Allie Pleiter is a friend of mine who has graciously stopped by today to share some thoughts on writing with us. She is a fellow Steeple Hill/Love Inspired author and an amazing woman. Here she shares some thoughts on writing.
Seven things I know about writing now that I wish I’d known then…
The work ethic you had before your first contract is the one you have when you’re published.
You won’t suddenly become a “respected professional” unless you’re already acting like one. The insecurities don’t vanish with the signed papers, and the external affirmation you think you’ll get isn’t the kind that will fuel you for the long run. Focus on being the kind of writer now that you want to be when you’re paid, because simply adding a check to the picture doesn’t actually change as much as you think it will.
That first contract isn’t a golden ticket to quitting your day job.
Yes, writing full time is a spectacular blessing, but your first contract will almost never fund your full-time career. Plan for it, dream for it, and by all means shoot for it, but with the gentle caveat that “overnight success,” is a mostly a myth. You’ll need a handful of in-print titles under your belt to kiss that other paycheck goodbye. See it as a big first step, but not the final solution.
It doesn’t get easier…but it gets better.
I was so sure I’d be less neurotic about my writing by now. That I’d sweat my plots less, that synopses would come easier, and that the “wall” I seem to hit at page 200 would disappear. None of that’s happened, but I do have a veteran’s sense of the rhythm of my writing. And I have a husband wise enough to say things like, “relax, hon, you always get this way right about now.”
A good reader letter can make you smile for a week. (Cara here: AMEN!!!!!)
I’ve gotten letters that make me cry. That strike so deep at the core of why I write that I feel as if God Himself is patting my back (and perhaps He is). I keep all my letters, and I keep a file called “Gems” that I can turn to when things get bleak. Yes, it matters that much. Write an author you love–you have no idea the encouragement you’re offering.
A bad review can still make me cry.
Honestly, it’s like someone telling you your children are ugly. There’s just no nice way to do it, it hurts badly, and it’s nearly impossible to shake off. I keep the good ones, send on the promotable quotes, but unless there’s something I hear consistently, I ignore the bad ones because they only paralyze me. So think before you trash–especially online.
Success is not reward and reward is not success
I’ve had books do well and I’ve had books bomb. To me, all my books are successes because all of them were written in obedience to what I believe God’s will was for me. Still, the world is quick to chalk them up as “successes” or “failures.” So I’ve come to replace the world’s version of “success” with the word “reward.” Not all my work has been rewarded in the way I’d like. But all my books have been successful if they were the fruit of working hard to be the writer God called me to be. Other writers have been more rewarded than I have been, but that never means that I have failed.
“Hush up and write the book.”
I say it all the time: there’s no substitute for words on page. Not reading craft books or attending seminars or tweeting other writers nor that clever blog posting. A writer learns best by writing. Trends and sales figures and all that other savvy stuff we writers seek to master pales against the power of a good story well told.
ONE SENTENCE BOOK DESCRIPTION: The gallant sequel to Pleiter’s San Francisco historical, “Masked by Moonlight,” MISSION OF HOPE follows an unlikely hero and his surprising young love as the pair help the city heal from it’s massive 1906 earthquake.
She looked right into his eyes, and Quinn felt his stomach drop out through what was left of the soles of his shoes. “You’ll probably think it’s silly, but you’ve been such an encouragement to me. Here I was thinking God had left me alone, and you do all those things—those little but very big things—that let me know He’s still minding my path. You’re an answer to my prayers, Quinn Freeman. How does that make you feel?”
He knew the exact moment his heart left his body. The exact instant it disobeyed all the good and solid reasons he had for not pining over Nora Longstreet and left to follow her of its own accord. He stared at her, knowing his affections had just overstepped all kinds of bounds and not caring. He no longer had any choice in the matter. “I’m thinking it might not be wise to answer that, Miss Longstreet.”
AUTHOR BIO: An avid knitter, coffee junkie, and devoted chocoholic, Allie Pleiter writes both fiction and non-fiction. The enthusiastic but slightly untidy mother of two, Allie spends her days writing books, buying yarn, and finding new ways to avoid housework. Allie hails from Connecticut, moved to the midwest to attend Northwestern University, and currently lives outside Chicago, Illinois. The “dare from a friend” to begin writing has produced two parenting books, twelve novels, and various national speaking engagements on faith, women’s issues, and writing. Visit her website at or her knitting blog at