By Darlene L. Turner
Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. – James 1:4 (NIV)
What happens when our well-thought out plans for our writing journey start falling apart? We receive rejection upon rejection. We get to the point where we shudder every time that dreaded ding announces an incoming email. After a while we begin to assume it’s a “no, not interested” even before we open it. Do we give up on our dreams?
This is exactly how I felt during the past ten or so years. The rejections piled up. I hated to even open my email. I began to question whether or not I heard God correctly. Was I really supposed to write? Could I keep going? I would scroll through Facebook and see writers posing that most sought-after picture of signing a contract. Why not me? When was my turn?
As soon as that thought tumbled through my mind, an encouragement from someone would pop up in an email, Facebook message, or on my blog. No, I couldn’t stop. God wasn’t finished yet. So, what did I do?
I kept going, trusting God had a perfect plan for my writing journey. I attended writer conferences to learn more about the craft, started blogging, wrote articles, and finished three manuscripts. I didn’t give up. Even when the rejections still appeared in my inbox.
In January of 2018 just after being turned down again, a ray of hope appeared in my inbox. That email every writer wants. Success. I signed with Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency. I was elated to be accepted by such an amazing agent. In June of this year, I was offered a contract from Love Inspired Suspense. I finally was able to post that coveted picture of me signing my contract on social media!
I want to encourage all writers not to give up on their dream. It’s coming! What did I do as I waited? Here are some tips on what to do in the in-between.
Surrender to God’s calling – Think of Moses. He told God “No, I can’t do this” when God appeared to him from the burning bush. What did he do in the end? He surrendered to God, packed up his family and possessions, took a risk, and went to Egypt to bring his people to the promised land. Many times, I felt like Moses and wanted to say the same thing, but God pushed me to keep going. He knew the big picture. When we get those rejections, we must surrender to God and trust.
God’s timing is always best – Trust in His perfect plan. Yes, I know that can be tough. I’ve been there, but if we try to go ahead of God and don’t seek Him, we fall flat on our faces. We may want that contract right away, but perhaps we aren’t quite ready, or we just haven’t found the perfect fit. God knows.
Hone the craft – There are a number of ways to do this and I’m still learning! Study books on writing, go to writer conferences, build a writing community, read in your genre to learn from other writers, and take some online courses. Good information is out there. We just need to go find it. Ask other writers.
Write – This one seems obvious, but as Jerry Jenkins always says…we need to put our behinds in the chair and write! The more words we put down, the more we grow in the craft. Set up a schedule for what works best.
Prayer Team – Assemble individuals you trust and ask them to pray for you. Share your journey as it progresses and ask for specific prayers. Perhaps, you’re about to send another proposal out. Ask them to go ahead of your email and pray. God is always listening!
Just like it says in James 1:4, perseverance matures us, and we only need to keep going. Finish the race. Don’t give up on the dream. The journey is worth it!
What does your writing journey look like? Share with us.
Darlene L. Turner writes romantic suspense and is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray. She won the 2019 and 2016 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense. She’s a finalist in the 2019 ACFW Genesis contest and won in 2017. She lives with her husband Jeff in the Forest City of London, Ontario. Visit Darlene at www.darlenelturner.com where she believes there’s suspense beyond borders.