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About the Writer:

With a tender heart, a drive for learning and a gift for sharing, Margaret brings her years of experience as a licensed professional counselor and a woman of faith to all her writings. Her insights and biblical understanding bring home principles we all can use - no matter the circumstances we are in.



Writing Coach Corner

Reading, Writing and
Arithmetic for Writers

By Margaret Cook, M.Ed., Licensed Professional Counselor, Life Coach


Back to school always gives us that moment to reflect on the basics of education that help us learn so many things for our life success. Were you a “good” student?  What do you think makes a student successful and why are the basics so important?
Writing is a skill that comes from a grasp of the basics and the risk of creative expression. Good writing students practice both the science and the art of writing and, most importantly, they practice. Some students look for the minimum and the path of least resistance. They want a lot of praise, little direction from the teacher and the shortest possible assignments. These students can pass, but they rarely excel in school. What if you were the student who instead was open to feedback, able to learn from the perspective of others, good at understanding directions and delivering more than expected on any assignment?  If, in addition to that, you enjoyed learning, had fun with assignments and creatively put ideas or phrases together you could see the rewards writers can enjoy.  Writers like that experience opportunities like winning writing competitions, awards, scholarships and publishing invitations.

If you haven’t been a stellar student or writer in the past, it is never too late to start on the path that will lead toward improved opportunities. Start with improving your study skills by reading more.  The more you read, the better writer you will become. Read outside of your usual genre or interest areas sometimes and reflect (maybe in your journal) about what makes the writer a “good” writer. Practice imitating writers you especially like. Remember that it will also help to read about the craft of writing. If you need to go back to basics, read a little about the areas where you are weak. Practice daily writing until you have writing habits that support your efficiency and pleasure in writing.  Seek feedback by joining a writers’ group, by taking a writing class or by submitting writing on the Internet to sites that promote reader feedback.  Learn to follow directions by reading submission guidelines and following them carefully.  .

Remember to do the math.  As you develop as a writer, you want to spend time on the things that are most valuable in your writing practices.  Submitting articles cannot happen if you haven’t had time to write them.  The more articles you submit, the more offers and invitations you will receive to publish and speak. Create a process where you keep track of the facts.  If you want to write for pay to make money, you will need some accurate data to help you become financially successful in your writing career. How long does it take you to write a 500 word article?  How much time did you spend finding a place to submit it for publication and editing the work once it was accepted?  Knowing this kind of information can help you develop time management strategies that improve your efficiency.

Welcome back to school for all of the writers at the Next-Step-of-Faith!  We look forward to encouraging you as a writer and helping you succeed beyond your expectations.  Read richly, write often, and remember to add to your understanding of how the business of writing can help you grow in faith and share the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Copyright © September 1, 2008 – Margaret Cook. All rights reserved.

Permission to use or duplicate this article is available by contacting the writer at

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