Three Questions to Help You with Your Writing Journey

Figuring out the writing journey is not for the fainthearted.

You write stories, hope someone will read them, and then get nervous when they do. It’s a vicious cycle. You want to inspire, entertain, and make a difference with those words, but you’re also gravely aware of what can go wrong.

Rejection letters. Reviews. Rewrites, and for what? 

Why are you doing this? Someone once said if you can stop writing, then do. It’s too hard a road to meander down. If you can toss your ideas into the wind without them blowing back in your face, then toss away. But before you do, ask yourself a few questions.

 

Do you see the mountain top?

You’re not the first writer to wonder if you’re meant to write … or meant to be read by others. Sometimes it seems like no one’s even reading—like it doesn’t really matter. Your words might be read by hundreds or maybe just your mom and three subscribers. With those numbers, it might be hard to feel like the work is worth the return—like the view is worth the hike. But you’re not on this road for the view, are you? What’s at the top of that mountain, anyway? It’s strange up there. The air is thin and you’re laid bare, and your words cease to be your words. Instead, they become little sacrifices offered up, let go, and given away, maybe to return and maybe not. You write the stories, and you let him do the rest. Are you willing to climb the mountain to offer your sacrifice?

Can you hear the difference?

Despite the whole nothing new under the sun thing, what you bring—your story filtered through your experiences and told by your voice is unique and special. It’s not like that guy sitting behind you who just got a three-book deal. It’s you. Not the next person. It’s your story, and it carries with it part of you. Don’t compare that to anyone else. It won’t compare. It can’t. And it shouldn’t. Sure, someone’s probably written about that before, but you haven’t, and maybe in the variation of your voice and word choices, someone will finally see and understand. Are you okay with being different?

Are you willing to work?

Of course, putting it all in God’s hands and embracing your uniqueness may not have quite the impact you’re hoping for, if you don’t know your subject from your verb, learn the difference between there and their, and figure out how to write an exciting sentence without using an exclamation point. Writing requires work. The story may be there. Your idea might be gold, but regardless of how easy it looks to throw those words on a page, really making them shine takes skill, practice, and perseverance. “There’s nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” (Hemingway) Are you up for that challenge?

Write on

If you said yes to those questions, then the next time the rejection letter comes, or you get a bad review, or you start wondering why you should even bother, remember you have purpose. You bring something unique to the world. Complex sentences and the Oxford comma have not undone you. Stay strong, and write on, dear friends. Write on.

 

 

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How to Succeed in Your Marketing– Try Caring

Caring beyond the pageCaring starts when you’re no longer looking at what others can do for you, but rather at what you can do for others.

 

There’s one thing that surpasses platform and marketing and all the publicity a writer can buy. There’s one thing that speaks louder, reaches deeper, and can make more of a difference then a bunch of statistics and a witty tagline.

 

In the publishing world, platform matters.

 

Nowadays, authors have to also be marketers. They have to know how to publicize their stories and thoughts to the masses, and they have to be willing to work above and beyond merely writing the stories and recording the ideas. They need to develop their audience.

 

Marketing your Writing 

 

Marketing professionals guide new writers toward social media to build their platform and increase their sphere. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, and on and on. How many likes? How many follows? How many reblogs? All those numbers work together to give publishers an idea of just how many people out there might want to buy your book. It’s business. And for some authors this business side of things is much harder than putting words together to form a novel.

 

There’s nothing wrong with advertising and marketing. It’s part of the business. A necessary part. But there’s one thing that every writer should keep in mind as he/she works to get the word out about his/her novel or book.

 

It’s caring.

 

Caring with your Writing

 

Caring about the people who read what you write can make more of an impact than hitting the 100 review mark on Amazon or mastering the next social media platform. You see, there’s a danger to only referring to people as readers and numbers. It takes them farther away from being a living, breathing, struggling person and puts them in par with being a means to an end. But when you care—when you take the time to listen to those people who are reading what you write, then a kind of engaging happens that can’t be bought or bottled.

 

It’s relationship.

 

It’s togetherness.

 

Caring I JohnIt’s a selfless kind of interaction that brings someone else’s needs and thoughts into your world and affords you the opportunity to be a part of not only sharing the truth, but hearing it as well.

 

Caring may seem small—maybe even assumed, but it’s something many writers forget along their marketing way. The drive to publication is so competitive that the audience can cease to be that mom struggling to make ends meet who just splurged to buy a book or that teenager longing to find some meaning in his life. It can cease to be those individuals and instead become the faceless reader who will make your numbers look better and give you something to flaunt to the next editor reading your stuff.

 

Fostering Relationship with your Writing

 

How do you not fall prey to the uncaring world of posting just to post and commenting because you’re supposed to? I’m not sure. Maybe it’s different for different people. What an extrovert might do wouldn’t feel right to the introvert. Or maybe it’s all about the heart and your motives. Maybe it comes down to why you’re writing what you’re writing. Have you thought through those things?

 

When we care for people, they move beyond being those wonderful readers who make us special to being fellow pilgrims on the same journey who are special. We need to love them. We may not know all their names or the influence our words may have, but we can always care and pray and seek to produce stories that will be of some use to them on their walk through life.

 

Caring may not raise your numbers and build your platform like a well-planned marketing campaign, but it can elevate the heart and construct something that neither rust nor moth can ever destroy.

 

5 Ways to Care Better

 

  1. Pray for your readers.
  2. Value your work and not your numbers.
  3. Give more on social media than you ask for.
  4. Seek to produce material that will do more than entertain.
  5. Listen

 

How about you? What would you add to the list?