One hour after an email from my literary agent arrived (telling me three of the five publishers to whom he pitched my book proposal said no in the same day), I received an email asking me to speak at the Cru17 BAM event this summer (see NOTES) about finding and keeping your writing mojo. I had to laugh. Writing mojo? I didn’t feel like I had much in the moment.
But that is the writer’s life-it can go from high to low and back in such a short time. The question is-if that’s the case, how do we stay in it for the long haul?
Here are the top ten tips I’ve learned on this journey:
Stop waiting for permission or perfection. That’s how you’ll find your voice, your audience, and what you want to write about. The first posts we write on a new blog generally aren’t great. That’s okay-no one’s reading yet anyway.
When I started getting to know well-known writers, I was daunted. I thought, “why should I bother when there are so much better writers out there?” I bother because I have something to say.
Self-doubt is always a companion, but remember God gave you this gift to bless others. No one else can write what you can write. Believe He has something to say through you.
Be on the lookout for content. Read widely. Be aware of trends and hot topics, and write timely posts about them. Also, decide how you will capture inspiration-I use the voice recorder and notes applications on my phone the most.
The best inspiration comes from our relationship with God. We don’t seek Him just to have something to write, but I know if I don’t have anything to write, it’s a good sign I haven’t been listening to Him much.
Schedule time to write and protect it. This can vary season to season. For a while, I set aside Fridays to write. Starting this past spring, I put an hour in my schedule every day instead. I also set goals for my time; sometimes it’s a goal to write a certain number of words, but other times it’s “edit this chapter” or “write that post.”
A huge help in setting those goals has been using the free Elite Blog Planner. It has space to plan by the month and the week, as well as places to record ideas and overall goals.
Invest in your writing
Buy your own URL, pay to have someone create your website, go to writers’ retreats, or listen to podcasts and webinars which encourage you in writing.
Last summer I started blogging regularly, and I found it challenging. Sometimes I don’t have anything to write! Pacing yourself requires a balance between discipline and inspiration. Don’t let the pressure to produce make you overcommit-only do what you can be faithful in doing, and do it well.
Writing requires a level of self-promotion. I want to believe my writing is so good I don’t need to promote it. The reality is, there’s a lot of content out there, so we do have to fight to be seen. Find the medium you like to use, and use it well. Remember our audiences are a mission field. We should send our words out boldly, believing God will use them.
Don’t go it alone
Joining the Redbud Writer’s Guild has been the best thing I could have done for my writing. The women there inspire me, challenge me, and give me advice. They’re a great network for guest posts (and I found my agent through this group).
But we also need non-writer friends with whom there’s no temptation to compare. I have a group of friends who support my writing and are praying for my work as a writer. I text them when I’m discouraged.
Expect Failure and Rejection
You will have good days and bad days. You’ll have posts which do really well while others fall flat. You’ll see other writers succeeding when you’re not, and it will be discouraging.
One practice which helps me is to track my guest posts, including where I’ve been published and when I’ve been rejected. It’s evidence I’m trying, and that I have had success.
Stay grounded in truth
Sometimes I ask God if I can stop writing; it’s usually because my worth has been too closely tied to how well my writing is doing, and it wears my soul down. I’ve learned I need to cultivate a stronger theology in order to stay in this business.
We have to saturate ourselves with truth so there is no room for negative self-talk or our egos to run wild. We are responsible only to God. Our job is to write-He gets to decide how much it will be used and in what way. Remember this is a spiritual battle, and while our enemy wants to keep us from writing, God is on our side.
And then we must practice self-care. Sometimes we need to step away from social media, stop reading other peoples’ blogs, and go be creative in another way. Maybe we need to text a friend, get outside, or give ourselves a break from writing. Then we get back on the horse and keep riding, knowing He is with us all the way.
“Writing is like breathing. It’s possible to learn to do it well, but the point is to do it no matter what.” – Julia Cameron
Guest post by:
Gina Butz has been on staff with Cru for over 20 years. During her time overseas with her family, God led her on a journey toward being wholehearted-a woman willing to own her story and share it with others. She has been blogging for over 10 years and a member of the Redbud Writers Guild. She’s been published in several print magazines as well as e-zines (The Mudroom, Velvet Ashes, and Connection) and is writing a book on navigating transition well.
Gina lives in Orlando, Florida, with her family, and works in Global Leadership for Cru. Her husband, Erik, is V.P. of Global Operations. She’s passionate about coming alongside others and helping them do the same. Gina enjoys speaking at women’s events and retreats. Find Gina on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.
Find and follow Gina’s blog, Awakened, at GinaButz.com. To read more from Gina about how God has helped her find and keep her mojo, you’ll appreciate these posts on her blog:
- BAM is the Bloggers and Authors Meet-up held at Cru’s biennial U.S. Staff Conference. At BAM, Gina shared with us “10 Ways to Find and Keep Your Writing Mojo.” Here’s some more content for you from Gina’s talk:
- The image is credited to Dustin Lee and is used by permission from Gina’s Post, Ten Ways to Find and Keep Your Blogging Mojo.