September 18, 2020

Facing the Challenges of the Writer’s Life

DiAnn Mills @diannmills

A writer’s life doesn’t fit the 9-5 workday mold for most of the world. Challenges smack us in the face, and we must be ready to evaluate what we are doing right and what we are doing not-so-right. Sometimes we need to evaluate our habits and if necessary, make changes that will help us be successful in our writing career.

A writer determines if his/her work process is a hindrance.

Do any of these apply?

1. My desk is covered with to-do notes that need to be completed then tossed.

2. My stack of papers is duplicated electronically. Where is the shredder?

3. My to-be-read stack is taller than I am. Time to prioritize and give away.

4. My pile of magazines is ten years old. Do I honestly need them? Can I subscribe to them online?

5. My laptop needs replaced. Time to explore and research a replacement.

Other times, the process is difficult when a bad decision has the potential to create havoc.

1. Is my reader’s blog unique, interesting, or do I need more content that is reader focused?

2. How do I determine the number of writer conferences to attend in 2020-2021?

3. How many writer conferences or speaking engagements should I accept in 2020-2021?

4. Am I spending enough quality time with my spouse and family?

5. Am I spending enough quality time with my friends?

6. Am I keeping God first place in my spiritual, mental, and physical life?

7. Is my quiet time taking me spiritually deeper?

8. My latest book is completed. Do I send it to my editor or read it through one more time?

9. How many fiction and nonfiction books should I be reading per month?

10. Is too much of my time unproductive?

11. Are the blog posts I’m reading adding value to my professional career?

12. Is there anything I can change to better honor my God-given calling?

How does a writer gauge if a challenge is productive or destructive?

Will the challenge help me be a better writer?

Our skills need to grow as though we are in a perpetual state of learning. Nothing of value is free, either time or a financial investment. Some of the items that strengthen our skills are reading the how-to books, reading bestsellers, attending physical and online conferences, editing our work, mentoring a serious writer, and taking advantage of online blogs, podcasts, and webinars.

Will the challenge help me grow spiritually?

Many writers believe their work is a form of worship. Is a Christian writer strong enough to stand up for his/her beliefs?

Will the challenge help my readers?

Successful writers don’t create for themselves but for readers. Reaching readers is an effort. Sometimes it’s frustrating and mistakes are made. But when writers explore what readers need and where they hang out on social media, we can join the conversation and provide what they are looking for.

Perhaps our obstacles are in reality ladder steps to professionalism. How do you approach the challenges in your writing life?

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She weaves memorable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels. DiAnn believes every breath of life is someone’s story, so why not capture those moments and create a thrilling adventure? Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. She is the director of The Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference, Mountainside Marketing Conference, and the Mountainside Novelist Retreat with social media specialist Edie Melson where she continues her passion of helping other writers be successful. 
Visit DiAnn Mills at


  1. DiAnn,

    Thank you for this article and these questions. Every writer has challenges--and in fact I have numerous challenges --every day. One of the keys to get it done for me has been persistently moving forward on a particular piece of writing--regular and consistent progress gets it done--in spite of the obstacles or challenges.

    author of 10 Publishing Myths, Insights Every Author Needs to Succeed

  2. Hi Terry, I agree that regularly working on projects keeps us sane!

  3. Good questions! You've been looking over my shoulder again. :-)