Author Jo Huddleston

Sweet Southern Romance

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Learning to Write

Thursday Thoughts on Reading and Writing

NOTE: The winner of the book giveaway last Thursday is JENNIFER. I'll be having some more contests for stay tuned.

When you’re just starting out on your writing career, where do you turn for direction or instruction? Where do you find materials that will get your writing wheels turning?

Well, when I started writing I didn’t look any place for direction. I just wrote…don’t try this at home. I wrote a few short stories and sent them to some women’s magazines where I’d been reading the stories they printed. I think I was just trying to write like what I had read in those magazines. I had no doubt they would be published. Nope, they were all rejected.

After those rejections, which hurt oh so badly, I decided I’d go to a bookstore that sold magazines that might be helpful. I found sections of magazines on most any topic you could imagine. To my pleasant surprise they had two magazines for writers. I bought one of each—Writer's Digest and The Writer--and consumed their contents.

I was overwhelmed to learn what I didn’t know: writers met together at conferences, books were available about how to write, and there were market guides to help writers. I stepped back and wondered about what I was attempting to do. Why didn’t Good Housekeeping use my story in their magazine? Why didn’t  Ladies Home Journal like my writing? I really wanted some answers. I couldn’t ignore a feeling deep inside that maybe, just maybe, sending my stories to those publications was not what I should have done. This nagging feeling wouldn’t stop and I had to seriously confront it. I was finally convinced that God was telling me that’s not where He wanted my writing to be.

The first article I submitted to a Christian publication was accepted! How’s that for God getting my attention? I started going to Christian writers’ conferences, attending all the workshops I could work into the schedule, and meeting other Christian writers. Well, you probably know the rest of the story: I was published in many different magazines and devotionals, wrote an inspirational newspaper column in a secular venue where I was allowed to quote scripture, and had three nonfiction books traditionally published.

So, when you begin your writing career look to resources for help: writers’ magazines, writers’ conferences, books on the writing craft, and other writers. From personal experience, I suggest that you do not venture into anything until you know what God has in mind for you.

Till next time … keep on smiling.

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