Elaine Wright Colvin, founder and director of Writers Information Network and WIN Communications, published the WIN Informer magazine for 25 years. Her poetry appears in the bestselling book Treasury of God’s Virtues, which she co-authored with Elaine Creasman of Publications International. Find her on Facebook and read the articles for Christian writers she posts on her Writers Info Network blog.
Elaine, what do you most want to say to Christians who write?
Identify the big players in your genre. See what they are doing well. Ask God what He wants you to do. God did not make you a clone of someone else. The dream He put in your heart is yours alone. Identify it. Test it. Refine it. No one else can “claim the call” God has placed on your life.
What changes do you see in Christian publishing?
Everything has changed in the 25 years I’ve been a writers consultant. Gone are the days when an acquisitions editor alone chose good writing and determined what should be published. Today everything is market-driven. And there are many more channels for getting our writing “out there.”
How do conferences or workshops help poets and writers?
It’s all about networking, learning from the best, and rubbing elbows with those you want to learn from. Go to the conference where the agent, editor, and writers you want to meet are teaching. This is where people talk your language and people like you gather. There is always something to learn.
How can poets and writers improve their writing?
Do what writers and poets do: read good writing; write lots, throw the bad stuff away. Participate in readings, presentations, and poetry slams; learn what works and what doesn’t. “Get your hands dirty for Jesus”—then people will want to hear what you have to say.
Yes! And just to be sure that readers hear this important word, please explain a bit.
"Get your hands dirty for Jesus" is a way of saying, do something newsworthy, much like CNN's Heroes with ordinary people changing their world. Be a volunteer; help the homeless; somehow make a difference that is worth talking about. If you couldn't make your local newspaper, how would people around the country ever hear about you, your writing, or your book?
Thanks, Elaine – and good thinking! You’ve given us an excellent example of how we can reflect Jesus’ teachings in the Sermon on the Mount: “Let your light shine, so people can see the good you do and give praise to our Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16.)
(c) 2011, Mary Harwell Sayler