I’m going to ‘fess up to something: For years, I was a proud writer, and I don’t mean proud in a good way. I mean the kind of proud that says, “I’m right, I can do it, and I don’t need any help.”
You know… the same kind of pride 3-year-olds exhibit when they defiantly announce, “I do it myself,” and then proceed to put their shoes on the wrong feet, their shirts on backward, and their pants on inside out. That kind of “proud.”
I just turned in my third (yes, third… go ahead, laugh!) round of edits on my novella, “Santiago Sol,” which will be published by Pelican Book Ventures as part of their Passport to Romance collection. If I ever find myself in the same room as my editor, I will probably hide behind the nearest potted plant and hope she doesn’t notice me.
In addition, I self-published a Christmas novella with a group of other authors this month, an opportunity for which I am insanely grateful. Yesterday I uploaded what must have been my sixth revision to Amazon, as readers (including my parents) have graciously pointed out the errors they’ve noticed and I’ve scrambled to make corrections.
These humbling events have reinforced a belief which I only came to hold after I joined ACFW: Writing is not a solitary sport. For a writer to become everything God has called him or her to be, it takes a village. Sure, your actual writing—putting the words on the page in some semblance of order—is generally done alone (for which we are thankful), but everything else in the process can (and in some cases must) include others, from brainstorming to plotting to revising, from editing to proofreading to reviewing.
I have a writing friend who is the undisputed queen of brainstorming titles, a gift which I lack. Another friend has a knack for seeing me through plot problems after I’ve written myself and my characters into a box canyon. I have writer friends who encourage me when I think I should just quit and get a “real” job… oh, wait, I have one now, and I still can’t quit writing! And I have other friends who offer constructive criticism in the form of critiques, and more who can pick out my particular writing weaknesses and faithfully correct them without making me feel like a loser. (For writers whose love language is “words of affirmation,” this is a particularly important gift!)
Now that I’m involved in the traditional publishing process, the population of my village has increased yet again. There’s a publisher who sees enough potential she’s willing to take a financial risk on my writing ability, and an editor whose assigned job it is to bring my story up to the publisher’s standards, find all my errors, and help me turn my story into something that’s better than I could have created on my own. Sure, I had the idea, and came up with the characters, but for my story to become the best it can be, I need help. LOTS of help.
Back when I first started writing, I never imagined myself needing a team to accomplish my goals as an author. That attitude was an indication of my immaturity and lack of experience. Today, I’m always on the lookout for more teammates, from editors to critique partners to beta readers to influencers to prayer warriors.
Do you have a team? Are you missing a few key players? (I will studiously refrain from any mention of the Broncos here…) I encourage you to pray and ask the Lord to show you where to find your particular team members, the individuals best suited to help YOU fulfill your God-given assignment to write. In my opinion, one of the greatest benefits of being part of an organization like ACFW is that it provides an instant network of potential teammates. (Yes, that’s a shameless plug for ACFW membership and participation, and I’m not sorry!)
I hope each and every one of you have a full team to support your writing journey. If you’re still looking, let me know. I’ll do whatever I can to help you connect with other like-minded writers within our glorious state. Blessings (and GO TEAMS!)
ACFW Colorado Area Coordinator