7 Tips to Encourage Writers
Guest Post By Kelly Combs
- If you love to write, but aren’t called to seek publication, don’t. Just enjoy writing! When you write, well meaning friends and family will often say, “Wow, that was great! You should publish it!” Publication is an arduous process that includes countless rejections. It isn’t for the faint of heart. Start a blog, where your fans can follow you, but don’t be pressured into publication, unless that is your calling. If you enjoy writing just for the sake of writing, write on!
- If you seek publication, and are published, keep submitting! Publication is a validation of your writing. When you find someone who likes your writing style, keep submitting to them, as well as to other venues. When I was published by Vista, a take home paper of Wesleyan Publications, I discovered that Wesleyan Publications also produced a monthly devotional book. After contacting them, I secured a contract for a seven devotional deal. If you find someone who likes your writing – write on!
- Just because it’s important to you, doesn’t mean it’s important to your reader. Early in my writing career I submitted a piece that was 1,200 words. The publisher loved it, but it was too long. They suggested I cut it in half and resubmit it. I was devastated. What they didn’t know was that I had already cut the piece in ½ from my original draft. Could I cut it again? Because it was my personal testimony, I found every word important. A dear friend gave me great advice. Just because it’s important to me, doesn’t mean it’s important to my reader. That gave me permission to cut things that I felt were important, but that didn’t change the integrity of the story. From that I learned to write on…but don’t write on and on and on.
- Every acceptance is not an acceptance. My biggest acceptance to date had arrived. New York Times Best Selling author Cecil Murphey had accepted my submission for his latest book, Christmas Miracles. I signed the contract and waited expectantly for the book to come out. Then came a letter, “We regret to inform you….” The publisher deemed the book too long and cut six stories from it, with my story being one of them. I was devastated but learned a valuable lesson. Every acceptance is not an acceptance. Until you hold the book in your hand, you have a chance to be cut. Sometimes you write on, but the publisher may write you off.
- Every rejection is not a rejection. Another rejection came in the mail. That was it. I couldn’t keep writing anymore. The sting was too fresh. I’d take a break from publication. Then I got an email with a contract attached. A contract for a piece that I still had the rejection letter from. What had happened? I received the rejection letter, and now I received a contract? I don’t know what happened, but that piece entitled, “Just do it!” was published, and with it the encouragement for me to write on!
- Writing is work, even if you love it. As a Christian I believe that writing is my ministry. Ephesians 2:10 states, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” I am doing the good works God set out for me to do, but make no mistake about it, it is work! I don’t have a magic God wand that I wave over my printer and it spits out pieces for publication. Just because God called me to write, doesn’t mean it isn’t work. It is work, but I write on.
- It doesn’t matter how many writing successes you have, if you are failing your family. Writing is my calling. But it isn’t my first calling. First I am a wife and a mom to 2 precious children. If I put my writing, or anything before them, I am dishonoring them and God. Sometimes I say no to writing opportunities, to meet the needs of my family first. I am to seek first the kingdom of God, and then my family, and then all other things shall be added. I write on, but sometimes I pause my writing to honor my family. And then, my friends, my life is right on!
Kelly Combs is a writer and speaker, but also a wife and mom. You can find her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/chattykelly, on Twitter at www.twitter.com/kellycombs, on the internet at www.kellycombs.com, or you may read her blog at www.chattykelly.com.
Kelly has been published in P31 Woman, Vista Magazine, Light from the Word, Guideposts and Gary Chapman’s Love is a Verb devotional, to name a few. She continues to write on.