Wednesday, July 3, 2013

WHAT'S STOPPING YOU?


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.

www.facebook.com/diannmills
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WHAT'S STOPPING YOU?

Every writer has a story. Some of the behind-the-scenes events strike a gallant pose of purpose and education and inspiration, while others are mediocre in the laborious uphill climb to the city on the hill called Publishedville.

We hear the excuses: If I had majored in creative writing in college and had earned a MA or PhD that elevated me to best-seller potential, or if I had written for a prominent newspaper or magazine, or if I had been a journalist during the Gulf War, then I could see a prestigious journey toward novel publication. But that’s not how God mapped my journey.

I wrote my first book in second grade. The story was a western, and every chapter ended with the hero riding off in the west. The story filled a Big Chief writing pad, and all my little friends assured me it would be a success. I also wrote scads of poetry that I hid. Actually the older I became, the more I hid my stories and poetry.

Many years later, I still struggled with wanting to write a book, but I didn’t have the self-confidence (guts) to begin. I’d sensed a calling for years, and even realized that God wanted me to write fiction. I spent hours conjuring up stories in my head. How sad to hold onto a dream, know it is from God, and yet have too many fears and doubts to take a leap of faith.

One day, my husband said, “Stop telling me that someday you’re going to write a book. Just do it! Quit your job and see what you can do. I give you one year.” I’ve never been one who could turn my back on a challenge. My personality defies anyone who tells me I can’t do something. So I took him up on his dare and began gathering the tools needed to learn the art of writing. This was my new full-time job. I read the books about the craft, underlining those things that I wanted to emulate and remember. I read novels by authors I admired and respected in the genre in which I wanted to write. I joined writing groups and attended writing conferences. I wrote every day—whether I felt like it or not. I prayed for guidance, wisdom, and to overcome my fears. Note the number of “I’s” in this list. That’s because I had to be the one to do the work with an understanding that God would work through me. I had to be the one willing to pay the price, and I would be the one who, through the help of God, would succeed.

Do you understand that determination is a required characteristic?

In the first year, I sold magazine articles, short stories, and devotions while working on my first novel: a historical romance. Two years after the “challenge,” the historical novel was released by Barbour Publishing for their Heartsong Presents line. And I didn’t go back to my old job. Now I write romantic suspense.

At times, I attempt to see a pattern of publication, but my rocky climb hasn’t been a step-by-step career ladder. Instead, it’s a constant striving to improve skills and pass on new techniques to serious writers.

This is what I want to leave you. All the stories have been written. It’s up to the writer to develop the craft and shape the story into something beautiful and lasting. On your journey, remember how you felt when you were struggling and needed answers and guidance. Encourage others and understand it’s all about glorifying God with our gifts and talents.

I challenge you not to give up. By commenting on your determination, you’ll be entered in a random drawing for my new nonfiction book The Dance of Character and Plot.


CHRISTY AWARD WINNER

THE CHASE - Zondervan - March 2012
THE SURVIVOR - Zondervan - March 2013
THE DANCE OF CHARACTER AND PLOT - June 2013

3 comments:

  1. Hi DiAnn! Thanks for this article. It's very encouraging at precisely the right moment. I'm get nervous about sending my manuscript to an agent by the end of summer, and you reminded me to just find the guts and go for it. I'm reminded, also, of what Matt Damon's character on We Bought A Zoo told his son: All it takes is 20 seconds of courage. (paraphrased)

    Blessings!
    Andrea

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    Replies
    1. Andrea, please respond to me at diann@diannmills.com so I can arrange your copy of The Dance of Character and Plot! Thanks

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  2. Andrea, Congratulations on your moving toward your goal! Yes - all it takes is 20 seconds of courage.

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