Wednesday, February 8, 2017

6 Ways to Find Hope as an Aspiring Author in Today’s Industry

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The writing industry has shifted over the past decade or so. There are more options available for today’s aspiring author—therefore, more writers are seeing their books in print. It’s tougher to write books that will stand out in the midst of a crowded market.

If you hope to make a living from your writing, you either have to A) have a part-time job, B) write HUGE bestsellers, or C) become an author-entrepreneur. And did you know that only 1% of the authors whose books are sold in bookstores actually make a living from their books?

Perhaps you’ve grown up with a specific (yet potentially unrealistic) vision of what it would look like to be an author someday—and that vision didn’t include having to engage a readership on social media, the blogosphere, or working hard to prove yourself as a writer.

If this is you, then let me encourage you by telling you to first of all, don’t give up! Be careful that you don’t hold so tightly to that “author fantasy” vision you once held onto that you neglect to take advantage of what could possibly become your writing career.

Now that writers are no longer working in private, we’re in this journey together. Let’s take advantage of these changes and use them to thrust us forward in our writing careers.

Here are 6 ways you can find hope as an aspiring author in today’s industry:

⇢ Find relationships.

Let’s be honest here: I have more writer friends than I have friends in general! But they’re the best kind because they understand where I come from. And do you want to know a little secret?

Relationships will get you further in your career than possibly anything else. (This is why I’m a huge advocate for writing conferences. Don’t go for a contract; go for connections!)

Writing marathon at a coffee shop with my writing friend and fellow YA author, Caroline George. =p

How do you find these relationships?

  • Conferences. (I met my writer friend, Katy Kauffman, at my first conference in 2010. Our debut books released within a month of each other in 2013, and we continue to communicate on a regular basis. That same writing conference—BRMCWC—is our yearly “reunion”.) =)  
  • Critique groups.
  • Online Facebook groups.
  • Social media. (I met my writer friend, Anna Schaeffer, when I discovered her book through social media. Although we don’t see each other often, we regularly communicate; in fact, we’re beginning to meet via Skype weekly to discuss a writing craft book.)
  • The blogging community.
  • Local events—book signings, writing workshops, etc. (My writer friend, Caroline George, and I met when we both heard about another young author in our hometown. We then held a book tour to promote our books.)

⇢ Find encouragement.

I don’t advise that you intentionally seek encouragement, but do put yourself in the right position so you can receive feedback. This feedback should encourage you in your strengths and give you criticism on how to grow in your weak areas. Use the criticism to push you as a writer, and keep the encouragement on hand any time you begin to doubt yourself as a writer.

Encouragement can also be as simple as finding a writer friend who will remind you that your dream is valid—someone who can be the person you call whenever you start to feel discouraged. (Just remember to keep the relationship two-sided! The encouragement and support should be reciprocated.)

⇢ Find community.

Writing can often be a lonely vocation. Thankfully, these industry changes have introduced us to a community of other writers via social media and blogging. Take advantage of this!

Sure, you might want to use your valuable time to write on your book. But by plugging into a writing community, you will receive support, encouragement, and feedback when you come across a roadblock along your writing path. There’s nothing like connecting with other like-minded individuals who share the same writing dream as you do. We need hand to hold along this journey—people who will remind us of why we’re on this journey, people who know our struggles and doubts, etc.

⇢ Find support.

Does your family support you? Your friends? Boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse? If not, tell them how important writing is for you. Let them know that passion is the fuel behind your writing journey and (not necessarily a large income). If it weren't for my parents, I definitely wouldn’t be where I am in my writing career today. It’s because of them that I attended my first conference and met the publisher for my first book, Purple Moon.

⇢ Find time.

Find time to dedicate to your craft. Find time to dedicate to reading. Find time to dedicate to writing. Find time to dream and set goals for your writing career. You can’t hope if you don’t have time to dedicate toward making your dreams come to pass!

⇢ Find refreshment and renewal.

We can only go for so long before we begin to lose fuel. Find opportunities to refuel yourself. Writing can become mentally exhausting. Give your brain (and eyes!) a break.

Spend time with God; find a good book to read; take a bubble path; drink herbal tea; do yoga; take a walk; visit an art museum. If you don’t do this then don’t be surprised when you begin to lose passion and enthusiasm to sustain your writing journey!

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When you start to have writing doubts or lose enthusiasm, how do you find hope to continue along your writing path? Is there anything I left out on this list?



  1. Have you gotten 6 entries for the MMC yet?

  2. One thing that I've noticed for me, is I need breaks. I know a lot of authors are against breaks and say they NEED to write every day, but I find that sometimes taking breaks from writing can be really relaxing. It doesn't consume my mind and I can, just as you suggested, go for a walk or a museum and experience something (experience something so I have more to write about later. ;) )
    I really enjoyed this blog post!

  3. Hello Tessa Emily. I am a Pastor from Mumbai, India and I did write you an email in the year 2013 but today I once again came across your profile on the google and I am reminded of my correspondance with you. Again your blog post gives me an opportunty to get reconnected with you and I am once again blessed and feel privileged and honored to get reconnected with you through your profile on the google. Though I am not a writer but to go through your blog post on six ways to find hope for aspiring author.I love getting connected with the people of God around the globe to be encouraged, strengthened and praying for one another. I have been in the Pastoral ministry for last 37 yrs in this great city of Mumbai a city with a great contrast where richest of rich and the poorest of poor live. We reachout to the poorest of poor with the love of Christ to bring healing to the brokenhearted. We also encourage young and the adults from the west to come to Mumbai to work witih us during their vacation time. We would love to have some writers who are your friends to come to work with us during your vacation time. I am sure you will have good number of live stories to capture in the words form which could be inspirtaion for many. My email id is: dhwankhede(at)gmail(dot)com and my name is Diwakar Wankhede. Looking forward to hear from you very soon. God's richest blessings on you, your family and frienda and also wishing you a blessed and a Christ centered rest of the year 2017.


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