Macbook notebook coffee

1. Target your audience.

No, I don’t mean a Target run with a group of friends (but that definitely happened!). I’ve been blogging for ten years, but rarely thought of who I wrote to. But as we were encouraged to do this, I remembered my most-shared posts have always been ones that I’ve had a specific group in my mind (for example: To Those Who Want YWAM Babies, and it starts “Dear Eager Young YWAMer…”). Surprisingly, our communication is effective for more people when we focus on writing to fewer people.

2. Decide your takeaway.

So, how did I come up with ideas for blog posts all those years? It was different every time. Sometimes I knew exactly what story I wanted to tell. Other times, I word-vomited until I figured it out. The problem I had with both is I rarely thought “this is what I want to say”, which meant I could be vague. I’ve learned to boil down my takeaway, for example, “It’s okay to fail”, and make sure that comes out clearly.

3. Follow basic story structure.

In our second week, we analyzed the Pixar animation movie, “Up”. I haven’t been able to watch a movie or read a book in the same way since. Of course, you pick up on basic story structure when you try to guess the plot line of anything. But now, specific questions run through my head. “What does the main character want? What’s saying no to her?” In short, I’ve learned that all good stories have a structure to them, and once you know it, you can craft it with your own flair.

4. You can always grow in what you’re good at.


“Why are you doing a writing school when you’re already so good at writing?” I can’t tell you how many times I heard this before I arrived. For a moment, I’d let the question toy with my snobbish pride and feed the life-long lie that it was “selfish” to focus on my passion. Then I snapped back to reality, smirked, and asked, “What did Jesus say in the Parable of the Talents?” These three months have confirmed that we are gifted for the sake of serving others, and that we can always get better.


5. Your dreams can become reality.

What people always asked me about was publishing a book, and I didn’t know how to do that. I could write blog posts, but not the structure of a book. Publishing was a far-off mystical land much like Narnia or Middle Earth. The funny thing is, in the last few years I’ve actually gone to the real movie sets of those “mystical lands”. Following suit, this course has turned publishing a book from myth into a real place I can go to. Now I know how I can move forward––from dreams to reality.