I remember clearly the very first time I wrote the two most beautiful words in the English language, The End, at the conclusion of a manuscript. I really and truly believed that I had arrived, that I was now an author, and that it was only a matter of time before my book hit the bestseller list and I achieved fame and fortune as a result.
That was eight years ago.
Four years ago, after many, many edits, revisions, rewrites and complete overhauls, the book did win the Word Alive Press publishing contest and was published a year later. Now I’ve truly made it, I thought, gazing out at the line-up of a hundred or so people, mostly family and friends, who had turned out to my launch. Fame and fortune are just around the corner now. And for a few weeks, it really did seem like it. There was a flurry of activity on Amazon for several days after the book’s release. On at least one occasion, my book sat in the slot just above a Karen Kingsbury novel and I have the screen shot saved on my computer to prove it. Then, once the aforementioned family and friends had each dutifully bought a copy and told a couple of their friends to buy one, things died down in the rankings department as, I have come to find out, they are wont to do.
Undaunted, I continued to write. I finished polishing up another suspense novel that had placed in the top ten in the same contest, and shortly after that I completed the sequel. Now I had two books I was pretty proud to offer the world, and I knew with absolute certainty it was just a matter of time before publishers were fighting over them and I was offered a contract that would ensure that elusive fame and fortune I’d been dreaming of.
That was three years ago.
One year ago, I signed with an agent. That had to be it, the missing link that was keeping me from achieving…well, you know. That wonderful woman renewed my confidence in my writing and in my future career. She started shopping around the two-book suspense series. Over the past fourteen months, she has received lots of great feedback and comments from editors. She has gotten reviews and critiques and suggestions. Basically she has gotten everything for me she possibly can…except for a publishing contract.
I persevered. I completed the first novel in a trilogy set fifty years in the future, and wrote large portions of books two and three. My agent added the first book to her basket of goodies to carry around to editors and publishing houses like Little Red Riding Hood taking breakfast to her granny. Again, great feedback and encouraging comments, but little else.
So here I am, in a season of waiting reminiscent of the deepest, darkest part of winter. In spite of the odd deceptively mild day or encouraging glimpse of wan sunlight breaking through the low-hanging grey clouds, it can be a struggle to believe that sunshine and warmth will one day envelop me again.
Okay, that’s a little melodramatic. Forgive me, I’m a fiction writer. Still, there’s no question that waiting is hard. It can be discouraging and frustrating and cause you to question your abilities, your life choices, your future and everything you have invested to get where you are.
And yet, a time of waiting can also be extremely valuable. God places us in these seasons often and has a tendency to leave us there for a while (hence, the waiting). And God never does anything without a reason or a purpose. What waiting can do is cause us to slow down and examine our lives. Is there something in me that God wants to work on, some pride or sinful desire? A vain pursuit of fame and fortune instead of his glory, just to pick a random example?
A waiting season is also an opportunity to learn to trust. A reminder that God is sovereign; He is in control of all things. Which means that I am in control of…well, nothing. God bestows the gift of writing, he gives the stories, he determines what will be done with what we produce. Yes, we still have to do the work, but the rest of it is not for us to worry about.
So waiting can also be a time of rest and peace. As cold and dreary as winter can be, nothing is more comforting than curling up in front of a blazing fire, wrapped in a blanket and sipping a steaming cup of hot cocoa while a blinding snowstorm rages outside.
So I will wait. Not to achieve glory for myself, but for God’s will for my life and writing to be carried out in his perfect timing in a way that will bring him the greatest glory and be used for his great, eternal purposes.
There is no earthly fame or fortune that can begin to compare to that.
Sara Davison has been a finalist for three national writing awards: Best New Canadian Christian Author; Best Column – Single; and Best Novel – Mystery or Suspense. Davison is a member of three different writers’ groups, two of which she helped to found. Her favourite way to spend the days (and nights) is drinking coffee – a running theme throughout her novels – and making stuff up.
Visit Sara’s website: Choose to Press On
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