Friday, March 15, 2019

How to Avoid a $30 Salad … and Other Costly Blunders by JoAnn Durgin

JoAnn Durgin

We’re thrilled to welcome JoAnn Durgin as a regular contributor to Seriously Write! JoAnn is a multi-published contemporary romance author, and she has a heart for encouraging writers. You’ll find her here every third Friday of the month. ~ Dawn

How to Avoid a $30 Salad 
… and Other Costly Blunders

What an honor to join the fabulous authors at Seriously Write! In some respects, writing a blog post can be more challenging for this author than penning a four-hundred-page novel. Crazy, right? Traditionally, my comfort zone is when I hit the midpoint of a novel. Anything less than a thousand words, and I’m only getting started! On the other hand, sharing insights and encouragement with others who share my passion for faith-based writing is something I welcome wholeheartedly. So, let’s get started. It’s my prayer that my input here on Seriously Write might encourage you in your own writing pursuits.

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17 (NIV)

Years ago, as a twenty-two-year-old college graduate recently transplanted from Indiana to Dallas, Texas, I learned one of those invaluable “life experiences” the hard way. You know the kind—the unfortunate lessons acquired in the short-term for which we pay an emotional, physical, financial, or social price in exchange for long-term, well-earned wisdom.

On my way home one evening, I stopped by a Wendy’s drive-through and picked up a salad for dinner. The next day, I was shocked to discover my checking account was overdrawn. Due to my obliviousness and a bank overdraft fee, that inexpensive salad had become a $30 meal. I consoled myself with this: if we sailed through life with no troubles and no challenges, our lives would remain stagnant. So would our writing. And that, my friends, would be tragic.

In the grand scheme of things, was that one of the hardest lessons I’ve suffered in my life? Of course not. Not by far! But I learned from it, and all these years later, I still remember it.

As I’m preparing my next novel for release, I am reminded of God’s presence in my writing life, and in every aspect of my life. How God has always been there. When I first started in publishing nine years ago, I knew next to nothing. Armed with not much more than a love of crafting words and shaping them into characters and their stories, I figured out the basics alongside my new, small publisher who’d been willing to give me an opportunity.

That doesn’t mean I haven’t made my share of mistakes and blunders in my writing career, some bigger than others. But like that young girl in Dallas who didn’t understand how to properly manage her money, I learned from them. My point is this: Don’t be unaware in publishing and find out lessons the hard way. Be aware of common pitfalls so you can avoid them. Know the market, learn the trends. Whether or not an agent is involved, educating yourself is one of the best ways to build and maintain a successful writing career, and any unexpected costs will hopefully be limited to the short-term.

Here are a few quick tips to help steer you in the “write” direction:

1. Every time you sit in your writing chair—pray. Commit to the Lord the guidance of your thoughts, words, actions, motivations, and decisions. Writing can be a lonely profession, but it shouldn’t be when He’s given His rightful place in the process. I’ve followed this plan in writing more than thirty books, and I’m blessed to say I’ve never suffered from writer’s block. If you honor Him, He will honor you.

2. Be a wise steward of the resources with which you’ve been blessed.

3. Write the best book you can. Edit and repeat as needed.

Until His Nets Are Full,

Matthew 5:16

Once upon a time, when she believed in fairy tales, ten-year-old Lianna Chandler had a dream. As the princess of a faraway land, she stood by the shoreline at sunset as her prince galloped toward her on a magnificent white horse. Now, sixteen years later and happily prince-less, Lianna co-manages an art gallery and is a promising portrait artist in the charming land of Carmel-by-the-Sea. When she meets Evan Michaels, a man who embodies the handsome prince of her childhood dream, can she move away from past heartbreak to embrace her own happily ever after?

Evan Michaels learned early on that life wouldn’t hand him anything. Using his fists and street smarts, he fought his way out of a bad childhood to make his own way in the world. With divine help, he’s now a partner in an international shipping firm based in San Francisco. Although he’s proven himself to the world, something is still missing. When he meets the beautiful Lianna Chandler, Evan believes he’s found the woman of his dreams…until he takes a phone call that could change everything. Will the secrets and shame of Evan’s past come tumbling down around them, leaving their love in ashes?

JoAnn Durgin is a USA Today bestselling author of more than thirty contemporary Christian romance novels, including her signature Lewis Legacy Series. A native of southern Indiana, JoAnn likes to say she’s “been around in the nicest sense of the word” after living in four states across the country before returning to her hometown with her husband and three children. When she’s not writing, JoAnn loves to travel and spend time with their first grandchild, Amelia Grace. Feel free to connect with her at or via her website at