A few years ago I had the pleasure of climbing up the side of a beautiful Colorado mountain.
I was as prepared as possible—the right shoes, comfortable clothes, a bottle of water, and signs to point me in the right direction.
Like many hiking trails, the one I was on started out smooth and was clearly marked. I was fully confident that it would be a piece of cake.
Then the path began to get steeper, and there were rocks, boulders, and tree roots in the way. I was getting hot and sweaty. Even the water bottle began to feel like a 20-pound weight.
I kept climbing upward and put my weary muscles out of my mind, and if my toe kicked a rock on the way, I remember to lift my foot higher the next time there was an obstacle in the path. I also tried not to get distracted by hikers who gave up and turned back before reaching their goal.
You know, that uphill climb is similar to writing, and I have a theory when it comes to pursuing publication. I believe that every writer can have a satisfying writing journey by following five guideposts along their way.
The first guidepost you need to consider is the STOP sign:
This may seem like an odd sign to start you on your journey, but you need to stop and prepare yourself for the journey.
After nearly a lifetime of longing to be a novelist, I began to write my first novel in 1995 I would write a bit, and then ignore it for a while. Sometimes I would let months and months pass before I sat down to the keyboard again. I finished that novel in 2000, and it was awful.
The problem was that I had not prepared myself.
I didn’t read books on craft, join a writers’ group, or go to a conference. Fortunately, I tripped across American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) online, and joined in January 2001 as the 94th member. Now ACFW is nearing its 3,000th member.
Zechariah 4:10 “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.”
We all have to start somewhere. My humble efforts proved something very important to me. It proved that I could stick to it, and I could write a book-length piece of fiction. From there, I joined ACFW, met with other local writers, attended seminars and conferences, and I continued to write.
By the way, don’t think that learning the craft of writing and jumping into the publishing industry is a one-time experience. You need to continue to study, learn, grow, and network to find success.
Be encouraged: everyone starting something new has humble beginnings. We all need to learn how best to navigate the path to our goal/dream.
Next week the guidepost we're discussing is One Way. That's the only way to go on your writer's journey. Check back next Tuesday, and we'll talk about the C-word: commitment!