What is your favorite craft book?
To be very honest I have not read a lot of books on writing. Embarrassing, I know. I have taken classes through Speak Up conference and Hope Writers, though. I liked Bird by Bird by Anne Lamont and Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy. Eat that Frog is not specifically a writing book but the principles of doing the most difficult task first are transferable to writing because it is so easy to procrastinate.
Which do you think is the most underrated craft book?
I don’t have a book to note as the most underrated writing book. My goal for 2024 is to read more books about writing. I want to my writing to be excellent and to glorify Jesus.
What is your favorite (or most anticipated) writers conference?
My favorite is the Speak Up conference in July. I love the courses, the keynotes and the fellowship of Christian writers. My heart is filled to overflowing each year.
What’s your favorite other source (YouTube, podcast, etc.) for writing tips/info?
I enjoy the wonderful tips and tools from AWSA and Word Weavers, Inc., as well as Hope*Writers.
Who is your writing mentor/inspiration?
Carol Kent is definitely my inspiration. I have had the privilege of being in a mentoring program with Carol for the past two years. She is encouraging, inspiring and always looking for ways to make others shine. Each month she provides focused learning and an opportunity for us to ask questions.
What’s the worst writing advice you’ve ever received?
To be honest, I haven’t had advice that I considered really bad. I can always learn from others. What I have learned is to have more than one person read my writing. Sometimes, a reader simply doesn’t get you. I learned this when I wrote a piece for publication and submitted it for critique to two different editors. One editor said I should remove a particular paragraph. The other editor said that same paragraph was her favorite and most meaningful.
Why was it bad?
I did not see this as a bad experience but as an opportunity to learn. This experience taught me not be discouraged and to have more than one person critique my work.
What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever received?
Pray for your readers. Pray for the one who needs to hear what God has put on your heart to share.
What would you say is the best writing tip for new authors?
Keep honing your craft. Keep learning, then learn, learn and learn some more.
What is your best self-editing tip or advice?
Do not edit as you write. Dump it all out on the page, then go back and edit. Remove everything that is not pointing the reader to the message you want to convey.
Please share your most encouraging tip for frustrated/discouraged writers.
Don’t give up and don’t fall prey to comparison. Someone needs to hear God’s message through your voice.
Tell us about your newest release/upcoming release.
My newest release is my book, “Wisdom: Capturing the Power of our Words.” The book is based on a study of the tongue in Proverbs and my upcoming release is “Parables and Paradigms- 52 Devotional Essays of walking with Jesus in the ordinary and extraordinary moments of life.” This is the working title but it may change. It will be released later in the year or early in 2024.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
It is never too late and you are never too old to have a new calling from God. I wrote my first blog in December 2018 at the age of 71. God was pouring into my life many lessons I wanted to pass on. I had never written before. I didn’t like writing as a student. Suddenly, I could not stop writing. It is my passion. I realize I have limited years left and my heart’s desire is to share through the joys and sorrows of my life the truth that God will never leave you or forsake you. As long as you have breath, God can and will use you if you are willing. I love the promise of Psalm 92:14 “Even in old age they will still produce fruit; they will remain vital and green.
Dyann Shepard is a wife, mother, grandmother, author, speaker, and mentor. She loves to share the power of God to redeem, restore, and renew our lives especially through tumultuous storms. Her passion is writing and speaking about the transforming power of Jesus in our daily lives when we open our hearts to Him. A retired CPA, Dyann is a former staff member of CRU and was a Stephen’s Minister for many years.