By Laurel Blount
A long, long time ago when I was in my twenties—back in the dark ages when there was no internet, no cell phones, and no social media—I submitted a book proposal to a well-known publisher.
I was overjoyed when I received a request for the full manuscript, but ultimately, I got a kind rejection letter. Deeply disappointed, I stuck my writing on the backburner and turned my focus to other interests.
Flash forward three decades. On impulse, I entered a contest sponsored by Love Inspired, progressed through each round, and ultimately sold my debut novel A Family for the Farmer. Since then I’ve published two additional books with Love Inspired, and my fourth, A Rancher to Trust, is scheduled for release on December 17th.
I’ve joyfully celebrated the release of each book, and I feel immensely privileged to have what my irrepressible novelist friend Lenora Worth calls “the bestest job in the whole world!” But deep down beneath all the gratitude and happiness, I battled some regret.
What if I hadn’t given up so easily back in my twenties? How many books would I have birthed by now? How much further along would I be in my career?
Then I realized something that I want to share with you.
Actually, two things.
First of all, if you are a young, aspiring writer, don’t do what I did. The world needs your God-given talent and your voice now more than ever. Set your face like flint against those rejections, put on a bulletproof vest if you have to, but keep on writing.
But, if you, like me, are a bit more…ahem…mature and find yourself wishing that you had more years to hone your craft, more time to tell all the stories knocking about in your mind and heart, if you’re mourning over the years you’ve “wasted,” then my second point is just for you.
Listen up, buttercup. Nothing in God’s economy is ever wasted.
All those busy years when we either weren’t writing, or when our writing wasn’t taking off like we’d hoped, weren’t wasted at all.
They were invested.
Take me, for instance. During the three decades I spent away from my keyboard, I gave birth to two children, adopted two more, traveled to several countries, suffered my fair share of griefs and betrayals, and logged thirty-plus years in a solid marriage. I battled anxiety and experienced the normal stresses of building a home and mothering young children. I explored a wide range of hobbies and interests. I read extensively, made many fascinating friends, experienced abounding joy and devastating sorrow, sweet fellowship and hollow loneliness. I witnessed jaw-dropping global events and saw the world shift and change with the meteoric rise of technology. Most importantly, I developed a deep relationship with my Lord and learned to lean hard on Him in both good times and bad.
Now when I sit down to write, I sift the memories of all those experiences into my books. My writing is much richer because of the “wasted” years I spent simply living life. The experts say, ‘write what you know.’ Well, I don’t know everything, that’s for sure! I do, however, know a lot more now than I did when I was younger.
I’m positive that the same applies to you. What do we say when we hear of people who’ve lived richly and deeply? We say, “Boy, I bet they have some stories to tell!”
Well, yes, they do.
So do you.
I do, too.
And now it’s time to tell them.Listen up, buttercup! Some encouragement for older writers. @laurelannwrites #ACFWBlogs #writing #writetips Click To Tweet
Inspirational romance author Laurel Blount has been awarded the Georgia Romance Writers’ Maggie award and has been a finalist for the Carol award, the Holt Medallion and the New England Reader’s Choice Award. Stay in touch by subscribing to her monthly newsletter, full of news, down-home recipes and fun giveaways!
“Set your face like a flint against those rejections, put on a bullet proof vest if you have to, but keep on writing.”
Isn’t that the truth? You made me laugh and breathe an amen at the same time.
There’s so much truth here, I feel like this belongs in a devotional for writers. “Nothing in God’s economy is ever wasted.” I’m hanging on to that one today.
I’m so glad you didn’t give up your dream of writing, Lauren!
Thank you for sharing this. As I too have moved through the decades,in my times of reflection I see many accomplishments. They may be small and meaningless to some but I treasure each of my memories.I feel honored getting to know you and reading your books..I pray God continues many blessings for you.
Absolutely agree! As someone has said, writing is different from sports or acting or other pursuits where if you haven’t made it in your teens or early twenties, you’re late and done. In writing, you get better with age and experience. Let’s write on!
Thank you, Amy! I’m so glad this encouraged you! Keep that bulletproof vest in place and keep on writing!
Thank you so much, Phyllis and Mary, for the kind words! I agree–I think some of our “small” accomplishments are the ones most worth treasuring, don’t you? May God bless you both!!
Yes, Alla!! Exactly! That’s so true–and such an encouragement!!
Thank you for this wonderful story of never giving up on life and the things we want to do. Sometimes I feel so old, because of the point my life is at now, but I’m only 56! Thank you for reminding me of this Laurel!
I feel like your talking straight me. I only I had a machine that would connect my brain to the computer and write these stories down while I am dreaming them up. Once I sit down to write, I seem to lose my flow or get bogged down on too many details. I am still trying though!
You, however, are amazing and I am so proud to call you my friend. I cN’t wait to see what you have in store for us next!
They say that it is not the years,
but it’s the mileage, gets you down,
but through the time-bought falling tears
you will not ever see me frown.
It’s too late now, to write career,
and it really isn’t what I’m after.
In the time that’s let, to those so dear
I aim to bring the light and laughter
Yes, it’s cancer, and it’s real,
and yes, ‘terminal’ sure gets old,
but I can joke when forced to kneel
in homage to the toilet bowl.
The devil knows that I can’t win,
but it drives him crazy that I grin.
Nicely said and so encouraging for me who, like you “wasted” many years before I could hit the keyboard. Maybe I’ll pull that old manuscript off the shelf….
Andrew–those last two lines are absolutely golden. I love your spirit, my friend!!
Dana–you and I are almost twins–we’re about the same age! Some days it definitely feels older than others–but we have lots ahead yet!
April, yes, writing is HARD, but you’ve got to get those wonderful stories down! I can’t wait to read them!!
Thank you for your inspiring post, Laurel.
“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under Heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3: 1).
“Even in old age they will still produce fruit; they will remain vital and green” (Psalm 92: 14).
This is SO good and so true, Laurel! Your story is similar to mine and I’m actually grateful I didn’t pursue writing too hard in the years when I was raising my kids. Yes, the extra money would have been nice (I was a stay-at-home mom) but I’ll never regret giving my all to raising my kids and just living life, which was the best research I could possibly have done for the women’s fiction I write. God excels at helping us make up for lost time. Thanks for this great post.
What a blessing you are to the writing world, Laurel. My story is very similar to yours. I wrote a book and received a kind rejection when I was in my twenties. When my mother died a few years later I gave up on the writing thing and didn’t seriously pursue it for two decades. You were meant to be on this author journey. Congratulations on your new release!
God’s timing is everything. I worked hard at submitting and writing only to get rejection after rejection. I even signed with a great agent. The main thing is–I didn’t give up! I persevered and kept sending. Got that first contract at age 73 and now, 10 years later I have 55 novels and novellas to my credit as well as stories and devotional in compilations. Your advice, Laurel, is spot on. Even if it’s later in your life now, think of all those experiences you’ve had to share in your characters’ lives. God doesn’t waste anything!
Love this! We are never too old to learn and never too old to write. 🙂
Laurel, No moment is ever wasted for those who follow God. Thanks for sharing this. Write on.