Tuesday, November 9, 2021

You are a Word Artisan

by Cindy K. Sproles @CindyDevoted

It was 2004. Eva Marie Everson stood on the stage at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. She lifted her hands for everyone to stand. We complied. Then she said, “Raise your right hand and repeat after me. I. Am. A. Writer.”

I’ll never forget that. It was the first time I had affirmation that my dream to write would and could be a reality. After all, when I attended my first conference, all I was looking for was that very affirmation. Was my dream to be a writer silly, or did it have validity—legs to begin the walk?

So often, we fail to take our desire to write seriously. It’s okay for it to be a hobby, but writing to really become a career…pppffffttt. Many aspiring writers attend that first conference with lofty dreams, yet the reality of what goes into becoming a writer doesn’t click. Becoming a writer certainly does entail being a dreamer. Nothing would ever happen without the vision, but much more is required to take a writer from hobby to career. 

Steps to Move From Hobby to Career

Your heart: “My heart!” You may quip. “What’s heart have to do with it?” Well, a lot. Let’s define what I mean by heart. Your desire. Your decision of how to write and how to use what you write. Your decision on how you will receive and give criticism, accept praise, keep a willing heart to learn and teach. All these things define your attitude toward a career in writing. The most successful writers have maintained a balance between continued learning and teaching. Keeping a teachable heart and a willing spirit truly makes a difference in a serious writer or someone who is simply searching for a fast route to fame. By the way, publishing is one of the slowest industries, so if you are looking for a fast track, publishing is anything but speedy when done correctly.

Accepting you are an artisan: As a writer, it’s time to take your career as a craft. Just as a glassblower, a painter, or a potter are all artisans, so is the writer. What makes you an artisan? First, you must learn your craft. A glassblower doesn’t blow a perfect pitcher on their first try. There is an art to learning how to blow glass. Likewise, with the painter or the potter. Each artisan must work long, hard hours to learn and master the craft they pursue. 

Writing is a skill and for those who take it seriously, learning this skill takes years. Short of self-publishing work yourself, the published author works several years before they land a traditional publishing contract. Why? Because they must master the craft. Tries, submissions, contests, losses, and rejections. I choose to look at my failures as a ladder to success. Every work is not award-winning. The piece may be excellent but not award-winning. Failure to win a contest does not a writer make. Instead, failures groom us into stronger writers, both personally and professionally. 

We live in a world where everyone wants a prize simply for showing up. The truth is, we need to learn the skill of failing. Yes, it’s a skill. We can either fall apart at a loss or take that loss and learn from it. Our failures are not a sign of weakness or even a sign of worth. They are, in fact, a tool that helps us grow. Back in the day, authors used to keep a file of rejection letters. This was when you submitted manuscripts yourself. Today, our work filters through an agent who emails it and receives email responses. Long gone are the file folders of rejection letters. I miss that because I could glean back through the letters and see my growth through the level of rejections. Some stated the work was not ready, others that they loved it but currently had similar projects already in play. The point was, there was a progression I followed. 

Remain humble: Nothing makes a writer any prouder than to see their work in print. There’s nothing wrong with sharing those successes, but we appear arrogant, cocky, and annoying when excitement overtakes our humility. Be a gracious writer. Share your accomplishments with humility and show thankfulness and kindness. 

The book of Exodus names specific artisans and their trades. It describes how their talents were used and shared back to the Tabernacle. I love this because it shows how God gifted skills and abilities to individuals and how they could return a portion of their gifts for use in the kingdom. It gave a particular esteem to their skill. Just as Eva said, you are a writer. A dreamer. Perfect for the job. You are a wordsmith—a forger of words, unique and special in God’s kingdom.

You are a writer because you choose to be. You are an artisan because God chooses to call you an esteemed craftsman. Make every effort to put forth your best work. Command the craft. Share your knowledge. Write as an artisan.


Cindy K. Sproles is an author, speaker, and conference teacher. She is the cofounder of Christian Devotions Ministries and the executive editor for christiandevotions.usand inspireafire.com. Cindy is the lead managing editor for SonRise Devotionals and also Straight Street Books, both imprints of LPC/Iron Stream Media Publications. She is a mentor with Write Right and the director of the Asheville Christian Writers Conference held each February at the Billy Graham Training Center, the Cove, Asheville, NC. Cindy is a best selling, award winning novelist. Visit Cindy at www.cindysproles.com.


  1. Thank you, Cindy and Eva. I do write, and I struggle with the idea of working regularly enough to add another vocation to my fifty-seven years of employment. But God...

    I’m so glad to know you and the encouragement you both live for other writers.

    1. Warren, I started writing when I was in my 50s. I was 64 when my first book was published. Don't give up! If you write, you're a writer.

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    3. Ane, I was the last of our little group to be published. We all pushed forward, through the rejections. Now look.

    4. Warren, you are a writer.. and a good one at that.

  2. beautiful encouragement and reminder! Thank you.

  3. Cindy, I appreciate your emphasis on dedication and humility. It takes both.

    1. It does take a steady balance. Or I think it does.

  4. I loved this. What a great illustration of what it takes to become a writer. The effort it takes to get to the light at the end of the tunnel. Cindy, you balanced realty with encouragement. Thank you.

  5. Thank you for encouraging words and wise advice, Cindy.