Leaving Harran

ACFW Advice, Authors and writing, Encouragement, Friends of ACFW, Learning, writing 4 Comments

By JPC Allen

God has a lot of nerve.

I thought of this when my kids and I were rereading the story of Abraham and Sarah. Actually, they were still Abram and Sarai at this point because we were reading the part in Genesis when God tells Abram to leave Harran and become a wanderer, living in tents for the rest of his life.

He’d be a wealthy wanderer, sure, with livestock and servants. But still. In twenty-first century terms, God asked Abram to ditch his Manhattan penthouse for a life of crisscrossing the country in an RV.

God did promise Abram and Sarai that a great nation would descend from them, so they knew a reward was attached to their obedience. But as the years stretched on, they began to doubt. Even when they eventually had Isaac, Abraham and Sarah still couldn’t have foreseen all the far-reaching consequences of their obedience.

As a writer, I feel for Abraham and Sarah.

I believe God made me a writer. When I began actively seeking publication for my YA novel five years ago, I thought I knew God’s goal for my writing. Why else would he give me these characters if He didn’t want them published? When I was a semi-finalist in the 2016 Genesis contest, I was certain I’d find an agent at the ACFW conference that year.

But I had no platform. No one I met with would take on a platform-less writer. To say I was depressed is like saying the Arctic is brisk.

Over the next year, I invested time and energy into building a platform and hired a free-lance editor to improve my novel. My confidence restored, I went to the 2017 ACFW conference in Dallas with high hopes of finding an agent.

Only to be told I didn’t understand “show, don’t tell.” The Depressed Express picked me up a few days after I returned home.

Although my plans of becoming a novelist are still a dream, positive things have happened in my writing life, ones I never expected. I saw myself as exclusively a fiction writer. But it turns out I enjoy sharing my thoughts about the writing process on my blog. Because I love working with kids, I now lead writing workshops for teens and tweens at my local library and will have an opportunity to work with adults this fall. I saw myself as novelist, but because I got to know the women in in my writer’s group, I had the chance to writer a short story for an anthology. That was so much fun, and sweat, I would have hated missing the opportunity to stretch my fiction skills.

So, like Abraham and Sarah, I’ve set out from my comfortable Harran into the wilderness of publication. I don’t know my destination, but I am learning that the journey holds more wonderful surprises than all my well-thought out plans included. What’s more, I don’t know what the effect my journey will have on others. But I do know if I had remained in Harran, I would have no effect at all.

God asked Abraham to leave Harran for the wilderness. What kind of wilderness is God asking you to venture into? #ACFWBlogs #amwriting http://www.acfw.com/blog Click To Tweet

JPC Allen began her writing career in second grade with a homage to Scooby Doo. A former children’s librarian, she loves to introduce tweens and teens to the adventure of writing through her workshops. She offers writing tips and prompts for beginning writers at JPCAllenWrites.com and on Facebook and Instagram at JPCAllenWrites. A lifelong Buckeye, JPC Allen has deep root in the Mountain State. Her first short story, “Debt to Pay” appears in From the Lake to the River: Buckeye Christian Fiction Authors 2018 Anthology.



Comments 4

  1. Thank you for this encouragement. Your words are a blessing from God! This blogpost aimed at my discouragement and hit the bullseye — hope radiates from its center.

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