Saturday, March 2, 2024

3 Transitions Every Writer Must Face

by Tim Suddeth @TimSuddeth

Around my home in upper South Carolina, spring is beginning to show her face. Trees are budding and daffodils are blooming, hinting that a new season is on its way.

But I’ve traveled around the sun enough times to know what a tease spring can be. Just because the calendar page turns to March doesn’t mean the weather is going to cooperate. March always holds a surprise or two up her sleeve.

But spring will eventually come, and the seasons will change (In the areas of the country that have seasons). The bare trees will produce leaves and buds, the grass will turn green, and the birds will come back. My gray truck will turn yellow, and my hay fever will return.

Ah, welcome back, spring.

Like the seasons, a writer’s journey runs into a number of transitions. Some of them are universal to most writers. Others are more individual.

Three Areas Where Writers Face Transitions

  • 1. Type of media

I’ve written many times about the dilemma I encountered when I decided to become a writer. They say the devil is in the details. I knew I wanted to write but write what? Blog posts, devotions, books, novels, board books, articles, YA, scripts, podcasts, screenplays. Yowzer. And the list goes on. Where should I start?

Having so many options is wonderful, if it doesn’t scare you into racing from the room screaming. I’ve often said that a writer doesn’t have to feel like they are stuck in just one genre. While that’s true, what I didn’t say is that each genre has its own learning curve. Each time you take on a different form or genre, you’ll run into new rules and advice you’ll need to learn.

I think I was like many new writers and expected myself to know it all at the start. Obviously, that’s not how it works. Learning a new media or genre is like learning about a house you plan to buy. You have to go inside. Open the closets. Turn on the faucet. Pick up the rugs.

One tip I’ve seen regarding choosing what to write is to look at what you read or watch. What brings you the most enjoyment, and what makes you shudder? I’ve written shorter pieces and novels, but thinking about doing a podcast makes me break out in hives. It could happen. It’s important that we keep an open mind about new opportunities. But going on camera would require quite a bit of preparation for me. I have a face that’s great for print.

  • 2. Growth

The more you write, the more you learn. I read a lot of writing books, watch podcasts, and go to conferences, but none of these can replace time in chair, staring at the page or screen.

When we were in school, we worried all semester about the paper we were assigned and dreaded the all-nighter we had to do. It never occurred to me or my friends to write the paper ahead of time. Or even to write multiple drafts. Aren’t all-nighters a major part of college, anyway?

There are so many steps to becoming a better writer. Becoming is such a key word here. The more we learn and grow, the farther we see we need to go. One of the first steps—a huge, scary step—is when we let someone else read our baby, our first, first draft. We watch their expressions. (Tip-Never watch someone read your work. It will send your emotions on a loopy roller coaster ride.) And we wait to hear them say our writing is better than our favorite author’s. (Tip 2-Your favorite author has probably written several books and had their story go through multiple editors.) 

Don’t compare your first draft to a book on the shelves at Barnes and Nobles. You may get there. But it takes time.

  • 3. The Process

Whenever I see a writer being interviewed, the question always pops up, what is your process? And everyone who is hoping to become THE WRITER leans up, turns to a fresh page in our notebook, and pays extra close attention. This may be the process that I need. Maybe this will make me famous and successful.

I’m not famous. I have a long way to go to get where I want to be. But I’m on the journey. And from my experience, and from what I’ve heard from more established writers, there is no one process that will make you successful.

Well, that’s not necessarily true. There might be, in fact probably is, a process that will work for you, but you have to find it. What works for Mrs. Published Author or Miss Top Blog might be a disaster for you. All four of my manuscripts have required different methods to get to those magical two words, The End. And the process for book number five looks totally different from them.

Even when you find a process that works, be prepared for it to change. Why? Because life changes. The daily demands that tug at you will change. Even good transitions—marriage, having a child, having another (and another?), job promotions—mean change to the process.

Becoming a writer is so exciting and rewarding. Writers have the ability to touch so many lives. Lives that may not be open to anybody else. We also get, during this writing journey, to learn more about ourselves.

Calling writing a journey is an appropriate description. Like all journeys, it will have its up and downs. There will be times of challenges and times of growth. Times we’ll only get through because of Him. It’s how we’ll reach our destination, which will look very different from what we expected. But once we get there and look back, what a remarkable view we’ll have.


Tim Suddeth is a stay-at-home dad and butler for his wonderful, adult son with autism. He has written numerous blogs posts, short stories, and three novels waiting for publication. He is a frequent attendee at writers conferences, including the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference and a member of Word Weavers and ACFW. He lives near Greenville, SC where he shares a house with a bossy Shorky and three too-curious Persians. You can find him on Facebook and Twitter, as well as at and

No comments:

Post a Comment