This week's question was asked by Mary Gessner. Mary's won a copy of Dee Henderson's book, UNDETECTED! Watch for your chance every Monday to ask us a question. You might be our next winner!
My question: What challenges or obstacles (i.e. self doubt, naysayers, finances, time, other obligations...), if any, did you have to overcome to become published, and how did you overcome? What one piece of encouragement or advice would you give to those of us looking to be published (...one day, LORD willing)?
Good question, Mary. Being published certainly requires a thick skin, which is a skill I'm still working on. It's a frightening sometimes to put a book out there and know that you're going to get some unkind reviews which are extremely public. That kind of fear can dissuade a writer from trying to get published. The remedy for me is I remind myself that hopefully there is someone out there touched or mentored by my book and that's what God wants. My words won't reach everyone and that's okay. I also struggle with the amount of promotion that I am expected to do to keep writing professionally. I tell myself that I will do whatever fits into my life, keeping my family first because that's the most precious blessing I've been given. If that means I'm never a USA bestseller, so be it. So stick to it, Mary. Finish your book, then write the next one. God will take that journey in the direction He wants it to go. Hugs! Dana Mentink
Years ago a writing friend of mine gave me the best advice I’ve ever gotten. It was simple yet profound. Never give up. If you’re certain you’re in God’s will, go for it. Pray, ask for His direction, surrender yourself to Him. Remember that following your own plan can lead to failure. Seek His plan. The number one thing I’ve observed that stopped talented writers from moving forward is discouragement. Discouragement can quickly turn into self-pity if allowed to fester. If God has called you to write, it’s naïve to think the enemy won’t try to stop you. If I listed all the disappointments I’ve had in this journey, you’d wonder why in the world I keep going. The answer is this: I know I’m called to write. Until God says stop, no matter what happens, I intend to keep going. Nancy Mehl
I think I'm closer to Mary's situation than I am to the rest of the multi-published Sisters, but I can answer this. The obstacle I had to overcome was pride. God reminded me this year of my purpose in writing. My pride was resistant to anything except a traditional contract for my novels. Though I'd been traditionally published with collaborations, that wasn't enough. The Lord impressed upon me to release that to Him and keep following. That's why I've started indie-publishing my novella series.
My encouragement is for aspiring authors to cheer for every positive that comes. Requests for guest posts, contest wins, book completions. Connect with other writers and cheer them on as well. Staying positive on this long road is key to continuing the journey. Marji Laine
I started working toward publication in 2001 which meant attending conferences and learning to craft great content, and networking--and yes, I had to listen to the hard critiques and take what I could. I had to trust God that I could attend the conference when money was tight, and I had to home school and raise my four children and still find time to write, but I believed that God called me. I have a burning desire to write and am so driven, that I worked through all the obstacles. I am still working through them--I don't think that ever ends. For me the most important thing you can do for your writing is to attend a conference where you learn and meet other writers who encourage you, and you meet editors and agents. Other writers are an important part of the process, and networking is as important to your writing as the actual writing. Elizabeth Goddard
I thought I had it made when Barbour offered me a contract in 2007. How wrong I was. Before the third book could be published, the line closed. Then, I wrote historicals for Harlequin's Heartsong Presents. Guess what...the line closed :) It's a good thing I decided before that to embrace being a hybrid. Once I became a full time writer, I put every story that needed a home in ebook form and was able to quit my day job in 2013. What I had to overcome? Thinking writing was going to be easy! I now own a small press and work six days a week. But, I wouldn't go back to the day job for anything. Cynthia Hickey
There's a tendency when you've first written something to say to yourself, "It's all been done before." Then I saw a production of a Broadway show, "Sunday in the Park with George," about the grandson of the artist, George Seurat. When the discouraged young man says, "It's no good. I'm a failure! It's all been done before," his grandmother says to him, "Yes, my darling, but not by YOU." I love that. You have a new and unique perspective to bring to your work, so be encouraged. E.E. Kennedy