Important Questions for Seasoned Authors
by Judith Couchman
In the early stages of a writing life, every publishing opportunity thrills us. We accept almost anything we can authentically create, and hope for much more. We’re excited to exercise our writing gift, and sense we’re stepping in the impressions of God’s footsteps. Anything seems possible.
A decade or so later, if we’re still writing, we can effuse these same joys. Or not.
As circumstances morph, we do, too. When we explore and transform spiritually, we might uncover fresh ways of thinking and serving. Or we could lose enthusiasm for our publishing persona, subjects, and audience. At the same time, we keep trodding the same publishing path, although our interest might have waned or even flatlined. We don’t know how to change, muster the courage to change, or even realize we need to change.
However we feel about our publishing place, periodic checkups–maybe every five or ten years–can clarify purpose, direction, and enthusiasm. We could discover we’re satisfied with our writing path. Or we might pinpoint a few tweaks or major alterations for the future.
To evaluate, it helps to get away, get with God, and look with physical and spiritual eyes. These topics can help with this analysis. There are no right or wrong answers.
- Purpose. What was your original call from God and purpose for writing? Do you still resonate with this purpose? Why, or why not? Does your purpose need to change?
- Audience. Who was your original audience? Do you still serve that group? Why, or why not? Do you want to keep serving that readership? Why, or why not?
- Brand. What is your brand as a writer? Are you comfortable with this, or could it shift? In other words, are you comfortable in your skin as a writer? Your public image? Why, or why not?
- Success. How have you succeeded in fulfilling your publishing purpose? How do you feel about this?
- Failure. How have your writing endeavors failed in your eyes? How do you feel about that?
- God. Have you sensed God speaking to you about a new direction, topics, or audience for your writing? If so, what do you think He’s saying? Do you pray about your writing?
- Questions. Do you harbor nagging questions or disappointments about your writing life? What are they? How can you find answers and healing?
- Feeling. At a gut level and feeling–without input from anyone else–where do you want to take your writing? Why? What would this require?
- Improvement. Do you consciously work to improve your writing? How so, or why not? How can you commit to becoming a better writer, and not rely on past techniques?
- Marketing. Are you spending more time social networking and marketing than actually writing? How can you better balance these two?
- Fears. What fears emerge about your writing and publishing? How can you address and move through them?
- Direction. What new direction do you want to pursue for your writing, if any? How can you prepare?
- Scripture. Can you identify a Bible verse to express your call as a writer now? If so, write it out. How do you identify with it?
- More. What other questions can you pursue?
Best wishes as you move ahead!
Judith Couchman is an author with 42 traditionally published works, including articles, books, Bible studies, and compilations. She is also a university professor who sets aside time for missions work. Currently, she’s on sabbatical from coaching writers.
MaryAnn DIorioSeptember 29, 2017 - 14 : 39 : 19
Thank you so very much for your inspiring post! I agree that it is essential to evaluate one’s writing life—and one’s life in general–periodically. Your list of questions is outstanding. I plan to take it with me during an upcoming personal retreat.
Many blessings to you!
MaryAnn Diorio, PhD, MFA
Author & Writing Coach