Hey, Writerly Women. About six years ago, my friend Shannyn Caldwell told me she wanted me to help her write a book. I'd just started my mentorship program (she was my second client), and Shannyn was the co-anchor of the morning show on a Christian station in Detroit where she'd had me on a bunch of times so of course I told her absolutely I would.
Um ... what she sent me was actually a collection of journal entries, and to be fair, she did exactly what you're supposed to do when you write in a journal: ignore punctuation and grammar and sentence structure. The writing was very creative ... especially when it came to spelling, if you take my meaning. But, the story. Oh, my gosh, ladies, the story. The STORY of her healing from losing both of her parents in a tornado, after only recently going through a devastating divorce, was so compelling it had to be told. Shannyn and her husband scraped together the funds and Shannyn, determined to do what she so clearly felt called to do, wrote and rewrote, revised and re-revised until Healing Season was self-published.
Self-publishing was the logical choice for Shannyn because she had an active speaking ministry and shortly thereafter became the morning co-anchor for the nationally syndicated Family Life Radio. And now, these half dozen years later? Shannyn just reported to me this morning that the Healing Season is becoming a Holistic Wellness Community. Shannnyn is a certified holistic nutritionist, she will be a Traditional Naturopathic Doctor by the new year, and a PhD in the philosophy of Natropathic Meedicine by age 50 is the final educational goal.
So is it any wonder she was invited onto Holy Spirit Broadcast Network?
And asked to speak at the Grand Hotel in ... I assume Detroit (I neglected to ask her that part)
Why am I telling you all this? Because when Shannyn knew she had to make a transition, when the call to write that first book wouldn't leave her alone, she made an investment. If I recall, there were some financial sacrifices involved, as well as some time squeezes. She had two active kids at home. A husband. A full-time job. The fact that Shannyn was and continues to bear a strong resemblance to the Energizer Bunny notwithstanding, that's impressive. It all started with a willingness to invest.
Let me be clear: this is not a call-out for you to sign up for my mentorship program! YOUR investment doesn't have to be that. There are other ways to mark the fact that your writing, your ministry has significance. It's sort of like buying a good pair of cross trainers to show that you're committed to your fitness program. Or purchasing the best paint brushes you can afford to make the statement that you consider yourself a serious artist. Or knitting your boyfriend a sweater ... okay, maybe not that. You get the idea, though, right?
So let's think ... what investment can you make, however small, to move yourself one step through this transition from wherever you are to Writer? To Author of a Completed Book. To Creator of a Series. To Founder of a Movement. To Quiet Leader of an Important Thing. It might look like one of these:
- * a new laptop or tablet
- * a decent Word program
- * a good on-line course in something specific about writing you're struggling with
- * a creative filing system to keep all your stuff in
- a Donald Maass book (I recommend Writing 21st Century Fiction or The Emotional Craft of Fiction or, if you've completed a first draft, Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook)
- a journal for your protagonist
- a babysitter two hours a week just so you can write (and NOT so you can take a nap or get a pedicure)
- a package of colored index cards for plot points
- a fund for take-out on the nights you want to write instead of cook dinner
- a one-time 90-minute session with me for $35 to include a reading of 10 pages of your work; for non-client blog subscribers only. Make a comment and I'll message you with info.
I make investments in my writing on a regular basis, so I don't fall into, "I'm investing in my clients' work. I don't have time for my own." That would be cheating not only myself, but those same clients. I can't expect them to do what I'm not doing. My latest investment is this: my work-in-progress takes place in Concord, Massachusetts. I just booked a research trip there for early October -- 5 days wandering that awesome place, taking notes and pictures and pretending I am my characters. That's a lot of time and a chunk of cash I've been saving up since January. How can I not finish the book, then? See how that works? (I'll have a lot more to add to my Pinterest Board when I come back. )
Will you tell us how you're investing? Or how you plan to? It becomes so much more real when you say it out loud. say it out loud to us.