Judy Woodward Bates vividly remembers having a desk drawer full of rejection letters from places she attempted to publish her work.
But, from those experiences as a writer, Bates has ascended to mentor other writers, now based on having published three books.
I had the great fortune to sit in on one of her writing sessions this week as she recounted stories from the early days.
She started talking about ways to save money on television and radio segments in the Montgomery media market. People started calling about her tips that she picked up living frugally and not relying on parents’ money.
“I became a real professional dollar squeezer before I really knew what that was,” Bates recalled.
The Bargainomics book, which she passed around during her presentation, seems like a good read for any of us looking for an accessible resource that presents Biblical money management wisdom in a way that’s easy-to-understand.
She is careful to remind those at her sessions that she is always looking for ways to share her faith as she shares tips on how to save. After all, it was God who allowed her to be where she is today, now working on her fourth book.
“God just laid all this out,” Bates said.
As for those of us who want to publish our first books– she has a lot of great suggestions.
“You want to be the author of a well-written, well-put together book not just a book,” Bates said.
She says having three friends who will give you honest feedback on your writing is a must. Additionally, we have to be willing to let the “baby” in our writing go and open ourselves up to constructive criticism about the way we tell a story and the words we use.
“Nothing can ruin a sentence worse than the wrong word,” she said. “Use a thesaurus, but don’t rely on the thesaurus.”
Here are a few of her other tips:
- Be wary of personal pet words
- Words are so powerful if we’ll just put them in the right place
- There’s more to good writing than using spell-check
- Read your writing out loud
- Record and listen to your writing the way one would an audio book.
Even before I read her books, Bates has captured my attention on multiple levels as an aspiring book author.