Thursday, September 13, 2018

Rubber, meet road. - 3 tips for the Journeyman writer. By Lisa Phillips

So much of the writing advice we see on social media is geared toward beginners. Plenty of conferences gear their seminars to the needs to the newbie writer. And I get it. I even like it. Who doesn’t need to go back to the foundations once in a while and get a refresher? Praise God for them.

But what happens when you’re down the street a bit, and you’re no longer a “beginner?” Maybe you’ve written a couple of books…or seven. Maybe you’re published. Or you’re not. What advice is out there for you? Well, friend, I’m SO glad you’re here today.

A Journeyman is someone who is considered competent at their job. They are authorized to work in that field as a fully qualified employee.

You’ve done the “beginner” work, and you’re starting to wonder, what’s next?

1. Embrace the season

It’s easy to be discontented when we’re faced with problems. Or setbacks. When we feel like something should be happening, but it isn’t. Or when we feel like we don’t “fit” at the conference. But this is where we move from the “milk” of learning the writing craft, to the “meat” of walking out what you know.

Let me tell you: God has you in this season for a reason.

You’ve walked some long, dusty miles, but you still have plenty of hope left. That next book contract. That next novel—surely it will sell better. That one book you’ve always wanted to write—is it time? Maybe it’s a season of work right now. Or a season of waiting. Whatever it is, make sure you leave time to hear from God. He wants to draw near to you now. Even in this.

2. Never stop learning

I’m a hardcore, serious, post-it notes, white-board PLOTTER. One of the last few craft books I read was, “Story trumps structure” by Steven James. And yes, a few times I really wanted to throw it at the wall because I didn’t agree with him. But I read it.

And did I learn something?

Of course.

There is always a take-away, no matter what class or book you’re in right now. Regardless of whether the person who wrote it, or the one who’s teaching it, is better or worse at this than you (we’ll get to that in a minute) or if they’ve published more—or less—books than you. I’m going to say it again: there is always a take-away. You can ALWAYS learn something new. Be open to it.

Resist the pride of your accomplishments.

One of the biggest takeaways from my time at Bible college and all that fantastic digging in, and learning about the word of God was this: the more I learned, the more I realized how much I didn’t know.

 Likely you will never “arrive.” So embrace the journey.

3. Look ahead, not sideways

Comparisonitis. Oof, that’s a whole blog in itself, am I right? Eek. It’s so tempting to see such-and-such bestseller and compare yourself to them. (They’re usually always bestselling, or award winning. Because yeah, I’m that good.)


And while reading your genre, other genres, and many different author’s works is so helpful in learning. As is seeing what others are up to in this “business.” It can also cripple your own writing. Be careful that your heart is in the right place.

I’m in a Facebook group of authors of all genres, Christian and not. Most of them are making a full time living. Most of them write multiple books a year. Some of them make hundreds of thousands and put out a book EVERY MONTH. Can I compete with that? No. That’s not the life, or schedule (or typing speed) that God has given me. But do I enjoy being there? Yes, when I can congratulate them, ask for help, and be encouraged in what they’re doing.

After all, they’re proof that this writing thing, as a sustainable career, is POSSIBLE.

I’m looking forward. Seeing how I can do this “publishing” thing differently. How I can get my books to new readers. How I can write better books each time. 

So when the rubber meets the road in your writing career, remember: press on. Don’t stop. The worshippers of the Bible were charged by God with creating music skillfully. It isn’t enough to just play your instrument, you’re called to do it well.
My prayer for you, friend, is that you see Him in this business. That you remember in writing, editing and marketing, that rain falls on the just and the unjust the same way the sun shines on us all. So no matter how you're feeling today, He's there.
Lisa Phillips is the author of more than ten Love Inspired Suspense novels. Her book DEFENSE BREACH is out this month and available everywhere! She also independently published the bestselling WITSEC Town series, the Sanctuary books. Her new series has a thriller/supernatural bent with the first book Corrupt. Book 2, FORGOTTEN is out now in ebook form on all platforms.
Lisa is also proud to be part of the EXPOSED box set of romantic suspense novels, which is .99c on Kindle. Find out more at where you can sign up and receive a free book!


  1. Hi Lisa! I'm so thankful you're spending the day with us at Seriously Write. Your post truly resonated with me.

    Thanks for sharing and encouraging me along my writing journey.

  2. Lisa, I appreciate your perspective about journeyman writers, especially “God has you in this season for a reason.” And to keep learning is so important! Thanks!

  3. Hi Lisa - great advice and thanks for the encouragement! Blessings on your writing career!

  4. Thanks, Lisa, for your perspective. I especially like the thought that “God has you in this season for a reason.” Your post is encouraging as I move from beginner to journeyman.


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