Writerly Wednesdays

Build the Heart of a Writer

On my property is a miniature barn. In the darkest corner, an old chest sits. If someone found the chest, the hinges would creak as they opened the lid. Inside are stacks of papers. Each document is covered in secret codes.

Except they’re not codes. That’s my handwriting. 

Those pages record the secret paths to publication and writing success, all the information I gathered from writing conferences. In hindsight, the research wasn’t a hidden path, and the information didn’t give me writing success. I needed the information for context and scope. Through the conferences, I learned the language of the publishers.

So, what is the secret to publication?

What is your journey to writing success? 

Most writers think the pathway will be similar if they gather information and take the same steps as brilliant authors. Unfortunately, they’re missing the last step.

Only you know the final act. 

Because the final few steps to publication are unique, they are hidden inside your imagination, your innovation. 

Life is a dance. But first, you need to know how to move to the music.

After studying at conferences, you know the dance. All the moves are in your head, and you’ve practiced. How you sway, how you hold your partner, and your passion for the music are all locked in your heart, your soul. 

When you cling your finished manuscript to your heart and talk with an agent, you know how they want to hear about your work. But the words from your mouth, the passion in your heart, and the voices of your characters swirling in your mind all forge a unique moment never experienced before or will ever happen afterward. And no matter the outcome, the story is yours, your path, your journey. A journey that conferences fueled.

The letter you send the acquisitions editor will reflect you. The writing contest you enter will show your efforts. The elevator pitch you give will mirror your confidence. 

Learn the dance and feed your passion. Both come from bettering your character through learning your craft. Be your character in the novel of your life and attend writing conferences to discover the steps necessary to join the dance floor. 

Not all views expressed are those of every member of ICW. Photo Credit: Terran Hurst


  • Peter Leavell

    Peter Leavell, a graduate of Boise State University with a degree in history and a MA in English Literature, was the 2011 winner of the Christian Writers Guild’s Operation First Novel contest and 2013 Christian Retailing’s Best award for First-Time Author, along with multiple other awards. An author, blogger, teacher, ghostwriter, jogger, biker, husband, and father, Peter and his family live in Boise, Idaho. Learn more about Peter’s books, research, and family adventures at www.peterleavell.com

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