Monday, August 18, 2014

Where is Your Warrior? --with DiAnn Mills

Where is Your Warrior?
DiAnn Mills

If youre like me, writing can be a war zone. Every day I march to my computer and battle with words. Sometime I carry the flag and stand on my desk and scream victory. And other times I hide under my desk and cower like a . . . little girl. I make the choice to be successful. I dont choose my circumstances, and neither am I controlled by them. I am a writing warrior.

Writing tactics vary according to personality, and all of us have ways to achieve our objective in a strategic manner. We approach our stories with proven maneuvers weve learned from other writers, and were not afraid of making adjustments. The crazy truth? There isnt a perfect way to create a novel.

If you doubt your fighting and survival abilities in the writing and publishing world; if you want to crawl out of your foxhole and write a marketable story, here are ten ways to champion the writing warrior in you.

The Writing Warrior
1.      Purpose: A warrior understands the goal of his craft is to pen a manuscript that exceeds anything the writer has created in the past. The elements of story are deepened through vigorous practice and a review of skills. The first line of defense is creativity.
2.      Motivation: A warrior finds the drive to begin and finish a story by understanding his purpose and ignoring the enemy flanks approaching on all sides.
3.      Determination: A writing warrior isnt afraid of an ambush. In fact, the writer is prepared. Revisions from the editor, changes in the industry, and personal situations dont have to be an ambush. A writer is ready with a counter-attack. We arrange our schedules to finish manuscripts before the due date so a hitch in our professional, personal, and psychological life doesnt flatten us. We find the resources necessary to do the work. Period.
4.      Mental: Courage takes its form in ways that are often unpredictable. A writer is prepared by mentally being aware of what success entails, training the mind to review and add ammunition to his arsenal. The writer isnt afraid to invest in how-to books, explore the best methods to use social media, or research the best writer conferences. A warrior seeks the tools to keep his morale up.

5.      Physical: A warrior trains his body so his mind will respond accurately. This means eating nutritionally healthy foods and exercising daily. Put the good stuff into your body, train it, and watch it operate more efficiently by defeating self-doubt and exhaustion.

6.      Spiritual: The Bible says to put on the armor of God so we can stand firm in our faith. Do you wear your faith like a set of new clothes? Are you clothed in the belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, boots of peace, shield of faith, helmet of salvation, and sword of the Spirit? A warrior without faith is defeated before he begins. Look up for your marching orders, not at your fingers on the keyboard.
7.      Objective: A warrior knows his objective before he straps on his weapons. He trains with courage. Dont be afraid of guerrilla warfare. If your story isnt flowing the way you envisioned, take a step back. Look at the story from another angle. What happens in the middle of your story that changes everything for your characters? What detail in your backstory pushes a character into unexpected action? Reach out for a critique partner. Work your way back from the storys resolution.
8.      Hunger: A warrior craves his very best and leads the charge. Do you hunger for your work to be viewed as respected, a strong story that entertains and inspires the reader? Does your heart want a manuscript that fulfills a need?

9.      Love and compassion: A warrior takes every weary step forward because of his love for people. The world is filled with hurting people, and he wants to protect and help them overcome adversity by showing them how to be warriors.
10.   Commitment: A warrior faces the challenges of the ever-changing writing and publishing industry by seeking information that teaches new concepts. His allegiance to story and pleasing readers links him to all areas of writing and publication. A warrior doesnt admit defeat; hes armed with knowledge that ensures hes still writing when the smoke clears.

Have you discovered your hidden warrior? A writer without a battle is a writer whos given in to the echoes of defeat and forgotten the will to create.

Im a writing warrior. What about you?

Okay warriors! Leave a comment for a chance to win a signed copy of Firewall.

After a whirlwind romance, Taryn Young is preparing to board a plane at Houston International Airport, bound for a dream honeymoon, when a bomb decimates the terminal. Injured but still alive, she awakens to discover her husband is missing and they’re both considered prime suspects in the attack. Further, the FBI is convinced her husband isn’t who he appears to be.

Agent Grayson Hall’s number-one priority is to catch those responsible for the day’s act of terror. All evidence is pointing to Taryn and her new husband. But his instinct tells him her pleas of innocence are genuine. Is her naiveté just for show, or could she truly be another victim of a master scheme, possibly linked to the software she recently developed for her company?

With both their lives and reputations on the line, and the media outcry for justice increasing with each passing minute, Taryn and Grayson have no choice but to trust one another . . . and pray they can uncover the truth before they become two more casualties.

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She currently has more than sixty books published.

Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers Choice, and Carol award contests. DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers; the 2014 president of the Romance
Writers of Americas Faith, Hope, & Love chapter; and a member of Inspirational Writers Alive, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and International Thriller Writers. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country. DiAnn is also a craftsman mentor for the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild.

She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas. Visit her website at and connect with her on Facebook (, Twitter (@DiAnnMills), Pinterest (, and Goodreads


  1. Love your analogy here DiAnn! I enjoy your stories -- always snappy conversations and lots of adventure and twists and turns. This books looks great.

  2. Thanks for the great analogy, DiAnn!

    I'm definitely more of a warrior in some of those attributes than others so it's a good reminder to keep on working to improve where I can.

  3. I'm definitely not a warrior, but I'm somewhat training. lol What would that be called? A squire or something? lol

    Great post. Thanks for the encouragement!

  4. Whoa, I heard a John Philip Sousa band playing a writer warrior march while I read this blog.

    I like #5 -- Physical. Not something I would have thought of adding to the list, but really it is at the core of any success, isn't it?

    This summer I discovered how keeping hydrated by drinking plenty of water really helped keep the heat/humidity brain fog at bay. I've never been a big water drinker before but now I'm a convert.

    No need to enter me in the draw because I have read Firewall -- loved it, loved it, loved it!

  5. Good morning, DiAnn! Loved your post! A good analogy. :-)
    Sometimes I feel like a warrior with all the elements in writing that I'm trying to learn. There seems to be a new battle to face and overcome each day.

    I'm just glad my casualties so far have only been the house, the laundry and yard. :-)

    Would love to win a copy of Firewall.

    Have a great down there in Houston!

  6. Hi Diann, it's so great to have you at Seekerville.

    It's always good to be reminded to wear the armor of God.

    Your statement, "The elements of story are deepened through vigorous practice and a review of skills. The first line of defense is creativity." really gives me hope. As I've been editing my WIP I've studied topics like voice. I've begun to wonder if I know enough to write a book, probably why I'm not published. Doubts swirl through my mind, but to hear you review skills and you're such an amazing've given me hope. Thanks!

    I'd love to be in the drawing. Thanks for stopping by and encouraging me today!

  7. DiAnn,

    Love, love, love this analogy!

    I think I am a writing warrior, especially trying to make each book better because that means growing as a writer.

    At least, I hope I'm doing that!

  8. Good morning, everyone! I've brought coffee and flavored creamer!

  9. DiAnn, thanks for the great post. I'm ready to jump in and face the challenge once again today. I loved what you said about looking up for our marching orders rather than looking down at our fingers on the keyboard. LOVE THAT!

  10. Kathryn, good morning!
    Kara, I agree. I'm much better in some of the areas she mentioned than others.

  11. Jessica, LOL. I know that feeling. I'm definitely still in training in some areas. :)

  12. Kav, I'm with you on the water!! I'm terrible about drinking it. I always mix in my Crystal Light Lemon Tea. I need to follow your lead and do better about that.

  13. Mary Hicks, I agree. About the time I get better in one area, I seem to need to work on another.

    But isn't it all a wonderful challenge?! I love being able to write! I love learning new things.

  14. Hi DiAnn~
    Firewall sounds great, full of suspense which I love, please enter me in the drawing.

    Blessings to all for a wonderful week!

  15. Jackie, I think we'll probably always doubt we're good enough. I think that's a common personality trait of a writer. :)

    You can do this!

  16. Rose, I'm sure you are! I know it's something I certainly strive for as well.

    I tend to try to work to improve one thing with each book. Right now I'm working on my characterization.

  17. Good morning, Tracey! Thanks for stopping by.

  18. DiAnn, this is a good post and a good way to start the writing week. And I like how it's applicable to unpublished, published and multi-published authors. We are all facing different kinds of opposition. This job is not for the faint of heart -- but then it's not just a job, is it?
    I am about halfway through "Firewall" and enjoying it. I got it from my local library. So I'll leave the drawing to someone who hasn't read it and doesn't have a librarian who's on board with Christian fiction.

  19. Absolutely! A full-body and soul approach :) Thanks for the inspiration.

  20. I'm so thankful that you are a writing warrior! Your novels inspire me to be a better warrior, though not in writing. And when it comes to your novels, I guess I don't need to be a reading warrior either. Love your books and would love to win. Thanks

  21. Welcome, DiAnn!

    A wowza post. I would agree on all counts.

    I would no more think of leaving my house without putting on my spiritual armor than I would leave without my physical clothes. To go out into the world without my gear is foolish.

    But I honestly had not thought of applying it to my writing!@ Thank you.

  22. Wow, what a motivating post! Thanks, DiAnn!

    Your advice of knowing our purpose and ignoring the enemy flanks on all sides is key for me. Sometimes, my thoughts and the doubts that creep in discourage me. And yes, the enemy has a hay day when I allow them to question why I'm writing. :) I've been working on training my thoughts to stay focused on the Main Thing—Jesus. And to lean on Him to help me fulfill the purpose He's given me in writing.

    Love your post!

  23. Thank you DiAnn! This is a very motivating post. I feel like getting out there and writing some words with your great analogy!!

    So nice to meet you at RWA!

  24. Beautiful and encouraging...Thanks for the graphic showing the "whole armor of God" passage. :) I'd love to win a copy of your book!


    You said: "A warrior without faith is defeated before he begins."

    Oh, AMEN AND AMEN!! All of your points are excellent, but I would have to say #6 tops the chart for me (and everyone else, I'm sure!). I'm convinced I'd be flat in the foxhole if I didn't have God shoring me up. ;)

    Thanks for a great post and HAPPY MONDAY, all!


  26. KB, I'm glad you have a great librarian! We have a good selection at our library as well. :)

  27. I'd better smarten up and be a warrior. I've had several health problems lately....

  28. DiAnn,
    I love, love, love this blog and the idea of a Warrior Writer. As an Army brat, wife and mom, I can so relate.

    The year my first book published, God gave me the word COURAGE! So needed for Warrior Writers, as you mentioned.

    I'm battling a new story that's following my direction and seems to be developing into something for which I can be proud...hopefully! :)

    Once I send the proposal to NYC later today, I'll work on a Seeker blog for WED and then battle rewrites on my last submission. Lots of challenges that keep this Warrior Writer on her game.

    So good seeing you at RWA. Thanks for leading FHL so beautifully. Your direction has been a very positive influence.

    Glad you could be with us in Seekerville today.

  29. Good morning, Sherri and Marianne!
    Tina, that's so true about going out without our clothes. :) I need to be more intentional about that (not the actual clothes! The spiritual armor). :)

  30. Jeanne, it was a very inspiring post! I agree. Though I LOVE writing, sometimes I do feel as if I'm wrestling with doubts.

  31. Welcome to Seekerville, DiAnn! It was great to see you at the Faith, Hope & Love meeting at RWA last month!

    Great post--very inspiring! I never thought of myself as a "warrior" writer, but I will definitely look at writing differently from now on. Thanks!

  32. Piper, thanks for dropping by! I'm about to get off here and go write myself. :)

  33. Jennifer, I've got you entered.
    Julie, yes!
    Laney, that one really struck home with me as well. I've got to take better care of myself.

  34. Myra, wasn't it fun to see everyone at the meeting? I always love seeing online friends in person.

  35. Debby, I'm so glad your proposal is almost finished!! Way to go!

  36. Hi MIssy, THanks for bringng DiAnn with all that fighting ammunition. What a great analogy, DiAnn, We do need to approach this business like warriors.

    Have a great day and thanks for sharing with Seekerville.

  37. Hi DiAnn! I'd love to be a warrior but I'm afraid I'm barely a survivor. Maybe I'll improve with time.

  38. hi DiAnn
    i've never thought of myself as a warrior when it came to writing - must rethink my paradigm. you are the second person in this past week to bring to the forefront the whole putting on the armor of God daily (must be God telling me something to pay better attention to).

    Thanks for sharing. Your book sounds quite suspensful, put my name in the draw, please.

  39. So true, Sandra.

    Cara, I think we all feel that way sometimes. Especially when we've had writing setbacks or are dealing with lots of "stuff" outside our writing.

  40. Hi DiAnn:

    Great post!

    I like all the points you made about the writing life.

    For over 20 years I’ve been using military analogies to teach a class in Strategic Planning. Over the last few years, however, I’ve been trying to teach that class without the use of any military references. This has lead to insights that would have been blocked out by employing the military POV.

    For example, the ultimate job of a warrior is to kill people. So I have been working on using the medical missionary or the doctors who serve in danger zones as part of “Doctors without Borders” as my model. This puts compassion, purpose, and service to humanity on a higher level. The mission is to save lives and alleviate suffering.

    I think this medial analogy works very well with each of your points.

    I’d probably mention the points in a slightly different order with love and compassion first. Of course, I don’t see your points as being in the order of importance. Each is essential.

    Come to think of it, whenever I read Missy’s books, I always feel that she put love and compassion first in her writing. I can feel the love in her voice. I don’t see this as an accident. I think this is part of the author’s approach to writing.

    Again: I agree with all your points. I just wanted to offer another way to view those same points within a gentler framework. I’m facing a real challenge trying to change strategic planning to a medical analogy.

    BTW: I am intrigued by your “Firewall” cover art. It has a hero and heroine on the cover art but it visually says, “This is an adventure story” without showing any violence. I’d like to figure out how the artist created that impression. If you have any comments on the creation of the cover, I’d love to hear them. Please put me in for a chance to win “Firewall” – the cover has already hooked me.


  41. FIREWALL sounds very intriguing!!!

  42. DebH, it's always cool to feel like maybe God is working on us from several directions, isn't it? :)

  43. Vince, thanks on the compliment! Once I get my act together on my current proposal, I'll be sending out those IOU copies of my new release. I hope you like the new book!

    I like your idea of the medical/helping analogies. I always hope that what my characters go through can help people in some way.

  44. Hi DiAnn!

    I love this analogy. Training, planning, preparation - they're all part of a writer's life, aren't they?

    Point #5, physical training, hits home. One habit I've developed in the last year (along with the help of a couple very energetic dogs) is to walk a mile every morning before sitting down at my desk. If I don't do it first thing, it won't get done. And I feel so much better when I make sure we get that walk in, no matter what the weather is like! (Okay, I don't go out in the pouring rain. Or blizzards.)

    And yes, I'd say I'm a writing warrior. Every day is training to be better for the next challenge.

  45. Jan, I'm impressed!! Good for you for getting going by walking. But you're making me look like a slug. :)

  46. Great insight. Thanks for sharing. I love the cover of your new book.

  47. Jamie, it is a great cover, isn't it?

  48. A writing warrior.

    I think of those years I was fighting to get published and the battles and defeats and then back I go to war. :)

    I think this describes it pretty well....without the gunfire (except fictionally of course)

  49. Yeah, Mary. You get fictional gunfire. I don't. ;)

  50. I really loved that sign that said:
    Breastplate of righteousness
    Belt of Truth....


    Very powerful.

  51. Okay, here's a challenge for everyone!

    Go to battle to write your words for the day. Go right now (or right after lunch or whenever you get at your computer today). Then check in later to tell us how you did!

  52. I can do that! I accept the challenge, Missy.

    Off to battle.

    Will try not to get blood on the pages.

  53. LOL, Tina! I happen to know that it washes off. :)

  54. What a great post, DiAnn I would love a copy of your book.

    Melissa, Your book arrived today! Can't wait to dive in!

    Tina, Thank you for Stranded with the Rancher. Only a couple chapters left to read and it is fantastic.

    I am also reading another Seeker Book Pride Prejudice and Cheese Grits and loving every word.

    In addition to reading I am also plugging away on my writing.

    I hope everyone will have a great week

  55. Wilani, it sounds like you're busy reading and writing! Good for you!

    You know, I sometimes let my reading go. But I'm learning that it's really important to keep reading.

  56. Great inspiration, as always, DiAnn. I have a new chant now. BE THE WARRIOR! Talk about empowering. Hugs, friend.

  57. Love these comments! If you don't have your warrior on - start now! I love the tip of drinking lots of water. Oh yeah, helps the writer stay away in the afternoon too. :)

  58. Jackie, creativity stems from the way we think. You are a writer simply because you've completed a book. Don't let the doubts steal your creativity!

  59. Oh my stars, Xena, Warrior Princess, at your service!

    Is she Zena or Xena?????

    Doesn't matter, ya' just gotta love the idea of warrior + princess = Totally Rockin' It Heroine!

  60. Kaybee, thanks for the encouragement! Yep, a writing warriors understands this is not for the faint-hearted!

  61. I have failed the water test so often that I'm sure the results are skewed by me personally.

    Why drink water when God makes coffee and Diet Snapple available????

    And I almost bought an energy drink at Sam's, I know I'm going to kick myself for opting out... It was delicious, 2 calories, a couple of carbs and loaded with caffeine.


  62. Debbi, You made my day! So glad I was able to help. Yesterday in church, I heard a statement that is now etched in my heart. "If Jesus saved His best for last, then how can I ever give up?" Although it was meant to encourage the Christian, it said fathoms to me about putting on the armor and heading into the battle of the written word.

  63. I love that challenge, Missy! This my last day home with my boys before they go back to school tomorrow. And I have a blog to upload. So, I'll check back in if I get a chance to actually add words to my story. :)

  64. I'm laughing at some of these comments. Yes, coffee is liquid lighter fluid, but water keeps the pipes going.
    And princess warrior? This body wouldn't fit into the outfit, but you go right ahead!

  65. I totally see the warrior in you young mother-slash-writers-slash-workers....

    Those jobs intersect like a Venn Diagram on 'roids.

    Go, you, all o' youse!

    DiAnn, I think Mother Teresa exemplified in the sweetest possible way a tireless persona of being a true warrior. She donned that armor early each morning and worked so tirelessly, helping others. I think of her beautiful industry whenever I don my writing armor because she made extreme effort look like a quiet, calm act of love.

    So many good examples of true Christian soldiers among us, if only we know where to look!!!

    Must go snuggle a baby....

    Like that's a hardship! :)


  66. Wow! Thank you for issuing this challenge to find our inner warrior. So encouraging. Thank you, DiAnn!

  67. Mindy, I can hear that in my head now, too. :)

    Ruthy, I am seeing you in that costume!! LOL

  68. Jeanne, enjoy your last day! I always hate sending them back to school. Miss them so much.

    You can do the challenge tomorrow if you need to. It'll be your first big day back too. :)

  69. HI, Natalie!

    Ruthy, I'm off to drink more Crystal Light tea. So I'm with you there.

    DiAnn, LOL on your quote about the pipes. :)

  70. DiAnn, I have to have the costume ALTERED.


    I love Joan of Arc. I think that would be a great costume.

    And it would fit better.


  71. Missy, did you just say you hate sending your kids back to school????

    What is your problem??? Why can't you be a normal terrible parent like the rest of us??????

    But you're drinking crazy diet tea stuff like me, so we're alike in some ways!!!!! Happy dancing!

  72. DiAnn, I really needed your post. I especially need to pay attention to numbers 3, 6, and 10.

    The book looks so good! Please enter me into the drawing.

  73. I also agree about exercising. Sometimes when I am stuck on a story idea or a plot, I go for a walk to think about it. Usually I end up with an idea I can at least try to work with.

  74. A lot of those points, especially the first ones, are what I think distinguishes writers from those like me who think, "it would be neat to write a book" but never do it! I don't have that drive or inspiration yet ... Well, except to read other's wonderful books. :)

    The summer camp I just came back from staffing earlier this month was teaching teens about the armor of God --I was kind of feeling like I was falling from that "spiritual high" from camp last week, so it's neat to have a little reminder like that.

  75. Ruthy, I can't say I always felt like that! Only when the kids got older and quit fighting with each other. LOL

  76. Sandy Smith, that's great that exercise helps you with plotting. I need to try that more often when I'm stuck. Unfortunately, I'm more likely to walk to the fridge and stare inside. But I have worked out plot problems that way! :)

  77. Artist Librarian, that's another cool example of God reaching out to us in multiple ways. I'm so glad He does that. It helps me understand what He's showing me.

  78. Tina a little metaphysical blood might not hurt. (Tina won't see this because she's WRITING!!!)

  79. Artist Librarian we LOVE readers here at Seekerville.
    Don't regret that you're not a writer, just keep reading!!!!!


  80. I heard someone call the first day of Kindergarten a Yahoo/BooHoo party.

    Very mixed feelings!

  81. Ruth, you're altering your princess warrior costume? Gotta see that!
    Seriously, love the Mother Teresa analogy. Thanks

  82. I'm a daily exercise kinda gal. Sure does help the brain clear out cobwebs!

  83. LOL, Mary! So true. I cried when each of them went to kindergarten. But it passed pretty quickly. :)

  84. Also meant to say that now I cry when I hug them goodbye at college. And it doesn't pass so quickly. I'm still a little blue from Saturday.

  85. DiAnn, I agree. I don't have time for big units of exercise, but I'll grab 2-4 minute spurts 10 - 15 times/day and that keeps my energy up most of the time, although cozy, cloudy mid-winter afternoons are PERFECT DOZING WEATHER....


  86. Oh, first day of Kindergarten is tough around here.

    Parents gathering, taking pictures. Some of them following busses....

    don't tell me if you do that, I'll laugh at you and then you'll hate me.

    I want to be loved, not hated.

    But I love getting back to a normal schedule at the end of summer. I just love, love, love it.

    Summers here are just crazy.

    'Sall I'm sayin'.

  87. Does anyone know anything about Ambassador International? They were suggested to me as a possible publisher for my non fiction book. I have contacted them for information.

    Tina, I finished your book this evening. It was wonderful. Posted reviews as well.

  88. Oh, Ruthy, I was so temped to follow that first bus (first grade). But I refrained! LOL

  89. My daughter who just sent her firstborn to Kindergarten got together with a bunch of other mothers for the morning. They had what they called a Yahoo/Boohoo Party.

  90. Oh wow, I can't believe I didn't read this yesterday. I'm do thankful I did today. I'm ready!

  91. DiAnn,thanks for posting that list. I can't help it, I collect lists. Or maybe I just like collections- :) Anyway, I'm looking forward to reading another of your books, and seeing you again in St. Louis.