Wednesday, August 28, 2019

The Discipline of Being a Writer—What Does it Take?

by DiAnn Mills @DiAnnMills

Many people long to be a writer. They are avid readers and usually devour everything they can find on the printed page. The art of communicating through the written word fascinates them until they aspire to write. But with the interest comes many questions. The following are a few that may help with your decision.

What kind of education does a writer require for success?

No matter what type of writing, a person needs a strong grasp of English and grammar. Colleges and universities have excellent courses to develop these skills. If need be, a person can take an English/grammar course at a local college. 

In the past, an editor would correct content, spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors, but today's publisher expects a near-perfect manuscript upon submission.

How do I get started?

A writer begins by understanding what he/she wants to write. That can be a difficult process when so many wonderful options are tugging at our hearts. Many times writers work at different genres and types before settling on a niche. The first question to ask is: what do I enjoy reading the most? Successful writers create what they prefer to read. 

How do I learn how to write?

Begin by reading in the genre most suited to you. Study the how-to books to strengthen the craft. Read marketing and promotion books. Explore online blogs, podcasts, websites, and webinars that teach every facet of a writing career.

Research for the best conference(s) that helps the writer reach goals and objectives.

How do I develop a schedule?

Writing is a solitary career. Most of our time is spent behind a computer screen. A person must feel comfortable and look forward to creating.

A writer has five tasks to complete regularly.
  1. Write
  2. Read the bestsellers in the selected genre and study them like a textbook.
  3. Read the how-to books.
  4. Form an active relationship with readers via social media. 
  5. Exercise and nutritionally sound eating           

Where do I find an agent?

A literary agent is a person who contracts with a writer to represent the person in the publishing world for the purpose of selling a manuscript. This person provides a service for the writer. The agent is paid an already designated percentage when the writer is paid. 

The agent must be as passionate about the writing project as the writer.

Agents are found at writing conferences, through a referral from another writer, a directory, or online in one of the multiple ways available. A writer contacts the proposed agent and learns how to properly submit.

Where can I sell my manuscripts?

Publishers are listed in a market directory according to particulars about their publishing house, what they are looking for, many times what they pay, and how to submit. Some publishers require an agent, and some do not.

Self-publishing may be for you. Research what all is needed before gathering a team of professionals to help you.

What if I decide I’m not happy in my current genre, and I want to write something different?

If a writer isn’t happy with the type of writing, investigate how to change. Weigh the pros and cons before jumping into a new field. Seek out professional advice. Make the best decision possible.

What’s the number one job of a writer?

Let God be the boss. Work harder than you ever have before but understand God is in control.

What about you? Do you have a question that is stopping you from writing?


DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She creates action-packed, suspense-filled novels to thrill readers. 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. 

She is the director of the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference, Mountainside Marketing Retreat, and Mountainside Novelist Retreat with social media specialist Edie Melson. Connect here:


  1. DiAnn, excellent outline of what it takes. Too many people think, "I can write a book," and set out to do so with no preparation.

    1. Thanks, Richard. We have to develop our craft to be successful.

  2. This is a wonderful message. Thank you so much. Amen. "Let God be the boss. Work harder than you ever have before but understand God is in control." :-)

  3. Thanks, Melissa, life and writing is so much easier when we understand who's the boss.