I’m just wrapping up the second session of my online writer’s workshop, Awaken the Writer Within, and I now have the pleasure of reviewing the submissions from my talented students! For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been enjoying the stories they have shared with me and have been busily typing up my comments and feedback for them.
I’m always gratified to see what a group of gifted souls can create with just a little encouragement. As I think back upon the last few months, I realize how accurate the course title is! I didn’t create these writers, but through my teachings, I awakened the gift that they already possessed.
How did I do that?
Unlocking creativity of any kind requires a dash of inspiration, a big dose of confidence, and the support of like-minded individuals.
We all have a story to tell. It might be something life-changing experienced first-hand, or a profound idea that we are burning to share. We might simply want to make people laugh or provide an escape from reality through our writing. But what stops most of us from putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard)? Why isn’t everyone a writer?
After working with hundreds of writers, I know what it takes to turn your dreams of writing into reality.
Here are some insights I’ve gleaned over two sessions of Awaken the Writer Within. I hope they’ll provide inspiration to the would-be writers who are reading this:
Believe in yourself, and your story.
It’s wonderful to be able to share something that matters to you with the world. When I wrote my first book, the #1 New York Times bestselling Talking to Heaven, I believed in my message about the afterlife so deeply that my book practically wrote itself. And it obviously resonated with a whole lot of other people too! If what you have to say is meaningful to you, chances are it will be to someone else. Don’t second guess yourself, and don’t try to copy another author’s style or subject matter. I find that the most compelling manuscripts come from students who are confident and passionate about their message.
Be disciplined about your writing.
When I started writing Talking to Heaven, I couldn’t wait to sit down every day and write. I got in the habit of working in the same place at the same time each day, and I didn’t stop until I had completed at least a few solid pages. I kept that habit up through over a dozen books, and I encourage my students to set an appointment with themselves each day to write. If you’re easily distracted by the many items on your to-do list, I encourage you to keep yourself accountable with a daily log, or by finding a buddy who will check in on your progress.
Draw the reader in with details.
Once you’ve decided what to write about and have a dedicated space where you can create your masterpiece, it’s time to focus on something very important – your reader! Draw them into your story with descriptions and vivid details, and make sure the chapters hold together without gaps. As you review your work, look for areas that might raise questions in the mind of your reader, and be sure that your writing compels them to keep on reading.
Consider your publishing options.
There are so many ways to share your work. You can go the traditional route of finding a publisher, or you might consider self-publishing either a physical book or an e-book. You can even start a blog and release a chapter a week. The publishing world has changed, and with modern technology, you are fortunate to have many options that did not exist when I was getting started.
Do you have a story or message that you are longing to share? Don’t let self-doubt stand in your way! The next session of Awaken the Writer Within will be coming up in a few months. Create an outline or start journaling now, and keep your eyes on your inbox for details about the next live course.