Discipline: The Key to Success by Angela Dion

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I dreamt of being a writer since I was a kid in junior high school. I was really into Agatha Christie at the time and fantasized about my best-selling mystery novel being featured in The Washington Post’s Book World. I even had a pen name picked out, Angie Gold. Eventually real life kicked in. The dream faded, but I kept writing.

I’ve kept a journal since I was 12 years old. I went to college and graduated with a degree in psychology. I went into the Air Force and taught Bomber pilots how to communicate. I worked in a mental hospital where I kept logs on my client’s progress. I volunteered at both a crisis pregnancy center and my church as newsletter editor. I worked for five years as a sales director with the Pampered Chef where I developed, edited and wrote a newsletter. I home schooled my son for three years and taught him how to write.

One day in 1999, it hit me. I have been writing, editing or teaching people how to write all of my life. My favorite part about all of my jobs and volunteer work was writing. Maybe I could revisit my dream and try to write for a living.

Soon after this revelation, I was reading Discipleship Journal (DJ), a magazine that I had read cover to cover for years. They needed manuscripts for their “Getting into God’s Word” section. I went for it. I worked on my article for months before my husband said, “Just send it in.” Two months after I mailed the manuscript with a prayer, I received the e-mail. They wanted my article! An acceptance letter before my first rejection, a $300 check and publication in my favorite magazine was a great way to begin a writing career.

After having that piece accepted, my husband bought me the best Christmas present — registration to the 2000 Florida Christian Writer’s Conference. I recommend that everyone go to at least one writer’s conference. While there I meet the associate editor of DJ and many other editors and fellow writers. I learned about the basics of writing and how to market my work. I was even nominated as one of the Year’s Best New Writers. I began believing in myself as a writer. I started acting like a professional writer.

I devoted time each day to writing. I set a goal to send out at least one query or manuscript each week. I purchased the Writer’s Market and Christian Writers’ Market Guide. I joined the Writer’s Digest book club and started reading books about writing. I joined Writer’s Weekly and other online writer sites. I found a mentor who was a more experienced writer and began meeting with her monthly to discuss my trials and triumphs. I still practice these disciplines today.

It’s been almost ten years since I sent that article to Discipleship Journal. It is still my favorite magazine and they’ve published over a dozen of my articles over the years. My articles have appeared over 100 times in magazines, newspapers, newsletters and online publications. (I occasional write under the pen name Angie Gold). My first book, Dear Son: Letters from a Birth Mother was published in 2002. My second book Nine Steps to Successful Nonfiction Magazine Writing is available at Writer’s Weekly.

In 2006, I quit my full-time job as an addictions counselor and started Dion Communications, LLC. I still write magazine articles but my true passion is helping new writers get started. I write book proposals, coach writers, teach college writing courses, edit books, manuscripts and query letters and speak in various venues.

A few months ago I woke up to begin my writing day. As I headed to the computer I thought, My dream of being a successful writer is now a reality. If I can do it, so can you.

Angela Dion lives in Southern Maryland with her husband and their teen son. She is a successful author, professional writing coach and motivational speaker. She can be reached at http://www.dioncommunications.net.