So, you wanna be a writer? Here’s how.

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Image courtesy of Drew Coffman (

Image courtesy of Drew Coffman (

Image courtesy of Drew Coffman (

Image courtesy of Drew Coffman (

A recent survey showed that 81 percent of Americans want to write a book, but most never will. They remind me of a quote often attributed to Henry David Thoreau: “Most [people] lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.”

The reason most people never sing their song or share their story is because they don’t know how to do it. Have you dreamed of becoming a writer or publishing a book or even starting a blog? I want to help you do it through my Writers Boot Camp. I’ve partnered with Margaret Feinberg, author of more than a dozen books, and social media whizz and Wall Street Journal bestselling author Jon Acuff to teach writers how to identify their audience, tell a killer story, grow their social media presence, publish their book, and more.

I feel lucky to get paid to sing my song in books and columns and articles. Each morning, I wake to my dream job. But it wasn’t always that way.

BootCampBannerAs a child, I imagined the adult version of myself standing over an anesthetized body holding a scalpel and eyeballing the perfect incision point. I dreamed of becoming a surgeon from an early age, but the aspiration died in 2004 when I heard what I believe to have been God speak to my heart: “You’re going to write.”

Looking back, the phrase was as much a salvation as a calling. I wince at the sight of too much blood, I hate rising early in the morning, and please don’t bother me when I’m off the clock, thank you very much. Oh yeah, and one more thing: writing is the greatest job in the world.

Becoming a writer hasn’t been easy. The market is flooded, and fewer paying gigs exist. I’ve had to claw my way to this moment over many years, often sailing on a sea of rejection’s tears. Of course, things didn’t lighten up once I became a writer. Hours of work become thousands of words, many of which no one ever reads. But the thrill of a finished piece that I know really says something important (and emails from readers who have been changed by it) drives me forward.

If you want to learn how to do what I do, join me at Writers Boot Camp in Denver, Colorado this coming October 27 -29, 2014. I’ll pick up the scalpel and dissect the craft of writing and the publishing industry. And you can finally start singing your song.


  • Thought often attributed to Thoreau, the quotation is not his. The first half of this quotation is a misquotation from Thoreau’s Walden:

    “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation. From the desperate city you go into the desperate country, and have to console yourself with the bravery of minks and muskrats. A stereotyped but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind. There is no play in them, for this comes after work. But it is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things.”

    The second half of this quotation is misattributed to Thoreau and may be a misquotation or misremembering of Oliver Wendell Holmes’ (1809-1894) “The Voiceless”:

    Alas for those that never sing,
    But die with all their music in them.

    — Jeffrey S. Cramer, editor of The Quotable Thoreau

  • I can not tell you how disappointed I am that I can not consider attending this workshop. You, Margaret Feinberg, and Jon Acuff are among the top five writers I admire most. My husband and I are leading a trip to Rwanda to work with Africa New Life October 18-28. I will pray that those you teach will be encouraged and gain the skills they need to move forward. I will share the workshop information with those I know who may be able to attend. And I hope you will consider doing this again so that I can have the opportunity to learn from each of you.