Wednesday, January 25, 2012

When Listening to Others' Advice, Don't Forget the Fun

Tricia Goyer is an acclaimed and prolific writer, publishing hundreds of articles in national magazines including Thriving Family and MomSense while authoring more than thirty-one fiction and nonfiction books combined. Among those are 3:16 Teen Edition with Max Lucado and the American Christian Fiction Writers’ Book of the Year Award winners Night Song and Dawn of a Thousand Nights. She has also written books on marriage and parenting and contributed notes to the Women of Faith Study Bible. Tricia hosts a weekly radio program Living Inspired and lives with her husband and children in Arkansas. You can find out more about Tricia at or

NR: Tricia will give away 2 books, so leave a comment to be entered in the drawing. Continental U.S. only, please.

When Listening to Others' Advice, Don't Forget the Fun

Often when people find out you want to be a novelist they give you the following advice:

Don't quit your day job.
Don't be disappointed by rejection, because it will happen.
Prepare for a long journey to publication.
Expect hurdles along the way.

Good advice, except that if you focus on all the warnings you're going to lose part of the fun of the process.

And why do you want to follow this dream if you aren't going to have any fun?

I remember going to my second Mt. Hermon Writer's Conference in 1995. I'd submitted a novel I'd JUST started working on and I had a big worry. What IF more than one publisher wanted it? How would I choose!! Oh my!

I laugh now because I was such a newbie. I had nothing publishable to offer, and I didn't realize that...but writing to me was fun. In the last 17 years I still have the same joy. Yes, writing is work but everyday I want to pinch myself. I really get to write books for people from around the world to read??? How cool is that!

So, as for that advice. Let's turn it on it's head.

Don't quit your day job. Of course you can't quit your full-time work (with full-time pay) and expect that you can support yourself with your writing income right off the bat.

But…treat your writing as if you will be doing it as a career for the next 20, 30, 40 years. Focus on what you enjoy doing the most—historical, contemporary, young adult, sci-fi. Don't let others tell you what you should write. Write what a book you'd love to read, and make a 5-year plan of where you want to go. Give yourself performance reviews and bonuses for a job well done. Build relationships with others in the business.

Don't be disappointed by rejection, because it will happen. Yes, rejection will happen but don't feel you have to shrug it off right away. Give yourself time to pout. Rejection hurts because writing matters.

I remember the day after my first novel went to committee and I received a “no.” I fed my children cereal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and I spent the whole day moping on the couch. I used a whole box of Kleenex on my tears, but you know what? The next day I got up, squared my shoulders and got back to work. That novel never did get published...but the next proposal that went to committee got a “yes.” And you can bet I celebrated then!

Prepare for a long journey to publication. The truth is that it takes an average of ten years for someone to start writing fiction until they have a novel accepted and published. For me it was eight years—pretty close! How did I not get discouraged and give up? Instead of focusing my getting a novel published, I worked on other things. I wrote articles. I did some word-for-hire projects. I even wrote study notes for a Bible. This wasn't the “publishing” I was dreaming of, but I learned some good skills along the way. I also build some great relationships that continue today!

Expect hurdles along the way. There are always bumps in the road. Problems we don't expect. Family situations that keep us away from the computer. Health problems that throw us for a loop. But on every journey there are unexpected surprises. Along the way to having your novel published you'll meet amazing people. You'll discover things about yourself you never knew. You'll grow closer to God as you lean on Him. The hurdles will come, but so will the triumphs and joys. Look forward to these, too.

(And finally, above all, do take at least a few minutes to worry IF more than one publisher wants to buy your work. It could happen...and it's a fun way to brighten your day!)

Chasing Mona Lisa

One enigmatic smile. Two passionate protectors. And a relentlessly ticking clock.

August 1944. Paris is on the cusp of liberation. As the soldiers of the Third Reich flee the Allied advance, they ravage the country and steal countless pieces of irreplaceable art. In fact, Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring will stop at nothing to claim the most valuable one of all--the Mona Lisa--as a postwar bargaining chip.

But the woman with the mysterious smile has some very determined protectors. Can Swiss OSS agents Gabi Mueller and Eric Hofstadler rescue Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece before it falls into German hands?

With nonstop action and intrigue, Chasing Mona Lisa is sure to get your adrenaline pumping as you join the chase to save the most famous painting in the world. From war-ravaged Paris to a posh Swiss chateau, the race is on--and the runners are playing for keeps.


Abigail K. said...

Thanks, Tricia, for reminding me of the multipronged approach. I've heard all those warnings before, and your take on them made me feel understood and encouraged. In the midst of studying the craft, learning about the industry, and remaining realistic about success, I want to keep the joy alive. A love of words, and love for the one who gave us words, is what compelled me to start writing in the first place. I will definitely check out your books!

sherrindaketch said...

Yes, those warnings shout loud and clear, along with all the rules and no-no's in writing. There's been alot of talk lately about rules producing cookie-cutter books and taking the fun out of writing.

Your new book looks intriguing! Blessings on it's release and run!

Cindy W. said...

Thank you for such a great post Tricia. It's always great to have reminders, especially form someone who has been there and done that!

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.


Gina Holmes said...

Wonderful advice, Tricia. We are lucky indeed!

Tara Bentley said...

Wonderful inspiration. I've just starting out on this journey... and I've dared to speak those words "I want to be a writer" to just a few people. It can be scary to even open that door with family and friends. I appreciate your willing to share your own experiences!

Ane Mulligan said...

Excellent advice, Tricia! Especially "prepare for a long journey." And once your work reaches a publishable level, you have to factor God into the timing. I firmly believe He has the right time and place for each of us. We have to keep seeking and knocking, but rest in Him for the time and place. :)

Paula Mowery said...

"You'll discover things about yourself that you never knew." My husband is a pastor. He has always said that he has to deal with the subjects of his sermons before he ever stands to preach them. I think this is true of my writing. God uses the themes in my stories to teach me before I share it with others hoping they will be reached as well.
Tricia, thanks for sharing your heart here and through your books.

Henry McLaughlin said...

Thanks for a wonderful post, Tricia. I'm particularly touched by "Don't Quit Your Day Job." I'm blessed that God has opened the door for me to write full time but even before that He impressed on me to treat my writing as a profession, a career; to approach like it is my primary day job and will be for years. We're to be as professional and as diligent in our writing as we are in our day jobs.
Thanks again.

KC Frantzen and May the K9 Spy said...


This is GREAT advice! Remember the FUN!
As writers, we tend to walk alone most of the time, so wonderful to have cheerleaders in the wings.

Thank you! May the Lord continue to bless your journey!

Theresa said...

How refreshing to hear upbuilding advice for writers. Too often, writer feedback works to crush hope and the writer must struggle against that negative force.

Thank you, for lifting me up and brightening my day.

Consultoria RH said...

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Jenni said...

Sometimes we writers just need to look at the bright side! :D Good reminder. :D

Carrie Turansky said...

Thanks for this great was so encouraging! Yes, there will be times of discouragement, but also times of blessing and fun, especially the friendships you make along the way. I was great to hear your thoughts on this, Trisha. : )

Tricia Goyer said...

Yes, keep the joy alive!! That IS what will keep you strong for the long haul!

Tricia Goyer said...

Glad Chasing Mona Lisa sounds intriguing! Let me know if you get a chance to read it :)

Tricia Goyer said...

Cindy, I remember the long road to publication ... but YOU CAN DO IT!

Tricia Goyer said...

Thank you, Gina!

Tricia Goyer said...

Tara, now that I know I'm going to keep track of you. You go girl!

Tricia Goyer said...

Absolutely Ane! I get rejections and acceptances and trust God closes and opens doors. That is what brings peace!

Tricia Goyer said...

Sometimes I don't like that part of the process, lol, but my novels are stronger when I share the pain. Writing can put that transformation to good use!

Tricia Goyer said...

Yes, Henry, it makes a difference, doesn't it?!

Tricia Goyer said...

Thank you for your blessings! Yes, make it FUN ... it'll keep you going!

Tricia Goyer said...

You're welcome Theresa. I remember those who encouraged me. It DOES make a difference!

Tricia Goyer said...

Fico feliz que você gosta minhas recomendações! Que Deus abençoe a sua escrita!

Tricia Goyer said...

Thank you Jenni! :)

Tricia Goyer said...

You're right. The friendships are one of the best parts! Hugs, Tricia

Missy Millspaugh said...

Tricia, this is what I've needed. I have a book less than 5 chapters from completion that I haven't picked up in months! (FEAR!!) I have at least 8 ideas on paper and dozens rolling around in my head, and a 13 year old that thinks Mom is going to have a book to movie deal next week!

But reality is what it is and it's great to be reminded, to just have a good time with it.