So, You're a Writer, Now What?

Crystal Ortmann

Her eyes roamed the restaurant restlessly as the other woman read her work. Carol, an aspiring writer, and a known writer sat in a restaurant overlooking the Columbia River. The beautiful setting made no difference to the novice as she awaited a pronouncement on her writing.

"Well, you certainly have a way with words," the seasoned wordsmith remarked as she finished the manuscripts and placed them neatly in the file folder.

olderwomanreadingDelight, excitement, fear and numerous other emotions flooded Carol. A writer! Me! Many years later, thoughts of that meeting still thrill Carol. She began a wonderful journey that day. Someone who knew about writing believed in that frightened fledgling. Could life get any better?

So, you're a writer. You've waited to hear those words that confirm your longing. Somehow, deep in your heart, you want to bless others and receive affirmation for the gift you have.

What happens now? Writing is not something that comes to a person fully developed; it is a process, as is so much in life. Although making business cards that say "Freelance Writer" on them is thrilling, there is a whole lot to learn.

Writing is a talent and also a craft. It requires learning, practicing, persevering, taking praise without becoming prideful and receiving helpful criticism without wilting. While many thoughts are lovely and filled with truth and instruction that might help others, they need to be put on paper in a way that connects with an average person.

Honing this craft is essential. It doesn't require college degrees in writing, but it does entail studying books on writing, reading magazines that help you learn writing skills and attending writers' workshops. These are fairly inexpensive and an excellent way to get started. If finances are an issue, check the library and look on the Internet. No one is born with a fully developed talent for writing, and understanding this concept is essential. Reading, especially in our field of interest, is vital. We grow as writers through everything we read and write.

Thinking of all you may need to start can be mind-boggling.

You don't need a fancy office to write, but you do need a few essentials. A small area dedicated to only your writing files, books and computer (or typewriter) is good. If this isn't possible, or you don't have a computer, check your local library. One lady carried her office in her tote bag. On specific days she went to the library and used the computer. Those were her writing days in her "office."

You will need paper, pencils and some file folders. If there isn't space for your complete file box in the room with your computer, you may want to purchase a file box on wheels. Each person can find somewhere to write that fits into his or her unique situation.

I wrote an entire book on a computer that wasn't in use at my church and it cost me nothing. The office staff helped me learn how to use it. I made a backup disk of the manuscript and had it printed at Lazerquick®. God can use many ways to help you start your writing career.

Think before you write.  Next, consider what you want to write. Putting entries into a journal helps me. Journaling daily is best because it builds a healthy habit of writing. However, for many of us it isn't always possible. Do what you can and what's practical for your situation.

Most importantly, seek the Lord in prayer. Ask Him to help you decide what to write. Ask for pure motives and that He will help you to be a blessing to someone through your writing.

So, we've established that you are a writer--now what? Get busy, that's what!

By Crystal J. Ortmann