Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Stephanie Grace Whitson--Advice for Writers

For most published writers, writing means HARD WORK. We do not go on book tours. We do not talk to Oprah. And, most disappointing to me personally. . . . Mel Gibson is not going to star in the movie (smile).

The most encouraging thing I know to tell any writer is this: If God has called you to write, you will be successful as long as you follow His leading, whether that results in a publishing contract or not.

My own "how I got published" story is atypical and is an example of the Lord taking a manuscript and putting it in the right hands at exactly the right time to provide for a widow and her children. Once a contract was offered, the Lord also blessed the first books with sales enough to begin a new career. Since the beginning of this new career back in 1995, I've often felt like I was playing catch-up with other writers I admire -- the ones who know "the rules", who study "the craft," who have the creative writing degrees and speak at the conferences. In my not-very-organized quest to improve my craft, I've stumbled on some encouraging words from other writers that I have posted near my computer as reminders to myself.

It's not about talent. It's about persistence. Donald Maas.

I only write when I'm inspired, and I make sure I'm inspired every day at 9 a.m. Peter DeVries.

If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that. Reading is the creative center of a writer's life. Stephen King

I have not read many "how-to" books on writing. Of those I own, I go back to three repeatedly. Stephen King's On Writing (This isn't the Ouija board or the spirit-world we're talking here, but just another job like laying pipe or driving long-haul trucks.), Donald Maas's Writing the Breakout Novel, and Sol Stein's Stein on Writing. James Scott Bell's fiction column in the Writer's Digest Magazine invariably gives me the feeling of having had a "pep talk" from my favorite coach.

I often remind myself that success in light of eternity has nothing to do with books sold. Success in light of eternity means obedience to the Audience of One. In a hundred million years it will not matter if I was published, if my name appeared on any best seller lists, if I received any writing awards. In a hundred million years, what will matter is my obedience to my Lord. If He says "well done," then whatever happened here below was good, and I achieved success in the truest sense of that word.

For more information about Stephanie or her books, visit her website.


  1. Great advice!
    The link to her site doesn't work though.

  2. Thanks, Deborah. I'll fix the link. Steph is a wonderful person and prolific writer. Many of us can learn a lot from her. Thanks for visiting.