Where Do I Begin? — Jennifer Chastain

Today I’m excited to welcome Jennifer Chastain as she shares some advice for new writers.

A graduate of Tennessee Temple University with a degree in Communication Arts, Jennifer Chastain writes contemporary fiction, recently completing her second novel. Married more than twenty years, she and her husband make their home in the beautiful state of North Carolina with their rescued black cat.

Instagram: jenniferc_writer



“Where Do I Begin?”

You’ve decided that you want to write stories. You’re someone who pens great adventures that touch the hearts of readers. You have this burning desire deep in your soul to be an author.

Where do you start?

Okay, I was clueless and I did what anyone else would do—I Googled how to write a novel. I found an online course that fit me. But writing is so much more than just completing a course. The more I dug into what it takes to be a successful writer, the more I realized how little I knew. For the past three years, I’ve been on this amazing discovery of learning to write and working towards seeing my dream of becoming a published author.

This leap of faith has been one of the most rewarding things I’ve accomplished.

The more I thought about this blog, all I could think about is I wish someone would have told where to start. Here are a few suggestions that I think are helpful to the beginning author:

Read. As a writer, you should also be a reader. Read in the genre that you write. But also read books on writing and how to write. After all, they’ve been where you are now.

Find a writing coach/mentor. They know the business, what works and what doesn’t. They can help guide you as you navigate these uncharted waters.

Attend Conferences and/or workshops. This is by far one of the best decisions I’ve made. My first writers conference was the 2017 Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference in Black Mountain, NC. I chose this conference because it was close and convenient. I met a lot of others who were beginning authors as well as seasoned writers. I came away with not only industry contacts but I also made friends.

Join a writers group or critique group. Currently, I’m in a small critique group through ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers). It’s all online and convenient. They’ve helped me craft a stronger story.

Network. Networking with other writers is key to not only becoming a better writer but as a resource for current and future stories. The best place to network is at a conference or workshop. Because someone always knows a friend of a friend of a friend…

I hope these suggestions will encourage you to take hold of your dream. I’ve learned that I need to keep an open heart and mind to receive instruction from even the most unlikely of sources. Yes, it’s difficult, but it’s achievable and rewarding as most things worth doing are.

Best wishes as you start your amazing journey!