Many years ago, make that back in the early 1980s, I started taking my writing seriously after having a small article published in The Upper Room, a United Methodist devotional magazine. One of the early lessons I learned then was this: many folks either shrugged at my desire to become a writer, or thought I was lazy when I decided to launch out on my own and try my hand at it full-time. Fortunately, some of my early writing teachers had taught me to expect this reaction. Had it not been for their warnings, I might have become discouraged and quit. Writing, I discovered very quickly, is a lonely and hard business.
On the other hand, it had become such a passion that I gave up certain activities in order to pursue it. My biggest activity I gave up was my Saturday golf outings with friends. They didn’t understand. No one did. But that’s all right. The Lord has enabled me through all these years to “roll with the punches.”
I think one reason why the average person doesn’t understand the work involved is because when they see it in print, good writing looks easy. Oh, but quite the opposite is true. The easier a published work is to read, the harder its author worked. We writers can’t write well if we don’t work hard.
Don’t let naysayers discourage you from your calling. Our God is good, and He will bring your literary dreams to pass if you continue to believe Him and persist toward your goal.
With today’s technology, it’s become easier for wannabe writers to see their work published. Indeed, thousands of books are out there clamoring for readers’ attention. The ease with which publication has become, though, presents its own issues for self-published authors.
We must understand that professional writing requires more of us than just sitting down at our laptops, whipping out a manuscript, and then self-publishing it. It goes well beyond that first draft, second draft, even third draft. It takes long hours of hard work and revision till we see polished prose.
Just as we can’t repair a car if we don’t understand how its engine works, so we can’t engage in effective revision if we don’t understand what makes good writing work. Effective writing entails numerous elements, too many to discuss in one blog. Each element requires constant practice. For serious authors, writing is a daily discipline. Professional writers don’t wait for the inspiration bug to hit them. Professional writers…write!
Do we want our self-published books to stand out among all the other indie books on the market? Do we want to be taken seriously as authors? Do we want to sell our books? If so, we must approach our craft the same way all serious writers approach it— through disciplined study, practice, and writing every day.
In future posts I’ll discuss different writing techniques and other literary issues that will help us all write more professionally. For most folks, writing at this level doesn’t happen overnight. It didn’t with me. Only after working at my craft for six years did I begin selling my manuscripts on a consistent basis.
Let me encourage you, then—work hard, study the craft, and write every day.
Till next time, I’ll see y’all at the Cove.