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WRITE: Letter to a New Writer

When I volunteered to assist Brent and Deanna Higgins in telling their son BJ’s story (later published by Revell as I Would Die for You), I had a huge adjustment to make. Although I’d written and edited for years, I’d never attempted anything longer than an e-book. I barely understood the concept of a book proposal. And I’d certainly never attempted to pitch a manuscript to an editor or agent. Although I didn’t know much about publishing, I had a growing relationship with Christ. I’d gone from knowing about Him to meeting Him in relationship to a complete, ongoing surrender to His will and ways. I could catch up on the things I needed to know about publishing. But my walk with Christ came first. Nearly five years later, I’m still learning, still walking with Jesus. My steps often falter, but he keeps me close. An online writers’ group, The Writers View 1 (Less experienced writers meet as The Writers View 2) serves as one of my tutors. Twice a week, a panelist asks a question and our group of more than 700 professional writers has the opportunity to respond. Last week, author Mary E. DeMuth asked us to share our advice in an imaginary letter to a new writer. She’s posting my response on her blog today and I decided to do the same. Dear New Writer, Congratulations on a high and holy calling. Mark it as such. That gives you a foundation to return to on the days when the reviews burn, the rejections multiply, and the inspiration falters. Please, new writer, remember who you are is more important than what you write. Continue to grow your roots deep in God. And don’t forget—you live in a fallen world. Observe Paul’s admonition to consider others more important than yourself. As you live out this principle, your words, your relationships, and your writing will grow. Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy and you healthy. Discover the personal meaning of this commandment. Do your best to add rest and refreshment to each day. My friend, please take care of your family. When deadlines come or contracts impinge, make sure they know who matters most. When success comes your way, don’t wait for your relatives to celebrate you. Throw a party for them instead. Yes, new writer, I encourage you to be wise. Learn and practice your craft. Study the markets. Find and listen to mentors. But don’t pay more attention to the ways of publishing than the things of God. Run to Jesus, new writer, and live. That, more than anything, gives you something to...

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