April 30, 2016

Dear Writer - by Susan Barclay

My best 'Dear Abby' look

It’s been a busy month. I just completed the 7th annual A-Z Blogging Challenge (minus Q-U, but that’s another story). Unfortunately, I didn’t have the prep done ahead of time and that’s something I will ward against another year. – All this to say, my response to this month’s Inscribe theme is likely to be briefer than I’d prefer.

If you’ve been reading Inscribe consistently, you’ve probably heard the prompt already:

As you think back over your writing apprenticeship, share some of your key discoveries, turning points. What would you do differently? What advice do you have for a new writer?

1. I wouldn’t put off the writing bug once I’d caught it. Forget that whole image of the starving artist and the necessity of being practical. Youth is the time to try things out and to see where your dreams might take you. Once you have “responsibilities,” you’re less apt to explore creative avenues if you haven’t already started along them. And if you wait until retirement, who knows if you’ll make it that far?

2. Learn as much as you can about your craft. Take courses, whether in an actual classroom or online or via correspondence. Whatever works best for your schedule. Attend conferences and workshops to learn more and connect with other writers.

3. Join a writers’ collective to give and receive feedback. Again, this can be online or in person. I like in-person myself but, either way, what you glean is invaluable in your development as a writer. And if you stay in a group long enough, the relationships you form become precious.

4. Read, read, read. Read good writing and bad writing so you learn how to distinguish between the two. 

5. Support your local bookstore and the work of local authors. They will return the favour.

6. Accept opportunities and walk through open doors. You never know where they might lead.

Probably the most important piece of advice I have – hence saving it for last! – is to pray over your writing. Pray that God would guide you in what to write and what to do with it once it’s completed. God wants to be involved in all that we do; He cares about the things we care about. He is waiting for us to come to Him to ask for wisdom and blessing. Dear writer, you do not have because you do not ask. If you’ve been doing things in your own strength, why don’t you change that starting today and see if He won’t do a major work in your writing?

Susan’s website can be found at www.susanbarclay.wordpress.com


  1. No apologies necessary with this post, Susan! What a wonderful and practical way to end the month! Well done!

  2. Thanks Susan, Great practical tips for all ages. And I like the best 'Dear Abby' look.

  3. Great advice, Susan. And so true that the most important piece of advice is to pray over your writing.

  4. Amen, Susan, and you did save the best advice for the last. The rest of your blog is good, but your last paragraph is what I need to be reminded of repeatedly. Christ is the Vine. We are the branches. Thanks.


Thank you for taking the time to join in the conversation. Our writers appreciate receiving your feedback on posts you have found helpful or meaningful in some way.