Monday, March 13, 2023

Four Steps to Advance Your Writing Career

by Lilka Raphael @Lilka_Raphael 

The journey of a writer is rarely a sprint to success. Instead, it is most often the culmination of steps along the way. With each step taken, we learn more and eventually gain the courage and confidence to step boldly to obtain our goals. My journey began out of curiosity about blogging and progressed to self-publishing. I’m now working on proposals to submit to agents and editors. What was once terrifying to me, I now view as a professional progression. I’ve compiled four steps that have allowed me to persevere and grow as a writer.

Take a class. 

Creative Writing classes are often the first classes curious writers explore. Unlike myself, you may be so gifted and talented that you may not see the need for one. However, I have found that coming together with like-minded people is invigorating. Grammar, mechanics, and editing classes may also be helpful and are available online. These classes taught me how to organize and refine my work.

If you don’t see a need for these courses, you may benefit from a class on the business of writing. Writing is a business. If you want to gain revenue from your efforts, you will need to learn the ins and outs of publishing. From blogs to New York Times bestsellers, many steps along the way allow opportunities to monetize your writing. Even if you desire to self-publish, you must learn how to manage that process and determine which kind of self-publishing model is appropriate for you. 

Attend a conference. 

This does expound on the first step, yet the benefits are exponential. Most conferences offer courses geared toward first-time writers to advanced marketing techniques for professional authors. Writers’ conferences also provide insight into writing venues and opportunities you may know nothing about. One of the things I learned last year at the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference (BRMCWC) was the amount of income possible through writing articles. I’d never considered article writing, even though I read dozens of them daily. Online publishing is an ever-expanding stream of opportunity.

Conferences also offer insight into other elements of writing vital to success such as social media and platforms. Having a good understanding of these things and how to implement them determines who sees your words. Edie’s class on social media challenged me to define my writing. Who is my audience? What is the end goal? Is it make money or fulfill God’s purpose? 

I was fortunate to attend the Asheville Christian Writers Conference in February. I listened to successful authors who were humble and kind enough to recount their trials and frustrations as they forged their paths. My years of attending the Atlanta Writers Conference prepped me for my first huge conference—the BRMCWC. It takes place at the end of May and was unlike any other conference I’d attended. 

The scope and scale were immense. I laughed, worshipped, and met new friends. I also connected with mentors that continue to guide me today. These individuals gave me insight into how to promote my work and gain more experience and exposure. Their honest assessment of my submission taught me to rethink and revise, as necessary. This alludes to the third step required to advance your writing, critique.

Open Yourself to Critique 

Writers’ conferences offer safe, honest feedback about your work. Your family and friends may rave, but having professionals evaluate it based on their publishing experience is priceless. The modest fee charged for critiques by most conferences will confirm that you have a viable idea and let you know if your writing is marketable. 

Years ago, attending a conference was intimidating. I would nervously await each critique when I finally got up the nerve to reveal what I had written. Now, I’m eager for the dialogue. The courage to show someone what you’ve written is critical to improving your writing. The one-on-one time with published authors, agents, and editors that critique as faculty members are great networking opportunities. 

Connect with Writers

As a die-hard introvert, I can attest that the relationships I’ve made with other writers have helped me immensely. Not only is it enjoyable to talk to people who get what you do, but accountability partners keep me on task and help me meet my goals. The authors, agents, promoters, and editors I’ve met allowed me accessibility to them I would not have otherwise. Most faculty will review your submitted work faster if you connect with them at a conference. Networking with other authors is vital for an unbiased critique of your work.

If you can’t attend a conference to have your work reviewed, try a critique group. Word Weavers International has chapters practically everywhere. Your local writer’s club is also a great avenue to connect with other authors and join a critique group that will motivate you to keep writing.

Most of us have next steps regardless of where we are on our journey. As we develop our skills, we may go from sporadically publishing articles to writing a commercial bestseller. Some of us may eventually teach the next generation of writers. The craft of writing entails so much more than striking the keys on the keyboard. The business of writing is an ongoing process, and we must consistently develop to reach our audience.


A Florida native, Lilka Raphael has been a licensed pharmacist for over thirty years. Yet, she has learned that the most potent prescriptions are not in bottles. Prayer and persistence are far more effective than any medication she has ever dispensed. Lilka combines her passions for writing, gardening, and photography on her blog, B is for Blessed on WordPress and at

Married thirty years, Lilka and her husband share their abode east of Atlanta with two German Shepherds—Holly and Ivy—and one naughty kitty, Moxie.


  1. Wise words, Lilka! It was a pleasure to meet you pre BRMCWC last year and pure joy to finally meet you face to face at the Asheville conference a few weeks ago. So excited to see you pour into your writing and doing “the next step” on this writing journey. Hoping to see you at Blue Ridge in May to share another hug!

    1. The pleasure was all mine Tammy. I'm doing my very best to see you in May.

  2. Lilka,

    Thank you for this article and from my decades in publishing, there are no overnight success stories. It's a journey for each of us. From my experience, you have pinpointed some critical steps in this process. I look forward to meeting you in May at BRMCWC.

    author of Book Proposals That $ell, 21 Secrets To Speed Your Success (Revised Edition)

  3. Terry, thanks for your kind words. As always, I'm trying to walk it out. I hope to see you in May.