Friday, May 4, 2018

Your Writing Journey by Melinda Viergever Inman


Melinda Viergever Inman

Your Writing Journey

The new challenges of the marketplace are altering the writing journey for every writer I know. When we began, most of us never knew that privacy laws, Amazon’s algorithms, and forever changing marketing strategies would have anything to do with our lives. We simply wanted to write.

We began writing, because we wanted to tell stories that exalted Christ and made known the blessings of relationship with him, all within elegantly written stories that showed these truths. We threw ourselves into learning the craft of writing well. This, we were told, and sometimes still hear whispered here or there, would take care of everything. Well-written stories would rise to the top, finding their market.

But this is not necessarily the case. What’s a writer to do?

Many writers who have tired of attempting to get into a traditional publisher will go indie. Many who have published traditionally will branch out and go hybrid, balancing both indie projects and publisher-led projects. Some indie writers will abandon the constant work of wearing all the hats and will begin anew the search for a publisher. Some writers will begin to simply write with no financial aim in mind, turning out free stories written and produced at little cost. Some will lay down their pens.

These decisions will be highly personal, for there is no longer a one-size-fits-all publishing journey. What works for one writer, will not work for another. The sooner we are all aware of this, the better we are able to support and to encourage one another through this complicated world in which we work.

I’m writing today to encourage you to be aware of this. And I write to urge you to seek the Lord for your own writing and publishing decisions. He has a plan for you specifically, and he wants you to seek him to find it. God is with you on this writing journey. His plan involves your sanctification and his glory and goodness at work in your life.

Because this is true, we each must follow God’s leading in our own lives. We each have vastly divergent life experiences. Some of us have health crises, some have aged parents to tend, some are working two jobs, some have a dozen children, some have extensive traveling demands at a day job.

We are each unique.

Therefore, we cannot assume that anyone who has to close shop or change tactics entirely has failed in any way, if the Lord has led them to this decision. Neither can we shake our heads when someone who simply cannot remain fiscally sound while indie publishing still continues down that path. We also can’t look down on a mid-list author recently cut loose by their publisher, or an author scrambling after their publisher has folded—common experiences based, once again, on the marketplace, not the writing.

All of us strive to write well and to remain solvent in this market. All of us are brothers and sisters in Christ. What each one does will be dictated by God’s leading in that individual life.

As writers, can we give one another grace? And, not just grace, but can we offer encouragement? For writers have always been in need of encouragement, and writers have always faced the challenges we now face. People have always wanted to read our words for free, unaware of the hours and the cost that went into their production.

God knows this. Other writers know this.

Let’s lean on Christ for our support and for our leading. Let’s offer one another comfort and encouragement as we all labor on the same journey together. And let’s never forget that God is with us on this journey, superintending our course.





Melinda V Inman, Author of: Refuge, Fallen, and No Longer Alone

Raised on the Oklahoma plains in a storytelling family, Melinda Viergever Inman now spins tales from her writer’s cave in the Midwest. Her faith-filled fiction illustrates our human story, wrestling with our brokenness and the storms that wreak havoc in our lives. Find her weekly at http://MelindaInman.com/blog/. To find her work and to be notified of future published novels, follow her at http://bit.ly/MelindasBooks/.

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15 comments:

  1. Excellent and encouraging words, Melinda, as I travel that unknown road to where God leads.

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  2. Great post as always, Melinda. I was just talking to another writer this morning about giving myself grace. God is in control of our journey, even though we do our best all the time. Thanks for writing this!

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    1. Absolutely true, Angie! We work hard, learn to write well, do our best, knock on the doors, but then God must superintend the results and the outcome! We’re all in the same boat as writers!

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  3. Such an encouraging article as I am in the midst of the traditional publishing route. Have considered self-publishing and definitely something I need to take to the Lord more in prayer.

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    1. Everyone I know is considering some sort of shift or change. We all have to respond to the marketplace while also leaning on the Lord’s presence and his leading. I know he’ll guide your steps, Bailey!

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  4. I agree with Bailey. This is so encouraging. To know that even people with similar stories to ours have a distinct calling that may or may not look like what God has for us. Love it 💕

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    1. That’s very true, Brittany! We’re all uniquely made and uniquely called on this writing journey! This is the fun part!

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  5. Hi Melinda!

    It nice meeting you here on this page and see some of the people you work with. It's fascinating whenever writers like you say anything about how it is actually to be a writer.

    You show an excellent understanding of the changed market conditions in this blog post. Things have changed. What used to be easy before does not work today.

    You sum it up well when you say: " . . . there is no longer a one-size-fits-all publishing journey."

    I believe this blog post of your has the potential of helping and educating upcoming writers to a more realistic approach to being a Christian author today.

    God bless!
    Edna Davidsen

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    1. Edna,

      Thank you for your thoughtful reply. Your professional marketing instincts and your savvy show through.

      When many of us started writing for the marketplace, the author had nothing to do with the marketing. The author simply wrote. Now the burden of marketing is borne almost exclusively by the author. Publishers do some marketing, but not much. And indie writers do all of their own marketing or pay for someone else to do it.

      This was a big shift for authors, requiring a huge learning curve. Most of us now spend more time on marketing than we do on actual writing. Writers who began before 2010 have had much to learn.

      This calls for lots of encouragement and the need for grace toward one another. In the Christian writing journey, other writers, and now also marketers, are typically the biggest cheerleaders for one another.

      Thanks again for commenting! God bless!

      Melinda

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  6. Sorry! I accidentally deleted this comment from Karen “Girl” Friday

    Wow, Melinda. What a great post with a lot of insight. I love how you mention that we are all unique and to give grace and encouragement to each other. And consulting the Lord is the most important piece of the whole writing journey. I set my main prayer as this: the Lord would give me the right project, the right agent (I have a great one), the right publisher, and the right timing (His) with each writing venture. That He would anoint, bless, give favor, and most of all, His glory would be all over it.

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  7. Excellent post Malinda I am inspired.
    3 yrs under my belt and still not finished, you make me feel better.

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  8. So encouraging, Melinda, reminding us that we each have our own path. We can learn from others, yet important to not compare. There are so many roads to publishing these days, and marketing is a daunting task enough without the pressures of wondering if we are doing it right. Thanks for this!

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