Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Face Your Writing Fears

First of all, a big cheer for all of you who are doing NaNoWriMo! I tried Nano once. Two days later I gave up and started eating ice cream. I'm kidding! But really, I am not the type of writer who can crank out word count that quickly so if you are, I really do applaud you, and I stand a bit in awe of you as well.

Today I want to talk about something we as writers all face: fear.

Newer writers will sometimes ask, "How do I get over my fear of writing something that stinks?"

The answer is usually, "You don't."

I know-- I'm Miss Positivity today, right? But bear with me.

You will never get over your fear of writing poorly. And that's because to write well, you inevitably end up pouring your heart into the thing. And if you poor your heart into the thing, you are going to care about it deeply.

You can however, write through and beyond your fear, which is a different thing entirely.

If you're writing as a Christian writer, you have the amazing assurance that God is at the helm of your story-- and that is not something to take lightly. Because God's work in us is never wasted. I can tell you that even the books I wrote that didn't sell changed me as a writer and me as a person, and I am so glad looking back that those books aren't floating around in the world because that is no longer the writer I am today (hello, chick lit) and readers would be totally confused.

If you learn to accept those feelings of anxiety over inadequacy, you can acknowledge them and refocus. Typically, I've learned my own fears stem from the perception of scarcity. What if I go to all this work and no one reads it? What if I get this contract and it's the only one I have? What if people think I'm only mediocre?

Many of my friends and students have expressed similar fears-- what if I embarrass myself? What will people think of me?

You know what all of these questions have in common? The mislocation of our identity. As writer. As author. As child of God. In reality, there is only one opinion that matters, and He is the one who has equipped you in the first place. You don't have to prove yourself good enough or worthy because He makes you those things.

It's only when we shift our perspective to the security that can be found in our deeper-rooted identity that we can begin to implement strategies to draw it out. Get away from the lies and the fears you have believed. Try writing them down so you can see in ink how silly they sound. Try going to a coffee shop for a change of scenery as you work on your next scene. Try "writing" via dictation, or write on the notes app of your phone. Do whatever you need to do to write from a place of freedom over fear. Because the fear may not go away, but that doesn't mean you have to let it rule you.


Ashley Clark writes romance with southern grace. She's dreamed of being a writer ever since the thumbprint-cookie-days of library story hour. Ashley has an M.A. in English and enjoys teaching literature courses at her local university. She's an active member of ACFW and runs their newcomer's loop. When she's not writing, Ashley's usually busy rescuing stray animals and finding charming new towns. You can find Ashley on her personal blog, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. She is represented by Karen Solem.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Mentoring + Partnership = An Exciting Publishing Model by Lindsay Harrell

Pepper here!! I am so excited to welcome author Lindsay Harrell today to talk about a brand new opportunity for authors of every level of publication! Without taking up more time, here's Lindsay!

Mentoring + Partnership = An Exciting Publishing Model
Guest post by Lindsay Harrell

One of the most difficult things in today’s world of publishing is finding a place in the market. There are a lot of readers out there, but with so many books on the physical and digital shelves, discoverability can be an issue.

Not only that, but it’s so easy to feel like writing is a solitary endeavor. It can be lonely holed up in your office at home, plugging away at your computer, day after day.

I know personally that I wouldn’t be where I am in my publishing journey if those who had gone ahead of me hadn’t taken the time and energy to slow down, reach back, and guide me through some of the more difficult hurdles of the course.

Susan May Warren is one of those authors. Through her organization, My Book Therapy, she has been in the business of teaching authors to get published, stay published, and build brilliant careers. And, it’s worked—every year she has seen more of her students published, winning awards, and going on to flourish.

I have been blessed to be one such author!

One of a mentor’s key characteristics is a heart for others, and Susie has that in spades. We got together this summer and started talking about ways to help other authors who are ready to be published but having a difficult time finding their place in the crowded market, and Susie shared a vision with me.

The awesome thing about visions? Sometimes, they become reality. In this case, the vision Susie and I discussed has grown into Sunrise Publishing—a publishing venture that combines mentorship and partnership between established authors and newer authors.

Sunrise is the dawn of a new kind of publishing (one that has actually been around for a long time, thanks to James Patterson and so many other authors who have partnered with aspiring authors to help them build their readership!). It’s designed to help launch new or rebooting authors into the readership of an existing author, build the existing fictional world of the lead author, and offer readers a remedy to the story hole they are seeking to fill.

Here’s how it works: Every year Sunrise will choose a lead author in one particular genre. (Susie will be the lead author in year one, so we can work out the kinks!) Once we decide on the kind of stories the lead author is looking for, we put out a request for submissions. (You can see our submission process here.)

Once the lead author picks the draft authors, they will start working on stories. Over the course of the year, the lead author will mentor the draft authors (with the help of Sunrise) to create six novels.

These novels will be traditionally published (print, ebook, and audio) over the course of the following year on all platforms. (We will be using Kindle Unlimited as part of our publishing plan as well.)

Our main criteria is voice. We are not looking for someone with a platform, but instead, draft authors who are interested in learning, understand the basics of writing, and are willing to work hard. Most of all, we are looking for serious authors who want to launch their careers.

If you feel you know an author, ARE an author, or represent an author who fits this criteria, check out our opportunities this year at Submissions for our first series are due November 10th. (If you have any questions, I’d love to hear from you at

I know that whoever gets to work with Susie next year will be so incredibly blessed!

At Sunrise, our hope is to offer authors two things that they might currently be missing: a clear place in the market—with lots of new readers—and the clear knowledge that they are not alone on this publishing journey.

Here’s to the dawning of a new day!

Who has been a mentor in your writing career? Does Sunrise Publishing sound like an intriguing opportunity you might be interested in?

 Lindsay Harrel is a CBA best-selling novelist and lifelong book nerd who lives in Arizona with her young family and two golden retrievers in serious need of training. With more than 13 years of editing and writing experience, Lindsay now juggles stay-at-home mommyhood with writing novels for HarperCollins Christian Publishing and working as Editorial Director at Sunrise Publishing. She has a passion for not only helping authors improve their stories and find their voice, but also getting messages of hope out into the world. Connect with her at