By Patricia Beal
Last week a reporter asked me if I ever thought my novel would get published, and that’s when I remembered the moon story.
Someone once told me that getting a book published was like shooting the moon. “What are you really going to do with the rest of your life?”
The conversation had bothered me, but I started anyway.
When I took the first chapter–fresh out of my head and hot off the printer–to my Barnes & Noble writing group, I asked the leader to read it for me (my accent is something else). As she did, I saw a box of motivational cards on a shelf behind her. It read: “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars…”
A hard-to-please group had loved my first chapter, and I’d received a sign. Cinderella story? Oh no, no, no. Two years later the novel hadn’t gone far. I stand corrected. It’d gone far–just not successfully. In the summer of 2012, the novel was rejected in three different continents in the same week.
Then Jesus passed by.
Six months later I was born again and realized that for two years I’d been writing my own salvation story.
The good news? The story wasn’t working because it was missing a layer. It’s more than the story of a ballerina with big dreams and dreamy suitors. It’s about a young woman trying to fill the God-shaped hole in her heart with misguided career and romantic pursuits.
The bad news? The rewrite would be lengthy and painful. But the Lord gave me people who encouraged me through the fourteen months of labor, and the work got done. He gave me something else too. A Cadillac commercial. A sweet reminder of where we’d been, and where we were going.
In the commercial, a kid is riding with his dad. It’s dark. There’s nothing to be seen anywhere. Suddenly you start hearing lunar landing audio:
“We are now in the approach phase–everything looking good.”
“Velocity twelve hundred feet per second.”
“You are looking great to us, Eagle.”
“Two thousand feet.”
A big moon shows up at the end of the road. Dad’s hands are strong on the wheel. The kid and Dad exchange an expectant look.
“Still looking very good.”
“Fourteen hundred feet.”
Dad goes faster. The music gets bigger. The moon gets bigger.
Narrator: “Funny thing happens when you shoot for the moon.”
Lunar landing audio: “That’s affirmative.”
Narrator: “You get there.”
Lunar landing audio: “You are GO for landing–over.”
Here’s the commercial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXsWeGUJP9M&feature=share
My answer to the reporter? “Absolutely. I knew it would get published.” He’s an aspiring novelist and was encouraged by the moon story. Pay it forward, right?
When I got home after talking to him, I found that shoot-for-the-moon box I’d purchased at Barnes & Noble on “Chapter 1 night” and got six years of dust off of it. Shame on me for not thinking about my trip to the moon daily. Why do we do that?
Celebrate your miracles. Share them here. Remember…
And if you’re paralyzed by fear, be free from it today. Are you doubting your calling? Most of us do. Don’t let that stop you. God already knows most of us feel that way.
I love this conversation between Jesus and a dad who asks for help for his possessed child: Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief (Mark 9:23-24).
God can handle our tendency to believe and not believe at the same time. He’s not surprised. Ask Him for help, like this dad did. He got his miracle. You’ll get yours. Believe. Keep working. Let me be your shoot-for-the-moon box of cards today. Do it. Shoot for the moon! Write that book. Pitch. Submit. Rewrite. Repeat. Get published.
“You are GO for landing–over.”
Patricia Beal is from Brazil and fell in love with the English language while washing dishes at a McDonald’s in Indianapolis. She put herself through college working at a BP gas station and graduated magna cum laude from the University of Cincinnati with a B.A. in English Literature. She’s a 2015 Genesis semi-finalist and First Impressions finalist. Her debut novel, A Season to Dance, comes out May 9. Visit Patricia on her website at http://www.patriciabeal.com/.
Yes! Yes! Wonderfully uplifting post, Patricia. You have such a great story with the novel only being able to be written when you discovered the Lord’s great love for you.
Enjoy the shenanigans of the release day/weeks activities.
Congratulations!!!! Thanks for encouraging us with your great story – I love the way God encourages us too. A Brazilian becomes an American novelist. Who would know? Only God.
Ian! Great to see you here. I don’t get tired of sharing the story of how God had me writing my own salvation story before I was saved. That’s still the best story of all. Thank you for your support always 🙂
Carol! Thank you! I know, right? Were you at the ACFW 2016 conference? My story often reminds me of all the wonderful words Bill Myers shared with us in Nashville–words about being the least likely candidate to do something with God and for God. I feel those words… For me the list goes kind of like this: English as a third language, autistic, and just became a Christian five minutes ago. Wrote a neuro-typical conversion story in English. God is amazing 🙂
Patricia- I am real green at all this writing stuff. I am a semi-retired senior who has recently started Prof Writing courses. At my age being published in some way seems more of a pipe dream than a reality but your story inspires me so. I feel sometimes that there is so much to learn and so little time….LOL
I was not at 2016 ACFW conference.
I AGREE, God is amazing!!!!!!
Hi Carol! I know a lot of people who started writing later in life. It will all work out! If you see me at ACFW 2017, poke me and say hello 🙂
“Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.” (1 Thessalonians 5:24)