Achieving the Next Level

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by Kathy Harris

Let’s talk about transitions. Not transitional words – like but, and, either, and or – but the kind of transitions that take our writing to the next level.

On Sunday afternoons, I often tune into Motivational Coach Micheal Burt’s radio show. Coach Burt recently spoke about transitions. Any of us who have experienced a transition, in or outside of our writing life, can attest to the fact that they can be difficult, sometimes scary, and even disorienting.

By definition, a transition is a passageway, a tunnel between phases in our lives. And, while there may be a light at the end, we don’t always see exactly where we’re going. Or how we’re going to get there.

As a beginning writer, we experience a major transition when we make the decision to explore our talent. To show our work to others for the first time. Or to enter a contest and open ourselves up to criticism.

Then, as more-experienced, yet still unpublished writers, we submit our words to agents and editors, risking rejection, disappointment, even discouragement. Still, we know, if we want to become a published author, our determination must be bigger than our fears.

One day we reach the goal. Our debut novel releases! Now, what do we do next? Many of us set our sights higher, hoping to transition into full-time writing. But, even though we may have discovered our voice, hit our stride in plotting and character development, and picked up a few fans along the way (hopefully, some of those are acquisitions editors – remember, dreaming is a major part of any transition) that’s not an easy accomplishment.

The publishing industry is a moving target, in its own state of transition, with corporate buyouts, editorial trends, and budget fluctuations. It seems we must continually readjust our writing career GPS. (Rerouting – ugh!)

Yet, despite all of this, one thing remains constant: our desire to serve the Lord through our words. And, no matter what changes are looming in our lives, if we keep our eyes (and our hearts) focused on that ultimate goal, we’ll never lose our way.

(Author’s note: If you are in need of a writing coach or related help in achieving the next level in your writing, check out ACFW’s resource center (for ACFW Members only) at

Kathy Harris is an author by way of a “divine detour” into the Nashville entertainment business. Her debut novel,
The Road to Mercy, was released by Abingdon Press in September. She regularly interviews literary and music guests on her blog at

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