Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Measure of Success

Dear Aspiring Writer,

Do you feel that unless you are published you are not successful as a writer? That if you go through life without seeing your work in paperback or electronic format, that you failed? Is the measure of success a contract with a publishing company?

Let me encourage you. You are successful as a writer if you...

1. Finish a manuscript.
2. Have the desire to grow and hone your writing skills.
3. Keep writing the stories in your heart despite rejections.
4. Maintain a humble spirit.
5. Reject the temptation to be lifted up with pride.
6. Write with the idea in mind that you are leaving a legacy to your children, grandchildren and future generations.
7. Write because talent is a gift from God that you cannot cast aside.
8. Have goals in mind that move your work forward.
9. Write because you love it.
10. Write because you are not seeking fame and fortune, but you are persistent to continue submitting your work even if it will take years before you land your first contract. It is worth the wait.

What will make you feel successful as a writer? What are your goals?

Friday, February 25, 2011


It is one of those things that begin at the beginning. At first, a writer may not realize it until a manuscript is returned with a rejection. Proper editing is essential for success.

For many new writers the idea of eliminating a single line of their book is out of the question. You dare not touch a single word. This is their 'baby'. The new writer has discovered the joy of creating a story, and the words have to stay. Weren't they what flowed out of them in the first place?

Do not allow 'Editphobia' to get a foot in the door. Lock it out before it ever can take hold. It's an enemy, a saboteur.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Confidence Builder

Write the first sentence. Hook the reader. Make them ask for more.

Write the last sentence. Cause the reader to sigh with satisfaction.

Share a first sentence that you either wrote, or one that is a favorite.

My first sentence from my novel Surrender the Wind:
On a cool autumn twilight, Seth Braxton rode his horse through a grove of dark-green hemlocks in a primeval Virginia forest distressed he might not make it to Yorktown in time.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Inspiration and Faith

Write the story you are inspired to write.

Then believe the hands that are meant to find it, will.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Update on Writing a Series

It is hard to believe, but it is almost March. A year ago I signed the contracts for three novels in a series and thought how faraway the release dates were. My then editor encouraged me by saying time will fly. It's that the truth?

Book 1, is in the capable hands of my editor, Ramona Richards. I expect soon I will receive the first round of edits. Several weeks ago she sent me a questionnaire for the book cover. So that is underway, as well as some of the marketing I will need to do.

I am putting the list of influencers together. These are mostly bloggers who have promised if they like the book they will feature it on their blogs. And when I do receive the approved book cover, I will have postcards made through Vista Print to mail and give away. By this time next year we will be getting ready for the release of Before the Scarlet Dawn.

As of February 20, I am 62,000 words into the manuscript for book 2, Beside Two Rivers. I am now at a critical point in the story, and writing has taken on a more intricate turn. When you reach this juncture in your story, it must be writing with as much precision as possible. Notice I did not say perfection. At this point secrets are being revealed, dangers are rearing, and the characters challenged.

One of the challenges of writing a book series where you carry forward the characters, is to be sure that what was in book 1 is accurate in book 2, then in book 3. For example, if one of your characters in book 1 is blind in one eye, be sure he is blind in the same eye in book 2 or 3.

I wish you all the best in your writing endeavors. In the comments, please let the readers of InSpire know how you are doing in your writing journey. What are you working on?

Write, Think, Commit

Write every day --- even if it is a trickle.

Think about your story every day --- with a notebook on hand.

Commit your work every day to the Lord who gave it to you.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Breaking out of Writers Block

When you have Writer's Block --- pick up a pen and a notebook and write.

Don't stop to read what you've written or to edit. Just write something. It will help to unblock you. Or as I like to think of it --- push the pause button free.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Your Voice

There is no one else in the entire world now, in the past or future, that has your voice.

It is a gift from God.

Use it to inspire, heal, and bring joy.

Monday, February 14, 2011


Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson ~

Are you enthusiastic about the book you are writing?

Enthusiasm begins with motivation and a love for the craft. What do you do to stay motivated and pick yourself up during those times of discouragement?

It could be months or years before you get an offer for a book contract. What will you do to stay the course and not give up?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader.

Robert Frost

What makes you cry when you write? How emotionally involved do you become in your story?
What do you write that would make your readers cry?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Constructive Guidance

My first editor at Abingdon Press told me, she would polish my manuscript to a high sheen. Do not be afraid of an editor's pen.

If you are not yet published, listen to constructive critiques. A constructive critique will give you guidance on how to make your story better in content, narrative, dialogue, etc. Don't shoot me, but if all you get in a critique is don't use 'was', 'ing', or 'ly' ever, or 'you broke a rule', you are being critiqued by inexperienced writers.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

A Teachable Spirit

Have a teachable spirit and the willingness to listen to an editor or an established author. If you think not one jot or tittle of your work should be touched, you will fall short in your efforts to improve your writing and to be published.

Passion for Writing

To keep the passion alive for writing, try variety. Listen to inspiring music. I prefer classical and movie soundtracks. Take your laptop outside on a warm day, or move to a different area in the house. If you don't have a laptop, write by hand in a notebook away from your computer. Don't answer the phone, unless the caller id screen tells you it may be important.