by Catherine West
While at ACFW’s annual conference in Nashville this year, I was reminded of something.
I had the opportunity to pass through the ‘waiting room’ of the appointments area a couple of times, and oh, the pressure was palpable. I remembered my first few conferences, nerves doing a jig all the while until my appointments were over. Conference can be intimidating enough, but if you’re pitching? Whoa, Nellie. 🙂 I was terrified of messing up, making a mistake, stammering through. I’m sure I did all of those things and more. But . . . the biggest mistake I made? Was believing my entire future writing career hinged on those few excruciatingly long minutes.
Nothing was further from the truth.
I made some good connections, got to know a few editors a little better, but I never got a contract because I pitched something brilliant at conference. But at the time, when you’re so invested and you’re sure you’ve blown it, it feels devastating. I remember leaving some of those appointments wondering if it was really worth it. Feeling so discouraged and disheartened that I contemplated quitting.
Have you been there? Maybe you’re there right now. Perhaps your appointments didn’t go as planned and you’re wondering what to do next. Wondering if writing is really your calling or if you just want it to be.
Don’t quit. Don’t even think about it.
You absolutely cannot quit and here’s why –
The world needs your words.
Read that again and let it sink in.
Scan the front page of any newspaper. Turn on the television. Watch the turmoil and the hatred and the confusion that rages in every corner of the planet.
Where is hope? Where is grace? Tolerance? Mercy? Forgiveness? Where are the words that point toward a better way? Words that speak truth? Will we find them in the Romance Section at your local bookstore? Probably not. You’ve seen that shelf. So have I. And the countless other shelves that offer stories with so little substance you wonder how they don’t disintegrate in your hands. Yes, there are great books general market books out there, great writing and great storylines, and I read and enjoy books from both markets – CBA and ABA.
But here’s the difference – the words you write have already been chosen for you by the greatest Author of them all.
You get to write them with Him.
Think about that. Your stories will be grace-filled, hope-infused and rich with truths that dig down deep and reach more people than you may ever know. They may not be overtly “Christian” in the style you write them, but if you are His, know this – they will be God-breathed. Because He is with you on this journey. Every step of the way. Your words will offer hope to a hurting world. They will speak life. I truly believe that. I hope you do too.
I went through a hard season a while ago. I was unsure about my writing career, whether all the work was even worth it anymore. And God asked me a question.
“How much do you trust Me?”
I had to honestly answer Him. And then I had to give some things up. And yes, it was worth it.
So I’ll leave you with that question today.
How much do you trust Him?
Now go do something amazing together.
The world needs it.
For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6 NASB
Award-winning author Catherine West writes stories of hope and healing from her island home in Bermuda. When she’s not at the computer working on her next story, you can find her taking her Border Collie for long walks or reading books by her favorite authors. She and her husband have two grown children. Catherine’s novel, Bridge of Faith, won the 2015 Grace Award. Her new novel, The Things We Knew, release in July, through Harper Collins Christian Publishing. Catherine loves to connect with her readers and can be reached at Catherine@catherinejwest.com