good to spread my wings. I’m pleased to say I heard back later that they’d like to include several of my devotionals in their project! I’m thrilled to be a part and hope to be able to announce the news soon. :)

I also have another project that was a first for me and terrified me because it was such a departure from my norm. I wrote a contemporary cowboy novella! I’d never had any experience on a ranch other than occasionally riding a horse. I wanted badly to do it but feared I should decline. However, I felt strongly God had given me this opportunity. So, with my heart pounding, I accepted the invitation. Then I immediately emailed two of my close writer friends who live on ranches and begged for their help with research. They were happy to support me and answer my many, MANY questions about building fences and birthing calves. Thanks to their help, I am now part of a boxed set, Cowboys of Summer, that just released this month! I’m so grateful to work with this group of authors I admire.

What about you? Have you had opportunities you’ve been afraid to chase? Have you had invitations to submit your work but chickened out? I hope the next time you get a chance to stretch yourself, you’ll think of my experiences and consider going for it! Here are some quick tips I’d like to leave with you…

--Look for writing opportunities everywhere! Follow all leads.
--Don’t be quick to decline something. Take a serious look at your qualifications, and...
--Challenge yourself. Try something new or maybe even take a class to learn how.
--Don’t forget to reach out to other writers for assistance if you need it. You can do this!

What project have you taken on that has stretched you as a writer?


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After more than 10 years of pursuing her dream of publication, Missy Tippens, a pastor’s wife and mom of three from near Atlanta, Georgia, made her first sale to Harlequin Love Inspired in 2007. Her books have since been nominated for the Booksellers Best, Holt Medallion, ACFW Carol Award, Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, Maggie Award, Beacon Contest, RT Reviewer’s Choice Award, and the Romance Writers of America RITA® Award. Visit Missy at www.missytippens.com, https://twitter.com/MissyTippens and http://www.facebook.com/missy.tippens.readers.

18 comments:

  1. Thanks for the encouragement to push beyond our normals. Those are the times we really have to lean on God, isn't it? Great post, Missy

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  2. Thank y'all so much for having me today! I look forward to chatting. :)

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    1. We're so glad to have you here, Missy! I love this encouragement, because it's a scary thing to take on something new---in writing or anything else. For me, I'm a slow writer, so the idea of a quick turnaround for a project is terrifying and would need a lot of courage for me take on. :)

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    2. Sandy, I'm a slow writer, too. Especially when I start a new project. The only time I seem to zip along is at the end of a story. :)

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  3. Missy, there's a project I've wrestled with for a long time. I know I know how to write it--but I'm so afraid it won't be good... This was fab advice to read today! Thanks!

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    1. Anna, you're such a good writer! I know you can do it. But I totally understand that fear. I'd say go ahead and write it, then get a few trusted readers to give you feedback.

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  4. Hi, Missy! My stretching adventure came when I moved on to the final phase in a contest...and had to write a complete manuscript in a limited time. Instead of being excited I’d passed the first two requirements, I burst into tears at the announcement, telling my husband there was no way I could write that many words. But I did persevere...and it felt good to write “The End” on my first completed novel. It’s so important to listen to those nudges from God....and be fearless!

    Thank you for your advice for moving from our comfort zones. I especially need to remember to ask for help. I’m reluctant to bother busy people, but I do find writers are willing to give assistance. I love how the writing community is so generous.

    Congratulations on the The Cowboys of Summer collection (on my Kindle) and the upcoming devotionals!

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    1. Sherida, I can imagine how scary it was to keep moving ahead in that contest! Your bursting into tears sounds like something I would do. :) I'm so glad you persisted to finish that story! I bawled my eyes out the first time I typed The End. What an accomplishment!

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  5. Good morning, Missy! Good for you for stretching yourself. I'll agree - opportunities can be exciting and scary at the same time. It's weird - I take more (healthy) risks now than I ever did in my 20s...a "few" years ago.

    Congratulations on moving forward!

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    1. Cynthia, I think we do gain confidence and a bit more courage as we, uh, leave our twenties. ;) (I'm not going to tell how long ago I said goodbye to my 20's!) haha

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  6. Great article! Definitely important to be prayerful over writing commitments. My most recently completed novel was a departure from my norm, too ... about an injured swimmer whose sports marketing practicum leads her to coach a Special Olympics team and fall in love with their rec director. The publisher I originally started writing it for changed their mind, but I completed it in faith. Just praying my agent can find a publishing home for it now.

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    1. Denise and Missy, I'm so sorry. When I was approving Missy's response, my computer jumped and hit "delete" instead of "publish." It loves to do that. Ugh!

      So, Denise, here's how Missy replied:

      "Denise, it sounds like a great story! I hope your agent can find a home for it."

      Sorry, ladies! (And I agree, Denise. :) )

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    2. That's okay! Unfortunately, I understand hitting the wrong buttons. haha

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    3. Sandy, makes me feel better, I thought I was the only one who did those things! So easy to have happen.

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    4. Naw...I'm right there with you, Terri.

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  7. Hi Missy! I love seeing you here at Seriously Write and I'm kicking myself for not issuing the invitation.

    I had an editor ask for a story once and I was so sure my writing wasn't on the level of others at that house that I never submitted. So stupid! Another reason to kick myself.


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    1. Terri, I'm sure a lot of us have done that at one time or another. I know I have missed opportunities before by being afraid to try. That's one reason I went for these!

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