- Be patient. I’ve worked with a lot of “newbies” and with rare exception what I find is a God-given talent that has not yet been coupled with an understanding of craft. The average amount of time it takes for a novelist to traditionally publish a first book is ten years from the time they start writing toward publication. (This was right on for me! I thought I’d beat the odds, but nope. Ten years.) Those who make it are those who are willing to persevere. It’s not always the most talented.
- Put your time in. Work hard to learn craft. Attend conferences and workshops, read craft books, join a critique group, WRITE. Then, don’t give up. (BTW, the Colorado Christian Writer’s Conference happens in May in Estes Park, CO. It’s great place for someone just starting out. The atmosphere is encouraging and casual while the workshops are packed with important information.)
- Don’t try to do it alone. The American Christian Fiction Writers professional organization has been invaluable to me. I both believe in it so much I’ve poured countless hours into serving writers through that group, first as a chapter president, and now as Colorado Coordinator. If you’re in our area, check out all ACFW Colorado has to offer through our website and blog.
- Build face-to-face (or at least email to email) relationships. Besides the national support, writers need the support of other writers heart to heart. Smaller groups like a local ACFW chapter, a critique group, or a prayer group of writers can make all the difference. I actually have all three! Pray about these people. You’ll need trustworthy friends who will celebrate and support you–and you’ll need to offer that back to them. If you don’t know anyone in your area, develop a more vulnerable relationship with a writer friend on line.
- Embrace the truth that God directs your writing journey. Years ago He told me, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.” (Psalm 32:8, NLT) In 2007 I finally got the encouragement of having an agent. Right after that, stuff started crumbling in my family. My husband almost died of heart blockage. Things happened with the kids. Family members had 5 surgeries in less than two years, 2 broken bones, a mysterious illness, and we eventually almost lost everything we owned. I had to stop seeking publication to focus on the needs of my family. But God used those years to continue to develop me as a person and a writer. Coming out of the difficult season in 2011, I got my first book contract. He knew best.
Paula Moldenhauer is passionate about God’s grace. An author and speaker, she has published over 300 times. Her first romance story, You’re a Charmer Mr. Grinch, and her first historical novel, Titanic: Legacy of Betrayal release in 2012. Paula serves as the ACFW Colorado Coordinator and received the Writer of the Year Award at the Colorado Christian Writers Conference. She and her husband enjoy homeschooling their four children. (Two down and two to go!) Paula loves peppermint ice cream and walking barefoot. Her greatest desire is to be close enough to Jesus to breathe His fragrance. Visit her website.