May 20, 2019


By Bethany Turner, Author of Wooing Cadie McCaffrey

The purpose of this post is to give some insight into the writing craft. A “How To” on some particular aspect of  being a writer, of publishing books, of living the life. But here’s the catch: in order to write a “How To” it’s very helpful to know how to do something. Seems obvious, right? Right. And yet I’ve been sitting here for way too long, staring at a blank screen, trying to figure out what it is that I know how to do.

Do you ever feel like I do? Do you ever hang out in the author groups on Facebook, or sit through conferences and workshops, and listen to your peers talk about all of their disciplines as if they are not only common, but nonnegotiable, and wonder how everyone and their grandmother seems to know about all these things you’re hearing about for the first time? And they don’t only know about these things, they understand these things. They breathe these things. They live these things!

Most of the time, in those scenarios, I feel like a fraud. Truly. I sit and listen, not sure if I should laugh or cry, as my fellow authors discuss the necessity of following grammar rules that are so far over my head, I need a step ladder to reach them. I act like I know what they’re talking about when they use book-related acronyms as if they were words we all learned in kindergarten. And then there is the assumption that we all read all the books, all the time.

Here are the facts in my life: I stumbled into the writing thing. I didn’t really have any idea I wanted to be an author until I was one. I’ve never taken a writing class outside of the required core classes in school. And guess what else? I don’t spend all that much time reading because most of the time, if I have a little bit of free time to unwind, I’d rather spend it watching television. *GASP!*

So, let’s get real. Let’s call it like it is. I’m not sure what I know how to do. I’ve gotten a couple of publishing contracts, I’ve won or been nominated for some awards, I’ve spent a little bit of time on some best of the year lists…and I honestly don’t know why.

No, wait…that’s not true. I do know why. It’s because my writing, my voice, was able to somehow connect with certain groups of readers. That’s the only reason any of us ever experience any success, right? And let me tell you, if I knew all the rules, if I understood and strive toward what is expected, it wouldn’t be my voice. I guess all I know how to do is write the way that only I can. Just like you, you should write the way that only you can. That is the one “How To” that no one else can teach you.
Bethany Turner is the award-winning author of The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck, which was a finalist for The Christy Award. When she's not writing (and even when she is), she serves as the director of administration for Rock Springs Church in Southwest Colorado. She lives with her husband and their two sons in Colorado, where she writes for a new generation of readers who crave fiction that tackles the thorny issues of life with humor and insight.
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