Wise Counsel

I’ve heard some top-notch speakers at my Fellowship of Christian Writers meetings, and last night was no exception. Jan Dargatz kept our pens flying for a full hour as she shared insight from the publishing world. Jan is a full-time freelancer, author, editor, and educator who also writes under several pen names.

Without trumpeting her own success or dropping names, the anecdotes and examples she shared from her real-life experiences soon revealed that she has worked with several very well-known people, helping them to develop and write their books. After she finished speaking, she fielded a few questions. In answer to the last one, “Have you written any plays?”, she began telling us about a time she was asked to write a passion play for some folks in Texas. Long story short, she wrote the original script for The Promise. You have perhaps seen it on stage in Branson, but it has also played in large venues around the world.

I consider myself very lucky to have heard Jan teach last night. She alerted us to “10 Pits To Avoid on the Way To Writerdom”. The question now is “what will I do with what I heard”. Will I just be excited that I got to hear a successful person in the publishing world give us 60 minutes worth of priceless advice, or will I carefully look over my notes and begin to apply the wisdom she shared to my own life as a writer?

God’s Word tells us that “…wisdom is found in those who take advice.” (Proverbs 13:10b) Maybe you can help keep me on my toes by asking me sometime what advice of Jan’s I have followed. How about you? Has someone given you advice that you need to act on? I encourage you to take advantage of the wise counsel you’ve received.

Are you curious about Jan’s list of 10 pits for writers to avoid? I’ll give you the bare bones version without all the sub-points and then challenge you to think about how they might apply to your own field of interest or a problem you might be faced with right now. I hope you find them helpful in some way:

1. Unrealistic expectations about publishing.
2. A failure to read.
3. A failure to write.
4. Lack of having a real thought focus, a clear idea of what you want to say.
5. Start editing too soon.
6. Not having a good editing/mentoring coach.
7. Dismissing a job as being too insignificant or unimportant.
8. Working for an author who doesn’t have a clear focus and a strong desire to finish the job.
9. Working for dual authors or even two members of the same family on different projects.
10. Discouragement (the biggest pitfall of all).

**On another note, Don and I are leaving early Friday morning with a team of folks from our area to serve at the Beautiful Feet mission in Ft. Worth. Would you keep us in your prayers as we reach out to the inner city and homeless population there? We’ll return Sunday evening. Thanks!


  1. So glad you stopped by The Master’s Artist Cheryl!

    Good luck on your trip to Fort Worth!

  2. Thanks, Madison, for your well wishes for our trip — and thanks so much for checking out my blog!

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