Writer Disciplines—What Does it Take?

By DiAnn Mills @DiAnnMills

Many people long to be a writer. They are avid readers and usually devour everything they can find on the printed page. The art of communicating through the written word fascinates them until they aspire to write. But with the interest comes many questions about the discipline. The following questions and answers may help with your decision.

What kind of education does a writer need for success?

No matter what type of writing, a person needs a strong grasp of English and grammar. Colleges and universities have excellent courses to develop these skills. Check out an English/grammar course at a local college.

In the past, an editor would correct content, spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors, but today’s publisher expects a near-perfect manuscript upon submission.

How do I get started?

A writer begins by understanding what he/she wants to write. That can be a difficult process when so many wonderful options are tugging at our hearts. Many times writers work at different genres and types before settling on a niche. The first question to ask is: what do I enjoy reading the most? Successful writers create what they prefer to read.

How do I learn how to write?

Begin by reading in the genre most suited to you. Study the how-to books to strengthen the craft. Read marketing and promotion books. Explore online blogs, podcasts, websites, and webinars that teach every facet of a writing career.

Research for the best conference(s) that helps the writer reach goals and objectives.

How do I develop a schedule?

Writing is a solitary career. Most of our time is spent behind a computer screen, and time management is critical. A person must feel comfortable and look forward to creating.

A writer who enlists his family’s support by sharing goals involves loved ones in their goals.

A writer has five regular tasks to complete.

  1. Write
  2. Read the bestsellers in the selected genre and study them like a textbook.
  3. Read the how-to books.
  4. Form an active relationship with readers via social media.
  5. Exercise and nutritionally sound eating

Where can I sell my manuscripts?

Publishers are listed in a market directory that detail particulars about their publishing house, what they are looking for, many times what they pay, and how to submit. Some publishers require an agent, and some do not.

Where do I find a literary agent?

A literary agent is a person who contracts with a writer to represent the person in the publishing world for the purpose of selling a manuscript. This person provides a service for the writer. The agent is paid a commission of what the writer is paid by the publisher.

The agent must be as passionate about the writing project as the writer.

Agents are found at writing conferences, through a referral from another writer, a directory, or online in one of the multiple ways available. A writer contacts the proposed agent and learns how to properly submit.


What if I want to write something different?

If a writer isn’t happy with the type of writing, investigate how to change. Weigh the pros and cons before jumping into a new field. Seek out professional advice. Make the best decision possible.

What’s the number one job of a writer?

Let God be the boss. Work harder than you ever have, but understand God is in control.

What about you? Do you have a question that is stopping you from writing?


DiAnn Mills

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Comments 7

  1. Melanie Shull

    Thank you, DiAnn, for sharing your wealth of wisdom with us. I’m working on the writing of my first book/Bible study proposal, catapulted at the BRMCWC in 2016, and solidified at the ReNEW Writer’s Retreat in Connecticut. A little nervous, but very excited about this journey, what God is teaching me, and so humbled by how He has gotten me to this point. Keep pouring on the encouragement! You are a blessing to us all! ~Melanie

    1. DiAnn Mills

      Hi Melanie, thank you for your kind words. Congratulations on your Bible Study. Keep writing. I love how we writers are constantly learning about our God and His love for us.

  2. Judy

    I dream of being a writer, not necessarily to publish a book, but just to write and explore the concepts I want to know more of (forgiveness, loving enemies, conquering fear). However, I let everything else distract me from TV to books to my job to my dogs. Working on discipline to actually sit and write (maybe a college class where I have to?).

    I do have a question though: with studying bestseller books for tips, hints, etc. – in doing this, does reading then become a chore? We did something similar in English with movies and it took years for me just to enjoy a movie instead of breaking it down into parts (plot, voice, theme, etc.).

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      DiAnn Mills

      Hi Judy, thanks for commenting. Yes, writing takes discipline, but it can be scheduled and done. I’ve never found reading bestsellers distracting or a chore, and I love getting into a character’s adventure. If a specific technique appeals to me, I will make a note to try it. Sometimes I tell myself that I would have written a passage differently, and at times I will do the same for movies. Hope this helps! Reading and viewing movies is always part of the writing process.

  3. Shirley Hylton

    Thank you Diann for this wealth of information.
    I love writing poetry, have one book published already and have over 200 poems which I would like to put in a series of booklets someday. Up to now I have been hesitant on how to go about doing so to reach a poetry reading audience , Your tip on using the social media is very appreciative. Again thank you very much for the information.

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