A Guest Post from Sherri Johnson
Lately I have been writing up a storm. I’ve been working on my fourth novel, on interviews of other authors for my blog, and on guest posts for various blogs of writer friends. In the writing world, marketing is equally as important as penning your pieces and it takes a lot of it to gain the right amount of exposure. Therefore, writers must step out of their comfort zones and share bits and pieces of themselves with the world so that the world may know who they are.
Sometimes it’s hard to come up with just the right thing to say, especially if you feel you aren’t an “expert” on a subject. I have come to the conclusion that in order to work on more than one project at a time and to gain enough knowledge to write on something even as a novice, one must be fully stocked in chocolate and be made of elastic. It’s quite easy to face the end of the day with multiple unfinished assignments—and a desktop covered in candy wrappers.
One blog I wrote recently was on grief and another on yellow fever; one on my specialty (Inspirational Romance) and the other on homeschooling (my other specialty). If you’re writing an informational post such as the one I wrote on the plague, it calls for less transparency than in a post on grief but it is more difficult because of the research involved. Romantic fiction posts require heart; homeschooling pieces demand knowledge on the subject and a desire to guide other women. Some writing requires research and some calls you to reach down into the inner recesses of your being to purge parts of you that you may not have shared with others at any other time in your life. All types of writing require time out of your schedule and a lot of stretching—a lot of elasticity.
Here are a few ways to make this stretching easier:
Pray for God’s direction
Opportunities abound in the writing world. You just have to know where to look for them. Once you find them, you will be tempted to volunteer for every opportunity you are given. I have been known to do this in an effort to bring exposure to my books. However, I sometimes bite off more than I can chew and end up with so many writing opportunities that I don’t leave time for writing my novels. I encourage you to pray before you accept any writing assignments (paid or unpaid) to make sure it’s the direction God would have you go.
Be willing to expose yourself
If a writing assignment is one that will require you to expose your tender underbelly, be ready to be transparent. And be ready to have your socks blessed off. When I have opened my heart to others in an effort to bring wisdom and comfort to them, I walk away the one blessed every time.
Be honest with yourself
Maybe you want to write blog posts for every person that asks you because it’s a way to gain expose. Who knows, maybe an agent or a publisher will see your words, right? Let me caution you. If you do not know enough about the subject or your writing is not tight enough to produce a good piece AND if your blog hostess is not super picky about the posts she allows on her blog, you might open a can of worms that’s better left sealed. You want everything you put out there on the Internet to be as professional as it possibly can be. If you’re not an expert on a topic or at least well researched, be honest with yourself and pass up that assignment.
Digging deep into your thoughts and into your heart—the stretching—can be painful at first. Maybe you want to save all the good stuff for your Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. I say “Don’t be selfish. Share it now and God will give you more goodies to share in the future.” You may not feel like it, but you have something to share with the world. Pray about it, be honest with yourself and others, and be ready to stretch.
Let’s Talk: Which of these three takeaways do you have the hardest time with?
Sherri Wilson Johnson is an Inspirational Romance novelist, a speaker, and a former homeschooling mom who loves sharing God with others, while sharing her life experiences with them. She’s giving away an e-copy of her novel, To Dance Once More, to one lucky person who leaves a comment on today’s blog post! So make sure to say hello!