068 Is it time to launch your writing career? (with guest Dr. Dennis Hensley)

Is it time to launch your writing career? According to one survey, the vast majority of Americans say they have a book within them. We talk with Dr. Dennis Hensley about the craft and career of writing.

Is it time to launch your writing career? (with guest Dr. Dennis Hensley)
Our guest for this episode is Dr. Dennis E. Hensley, director of the professional writing department at Taylor University in Upland, Indiana. He has published 60 books—including six novels and eight textbooks—as well as more than 150 short stories and 3,500 newspaper and magazine articles. Dr. Hensley is an annual judge for the Evangelical Press Association Awards and the Christy Fiction Awards.

As an internationally recognized authority on the life and works of twentieth-century author Jack London, Dr. Hensley offered week’s Inspire Me quote from that esteemed American author:

“I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The function of man is to live, not just exist. I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them. I shall use my time. “

Dr. Hensley identifies three attributes of successful writers:

  1. They enjoy reading and read widely.
  2. They are disciplined and demonstrate an interest in mastering their craft.
  3. They are eager and engage in self-study beyond what’s expected of them.

One study suggests that 81 percent of Americans feel that they have a book in them. That’s 200 million people who aspire to write, yet many never do. Dr. Hensley points out that most people really underestimate the amount of work it takes to create a the kind of polished work that they envision.

Yet, there are also those who surprise themselves by the discovery that they have life experiences that they can share. That discovery motivates them to develop the skills they need to write a book.

There are more opportunities now than ever before to develop the skills needed to become a great writer, from online learning programs, to chat rooms, e-books, writing conferences and community writer groups.

You are never too old to begin to write. You have memories, jobs, experiences and depth of knowledge to draw upon. Dr. Hensley advises, “Don’t pressure yourself. So what if it took you three months to finish a short story? Great! Enjoy it. You’re not on any time table. Just work as you want.”

Dr. Hensley’s advice to aspiring authors is to be cautious about jumping in too quickly. “Don’t quit your day job.” It can take a year or more to produce a published work. Instead, take exploratory steps. Find the genres you enjoy and develop connections with writing friends.

This week’s Challenge Me:

Don’t be afraid to try writing. If you enjoy it, go for it. Who know’s what impact you might have on another?

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4 thoughts on “068 Is it time to launch your writing career? (with guest Dr. Dennis Hensley)

  1. Episode 68 is a winner! For more than 30 years, I haven’t hosted a writers conference without inviting Dr. Dennis Hensley to speak. If his schedule allows, he accepts, and my campers are the beneficiaries. His professional writing program at Taylor University (Upland IN) is the best in the country, and I back up that opinion with scholarships I fund there.

    Good on ya for having him on.

    Jerry B. Jenkins (JerryJenkins.com)

    • Thanks Jerry for giving it a listen and for your comment. One of my favorite presentations of all time was when Doc gave his “The Power of Words” keynote at your CWG Conference at the Broadmoor a number of years ago. It was simply AMAZING. We should have him reprise that presentation sometime. 🙂

  2. This was such a helpful, encouraging interview with Doc Hensley! I met him two years ago at the Write to Publish Conference and am looking forward to reconnecting with him again this year in Wheaton.
    He was able to help me with a sticky situation in the book I was writing at the time and now it is published and doing well. I passed this episode on to my writing group, highly recommending it to them. Thank you, Doc, for your insights, sensitivity to new writers and for your example as a master writer.

    • Hi Marjean! Thanks for listening to the episode and sharing it with your writing group. I’ll be sure to pass your comment along to Doc as well. Blessings to you.

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