3 Ways to Make Stretching Yourself as a Writer Less Taxing

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!



29 thoughts on “3 Ways to Make Stretching Yourself as a Writer Less Taxing

  1. I’m one of the most self centered people I know. My best friend occasionally looks at me and says, and I quote: “Nnnnnnnnnnn.”
    Which is short, and code, for “You are SUCH a narcissist!!”
    And praying, and waiting for God’s direction.

  2. Thanks for the guest post, Sherri. I believe overall balance is the toughest aspect of the writing world for me. I tend to pour everything I have into one thing at a time: doesn’t sit well in the real world. Working on seeking God’s guidance in this.

    1. Balance is so hard!! I do the same thing all the time. I pour everything in to one thing and neglect the rest–like the housework and laundry. 🙂

  3. Praying for God’s direction. Not because of Him; because of me. I’m impatient. I’m fearful. I’m…I’m…I’m. I get too focused on myself, and forget to ask Him and trust that He’s got my best in mind.

    1. Don’t we all? I’m the world’s worst at being patient. I’ve had to force myself to focus on other things so I don’t lose patience while waiting on something. A watched pot never boils… 🙂

  4. Nice to meet another homeschooling writer! Not that I’m over-booked with guest blogging, but I do tend to jump at every opportunity. It’s a fairly easy thing for me to whip off a blog post, since I used to write for newspapers. I’m sure the trick for me will be to say NO to platform-building opportunities if and when my book is published. My husband/kids/homeschooling always have to come first!

    1. Amen! Keep putting that family first (behind the Lord, of course) and He will bless you with all the opportunities in the world!

  5. Glenda

    Great advice, thank you! I appreciated your comment on not being selfish and to share what we know now as God will give us more to share later.

    God bless.

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed the post. Thank you for stopping by.

  6. Right now, I’d say finding the opportunities is hardest. My writing/marketing time is so limited right now due to having a full-time day job. I have to be careful how much I put on my plate right now.

    Great tips, Sherri. Your cover is beautiful and the story sounds wonderful.

    1. Finding the time to write can be challenging, especially when you work. I have two part time jobs right now in addition to the writing and I have to remind myself constantly to slow down and do things in moderation. Thanks for the compliment about the cover. I think it’s pretty cool. 🙂

  7. Such good advice. And what a pretty book cover!

    This shouldn’t be the hardest, but praying for God’s direction is probably the one I struggle with. Well, the prayer part not so much but the actual willingness to submit to his direction, WHATEVER it is, comes a little harder. 🙂

    1. Thank you so much for the compliment on the cover. I am so in love with it! It is always hard to submit to his direction and even harder to wait for it.

  8. It ALL seems hard! Often, I’m in such a rush to get work done I forget to pray. Or focusing on gaining exposure cuts into my personal writing time. Or I’d rather not be honest and expose myself for free on the Internet… at least putting it in a published book makes it somehow one stepped removed from me. So, every day is a new challenge as I write and seek grace.

    1. You’re so right. Every step is a struggle at times and sometimes some steps seem harder than others. But keep on keeping on. In the end, it will be so worth it. Shine your light, sista!

  9. Well stated, Sherri. Especially about not saving all the good stuff for the Pulitzer … share it now and trust God to provide more. Excellent!

    1. Amen! I find the more I try to hang onto it, the worse it looks to me anyway. 🙂

  10. Joi Copeland

    Thanks for the post. I homeschool and write and often feel overwhelmed. 🙂

    1. Joi, it’s a tough job but somebody’s gotta do it. Right? haha!

  11. Thanks for this post! I struggle with praying for God’s direction, too. I’ve always been one to agree to something right away, without giving it much thought (or prayer), and it’s definitely ended up being stressful. I really want God’s guidance with my writing career, and I know He’s there to give it to me, I just have to be willing to ask and listen. Thanks again!

    1. I struggle with that too. I love the fact that God is there for us to guide us every step of the way and all we have to do is ask him. I’m also glad he gives us grace. 🙂

  12. Carlyn

    The advice you give to “not be selfish” really hits home in life in general, not just writing. Thank you for this post.

    1. Yes, it applies to so many areas of life!

  13. I struggle with praying for God’s direction. I usually take an idea and run with it – later on, when I’m lost, I finally ask God to direct me and I have to back track a lot.

    1. Oh boy, have I done that before! It’s a lot of work on the back end, isn’t it?

  14. I’d say being honest with myself, although I’m getting much better. 🙂

    1. Being honest with yourself can be quite the challenge!

  15. Susan Wilson

    This sounds like really good advice for writers! I am not a writer, but I do respect all of the time and effort that goes into writing a good piece. Thanks for the interview, Sherri and Katie!

    1. Susan, thank you so much for the encouragement!


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