Patience, Perseverance, Pluck…and Prayer!
“When I grow up I’m going to be an artist!” These words spilled from my mouth when I was the tender age of three and I never strayed from my dream. I was one of those blessed kids who just knew what I wanted to do. But life can take some unexpected turns.
In art school I narrowed down my life’s ambition to illustrator and, after graduation, I began free-lancing. What I hadn’t acknowledged yet was a talent for writing. Looking back now, though, I vividly remember two moments, in high school and in college, when two teachers suggested I become a writer. At the time, I wasn’t interested…art was my passion!
Eight years later, an idea for a children’s book slipped into my mind and I discovered that writing it was the easy part. I came up with some illustrations to go along with my words and after two years of rejection a publisher finally called. I was over the moon! Two more children’s books followed and I was on my way…or so I thought.
After my third book didn’t sell very well, my publisher said that my ideas were too quiet and, one by one, my books were remaindered. My promising career was slipping away. I continued to write and submit new stories…and receive more rejections; but I refused to give up! Years passed and still I persisted. I worked odd jobs, had an art show, raised two sons, and despaired…Would I ever be published again? And how would we, as a family, manage?
I prayed, lamented, and argued with God…Didn’t he want me to use my talents? Around this time, I did something crazy: I started writing a novel! I had no idea if I had the ability; I’d never even taken a writing class. I didn’t have an outline or a plan. The only experience I had was reading books; but I had a title…and an idea…and I’d done the hard part…I’d started!
I plugged along when time allowed, one sentence at a time, and the story took on a life of its own. Before long, I couldn’t sit down soon enough after my morning walks because it was like giving birth…and that baby was coming! I realized that I wanted it to be a story of faith and, although I didn’t know the details, I had the basic plot in my head. The story unfolded before my eyes and I found it to be almost like reading a book….except that I was writing it.
Then one day, it was finished. It had taken two years. I immediately ordered Jeff Herman’s Guide to Book Publishers, Editors, and Literary Agents, wrote a polished query letter, a brief summary, and began submitting…and praying! After two years of rejections (or no response at all!) I found an agent and, ultimately, a publisher. I was elated…and a bit deflated: the contract I signed said it would be two more years before my book was published.
It has been nine years since my last book was published. During this time, I read two wonderful books: Walking on Water by Madeleine L’Engle (author of A Wrinkle in Time) and Knit Together by Debbie Macomber. Both of these ladies endured long periods with no success and both carried on in faith and with determination. These books inspired me and kept me going. With perseverance, patience, pluck…and prayer, I can once again say, “I’m going to be published!”
Life can take some unexpected turns…so get started!
Big thanks to Nan for stopping by and sharing her story! Please visit her website for more information.