As a writer, you should be voraciously gleaning advice from all the experienced authors you can find. They are a perfect resource as you embark, or continue, on this writing journey. The book of Proverbs tells us that without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed. (Proverbs 15:22)
The internet is full of writing advice, so we’ve curated some of our favorite advice for authors, from authors:
1. Listen for the ping
Christian author Margaret Feinberg tells us to slow down and tune in:
Long before I wrote [The Sacred Echo] or developed the title phrase, I discovered the importance of listening for what I called, “the ping.” You hear the ping whenever you encounter the same decibel of an idea or concept in multiple situations.
Let me give you an example. I’ve been journeying with a friend enduring a painful divorce marked by betrayal. She decided to change her name—not just return to her maiden name but change her first name, too. Earlier this week she shared the meaning of her new name and how healing it has been for her.
This morning I spent time with another friend who does rescues Bichons. She explained that whenever they adopt a new dog they change the dog’s name. Why? Because an abused dog will often connect their abuse with their name. A new name helps the dog with a fresh start. I thought of my friend walking through the divorce.
Then, Revelation 2:17 came to mind:
“To the one who is victorious, I will give… that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it.”
The power of a new name.
I’m beginning to hear the ping. One day I will write more on this, but for now, I’m listening to expand the concept’s depth and search for fresh meaning.
If you live your life where you hit “publish” on every story and idea the day it happens, you’ll miss the hearing the ping. But if you listen for the ping your writing will become more savory and full-bodied.
2. Treat writing like the work that it is
Palestinian American poet Hala Alyan shares how she cultivated a writing routine:
…writing is a magical, fickle, infuriating creature that rarely seems to belong to me. And, yes, it is perhaps, for many of us, the most pure, simple alchemy we will ever come across.
But it is also work. It needs to be treated with respect. An idea isn’t a book. The distance between the two can be a long, solitary tundra that is only crossed by actual writing.
Everyone has their routine. For me, it’s 30 minutes a day, no more, no less. Sometimes I write those 30 minutes on the subway, sometimes at my desk, sometimes on my phone, but it’s always 30 minutes. If I miss a day, I forgive myself, but I make it up the next day. I’ve learned that writing is like going to the gym, like building any muscle. It needs consistency and, for many of us, ritual.
3. Get personal
Don’t be afraid to get personal with your reader, or as some might say, give the last 10 percent. Bestselling author Max Lucado encourages us with this advice:
Writing is a powerful medium because it’s personal. It often reaches people at a vulnerable time in their lives. If somebody comes to a church to hear me speak, he may be there because he wants to be, or he may be there because someone talked him into coming. But if an individual reads a book of mine, he has gone through the necessary steps to purchase or borrow the book. He has paid a price for this kind of communication. I am at my best in print—the effect of a book does not depend on the author’s mood; it depends on the reader’s openness to encouragement or teaching.
We challenge you this week to seek out some experienced authors, whether in person or online, to extract all the writing advice you can. Of course, at Certa Publishing, we’ve seen it all in the publishing business and we would love to offer you any resources, tools or advice you need. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. Or feel free to contact us today.