Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Word Love #1 :: Own It

Do you want to write, or do you want to be published?

This question challenged me at She Speaks. After having considered myself “a writer” for four years, I attended the conference hoping to both improve my writing skills and to get a foothold in the world of publishing. In addition to accomplishing both of these goals, my time at the conference also taught me the vast difference between the two.

Andrea Doering, executive editor for Revell Books, encouraged writers that if we have ever shared a blog post for the world to see, we may consider ourselves published. We may even have a larger audience through blogging and speaking than we would reach through traditional publication.

As a blogger, I can consider myself a published writer. I have had a few other pieces published to larger audiences, but let’s stick with the blogging for right now. As a blogger, I have the ability to write whatever weighs on my heart, without having to go through an editor. I can interact with my audience directly, thus lending strength to my influence with this audience. I can post links to my content all over the internet, constantly growing the reach of my message. To be honest, the more I consider these facts, the more I think I am quite happy just blogging here in my own corner.

So, then, when is it time to seek publication? According to Andrea, these two questions help determine the answer:

1. Is there something I can do with a book length work that I cannot do with a blog?
2. Is there a reader I want to reach that I can not reach with a blog?

I can think of answers to these questions that might indicate my readiness to publish. For instance, if I had an active speaking schedule, I’d like to have something to take with me that gives my whole message in context. Also, while many readers spend many hours a week reading blogs, I would imagine still more than half the potential audience has yet to call the online world their primary information source.

So do I want to write, or do I want to be published?

At this point in my career, I personally want to write. Blogging offers all the publication I need for the moment. Publication, the traditional bookish kind, will require a lot of hard work and dedication to a message God is still refining in my mind. The message may grow large enough to push beyond this venue; and thanks to the direction of these two questions, I will know the time has come to move to the next step.

What about you? Do you thread words from your thoughts onto paper? Do you aspire to share a message with whatever audience you can reach?

If you want to get published, follow people who talk publishing:
Terry Whalin
Michael Hyatt
Seth Godin
Rachelle Gardner
Mary DeMuth

But if right now you just want to write, then this place is for you. You can be published right now, through the wonders of blogging.

And, here is the fun part! You can learn to communicate your message as clearly as possible. Today starts a new weekly series, Word Love Wednesday. Every week, we will look at a tip to improve your writing. Ready? Set? Word.

WORD LOVE #1: OWN IT. Determine whether your goal is to write, or to get published.

If you want to write, call yourself a writer. Go ahead, say it out loud! Post it in the comments here if you need to.

Then start doing it. Just start. Journal, blog, volunteer to write the office newsletter, make a creative grocery list! Whatever works for you, as long as you pick up the pen (or sit at the keyboard) and say something. Set yourself a goal to write a certain amount by next Wednesday, then come back here and check in. Nobody will check your work, but we want to cheer you on! If nothing else, come see if I made my goal of posting four times during our first week of homeschool.

I also want to share with you my personal favorite guide on the subject of writing. I'm thinking of giving away a copy to a Word Love commenter in a few weeks. Would you like that? Here it is, check out the reviews.

An Introduction to Christian Writing:
An Indepth Companion to the Complete Writing Experience
by Ethel Herr.

Where are you in your writing journey today? Where do you aspire to go?

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