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Monday, March 3, 2008

Happy New Writerly Year from Mary DeMuth

You can find more great resources like this at Mary's website! Make sure to check out her writing blog: http://wannabepublished.blogspot.com/!

If you're aspiring to be a writer, here's a fun acrostic to ready you to get published in 2008:

Have a writer party. Seriously. I am a better writer after I've spent good time with funny, amazing, articulate, crazy writers. After I rub shoulders with y'all, I'm ready to write that staggering work of genius. Party on, writers!

Apply to teach somewhere. You'll learn more when you master something enough to teach it. Still new? Offer to teach elementary kids. Can't travel? Apply to teach at a regional writers conference. Just do it!

Pray. Ask God to give you specific direction about your year. Does He want you to slow down? Hone one message? Write for a variety of magazines? Finish that book. Be still enough to hear His voice.

Prayer team. Ask several friends who love to pray to become part of your prayer team. Send weekly reminders; give pieces of your writing to them; offer to pray for them. If you'd like to have God shape your career this year, develop a prayer team.

Yell for joy when something great happens. We're such a busy lot. Life speeds by. We forget to stop and holler when we get an acceptance letter. Celebrate. Rejoice. Do a dance. Tell your other writer friends.

Never take rejection personally. That's a hard one. This year, try to see rejection as a clinical thing. Your piece simply doesn't work for that market. OK. Now take it and send it somewhere else. Use rejection as a springboard to try, try again.

Exegete your life. Pull out things that God is saying. Write them down. Look at your life. Journal. A lot of my nonfiction results from me culling through my journals.

Write every day.

Wait before you hit "send." If you're sending a "helpful" email to a colleague, wait, wait, wait. This is a small industry.

Rein in your flowery prose. Slay those adverbs. Cut away double adjectives (She's a beautiful, smiling girl. Keep one. Not both.) When you become too enamored with your own poetic genius, cut away the superfluous.

Ignore rules on your first draft. Just write the puppy. Silence that inner editor. If you can't do that, give your pesky editor a little spiral notebook. Jot down your notes about your story or nonfiction piece there, but keep writing.

Tackle something new. Ever write haikus? Try your hand. Afraid of short stories? Write one and enter a contest. Write a tribute to a friend or family member. Exercise your writer muscles.

Expect disappointment. It will come in all sorts of frustrating forms in 2008. But if you expect it as normative in a writing career, you can more easily dust your feet off and keep at it. Great writers are not necessarily those with great talent. They're good writers who keep going, who persevere through disappointment.

Read widely. You'll never improve your writing if you don't read widely. Read outside your genre. Read books friends recommend to you. Pick up an old, dusty book. All sorts of books are out there, begging to be read. Read and learn from each, even if it means learning what not to do.
Lovethose in the industry. Seek to bless industry folks this year in tangible ways. Meet your deadlines. Pray for editors. Send encouraging notes of thanks.

Yammer about someone else. We can so easily get caught up in our own publicity and marketing machines that we forget the simple joy and beauty of promoting others. Seek to find the pearls in others' writing and then talk about that.

Yield to your editors. You'll be edited all year-by your critique group, your editors, your friends, your agent. Instead of arguing, listen. Think it through. Believe that someone outside your writing has the blessing of a fresh perspective.

Excavate something new. There are tons of books out there regurgitating the same things over and over and over again. Dig deep inside yourself. Mine the depths of Jesus. Hear afresh. Share fresh insights. Though truth does not change, the way we package it may. Dare to say something new instead of relegating your writing to mimicry.

Always make goals. What would you like to see happen to you this year? Write it down. Some examples: Write a book. Write a proposal. Send out five query letters a week. Go to a writer conference. Start a writers group. Submit poetry to a contest. Send out proposal to ten agents.

Rest in God's sovereignty. Yes, work hard. Put others first. Do your homework. Write. Learn. But realize it all rests in the capable hands of a sovereign God. He holds your career in His strong hands. He knows the past, the present, the future. Rest it all in Him. Trust that He knows the right thing for you.

Thanks for letting me share this Mary...such great advice! You Rock!

Stop Lurking! Every week I will draw names for a free Tricia Goyer book from those who comment on my blogs. Winner's choice! Tell your friends

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