A Writer’s World of Impossibilities

When I face the desolate impossibility of writing 500 pages, or completing a multitude of tasks or facing an unknown, difficult situation . . .
a sick sense of failure falls on me.

Me: (What a daunting task! 
Can I ever get it done?
I fear not . . .) 
I know I can never do it.
This happens every time.
Me: (Every single time.
Never fails but the haunting fear of failing hovers
like a bird of prey . . .
assuring me I’ll never get it done!)
Then, gradually, I write one page . . . do one task at a time . . . or reach out for encouragement . . .
Take another step. And another.
One day’s work is all I can permit myself to contemplate,
and I eliminate the possibility of never finishing.
Me: (Smile)
–John Steinbeck

10 Life Lessons We Can Learn From Writing A Novel

Theme: Every novel has a theme, and your life should also. Without God directing your paths, the theme will be missing from your life.

Voice: Every writer has a voice, a way of telling the story that uniquely them. You are also unique. You were created to be different than every other person on Earth. In your writing, you’re encourage to find and develop that voice. In life, develop the parts of you that are unique.

Cut unnecessary parts: When we write, we’re admonished to cut anything in the story that doesn’t move in forward. In our lives, we should also fine tune our priorities by cutting out the things that aren’t important. When you’re spending most of your time on activities that don’t move your life forward, you’ll have business and stress, but at the end of your life, there won’t be any lasting significance to your story.

Strong verbs: Writers are encouraged to replace adverbs and weak verb with strong verbs that say the same thing. Are you developing the strengths in your life or are you focusing on the weaknesses.

Outlining and pre-planning: Not every writer preplans his novel, but every person should preplan his life. Set goals and dreams for your life, and plan how you’ll achieve those goals. Writers who outline know that when the story takes them in unexpected directions, they should change the outline to accommodate it. Life sometimes throws us curves. When it does, just rework your goals to accommodate the changes in your life.

Character Arcs: Main characters in a novel have to have arcs. They have to grow and change throughout the course of the story. What are you doing in your life to grow?

Relationships: Every good novel, even non-romances, has character relationships in it. A good life will develop relationships with others.

Plots and subplots: Not every part of our lives fits in a straight line that makes sense. As in a good novel, our lives will have main plots and subplots that sometimes take us in different direction. The important thing is to make sure a subplot doesn’t take over the story from the main plot. Keep your focus.

Scene and Sequel: Every novel has a series of scenes and sequels. Something will happen. The character will make a decision on what to do next or react in some way. That decision or reaction will determine what happens next. In life, we can’t always control what happens to us. But when events happen we can’t control, the decisions and reactions we make determine what will happen next.

Satisfying Ending: We’ve all read novels that don’t have satisfying endings. No matter how good the novel is, a bad ending can ruin it. We also need a satisfying ending to our lives. We all will die someday. When we do, we’ll meet God. A satisfying ending would be for Him to say, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into my joy.” An bad ending would be for Him to say, “Depart from me. I never knew you.” Which ending do you want?

Top 10 Things That Stop Writers

Here are 10 things that can stop a writer achieved his or her goals.

10. The empty page: Writers frequently have lots of great ideas until they sit in front of their computers and look at an empty page. The way to move past this is to write. Don’t worry about how good the writing or the story is, just get it down on paper.

9. Not editing: Nobody writes a great first draft. If you’re not willing to put a lot of time in editing your book, you’ll never be a great writer.

8. Not learning the business: When writers says they want to write, not fool around with researching books and the publishing business, I know they will fail. Writing is a business, and writers need to have an understanding of that.

7. Don’t Read: If you want to be a writer you have to read a lot. I chuckle when I hear writers say they don’t like to read. That’s like musicians saying they don’t like to listen to music. You will learn more about writing by reading than by anything else you can do. 

6. False Humility: False humility will keep a writer from going anywhere. This is the writer who says they don’t really care if they ever get published or paid, they just want to touch someone with their writing. It’s a lot easier to touch someone with a commercially published novel. More people will read it.

5. Prideful Attitude: The other side of the pride coin is a writer who believes he doesn’t need to improve. These are the writers who won’t listen to other people because they don’t want to “lose their voice”. Every writer needs to put away her pride and listen to how she can improve her writer, particularly if it’s an experienced writer or editor advising her.

4. Listening To Other People: Don’t listen to everyone’s opinion or you’ll go crazy. Find a few people you trust to give you advice, and listen to your own instincts. Also don’t listen to people who feel the need to tell you how hard it is and that you’ll never make it.

3. Not Honing Your Skill: If you want to be a writer, you’ll need to hone your skills. You can do that through reading books similar to yours, reading writing books, improving your vocabulary and grammar skills, finding critique partners, and going to conferences. There’s also some great writing blogs out there – like this one.

2. Fear of Rejection: If you fear rejection, you’ll never make it as a writer. We all hate to get rejection letters, but it’s part of a writer’s life. Move past your fear, and submit that manuscript.

1. Giving Up Too Easily: This is where a lot of writers fall. It takes a long time to become a published writer. Many writers either give up on ever getting published or they take the self-published route. But there are no shortcuts to success. Many times when I read a self-published novel, I feel sad. The story is good, but the writing is not quite there yet. I wonder how successful the writer would have been if he’d kept working at his craft and didn’t give in to the temptation to take a shortcut to publication. If you want to be a writer, Don’t Give Up!

Dream Big

Writing is a discouraging profession. We’re constantly told not to get our hopes up. Getting published is as unlikely as winning the lottery. Then if we’re fortunate enough to be published, we’re reminded that most novels sell less than 1,000 copies. If we do sell more than that, we’re admonished to not quit our day job because very few writers ever make enough to support themselves.

Christian writers have is worse. If they dare to dream big, they’re told they are pursuing worldly success instead of keeping their eyes on God.

Yet Scripture tells to believe that nothing is impossible with God. So what are we to do? We should follow the same steps anyone would follow, writer or not, when God gives them a dream.

Dream Big: Don’t put limitations on God. If you knew that after hard work and perseverance you would succeed, what dreams would you pursue? What dreams has God placed in your heart that are God sized? Every dream will be different. One person’s dream may be for one person to be touched by his writing that nobody else can reach. Another might be reaching for publication. Still another person might be looking for a career in writing that we’ll enable her to quit her day job. No dream is wrong when God is the one who put the desire there. Pray about it and make sure it’s God. But if He placed the desire there, run with it.

Psalm 37:4-5 Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.

Write Down Your Dreams & Visions: After you’ve decided what you desires are, write them down. Keep the list somewhere that you can refer to often like the refrigerator. Then work toward those dreams. Do your part so God can do His.

Habakkuk 2:2-3 Then the Lord answered me and said: “Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, It will not tarry.

Pray: Ask God for the desires and dreams He’s given you. Remember, God can do what no man can.

John 5:14-15 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.

Speak It In Faith: No matter how long it takes, no matter who has a discouraging word, no matter what the statistics say, don’t allow your faith to waiver. Speak your faith and act on it.

Mark 11:22-24  So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.

Do Your Part: This means that you will obey God even when it seems like you’re going in the wrong direction. It also means you’ll work hard to learn your craft and to write what God has given you. And no matter how tough things get, Don’t Quit! Most agents and publishers admit successful authors aren’t the ones who write the best, they’re the ones who won’t quit and won’t take no for an answer. If you do your part, when the timing is right, God will open the doors.

Revelation 3:7 … When I open a door, no one can close it. And when I close a door, no one can open it.

Don’t Give Up! Encouraging Quotes

If you’ve ever let rejection discourage you or you’ve ever felt like giving up, here’s some quotes you should write on index cards and tape everywhere.


“Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goal. My strength lies solely in my tenacity.”

Louis Pasteur


“If you are going through hell, keep going.”

Winston Churchill


“Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go.”

William Feather


“Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.”

Dale Carnegie


“Never give up on what you really want to do. The person with big dreams is more powerful than one with all the facts.”



“When the world says, ‘Give up,’ Hope whispers, ‘Try it one more time.’”



“Never give in, never give in, never; never; never; never – in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense.”

Winston Churchill


“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.”

Ambrose Redmoon


“A ship in port is safe, but that’s not what ships are built for.”

Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper


“When there is no wind … ROW!”

Latin Proverb


“Fall down seven times, get up eight.”

Japanese Proverb


“Never give up. And never, under any circumstances, face the facts.”

Ruth Gordon


“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


“Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.”

Dale Carnegie


“Never Give Up! Never, never, never, never give up. Never!”

Winston Churchill