My Two Cents Worth

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By Lillian Duncan

I thought I’d give my two cents worth of advice to new and/or unpublished writers today. So here goes:

Practice! The only way to get better at something is to practice! I just read that it takes 10,000 hours to become proficient in a skill-any skill! That’s a lot of practice. And that means you must be willing to write books that will never be published. It’s how we practice.

Be willing to learn! Listen to other writers, especially published writers. They already took the journey you’re on. They are still on that journey as well. Successful writers continue to learn and work on improving their writing forever!

Being a writer isn’t just about writing! It would be great if all we writers had to do was write. But life doesn’t work that way. Besides learning the craft of writing, you need to learn about marketing, social media, and s slew of other things.

Don’t give up! It took me 15 years of writing to get a contract from a traditional publisher. And now, I’ve had six contracts! If I did it so can you. Of course, there were many times I gave up during those long, long years, but I always started up again.

Never make your writing more important than your relationships! It’s way too easy for us to become completely consumed by our writing. Don’t let that happen. Our relationships with family and friends are important. And even more important is our relationship with God. Make the time for relationships and not just for your writing.

Speaking of advice, one of the first pieces of advice I was every given about writing was to write what you know. As a suspense and mystery writer, I’ve ignored that advice for the most part. After all, I’ve never been involved in a real life murder, a mystery, or any type of police investigation. The closest I’ve ever come was when my dad accidently shot himself in the ankle, but that’s a story for another day.

But I’m happy to announce I finally took that advice. “Deadly Communications” is about to be released. It features a crime-fighting speech pathologist! That was my “day job” for more than 30 years. I hadn’t planned on writing a story featuring a crime-fighting speech pathologist, but as writers are prone to do, I was sitting daydreaming and had a vision of a young woman running through the woods and into ongoing traffic. The whole story came together in one sudden flash.

I thought it would be difficult to create a character so similar to myself. In fact, a lot of “writing experts” warn against it. Their reasoning being if the character is too much like yourself or somebody you know, you’re less likely to make bad things happen to them. I rather enjoyed putting Maven in all sorts of jeopardy.

So, I guess published writers really do know what they’re talking about!

Lillian Duncan is a multi-published author who lives in the middle of Ohio Amish country with her husband, two parrots, one Jack Russell, and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel she’s thinking of renaming Clifford since he keeps growing and growing and….

Deadly CommunicationsShe worked as a speech pathologist in the public schools for over thirty years. Whether as an educator, a writer, or a speech pathologist, she believes in the power of words to transform lives. especially God’s Word.

Lillian writes fast-paced mystery and suspense books with a touch of romance that demonstrates God’s love for all of us. To learn more about Lillian, visit her at or She also has a devotional blog at

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