Tuesday, May 10, 2016

12 Tips for Aspiring #Writers




Adam Blumer is the author of Fatal Illusions (Kregel Publications) and The Tenth Plague (Kirkdale Press). A print journalism major in college, he works as a freelance writer and editor after serving in editorial roles for more than twenty years. He lives in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula with his wife, Kim, and his daughters, Laura and Julia.


I was once in your shoes: scared, unsure of myself, full of dreams about being a published novelist. Now that God has opened the door for me, I’d like to pass on some wisdom I’ve learned over the years—often the hard way. Sometimes we have dreams but no true strategy for reaching them. I hope this strategy helps.

First, pray and ask God what He wants to do with your life. If your overriding desire is to write and you show an aptitude in that area, ask God whether He has a future for you as a published novelist. He will confirm His will by granting you publishing credentials, allowing you to win some contests, or opening other publication doors. These are confirmations that you’re heading in the right direction.

But before you get all starry eyed, take a minute to evaluate your motives. You may never be on the New York Times or CBA best-seller list. You need to be okay with that. You may never be rich or even make enough money to write full-time. You need to be okay with that. You may never be a famous author or even be considered well-known or “successful” as an author. You need to be okay with that, too.

Search your heart for why you want to write. If you knew your novels, stories, or articles would never be published, would you still write them? Are you writing for your own glory or because God has lit a fire in your soul you can’t put out?

Keep in mind that being an author is not for the faint of heart. At times, you’ll walk a lonely path littered by rejection letters, misunderstandings, criticisms, and self-doubts. Countless voices (including your own) will tell you your writing isn’t good enough. Don’t listen to those voices. Believe in the ability God has given to you, seek to learn and grow (mostly out of failure), and do the best with the ability God has placed in your hands. No one can do more than that. Then pray, work hard, and leave the rest to God.
Be sure writing is what God wants you to do. If He wants you to do something else, then run from writing as fast as you can. But if you’re certain He wants you to write, take steps to dedicate and commit yourself to that pursuit.
Weed your life of distractions and make writing your primary focus (after God and your family, of course). If you’re multitalented, set other abilities aside for writing. Look at your writing as ministry, as something God has uniquely called you to do for His glory. The written word is a powerful tool you can use for the glory of God—and yes, you can even do powerful things through stories.
If possible, find a location and set aside regular, consistent time in your schedule to write. Be dedicated. You’ll never grow unless you write often. (Think of concert pianists and how many hours they practice every day.)
Be prepared to be misunderstood for your commitment. Friends won’t understand when you say you can’t go to the basketball game because you need to write. Lots of people will view your writing as a hobby and won’t take you seriously. Just keep working hard, be dedicated to the craft, trust God, and don’t mind them. Someday, the Lord willing, those same people will ask you to autograph their copy of your novel.
Finally, no matter how difficult the journey gets and how defeated you feel at times, never ever give up. God placed you on this planet for a reason. He began a good work in you. Be certain He’ll complete it.

Practical Tips

  • Read the books you want to write. Conversely, write the books you want to read. Also read the best writing you can find (not necessarily what sells or is popular).
  • Read and reread your favorite novel. Study how the author portrays his characters, draws his setting, structures the plot, creates conflict, handles language, and builds to a natural and satisfying end.
  • Subscribe to and study Writer’s Digest magazine.
  • Check out the Writer’s Digest library of books and read as much about writing as you can. Study the craft of writing and always be willing to learn and change.
  •  Take a class on writing or a writer’s correspondence course. (Writer’s Digest offers online workshops. By the way, Writer’s Digest isn’t paying me to promote their products and training. WD has helped me tremendously; the folks there will help you too.)
  • Join a writer’s critique group and develop thick skin. You’ll need it. (The ACFW offers some terrific groups.)
  • Network with wannabe authors like you. They may share the same struggles and questions.
  • Be willing to sit at the feet of those who’ve blazed the path you want to tread. Ask them questions. Read their books. Listen to the voice of experience.
  • Attend a writer’s conference (for example, the Write-to-Publish Conference held in Wheaton, Illinois, each summer) and talk to publishers, literary agents, and established authors. Humbly learn as much about Christian publishing as you can.
  • Study the books in the CBD catalog. Become familiar with the market you want to write for. By all means, become aware of what types of books publishers are buying, but always write from the heart. In other words, don’t just write what “sells.”
  • Start small with a short story or an inspirational article. Submit it to a magazine for publication. Be prepared to wait a while for a reply; the wheels of publishing can turn slowly. If you receive a rejection letter, take another look at your work and see if you can do something better. Then send the piece somewhere else. Repeat the process.
  • Never, ever give up. You may so close to reaching your goal and not even realize it. 
Fatal Illusions

Four women ... missing. All it took was rope and his bare hands. Now the Thayer family has come to the north woods. Will any of them escape alive? 



Haydon Owens wants to be the next Houdini. He has been practicing his craft and has already made four women disappear. Now the Thayer family has come to the north woods of Newberry, Michigan, looking for refuge, a peaceful sanctuary from a shattered past. But they are not alone. Little do they know that they are about to become part of Haydon's next act. Who will escape alive? 



An amateur magician, an unassuming family . . . a fatal illusion

2 comments:

Diane Heeney said...

Very good. Practical and honest. Thanks!

Adam Blumer said...

Thanks, Diane!