By Anne Baxter Campbell
I’m not a really patient person. I want the shortest line at the store, gas that pumps in excess of the speed limit, and meals I can prepare in fifteen minutes or less. Worst of all, perhaps, I want to go from “Once Upon a Time” to “The End” to “Released” in sixty seconds flat.
If any gift can teach us patience, it’s the writing process. I love to write fiction best of all – but it seems like blogs, book reviews, editing, and interviews take up too many hours. Fiction writing falls behinder and behinder.
Impatience is probably why I began writing for the publisher who released my Truth Trilogy. Biblical fiction just wasn’t selling, but it was (and is) my first love. Waiting for it to come back into fashion could take years, and I’m not a young woman. In fact, look up “little ol’ lady” in the dictionary, and you will find my picture. Or so I justify my impatience to wait for it to come back to popularity.
My patience fell through the cracks in the publishing sidewalk, and I decided to go with a small publisher. I had talked to agents and editors for three years, submitting proposals here and there and the other place. Three years is really a short time in this industry, but as long as my own perseverance would last.
Not that all I did was talk to publishers and agents. I spent that time learning from those wiser than I am and writing, writing, writing. And prayer – lots of it. After a time, it seemed what God had really called me to do was support other authors – which I still love to do and which God still calls me to do. So I composed reviews and interviews for other writers. Then I discovered I could write my own stuff for the sheer joy of it, even if it would never publish.
My path isn’t one I’d recommend for everyone. For the younger ones – and that includes anyone up to age sixty! – be patient with yourself and with people who are trying to help you. Don’t give up on writing. Improve your craft. Keep pitching. Continue to send your work to reliable Christian agents and editors. Pay attention when someone gives you good advice, even if it hurts your feelings. Maybe especially if it hurts your feelings.
Pray. Pray for your work – not that it will sell but that it will become salable. Pray for the agents and editors you talk to, that they will have the courage to tell you the truth even when it pinches. Pray for other writers – for their work, for their efforts to be published, and for their health. Pray just for the joy of praying. Pray always with thanksgiving, knowing God has all the right answers and knowing He is always good.
Oh – and be patient.
What? I already said that? Well, as I also told you before, I’m a little ol’ lady, and therefore I have the right to repeat myself. ?
Anne Baxter Campbell is an occasionally sweet little ol’ lady living in north central California with a cute little dog, an imperious but beautiful black cat, and a very patient husband. She’s the author of The Truth Trilogy and a bunch of short stories presently in ebook format centering around various holidays, all with Helping Hands Press, and a devotional will soon be released with Elk Lake Publishing called Fear Not.