Three tips: What is it like to be the Pope?

Once a week I am offering three quick tips that you can take and use right away. For those of us who would rather be writing than reading blogs, this is a place you can grab something useful and get back to work. If you have suggestions, please share them in the comments section.


Today I’m not going to name a specific title. Instead, I want you think about what you want to write and where you’d like to be published. If it’s a particular newspaper, magazine, literary journal or website, read it. Read every issue you can find, cover to cover, and take notes on what they have inside. You will not sell your work to any publication until you can prove that you understand what they publish and send them exactly what they want. Likewise, if you want to publish a particular kind of book, read as many books in that genre as you can so that you know exactly where and how your own manuscript fits. Don’t have time to read? Make the time. Real writers read.


I recently came upon Jeff Goins’ blog, which is full of inspiration and information for writers, as well as some enjoyable personal stories. One of the resources there is this great list of tips. Check it out at

Try This

Looking at the TV images of our new pope, Francis I, standing silently in that window at the Vatican yesterday, I wondered what might be going through his mind. With a puff of white smoke, his whole life has changed. He has given up his previous job, his home, friends, family, possessions, and even his native language to take this job with enormous responsibilities at an age when most men are retired. Open a blank page and write about what a person like Benedict might be thinking and feeling at the moment he takes his new position and faces millions of people cheering and shouting his name. It doesn’t have to be the pope. It could be a king or a president or a rock star. You could write a poem, a fictional scene, a monologue, an essay, an opinion piece or whatever feels right to you.

Now Go Write