a href=”http://www.faithhopelove-rwa.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/mills_diann.jpg”>DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She currently has more than sixty books published. 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. DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers; the 2014 president of the Romance Writers of America’s Faith, Hope, & Love chapter; and a member of Inspirational Writers Alive, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and International Thriller Writers. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country. DiAnn is also a craftsman mentor for the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild.
In 1996, my husband said to me, “Stop telling me someday you’re going to write a book. Do it now. Quit your job. I give you one year to get anything published.”I was 46, and my youngest son was a senior in high school. I’d felt the urge to write for the past five years, but I was afraid to get started. Afraid of failure. Afraid I was too old to begin a new career.
I wanted to write. Could taste the words. “I believe in you,”he said.
I accepted the challenge and devised a plan to work smart and effectively. I looked at my writing goals like a full-time job. If I were to reach the ultimate of publication, I’d have to soar to the top of slush pile. My day was organized into writing, studying how-to books, reading in my genre, and exploring what conferences would teach me the most and provide exposure to agents, editors, and other writers. I started a writer’s critique group that met for over ten years. During the first year, I wrote devotions, articles, a short story, and a historical novel. Sure I had a rejections along with publications, but I never went back to my old job. In 1998, my first novel released. Oh, the excitement of tearing into the box of author copies. The cover … the book’s name … my name. A dream come true.
That was 60 books ago. But don’t think it’s been easy. Every novel is a little tougher to write. The characterization must be deeper. The plot’s twists and turns unexpected. The setting more intense. The dialogue and emotion like a sword fight. For me, my two nonfiction books were like clawing my way up a cliff.
I believed God had purposed me to write, and my ministry also meant giving back to serious writers what I’d learned. Obedience is a big thing to God.
Techniques and tools of the craft weren’t immediately drop-shipped into my brain. I experienced lots of deletes and rewrites. Still do! Writing is about hard work and sacrifices.
Your commitment to writing means getting started now. The older we get, the more wisdom is packed into our heads. We may need to organize our time and develop a writing space while learning how to professionalize our work. Let others know you’re entering a new career, a special interest that’s not just a hobby. Join a writer’s group, and put your work out there to be critiqued.
Coretta Scott King said, “I learned that when you are willing to make sacrifices for a great cause, you will never be alone.”
Are you allowing age to hold you back from reaching your writing goals? Be courageous and toss off those shackles. Now is the time to begin your writing dream.
If you’ve enjoyed this blog, please come back Thursday for Part II.