Guest Blogger: Keith A. Robinson
Special Agent – Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to become a published author. This mission is nearly impossible. But if you follow these instructions, you just might succeed where so many have failed.
I don’t know about you, but when I decided to try my hand at writing over ten years ago, I felt like I had just stepped into a Tom Cruise movie.
Do I have what it takes? I’ve got this great idea, but can I get it down on paper right? Should I even try? What if no one likes it? How do I even go about getting it published?
If you’re a normal human being, you’ve probably wrestled with some of the same questions. (Then again, if you’re a writer, then the label ‘normal’ doesn’t apply. All writers are on the crazy spectrum! Can I get an amen?)
To do the impossible, you’ve got to have help. You have to think like a secret agent and follow instructions. As an “agent” who has walked this path, let me share the knowledge I’ve gleaned. Perhaps it will help you accomplish the “impossible!”
1. You have to have a passion for writing.
Let’s face it. Writing is tedious work. Even just writing this short blog post, I had to write, rewrite, read it, rewrite some more, etc. It takes a long time to get the words just write (oops, I mean, right!). I’ve heard numerous stories of people who start writing, but they just don’t have the drive to keep at it. You have to have a passion for your subject. And when I say ‘passion’, I mean ‘passion’. It has to be something that you constantly think about. Something that just won’t GO AWAY! Writing has to consume your thinking. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a conversation with my wife when suddenly I stop and say, “I just had a great idea for my book!” (She learned long ago to simply roll her eyes and move on.)
2. Writing has to be a calling from God.
This one goes hand-in-hand with #1. God has a purpose for each of us that lines up with our talents and gifts. God will not call you to do something that he hasn’t already gifted you to accomplish. It may turn out to be something you didn’t expect, but you suddenly realize (usually after taking a step of faith) that it is something you really enjoy and have a knack for.
3. Hone your skills as a writer.
Just as agents have to train and hone their skills, so must a writer. Let’s face it, writing is a complex skill. You have to be good at numerous things simultaneously. Here is a short list of skills involved with writing: grammar, sentence structure, flow of a story, pacing, character development, plot outlining, plot development, coming up with interesting ideas, etc. Many authors have to write several books before they really start getting a handle on even half of these things.
4. Get lots of input on your work.
Secret agents need help. Even James Bond had Q and Moneypenny. Inspector Gadget had his niece and her dog. We love our family and friends, don’t we? But sometimes their opinions can be….shall we say, slightly biased. Surround yourselves with people whom you can trust to give you an honest Also, get the help of those in the business. Attend writers’ conferences, hire a professional editor, etc. And don’t just find someone to help you with grammar. You need someone to help you with character development, story lines, etc.
5. You have to be willing to put in the work to get your name out there.
Brand new agents don’t get noticed by the top brass. You have to work your way up. Find your niche audience, and do everything you can to get them to consider your work. Be a vendor at conferences that cater to your niche. Yes, it costs money. But as my momma used to always say, “It takes money to make money.” Besides, if it is truly a calling from God, it isn’t really about the money at all, is it?
Hopefully this post will help make your path a little smoother than my own. Or, hopefully it will at least help you to see what lies ahead so you know what you’re up against. Pray for God’s direction. If he gives you the green light, then work “as unto the Lord”. Let nothing stand in your way. Go do the “impossible.”
Oh, and by the way – this post will self-destruct in five seconds….
Keith A. Robinson has dedicated his life to teaching others how to defend the Christian faith. He is a featured speaker at Christian music festivals and churches, and has appeared on numerous radio shows. Since completing his Origins Trilogy, Mr. Robinson has been working on The Tartarus Chronicles, a new series of action/adventure novels dealing with the topic of world religions and worldviews. When not writing or speaking, Keith is a full-time public school orchestra director at the Kenosha School of Technology Enhanced Curriculum and is a professional violist and violinist. He lives in Kenosha, Wisconsin, with his wife, Stephanie, their five children, and a Rottweiler named Thor. Find him online at apologeticsfiction.com.