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10 Suggestions for the Wannabe Writer

“How do I become an author?” That’s a question I’m asked when I’m with a group of students, sometimes at a conference and through social media. Or I get questions like this one that showed up here on the website from a young woman whose first language probably isn’t English:

“I’m young but i really want trying to send thought like this in France. I have a blog and i would like to speak about my love for jesus through it. But i don’t really know how to do. Maybe you have any advice for me ?”

This was my response to this young woman, and in case you’ve thought about blogging or becoming a writer, you can listen in, too ~

* * * * * * *

First of all, I’m so glad that you are wanting to use your blog to speak about your love for Jesus! And the fact that you’re young really encourages and excites me. You are an answer to my prayer; I’m asking God to raise up an army of young women who will be truth speakers in this generation and spread God’s glory across the globe!

My advice?

  1. Get into the Word and spend time with the Savior. Let your blog be the place where you share what God is teaching you, let it be an overflow of what He is doing in your life. That is the most important thing—connect deeply with God before trying to share Him with others.
  1. Go to work on your writing skills, take some classes (online if necessary), read good resources on the topic of developing your writing.
  1. Get some practical help by reading good blogs. When you find a post that is helpful and encouraging, take note of why that author was able to convey content that was compelling. Did they start with a story or illustration that grabbed your attention? Did they write in a way that sounded like they were talking naturally right to you instead of sounding formal or preachy?
  1. Write out the main point that you want your post to revolve around. For example, if you want to write a post about how you find encouragement through spending time in the Psalms, write one sentence that summarizes that thought and then add to that thought by giving an example or a description of what that looks like. Perhaps use a Psalm that you can break down in chunks and share how its truths bring personal encouragement.
  1. Write as a means of glorifying God, not to draw attention to yourself. If you are called to write, you will write because you have to, not just as a fad. It’s a driving impulse to communicate God’s reality and goodness to others that is like a burning fire.
  1. Get input from your friends and invite others to come alongside you with their thoughts. Include a question or two at the end of your blog post and if people leave comments (which is a joy to a writer), you can usually tell if your post made a connection or was something they found helpful.
  1. Write with candor and transparency (appropriately); don’t reflect negatively on others, but share about your life, your thoughts, hopes, and dreams, and how God is at work in those.
  1. Writing isn’t always fun (refer to yesterday’s blog post). It can be scary and embarrassing. But if you want to improve, keep at it, don’t give up!
  1. Experiment with ways to jump-start your writing. Maybe it’s while listening to music, after reading a chapter in a good book, or first thing in the morning after your quiet time. Find what is most helpful for you in establishing a writing routine that includes ways you’ll be inspired as you work.
  1. Pray as you write. Ask God to direct your thoughts and provide the insight to write in ways that will encourage your readers to pursue Him and desire to know Him more intimately.

My prayer for you dear friend, and anyone else reading who desires to use your ability to communicate for God’s glory, is that God will use you to winsomely and effectively spread His truths throughout your sphere of influence!

[box]“Praise be to his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory. Amen and Amen.” (Psalm 72:19)[/box]

Any writers out there want to add to my list of suggestions for “wanna be” bloggers or authors?

Image courtesy of blackzheep at www.freedigitalphotos.net

7 Comments

  • Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

    Great list, Kim! Have loved watching you do all of this and seeing Him use your writing to point so many to Christ.

    A few more practical suggestions I’d add to the list:

    11. Find an editor or a more experienced writer to critique/edit your writing. (Don’t pick someone who loves you/your writing and will just tell you how good it is! Select someone who will be brutally honest, will challenge your thinking, push back on things that don’t make sense, etc.) Every writer can be improved with the help of a good editor.

    12. Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. The difference between ok writing and good writing is multiple drafts. The difference between good writing and great writing is multiple more drafts! A gem becomes more beautiful with polishing. Most writing can be improved by ruthlessly cutting unnecessary words/phrases and tightening flow and logic. (I read about one bestselling Christian author who cuts out an average of 100 pages for each book he writes.)

    13. Read the piece aloud. Does it sound conversational? Does each word/phrase/sentence make sense? You may love the way something sounds to you. But if it is unnecessary or unclear, don’t be afraid to “kill your darlings,” to quote a famous author of another era.

    Want to write content that glorifies God, touches hearts, and changes lives (and why else would we want to write?)? There’s no substitute for (a) the anointing of the Spirit and (b) hard, hard work (blood, sweat, and tears).

    When it’s all said and done … remember that we are broken, earthen vessels that carry the all-surpassing Treasure of Christ. He works through our weakness to display His strength.

  • Jody Gates

    These are awesome points, things I’ve implemented in my own writing.
    Over the years, I’ve often said to my kids that readers are leaders. My husband and I inhale books, we love to read. I think I would add to your list; readers are writers or help us write. Read good books. Thanks for this post, so helpful!!

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Thank you so much, Jody! Yes, absolutely, good writers are voracious readers of GOOD writing and even occasional readers of mediocre writing. I think it helps to read writing (only minimally) that needs a good editor 😉

    And anytime you want to send suggestions on books you’ve found helpful with your writing, please send my way! 🙂

  • Sarah Lee

    Kimberly,
    I found your words very encouraging! God has been prompting me to write about Him through a blog and so I felt like you were talking directly to me! Thank you for sharing!

  • kimberlywagner

    Hello, Nancy ~

    Jaw drop, to see you leaving a comment 🙂 Thank you for the way you’ve encouraged me and in so many ways given me the only “training” I’ve received as a writer. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to write for True Woman from the very beginning.

    These are excellent additions to the post. Yes, yes, and yes!

    Much love to you, dear friend ~