top of page

So you want to be a better writer and pursue your dreams and keep moving forward. Same.

“And so I realized that all this time I was filling in a blank that was never supposed to be filled. Actually, there was no blank at all; I was putting a comma where God had put a period.

All this time I had tried to finish the sentence:

“God loves me because,”

But then I realized that the sentence was already complete.

God loves me because.

Because God can.

Because God made me.

Because God is Love.

There was no need for a qualifier – the sentence was already complete.”

Have you ever written something and liked it, but you didn’t know where it belonged? You didn’t know if it belonged in a novel, poetry book, Instagram Post, but you kept it anyways. This excerpt is one of those things. I got this excerpt a couple of years ago, and I really liked it, so I wrote it down (I took notes!), and then every once and a while, I’ll find it again, and remember how much I like it.

Today let’s talk more about…you guessed it…writing!

Now if you’re a writer – first off – high five (virtual high five. We will be able to touch once again, beloved. This season won’t last forever). Writing is great and fun and a completely legit job and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. I don’t care if you write fiction or poetry or instruction booklets for fridges. We need it all (I should know. My parents got a new fridge, and the booklet came in handy).

Now if you’re a writer, most likely, you want to be a better writer. We all want to be better at our craft – the best! But how?

Well, you’ve probably heard this one. To write better, read. Read read read. And I do think that’s true. When we read, we can get ideas about how we might want to structure our own narrative or write in a new perspective – or not write in a certain way. Reading inspires us to write. My first influence for being a young writer was The Outsiders. Hearing that S.E Hinton was eighteen when it was published– eighteen! – made me want to be a young writer. I’m not eighteen anymore, and no judgment on anybody who hasn’t had a now-classic book published by the time they were eighteen, because that doesn’t just happen to everyone. But her book inspired me.

So read. Read books. Read books that inspire you and also relax you. Don’t read for study purposes all the time. Read for fun. If you keep the fun in your reading and writing, they flow better. My Amish Romance books very much relax me and make me feel happy and comfortable inside.

But to be real honest (again, the English. I know), I believe the best way to write is to…write. Just keep writing. And your writing will hone itself in. Truly. Mine did. So, don’t stop writing. Even if you’re not completely confident in what you’re writing – keep writing anyways. Start new stories. Write new poems. If you don’t like something, change it.

But for a bit more technical advice on writing…take note of your “things”. And by “things”, I mean those little habits that seem to creep into your writing. For example, I seem to like ellipses (ellipses are these: …). Now ellipses can be great! They can show hesitation, and thoughtfulness…and they can also get distracting and just create extra pauses where you don’t need them. So, if you happen to love ellipses as much as I do, read your writing out loud, especially if you have ellipses included in the dialogue. Read it out loud and you’ll be able to tell if it’s too many awkward pauses.

I also am very fond of dashes – especially in poetry (did you notice the dash I just put in there?). Honestly, I believe it’s because I hear the words in my head, and I can hear myself saying them – and the dashes are the natural extension of the space between a next thought. In my mind, it makes sense and flows. But it may not make sense to my readers. Again, it can cause awkward pauses. For I Have Something to Say, I went a little dash happy. There were dashes after almost every line in the first drafts, mainly because I was inspired by Emily Dickinson. She uses the long dash really well. I liked that idea but then used them a little too much. My good friend, who wrote my author bio, told me that she knew how I wanted the poem read because she knew my voice. But other readers wouldn’t, so maybe tighten up the writing. I – at that point – was very much believing that poetry is poetry and can be anything and who cares.

Which is true, to a point. But in poetry especially, make every space, every line break, count (we can discuss poetry later on).

Anyway, know your “things”. Know your writing style and beware of the “things” that can come in too often. Sometimes it’s commas. Or overuse of the run-on sentence. Or the overuse of the fragmented sentence. Or overuse of the word or.

Be aware of your writing style.

And that is all the writing tips I have for today. Know your writing style, so when you see yourself adding in too many dashes or ellipses or parenthesis, be aware so you can correct it. Or not correct it. But to be a better writer, you should correct it (and yes, I’m speaking to myself as well. We’re always learning).

What about reading books about writing?

I have currently three books about the art of writing sitting on my bookshelf. Have I read them? No. Maybe I should. But beloved, don’t make the mistake of thinking you have to learn everything about something before you get started. Should you learn everything about how to use a power saw before using one? Absolutely. Should you learn everything about writing before writing? I don’t think so. I started writing when I was young! Do we ever tell children, “Uh…no. Don’t try to draw a picture. You haven’t learned the basics of drawing yet”? Of course not! So dear one, if you have a dream that you can just start, then start. Maybe that does mean doing some research. If you want to start a company but don’t know where to begin, do some research. If you want to learn how to play the guitar, look up some lessons. But don’t be afraid to pick up the guitar until you’re perfect. Want to know the first story I ever wrote? My sister, Rebekah Curtis (definite shout out to my actress sister who has starred in a mini film More Than One on Amazon and appeared in Defending Jacob on Apple TV), tells me that my first story was called The Fox’s Birthday. I vaguely remember it. Apparently, it was about a fox and his birthday. But did I know the basics of writing? Of having a structure and plots and good dialogue and plot twists and not rambling – no. I just wrote because I enjoyed writing. So, start painting. Writing. Drawing. Cooking. Learning. Living. And you’ll learn on the way.

For example, I had no idea I needed to indent when a character started speaking. No idea. None. Not until I got into my writing class junior year of college. Did that stop me from writing? No! But then I learned and corrected myself! Beloved, this is a journey – but let’s take the first step. When we take the first step, we can often get the next step.

Do you know what my favorite song for a while has been? "Into the Unknown", from, yes, Frozen 2. Because, yes, I did go see it in theatres when it came out, and I thought it was beautiful. Sometimes, pursuing our dreams means we are going into the unknown. We don’t know every step, and we won’t know every step! But take a step.

And if you’re scared of even taking that first step towards your dreams, well, I’ve been there. But know this – God goes before you. When you have God, He holds your right hand. Literally. In the Bible, it says, “That’s right. Because I, your God, have a firm grip on you and I’m not letting go. I’m telling you, ‘Don’t panic. I’m right here to help you.’”

So, if you’re having some of those fears about moving forward, relax. Imagine God holding your right hand and saying, “Hey. I’m here. I got you.” And then see Him smiling at you because God smiles way more than we ever think, I firmly believe, and then move forward with Him. It’s a lot easier to move forward when you know God is on your side, isn’t it?

So beloved, let’s grip God’s hand as tight as we want and then step into the unknown.

Remember, you are deeply loved.


bottom of page