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Something You May Not Know About Writing a Book

By Vickie McDonough

The idea of writing a book sounds fascinating, and many parts of the process are. Research trips rank up at the top of the fun scale. Traveling to a place you may have never visited before and researching a town’s people and history is exciting–and tax deductible for writers. Brainstorming story ideas with friends can also be a lot of fun, as is attending writers conferences and meeting people you’ve chatted with online or authors whose books you’ve read. There can be many high points of a writing career, but the actual process of writing is a lot of hard work.

Once you’ve gathered your story ideas, you begin writing. Coming up with an intriguing beginning can be a real challenge–and we’ve all heard how important the beginning is. Gaining an editor’s interest and selling the book can ride on those first few paragraphs and chapters.

So, you work and rework your wip and make it through the engaging beginning, only to find your middle sagging like a fifty-year-old clothesline. How do you fix that? How do you keep the conflict high enough to maintain the reader’s interest? I’ve heard the best thing to do is kill someone, but not all of us are writing books where we can do that. And my purpose in writing this article isn’t to explain how to handle that, so I’ll move on.

You’re reaching the end of your word count, and you still have twelve threads to tie up. At this point you’re considering leaving some of them hanging and writing a sequel, but that means you’d have to write another whole book. You could go back and delete several threads, but that would entail more rewriting, and frankly, at this point, you’re getting sick of reading your story over and over. How will anyone else like it if you don’t? (Let me just tell you that this is an issue most writers frequently struggle with, even highly published ones.)

Did I mention that writing is hard work?

But it’s also fun and allows you to exercise your creativity. And if you believe that God led you into the writing world, then you’re being obedient to His calling on your life. But I encourage you to seriously consider the sacrifice of your time as you decide if writing is for you.

My family lives on take-out, often for weeks, when I’m on deadline (even boys can get sick of pizza). The house gets picked up but not thoroughly cleaned, and I’ve even had to sacrifice time with my granddaughter because of deadlines.

I’m not telling you to not write, but I do want to encourage to not get caught up in the hype but to prayerfully consider if writing is God’s will for this time of your life. And just because you’re called to write, doesn’t mean you’re called to be published. That’s a hard fact many people will face.

But if you do feel God’s leading, then jump in with both feet. Allow Him to guide you and open doors and be prepared to work hard. In the end, it will all be worth it when He says, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”

Vickie McDonough is an award-winning author of 24 books and novellas. Her books have won the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Contest, Texas Gold, the ACFW Noble Theme contest, and she has been a multi-year finalist in ACFW’s BOTY/Carol Awards. She was voted Third Favorite Author in the Heartsong Presents Annual Readers Contest in 2009. Vickie is the author of the fun and feisty Texas Boardinghouse Brides series from Barbour Publishing. Watch for her new books from Moody Publishers, Texas Trails: A Morgan Family series, in which she partners with Susan Page Davis and Darlene Franklin to write a 6-book series that spans 50 years of the Morgan family. The first three books release this fall. Also, next year brings the release of another new series from Guidepost/Summerside, Pioneer Promises, set in 1870s Kansas.

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One Response to Something You May Not Know About Writing a Book

  1. Nikole Hahn says:

    My husband recently said, “What if you spend all this money and do all this work and nothing ever happens?”

    I shrug. “It’s the life of a writer. It’s a gamble, but a lovely gamble. I feel it’s God’s will for me to write, but to what end I don’t know.”

    Andy Andrews, at Women of Faith, signed my program. When I thanked him for doing the vlog for my website, he wrote above his signature, “Persist.” A writer should persist as a Christian should persevere.