Tag Archive | editor

Lessons Learned While Writing: God Led Me Down a New Career Path

When I started my writing journey, I was a stay-at-home mom with a master’s degree in counseling psychology leading a ministry to women at my church. I didn’t anticipate going back to work for a few more years as I firmly believed in being there for my kids, even though it involved steep emotional and financial sacrifices. Not need to dredge that all up here.

I wrote a book. Gothic Regency Romance. I wondered if I could write contemporary and tried it. Then I wrote another Regency. Then a contemporary and on and on it went. Flip-flopping back and forth and trying to keep my language straight: not putting modern words in a story taking place in the early 1800’s and not putting Regency-era language in a modern romance. Then, of course, cultural differences. And I was enjoying myself immensely. And learning more and more about the craft and editing.

I fell into editing because a friend suggested a position to me. I applied and after much prayer accepted the offer. I could work from home. I set my own hours. Oh, but I only got paid when the books sold and based on the book’s sales. It wasn’t much but I was learning more and more with every novel I not only wrote but edited. And then I started teaching on faculty at Christian Writer’s Conferences as well as meeting with and encouraging other authors who were where I was not that long ago. Again, not a huge financial boon to my family, but I was making an eternal impact in the lives of my readers, my authors, and those who read those books.

I’ve added teaching a continuing education class at my local state university and that’s been well received. And I keep writing.

I don’t know what I thought I’d be doing by the time my kids left the proverbial nest, but writing is perfect for me as my retired but very busy husband likes that I’m home, and travels with me when I speak. He understands the bigger picture of what I do and supports that endeavor regardless of how much, or little, money I might make.

I may not have gone to school to become a writer, but writing well is what allowed me to succeed in school and in my first career. I still use those skills more than you might think. None of that degree was wasted. And the Hard Knock School of Writing doesn’t give out degrees until you’re dead so I’ll keep plugging away at it.

Have you seen God take you down a different career path from what you originally intended or went to school for? What happened? Please share!

Why Attend a Writer’s Conference?

Attending a writer’s conference is hard if you are trying to write. After all, how many people say they want to write a book and never do? But you are out there, trying and learning and maybe even overloaded by the wealth of resources on the internet telling you how to do it and what the rules are.

What are they again?

The one thing you’ll consistently see is “Get Thee To a Writer’s Conference!”

Sure. I’m struggling to pay the bills and writing is earning me nothing and to get ahead I have to spend money to go to a writer’s conference. I could self-pub for free without leaving my cozy home and spending hundreds of dollars. 

I hear ya. Boy, do I hear ya.

I wrote for years and started connecting with some other writers in my area and that was great. But I longed to get to a conference. I had no means to do it.

Somehow I did it. And here’s what I learned.

1. They get me there! There is a community and support like no other when you attend a writer’s conference. Especially a Christian one. Wow. These are all people who understand the struggle to grasp some concepts  and they are more than eager to help anyone else who is struggling. You come home when you are a writer’s conference.

2. We all have different learning styles but in the busyness of life, how often do you sit and read all those blogs or books or attend all those webinars? Getting to a conference takes you out of the distractions of daily life so you can focus on your craft and grow.

3. You come away with things money really can’t buy: a with a few more tools in your belt, inspiration for the journey ahead and new friends. (Friends who might even help you promote a book some day? Just sayin’!)

4. Rub shoulders with industry professionals. Maybe you don’t have a book to pitch (yet!). Go and meet with editors and agents anyway. Get to know them. Pick their brains. Ask for advice. They are human just like you and eager to help writers make it to the next steps – because if you do and do it well, they might someday make money off of you!  And you never know how those connections and relationship (if positive) might benefit you down the line.  I’ve referred people to others at conferences when I thought that what they have that other editor might be interested in. You just never know, but if you go with a positive attitude and a desire to learn, you might just find out.

If attending a conference seems too difficult or expensive here’s my suggestion. Start small. Attend a day conference near you. (save the cost of hotel). Or only go for a shorter time. Some conferences offer scholarships. Humble yourself and apply for one. It won’t pay for everything but it can put that opportunity within your reach. No one you meet up with will know how you got there, nor will they care. The fact is you made it.

The first conference I attended opened so many doors for me that it’s hard to describe. The relationships and connections I made have enriched my life.  Maybe I’ll meet at one in the future because I hope you’ll go.