Top 5 Mistakes an Aspiring Christian Author Makes

christian women women empowerment women in the ministry May 24, 2024

Have you ever felt a deep calling to write a book but found yourself struggling to bring your ideas to life? Perhaps you’ve started writing, only to feel unsatisfied with the outcome, or maybe you’re overwhelmed by the many themes and stories you want to share. You’re not alone. Many aspiring authors face these same challenges.

In this blog post, I want to share my journey and offer insights on how to discern the right season for your writing. Whether you’re just starting or feeling stuck, these reflections will help you align your writing with your personal growth and experiences, ensuring your book is not only written but published to inspire and transform. Let’s explore how you can find clarity and direction in your writing journey, with a little divine guidance to light your path.

 

Mistake 1: They mistake a personal journal for a book  

Don’t get me wrong, a journal can inspire your book, but they are not the same. A book is published to benefit the reader, so an author must be careful not to publish raw, unprocessed thoughts as they would in a journal, without direction or intent. This can be dangerous.  I once interviewed someone at an event who shared an insightful experience. While writing a book, they realized they were venting, filling chapters with curse words. This made them recognize they hadn't fully healed from their past and weren't ready to write a book. From their story, I understood they were using their writing as a journal or an outlet. Journaling is incredibly beneficial, but it doesn't mean it should be published. Take the time to do your personal work and process what you've experienced. Once you've done that, you can explore the possibilities of writing a book to share publicly with the world.

Mistake 2: They don’t know who they are writing to

When we first set out to write a book, we have great intentions and want to help as many people as possible. That’s a good thing. But the problem arises when we try to make our book suitable for "everybody," ending up writing it for "no one." Let me explain. If your book is too broad in focus, with no particular audience in mind, it will be challenging for any reader to connect with you as the author. Before writing, you need to know your audience; understand the inner workings of that person. What are their passions? What are their fears? What problems do they face? What is their home life like? What are their religious beliefs? When you know who you are writing to, you can connect with the reader on a deeper level, creating trust and potentially leading to transformation. Take the time to think about the person you want to reach. This will guide the direction of your book, helping you focus the content on advancing that specific type of reader.

Mistake 3: They have no clear direction for their book

When writing, you are taking your readers on a journey from point A to Z. If you are unclear about where you are taking your readers, they will be confused too. Ask yourself, when my reader picks up my book, where are they currently in their life journey? If you did the homework outlined in Mistake #2, you can answer that. Then, by the time they finish the book, where do you want them to end up? How will they be different? What will they have learned? This helps you develop a clear line from start to finish, providing you with a North Star to guide your readers. You can clearly state a promise for your readers at the beginning of the book and walk hand in hand with them until the last page.

Mistake 4: They are trying to squeeze several books into one  

One of the biggest mistakes I see new authors make is trying to squeeze several different themes and topics into one book. More than likely, you have lived a full life and probably have multiple potential books you can write. Yet, trying to fit all your life lessons into one book will result in a 5,000-page book that no one will read. At some point, you need to choose which topic you would like to write about first, knowing that there is potential to write additional books later on the various topics that interest you. My friend Michelle McKinney Hammond always says your next book can build upon your previous book, essentially saying to your audience, “and another thing,” serving as a continuous conversation that you keep adding to.

Mistake 5: They try to write a book out of season 

In the book of Ecclesiastes, we are reminded there is a season for everything. Recognizing the season we are in is important if we intend to be successful authors. If we try to write a book on a subject that has not fully matured, we will face challenges, and that book won’t yield fruit. I remember working on a book for three years, developing full-blown manuscripts of 40,000 words, only to be left unsatisfied with the outcome. It wasn’t until I realized that the reason I was struggling so much was because I had not fully matured as a writer in my knowledge, lived experience, and personal growth on that topic. If I had published that book, it would have been a decent piece of work at best, but it would not have been transformative. Once I set that project down and asked God to reveal which book was in season for me to write, I started focusing on my second book project, designed to help women start their ministries. Within 90 days, I went from a blank page to publishing my book, “Sister, Start Your Ministry.” The development of the book came so easily because I was already coaching women in that area, and that season of my life was mature enough for me to produce a step-by-step guide. I share this story with you because I want you to think about your life and what elements have reached a place of maturity so you can write about them in a way that inspires others. Ask God to reveal this to you and give you clarity about the book you should write in this season.

If you are looking to write a book and need help determining your next step, we encourage you to join us at our upcoming Maximize Your Message 3-Day virtual bootcamp. At this event, you will learn tangible steps to become a Christian author who spreads the love of God through your story and message. Learn more by visiting Maximize Your Message.

 

About the Author

Rev Jocelyn J. Jones

 
 

Rev. Jocelyn J. Jones is an author, speaker, and entrepreneur. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa in journalism. After earning her B.A., Jocelyn worked for channel 20, WYCC. She left the television industry to serve as the Executive Director of the ARK of St. Sabina, a youth center on Chicago’s Southside. While at the ARK, Jocelyn earned her master’s degree from the University of Chicago in social work. Tragically, the lives of several families she served were shattered due to gun violence. Those experiences and her own quest for emotional healing inspired her to establish her company, Faith on the Journey Counseling. Jocelyn earned her master’s degree in theological studies from McCormick Theological Seminary. She is an ordained minister, a training facilitator with the Trauma Healing Institute, and the author of the book Breaking the Power of the Mask.