“Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me,
“Now I have put my words in your mouth.”
A few years ago, I became very discouraged in my pursuit of becoming a writer and I almost gave up. Instead, that day I wrote this as a declaration that someday I would make it and when I did, I would be prepared. I hope it encourages you today as well.
1. Never let reviews rule you. Write what God gives you to write, then throw it into the soil. Let him grow it the way He wants to. Negative comments can keep us from pride but like darkness can blot out the sun, they can steal away our confidence. Never listen to people over listening to God’s direction. Positives can puff us up, and help set up idols in our hearts for ourselves. (Who wants to go through the chastisement of that?)
2. Never for a moment think you have arrived. Continue to listen to others, grow, press yourself to become better, never settle nor become the know-it-all. Be kind to those who want or need your advice and never snob anyone, even if they snob you. Remember you are writing for God alone and pleasing him is the only thing that matters.
3. Be authentic and transparent. Be yourself, laugh at yourself, don’t try to impress people or compare yourself to others.
4. Engage with others. Be interested in them, truly, ask them questions, get to know them, invest in other’s lives, build relationships, not a platform. (Remember the old uneffective and annoying strategy of LOUD commercials, LOOK at ME, LISTEN to ME, MEMEME... Wrong, wrong, wrong.) It’s not about YOU, its about Them and how you can bless them for God.
5. Be generous, gracious, and kind. Go beyond what is expected of you, do something for your audience, don’t look for what You can GET, look for what you can GIVE. (if you have a need, sow a seed) this applies to everything.
6. Turn marketing into be conversations. Remember the stories older people would tell you when wanting you to do something, “I walked 5 miles in the snow, barefoot.” Stories have an impact on people far greater than telling them to do something, “Follow me, share me, tweet this, comment here, buy my book.” It has to draw them into the experience with you where they become part of your story. Instead engage your readers, “I’ve learned this, let me share it with you, Help me, Join me on the Journey, Let’s be friends.”
7. Become meaningful and memorable. Leave an impression that lasts, a smile or an encouraging word that lingers and lifts the mood of those in your company. When you impact the people within your sphere of influence, it begins a ripple effect. When a stone is thrown into a lake, it hits a specific mark, but the ripples continue on until they bounce back from the shoreline to the place that they began. Word of mouth is like this, the ripple effect carries farther than any other marketing tool you can use.
8. Never disrespect your competition. No matter how great they are or how horrible they treat you. Your respect, especially toward a demeaning competitor, will grow a compassion for you while setting a high ethical standard that is very attractive in today’s dog-eat-dog world, plus it’s an attribute that God can and will bless unlike the opposite.
9. Build meaningful relationships. Use people’s name, look them in the eye, don’t interrupt, don’t always have the first say so, or talk the whole time. Involve them, this is connecting with people, which lasts longer than building an image, name or product.
10. Give people and yourself room to fail. If you say something you didn’t mean or if others took it wrongly, don’t dwell on the negative, give the correct response and move on. (I remember Kay Arthur telling a group at a Deeper Still event (in the Q&A segment) how painful it is to be totally misunderstood by something said or quoted out of context. She said, “If I somehow get my words wrong, haven’t we been together long enough for you to know my heart??” It hit me so powerfully.-Beth Moore)
11. Make sure you know why you are writing and who you are writing to. Ask yourself why would anyone want to read it, what will it do for them, does it increase value and worth to their life, change something for the better?
Good leaders provide: insight, initiative, influence, direction, counsel, and integrity.
12. Don’t frustrate your fan base. Supervisors frustrate their employees by doing the following and this can be the same for your readers.
DON’T: call too many meetings, (emails, tweets, blog posts, advertisements, etc). Don’t be late to your meetings. Always be on time, (better yet, be there early and plan to stay later than expected). DO: understand the work process and where each writer is in their career. Don’t expect them to understand everything you do, take the time to patiently walk them through anything they haven’t learned without talking down to them or ridiculing them. BE: Responsive, interested, listen to their ideas and give their thoughts a chance. They may be onto something really good. DO: return calls, emails, letters, don’t brush away people and treat them like they don’t matter. (Remember when people did that to you and how bad it felt.) MAKE: time for everyone, make them feel special and give them attention.
13. Be gracious to those who do not like you or are critical of who you are, what you look and sound like, what you believe, what you write, how you write, the characters you write about, the setting and plot that you write about.
"And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in all things you may have an abundance for every good deed."
2 Corn. 9:8
(Remember what you sow you reap, sow as much grace as you can that you may reap a shipload back.)
14. Keep things in perspective when others say hurtful things, remember what’s important is God’s word in your heart and your obedience to what He’s told you to do. Jesus, the perfect story teller, had many enemies, yet he rose from the grave and His stories still affect, move, and save trillions.
No, you’re not Jesus, but you have his power to overcome, to be excellent!
(even and most assuredly
in the face of evil, prejudice, and hatred).
15. You’re not writing to please everyone and anyone, only those God gives to you, or impresses to read what you’ve written. Always look for treasure, a word of wisdom that you can use in all the criticism, make good out of evil. Never respond to a negative comment, but move on. Never strive to please people, that’s a no-win situation. Enjoy what you’re writing and the journey you’re on, otherwise find another career.
16. Don’t force something when it’s on the verge of breaking something else, (your will, your heart, Your Sanity!). Take time to relax, refocus, and possibly wait on God’s timing. It may not be the project you are to work on, it may need to be reworked from a different angle, or it may be a distraction. Either way, if you are at the point of forcing it and nothing is working, it’s time to back off.
17. Always be moving forward, believe in what you’re doing, Say it out loud as many times as needed everyday! Don’t let excuses stop you, find a new creative way to move forward, don’t spend time on perfect, do what it takes to push through, you can always go back, give room for mistakes,(they may actually be better than what you planned), move no matter how small or slow as long as you move, what’s the rush.
“Keep Moving Forward,” Walt Disney once summed it up. What if he would've given up at his dreams and stuck to driving an ambulance, see here. And what about Charles Schulz? He was dubbed a failure, yet he persisted in his dreams. Where would we be without the likes of Charlie Brown? see here.
And one of my favorite quotes that keeps me going comes from the lady of determination.
Eleanor Roosevelt once said,
"A woman is like a tea bag - you can't tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water."
Hope you found a bit of zeal to continue on today in whatever you may be facing, these simple but effective rules aren't for writers only but everyone that faces difficulty while pursuing their dream.
Thanks again for stopping by!