Wisdom from the Writer’s Desk: Five Lessons Learned

ACFWAdvice, Authors and writing, Encouragement, Faith, Learning, tips, writing, writing 4 Comments

by Elle E. Kay

Publishing my twentieth Christian fiction novel this year has been a significant milestone. In
addition to my published works, I have several unpublished manuscripts, one non-fiction book,
and two children’s books. It’s been a long and arduous journey from that first non-fiction title to
my latest novel. There has been much trial and error, with some years being super productive
and others seemingly less so, yet just as crucial to my growth. Over the years, I’ve gathered
some valuable lessons I’d like to share with you.

1. Not Every Tool Belongs in My Toolbox

It’s true. We’re all different, so when we try out new tools, we should tailor them to meet our own needs. For instance, I once took a course with a workbook offered by a fellow inspirational writer. While helpful for many, it didn’t work for me. I spent too much time trying to use it instead of creating. Even customizing it didn’t help. Eventually, I abandoned it for a simple spreadsheet with dates to organize my marketing goals. Having the right tools can save time, but it’s important not to force something that doesn’t work for you.

2. I Have Limitations

Sometimes, I overschedule myself. Knowing I can write 10,000 words in a day, I think I
can finish a book in a couple of weeks. And I can—but it costs me my sanity. I work
better under pressure, but procrastination steals my peace of mind. I often forget about
unexpected life events, like spontaneous outings with my son or helping my daughter-in-
law with the grandkids. It’s crucial to leave room in your schedule for life’s surprises and
maintain a balance between work and personal life.

3. Social Media Can Wait

I often feel the need to respond immediately to every comment, post, and message.
However, most readers aren’t waiting by their computers for a quick reply. They
understand if it takes a few hours or even days to respond. Social media platforms are
designed to keep us engaged, but it’s okay to step away and focus on other things.

4. My Writing Style Doesn’t Have to Be Set in Stone

The plotter/pantser debate is common among writers. Plotters meticulously outline their
books, while pantsers, or discovery writers, write by the seat of their pants. I’m a bit of
both. Some books I outline, others I don’t. Recently, I was working on a book for an
anthology with an outline, but it wasn’t working. I set it aside and started a new book
without an outline, and it flowed much better. Sometimes, creativity needs freedom, and
it’s okay to adapt your writing style as needed.

5. Prayer Needs to Be a Priority, Not a Fallback

Sometimes, I sit down to write and forget to ask the Lord to guide my words. When I take
the time to pray, the scenes often turn out better and more inspired. God knows how to
tell my story, and He provides the necessary inspiration when I seek His guidance.
These are just a handful of the many things I’ve learned through trial and error. I hope
they help you realize that whatever your writing style and whichever tools you use, you
can find a method that works for you. Remember, you’ll never regret taking the time to seek the Lord’s advice before trying something new or before abandoning a tool or
project. God knows what I need, and He knows what you need too.

Elle E. Kay is a romantic suspense author. The Pennsylvania Parks series takes readers on thrilling adventures through Pennsylvania’s beautiful forests. They feature heroes and heroines in perilous circumstances who find love along the way, all while deepening their faith. Elle’s stories offer gripping suspense and engaging romance. Visit her website at https://ElleEKay.com.

Comments 4

  1. Excellent insights, Elle. Thank you so much for sharing.

    By the way, I was born in the Valley Forge area of Pennsylvania and lived there during my early childhood. I love the state!

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