Many times people ask me how to get started as a writer. While my own workload precludes my reading manuscripts outside the confines of Christian writers conferences, I do have some very practical suggestions for you, as well as several writing helps.
1.) Remember that it isn't lack of talent that defeats most writers. It's lack of perseverance.
3.) Get a copy of Sally Stuart's CHRISTIAN WRITERS MARKET GUIDE (Shaw Publishers) for a listing of all the possible Christian markets for books and magazines.
4.) Attend at least one writers conference every year. They are listed in the back of Sally Stuart's book and come in all sizes and times of year. I've sold at least 90% of my work through contacts made at writers conferences.
5.) Consider a set of six tapes with handouts of an eight hour class on fiction I taught, recorded at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. $30. E-mail me for details on how to purchase.
6.) Contact American Christian Writers (1-800-21-WRITE) and ask for their tape catalogue. ACW has been holding conferences for years, and they tape everything. You can have your own private conference at home for only a few dollars a tape.
7.) Read lots of books in your genre or field. Then study the how-to books. Look at the wealth of how-to books through Writers Digest Book Club. Suggestions for novelists: SELF-EDITING FOR FICTION WRITERS, King and Browne, STEIN ON WRITING, Sol Stein, PLOT and STRUCTURE, James Scott Bell, and WRITING THE BREAKOUT NOVEL, Donald Maass. For non-ficiton read Zinzer's ON WRITING WELL.
8.) If you're interested in a correspondence course, consider Jerry Jenkin's CHRISTIAN WRITERS GUILD for excellent teaching and mentoring.