Keli Gwyn

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Tips for New Writers

My Top Three Tips for New Writers

Have fun. This is important, because writing can be a challenging profession. We deal with discouragement and doubts, with rejection and bad reviews, with waiting and worrying. Experiencing the joy of creation and celebrating each victory along the way, be it finding just the right word or getting a word of encouragement from an unexpected source can help us persevere through the down times when things don’t seem to be going our way.

Have realistic expectations. So many of our goals can be out of our control. We enter contests, but the results are dependent on the judges. We send out queries, but the agent and editors are the ones who offer representation or contracts. What we do have control over is our work. By studying craft and applying what we learn, our writing improves, and that improves our chances of catching a publishing pro’s eye.

Have patience. If we choose to go the traditional route to getting a book published, it can take time. The publishing world often moves with the speed of a sleepy snail. We wait for feedback from our critique partners, for contest results and for responses from publishing pros. That’s the reality. How we choose to deal with it is our choice. My best advice is to hit “send” and get back to the business of writing. That way when we do garner an agent or editor’s attention and are asked, “What else do you have?”, we have something to show them.

My Top Two Recommendations

Join a writers group. Writers are some of the most generous and encouraging people you’ll ever meet. Do yourself a favor and link up with some of them. One way to do this is to join a writers group.

If you write romance, consider joining Romance Writers of America┬«. With over 10,000 members, it’s one of the most respected writing organizations out there. The focus is on romance of all kinds. You can join some of the 145 local and online chapters, too. If you write inspirational romance as I do, be sure to check out the Faith, Hope and Love chapter.

If you write inspirational fiction, American Christian Fiction Writers is the place to be. With over 2,600 members worldwide, including published and unpublished writers, agents, editors and publicists, you can make friends, make connections, and make great strides as you avail yourself of the many resources. And don’t miss the ACFW Annual Conference. It’s awesome.

If you live in central California, I recommend Inspire Christian Writers. You’ll be able to participate in face-to-face critique groups, attend workshops and learn from industry professionals at the annual conference. The fellowship and support at Inspire is awesome.

Find a critique partner. Getting feedback from another writer can be beneficial. Friends and family members might be eager to read for us, but they often lack the knowledge of craft. Our fellow writers can tell us not only what they like, but they can also point out the areas where we’re weak and need to do some study. I wrote a series of posts about Critique Partnerships on one of my old blogs, which you might find helpful.

My One Word of Advice

Persevere. I’ve interviewed over 100 debut authors, and this trait is one that has come up again and again as being of the utmost importance. Our dreams won’t come true unless we keep on writing and submitting, hoping and praying. Perseverance can lead to rejoicing.