Wednesday, May 1, 2013

STAYING IN THE GAME


 
DiAnn Mills is an award winning writer who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She currently has more than fifty-five books published.
 
Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists and have won placements through the American Christian Fiction Writer’s Carol Awards and Inspirational Reader’s Choice awards. DiAnn won the Christy Award in 2010 and 2011.
 
DiAnn is a founding board member for American Christian Fiction Writers and a member of Inspirational Writers Alive, Romance Writers of America, and Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country. DiAnn is also the Craftsman mentor for the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild.
 
She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas. Website: www.diannmills.com

 
STAYING IN THE GAME
 
 
 
I used to be a chicken. Now I write suspense.

In 1996, my husband said to me, “Stop telling me someday you’re going to write a book. Do it now. Quit your job. I give you one year to get anything published.”

So I did. With a great deal of attitude. I wrote devotions, articles, a short story, and a historical novel. All were published, and I never went back to my old job. In 1998, my novel released. Oh, the excitement of tearing into the box of author copies. The cover ... the book’s name ... my name. A dream come true. The thrill never ends. And it shouldn’t.

That was 57 books ago. But don’t think it’s been easy. Every book is a little tougher to write. The characterization must be deeper. The plot’s twists and turns unexpected. The setting more intense. The dialogue and emotion like a sword fight.  But if writing were easy, everyone would have a bestseller. We writers are in a constant state of learning the craft.

If you’ll think back to the time when writing began as a dream, the urge and passion to communicate through the written word became so powerful that you didn’t know what to do with it.

          It was power.

          It was passion.

          It was alive.

          It was undeniable.

 A realization began to grow deep inside you that this new-found urgency came from outside the realm of your own being. Writing had become a calling, and a ministry.

Now, with the understanding that God has purposed you to write, I imagine He didn’t include a time table when you’d be published. If He did, please forward me that email.

I can also safely say the techniques and tools of the craft weren’t immediately drop-shipped into your brain. If so, I want that email too.

Writing is about hard work and sacrifices.

Our commitment to our craft may mean getting up at 4:00 a.m. to write, or giving up our coffee breaks, or bringing lunch from home and writing during the lunch hour, or staying up after everyone else is in bed, or giving up a Saturday afternoon nap. When we sacrifice money for conferences or purchase how-to books, do we ever wonder if it’s worth it? But sacrificing for our craft does not mean ignoring our families or not providing for those we love. If a writer is selfish and neglects his/her responsibilities, the sacrifice is worth nothing. Establish your priorities in a way that honors your God.

Coretta Scott King said, “I learned that when you are willing to make sacrifices for a great cause, you will never be alone.”

What is holding you back from your goals? Be courageous and list that shackle in the comments below with your email address. You’ll be entered into a drawing for a personalized copy of THE SURVIOR.  The winner will have five days to respond then I’ll select another one.
 
 
 

34 comments:

  1. DiAnn, if three comments from me show up, blame Blogger--this is my third try.

    Thanks for advice that comes from living it, not just saying it, and for the support and mentoring you've extended to countless writers. You're appreciated.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like the idea that the older we get the more we have to write about. :)

      Delete
  2. I think the biggest thing is the feeling that it will not be good enough. I am very much a perfectionist, and am very interested in knitting and quilting. I have no problem pulling out my knitting if I am not happy with it. After all, if I knit the same yarn twice, it saves me from buying new yarn...lol. However, I am almost afraid to start quilting, as that is new to me. I am a seamstress, have been sewing since I was 12 years old. My garments were always done to the best of my ability. Since this is a new skill, and a rather expensive one to learn, I almost feel the $$ could be better spent elsewhere.
    Thanks for the encouragement to go out and do it!

    Betti
    bettimace(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We're all afraid to use our talents and gifts, but we have to be bigger than those doubts!

      Delete
  3. This is cool to read. I have a goal of running a 5K, and I've always thought I could never accomplish it so I never tried. I finally gave up that fear of not being able to accomplish it, and I literally just got back from a 4k run this morning - getting close! Ya it means not giving in when I have a sweet tooth craving all the time so I can make this goal, but I know it'll be totally worth it!

    Amber
    argrohs@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  4. Fear of failure & fear of being laughed at for being older to try college again!!Shelia
    sheliarha64@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I went back to school at 45! You can do it!

      Delete
  5. I think that the biggest shackle holding me back from doing some things in my heart is just the fear of failing. I know the truth is that if you fail, at least you tried and then you have an opportunity to learn from it and try again with a different "recipe" tweaked from the failure. However, fear can end up immobilizing you until you choose to have faith stronger than that fear and resist it.

    Enjoyed your blog and look forward to reading the book!

    Cindy
    cindykvfc at yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Always, always better to try and fail than never to attempt something at all.

      Delete
  6. My goal is to blog regularly until I get to about 100 articles that provide encouraging words and then publish it as a book. What is keeping me from moving forward is inspiration. I have 19 done and they flowed from my heart. I do not want to write from my head. The ones I have written have had favorable response and they encourage me, but I feel I am waiting on God to "give me" the next one. Is there a way to "turn on the flow?" I love doing it so much! Any advice welcome. And I would love to win your book while I am waiting! Thanks for sharing your heart.
    Sharon
    sharybary@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think God wants you to trust Him for every word. I do that every time I turn on the computer.

      Delete
  7. Fear of the judgement of others! While I know that the only important opinion is the one of Jesus and His plan for me is perfect, it's sometimes a struggle to pursue a path that receives disdain or disapproval from others, especially if that disapproval stems from the path not being "prestigious" or "renowned" enough (in a world of competition and recognition). I trust though that I am made whole in His love, and my work will be rewarded in the future, if not in this life!

    Love your books and your inspirational pursuit of your purpose!

    Michelle
    noveltwist@bellsouth.net

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I understand how you feel! We simply have to push aside others' opinions and realize we're working for an audience of One.

      Delete
  8. Mine is just a pure sense of exhaustion from taking care of my three special needs children and meeting all of their needs, which I really cannot give up right now. There are things that I want to do, but at this time in my life, I have to take care of my children. cassandra{dot}sines@gmail{dot}com.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. God's given you a beautiful and important nurturing job. The time will come for other things. Be blessed!

      Delete
  9. I would love a chance to win your book. Thank you for this opportunity.

    clSwalwell@gmail.com

    In Him,

    Cheri :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. I enjoyed your comments, especially learning that each book is harder than the one before. Sure wish I could quit the day job and write full-time. That had to be a bit scary and challenging. Currently reading "Pursuit of Justice." I like that most of your books are set in locales I've visited. It helps me picture the scenery better.

    Wes
    campruston@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your comments! The book I'm writing now is the absolute hardest ever!

      Delete
  11. I love reading your books. Thanks for the chance to win.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I forgot to include my g-mail.
    michyellowrose@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  13. I've let fear of failure and probably, deep down, the fear of what people think, prevent me from doing what I'd like to do. God is working on me though! Trying to overcome fear with faith in Him and not focus on my weaknesses. Playing for a wedding next weekend--a test of faith for me!
    Thanks for the encouragement!
    Karen R
    kjrochon40@msn.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your fears are not alone. I pray God breaks through those doubts and help your purpose in Him.

      Delete
  14. I love reading about how your husband encouraged you to write and publish!
    What a good story...I could feel the thrill of opening that box of author copies! One of my favorite parts of book reviewing is connecting with authors. I love meeting the people behind my friends.... :-)

    I have a lot of dreams. I want to work in a field that will let me help promote and discover new great books, and I would love to write a book myself.

    "What is holding me back?" Nothing. I have it on good authority that all things are possible with God. :-) Your story reminds me of this.

    Faith mickeydog(AT)myfairpoint(DOT)net

    ReplyDelete
  15. DiAnn, thank you so much for the advice, especially since you understand the hard work and teachable spirit. And the advice about sacrificing without neglecting the people that matter the most--family--is deeply appreciated.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Procrastination is probably my biggest problem. I'll tell you the rest later. :)

    Pen
    pmettert@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  17. DiAnn, I enjoyed reading your message today. I am a fledgling writer and am obsessed with learning and reading everything I can get my hands on. I appreciated your words because I'm finding the commitment to be huge, and it is wonderful to know that it is possible to take this on without it choking out our first and greatest responsibilities.

    I'd love to read your book.
    kimkendall1@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  18. DiAnn your message today was wonderful. It reminded me that others go through some of the same things I do and yet we persevere. It's also nice to get a bit more insight into a favored author's world. Thank you.

    I look forward to your new book.

    Cyn
    clb836@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  19. Mine would have to be fear of failure and of others not liking my work. I'm slowly overcoming them, but it's a long process. :)

    writer_weaver at yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  20. I think the biggest thing holding me back is time. That and the fact that it might not be as good as I imagine it to be. I have a story in my head that I want to write but I need to find time to do it. :)

    tanyaterpstra23@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  21. Thank you for your heart-felt comments. I hope all of your are encouraged to reach for your dreams.
    Our winner in the drawing is Kim Kendall! Congratulations!

    ReplyDelete