Tuesday, October 20, 2009

writing essentials

This is my desk, or a small part of it, dust and all:) There are lots of family photographs, some old, some new, and a crystal inkwell from my great-granny. Throw in some bookmarks and emails and a printer and page proofs from TFD and that's my work day. But there's so much more that you can't see that's necessary for a writing journey. Here's a short list:

1.Faith. You need to trust God for the gift He's given you as well as His timing in leading you to the right agent, publisher, and managing your writing future.

2.Courage. No one told me that publishing would move me far beyond my comfort zone. But that just makes me rely on the Lord in new, creative ways.

3. Organization. I've always been organized...and then I got published. Be prepared to have a hard time staying on track with writing, email, marketing, book events, speaking, traveling, blogging, Facebook, twittering, etc. Mix in your husband, kids, church activities, cooking and whatever else you love and it can be quite daunting. Pray for hedges around your time. Fortunately, the love of family and writing usually win out.

4. A business mindset. While wonderful in many, many respects, publishing is a business. Be prepared to feel that the publishing world is sometimes cold and unfair. Really good books don't always make the bestseller lists. Killer covers sell mediocre books. Diva authors do exist. Book sales are the bottom line. Writing is work. It's a competitive field. I'd rather not acknowledge these things but to ignore them would be less than honest.

5. Humility. There are many kinds of authors and many kinds of books. Some will sell better and receive more earthly accolades. In the end none of that matters. You are responsible for the gift you've been given. You are ultimately writing for an audience of One.

Feel free to add to the list! What do you feel is necessary for the stage of the writing journey you're on?


  1. Patience! LOL.
    I seem to try so hard that I get ahead of myself way too often. Patience is definitely a huge must when I'm writing...
    I LOVE your list! I think I may be printing this blog and keeping it in my writing binder! ... if you don't mind that is. :-)

  2. Yes, Becca, patience should be at the top of the list:) I waited 41 years to be published if you start from age 7 when I wrote my first story. I wanted to quit many times along the way but the love of writing kept me going.
    Please, if anything here helps you in even the smallest way, use it in any way you wish!
    Thank you so much for commenting today!

  3. We both have white quill pens on our desks.

  4. Faith! Patience! Yes, I agree.

    I will add Focus! God wants me to pay attention to the race He has marked out for *me* and not get distracted by looking around at all the other runners and where they are in the the race. Above all else, focusing on the prize of Jesus Christ.

    I love your list and I, too, am printing it out. Thanks for sharing with us.

  5. Such wise and wonderful words. I love #2 on courage and relying on the Lord..so true.....we have to fail at some things...if we didn't, we would never get the chance to know how God works in our lives. Laura, you always post such good and helpful information, I am going to print this off and stick it to my creative space to look at when I feel like I am struggling! It is always such a pleasure to drop by...to hear about what you are writing...and to here how it really is in the publishing world. Blessings,Kathleen

  6. Kathleen,
    Your blog blesses me also. I don't feel I have much to share but I really appreciate your encouraging comments. I try never to be negative, just honest, as I think it's important to realize the grass isn't always greener over there. Realizing it helps each of us to be happy just where He's placed us. Thank you!

  7. Yes, Mary! Just focusing on running our race and not someone else's is the key to gratitude and contentment with where we are right now. Great word - focus. I'm going to remember that one:)

  8. Prayer! I can't write a word worth reading without God's guidance.

  9. Lisa,
    Yes, yes, yes! Prayer is the writer's lifeline. I often pray over my computer (don't laugh) and whatever I happen to be writing, blog posts or book chapters. Thank you for bringing this essential up:) You are a wonder, Lisa!

  10. "Courage - No one told me that publishing would move me far beyond my comfort zone."

    Laura, this is so true for me. Writing is my passion, but moving into the publishing arena scares the bejezzus out of me. But I'm working on it one little step at a time. It makes me feel better to know there are other writers out there who are like me.

    Thanks for being an inspiration!

  11. Bobbi,
    Thanks so much for your honesty. It really does require a lot of courage but like you said, step by step we can manage it. Congrats on your publishing success!! I'm sure smiling for you:)

  12. Your post is excellent, Laura! Thank you for sharing your honest insights. I really like what you said about Humility and writing for an audience of One.

    Your commenters added some good ones to the list -Patience, Focus, and Prayer. Courage is a big one for me, but I'd like to add Perseverance to the list. Like you, I've been writing what seems all my life and I'll be 48 next month. I just keep plugging away, with the Lord's encouragement.

  13. Carla,
    Thank you for your comments here. Perseverance is HUGE. Without it nothing would be written or published. It's the one thing that kept me going through the years - loving writing so much that I persevered.
    I sensed you'd been writing a long time also. Your blog is terrific! I'd only visited your group blog before (which is great) but didn't realize you had a personal blog:) The design/graphics are so well done:) Wish I was cyber-savvy and a writer also but alas...
    Bless you today!

  14. Laura, I found you!!! I'm so excited. I was one of the shuttle bus attendees at conference if you don't remember.

    Your desk looks awesome and a thorough list for this journey! Perseverence, determination, and patience are tops on my list.

  15. P.S. I wish you had a follow button to click on!

  16. Eileen,
    It's wonderful to meet up with you again - on the van or the blog or otherwise! I hope you're having a great writing week and all is well with you. I so enjoyed coming into Denver with you. You made the ride sweet! Please stay in touch and let me know how you're doing!

  17. Eileen, Let me try to fix that follow button:) Thanks for the reminder!

  18. Eileen, Bless you! I don't think I have any followers - lol - but the gadget's at the bottom of the page now, thanks to you:)

  19. I'm not writing a novel but I am trying to keep a prayer/thought/scripture journal. A big part of writing in a personal journal is being honest. Honest with yourself, honest with God. It's not always an easy thing to do. Honesty truly does hurt sometimes... but I also believe that honesty in writing or journaling can be a freeing experience.

  20. Lisa, I think keeping a journal of prayer/thought/scripture is the most important of all!! I've done that myself at different times and it's wonderful to look back and see how faithful God is. That really builds our faith. He does so much that we don't keep track of! Plus they become a legacy for our children if we save them. Bless you and your busy household today.