Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Ten Questions to Ask Before You Decide to Become a Writer

by DiAnn Mills @DiAnnMills

I love to say I’m a writer.

I love to say I’ve written.

I love to see my name on a book cover.

But I really wish someone had asked me ten questions before I delved into the wild, zany world of a writer.

1. Do I have what it takes to become a successful writer? A person may have the gift of communicating through the written word. However, to sell and publish means learning how the craft is done properly.

2. Am I ready to spend the hours alone writing and learning about the craft? Extroverted people have more of a difficult time adhering to a solitary profession than introverts. The art of writing demands quiet hours where the mind is engaged in absorbing information and transforming ideas into a nonfiction or fiction manuscript.

3. Can I discipline myself to set goals? This is a biggie. One who works at home has to draw boundaries for him/herself, family, and friends. Begin realistically with what needs to be accomplished then put the plan to paper and on to action. I have “stickies” on my Mac to show what needs to be done and when.

4. How can I become organized in every aspect of a writer’s world? A filing system is essential. Most of a writer’s files are kept online in folders and subfolders. Read books on organization, from time management to studying the tutorials on your computer. If this is confusing to you, enlist the assistance of someone who thrives on organization.

5. Will I be able to find the tools to manage and implement social media? The internet is filled with social media experts who can instruct you and recommend specific bloggers and resources to make this part of your writing career manageable. Edie Melson is an expert on social media. This blog is a priority for me every day!

6. What do I know that will help or entertain readers? Writers offer readers a service to either provide information or entertain or both. Your life experiences, passion, and core beliefs will guide you to your expertise. Writers use blogs and social media to reach out to others. No matter what we write, it’s about reader satisfaction. Never about ourselves.

7. How do I find the best writer groups? Ask! Reach out to writers whom you admire and respect. Look for them on social media and send a message. The professional writer is aware of writer groups, both online and face-to-face, that are beneficial and offer means for growth and giving to others.

8. Where do I learn about the publishing business? Again, pose this question to writers whom you value. This doesn’t mean you are asking the writer to explain the publishing business, but it does mean you’re asking for websites and bloggers who know their stuff.

9. What publications will best help me reach my writing goals? Research what’s best for you. For the last nearly 20 years, I’ve subscribed to Writer’s Digest. The magazine has always proven to be a well-rounded source of instruction and inspiration for the writer. Romance Writers of America include the RWR - Romance Writer’s Report in their membership. The magazines are out there. Simply ask for a reference from other writers.

10. Is it wrong to want to write a bestseller? All writers have goals, and yours may be to hit the bestseller list. Go for it! Read those titles and study them. These novels are the best of the best. Figure out why.

Obviously no one asked me these questions when I realized I had to write. Even if I’d been presented with the above questions, I’d have ignored them and strapped on my writing boots. Perhaps they’ll help you to make the big decision: to write or not to write. Can you ignore the passion?

10 Questions to Ask BEFORE You Decide to Become a Writer - via @DiAnnMills on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

10 Questions best-selling author @DiAnnMills wishes she'd been asked BEFORE she became a writer (Click to Tweet)

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She combines unforgettable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels. 

Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. Library Journal presented her with a Best Books 2014: Genre Fiction award in the Christian Fiction category for Firewall.

DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers; the 2015 president of the Romance Writers of America’s Faith, Hope, & Love chapter; a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and International Thriller Writers. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas. 

DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers on any of the social media platforms listed at


  1. DiAnn Thank you so much for this. I truly struggle with setting goals. I never desired to write. It takes too much time and energy for me. However,I must be obedient to what God has called me to do. A good friend told me "That information is not yours to keep; God gave it to you to share with others..Get it done" This blog, along with other sources of information has been an encouragement to me. I would appreciate prayers to "Get it done."

  2. Excellent post, DiAnn! I've been talking with a young girl at my grocery store about this. Yesterday, she saw me and hurried over to tell me she typed "The End" on her 90,000 word novel. I was so excited for her. She's sticking the course. :)

  3. Great post, DiAnn! All important things to think about and ask yourself before you enter into this feast or famine world of writing. Thanks.

  4. Cherrilynn, I so value your honesty. Perhaps an accountability partner would help you keep on track? Prayers sent your way!

  5. Ane, you are a true blessing to all you meet. Thanks for posting!

  6. Thank you. I'm getting better but organization is still a foreign language.