On writing

laura teacher note on writing bestPeople often ask me questions about writing. They request writing and publishing advice. I usually say I’m a poor resource as I came in the back door of the publishing world with no agent, no web presence, no writing contacts, etc. I’d never even attended a writers conference. I simply spent 40 years writing my heart out. And despite my desire to just write for myself, The Frontiersman’s Daughter was published in 2009.

Recently I found my first diary in which my penmanship and spelling are atrocious:) One childish entry said, “I am writing a book.” That was it. No explanation or elaboration. I have no memory of that book though my mother does. I’m telling you this because I believe writers are born, not made. At least the best writers. I am not one of them. Exquisite writing is a gifting, in my opinion, like hair or eye color or height. You don’t pick your gifts, usually. If I had, I would have been a professional ballet dancer or a violinist.

My advice is simple. Write your heart out. Read lots of books, preferably writers who write better than you. Write the book you wish you could read but can’t find on the shelf. Don’t do like I did and throw the first draft in the drawer and call it good. It isn’t! Rewrite your heart out. Then rewrite it again…and again…and again. Polish it till it shines. Only when it’s the absolute best you can do do you submit it to an agent or enter a contest.

Unlike many authors, I like to live quietly and just write, staying away from media hype. I don’t have a critique partner. I have never entered a contest. I remember, being new to publishing, the shock I felt when I discovered that authors enter themselves in contests. While I don’t find fault with others for submitting their writing, I cannot do it. Early on, my publisher entered my work in contests, primarily the Carol and Christy Awards. Gracious readers entered my novels in the Inspy Awards. While I deeply appreciate that, I  feel that my books, the work of my head and heart, should speak for themselves. They don’t need the added icing of awards and accolades. For me, personally, it diminishes the work and takes my eyes off the Creator who the gift should glorify.

If writing and publishing are for you, doors will open. And if they don’t, be thankful they stayed shut.

Happy reading ~ and writing.

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