When I signed with a literary agent two years ago, friends started asking me when my book was coming out. I told them all it was a long process, while secretly hoping that it would be a quick one for me.
Two years later, I’m writing Book 3 and still waiting for Books 1 and 2 to find a home at a publishing house. I am not even a little interested in self-publishing at this time, because I don’t have the time or resources to make it work. So waiting it is for me!
While I am excited to someday be published and part of me can’t wait for that day, I also know that God’s timing is perfect and if and when it is supposed to happen, it will.
In the meantime, I still consider myself a writer. Even though I don’t have any books in print to show for it, I’m working lots of hours at the job/calling/career/passion/lifelong dream of being a writer.
I get asked quite often what it’s like to be a writer, which always makes me smile because I think the majority of the world wouldn’t consider me an official writer until I have books out.
So, what does a pre-published writer do every day? Besides dream of that moment when you’re signing your three-book contract with a big fancy pen and Spielberg is on the phone wanting the movie rights… sorry I got a little distracted.
What I do is try to think in terms of the future and what my schedule will be like someday when I have deadlines and a bunch of new tasks to do as a published writer. I strive to carve that time out now so that I am not completely shell-shocked when the day comes that I have to take my career really seriously.
But I imagine it is like most things in life, impossible to know what you’re dealing with until it actually happens!
There are quite a few things I’m working on daily, and I’ve written about each of them separately. Because otherwise this would be a reaaaaallllly long post.
I decided to start this series with the first thing I am do every day as a pre-published writer.
I once heard someone at a writing conference say that the best advice she had to give us was to spend an hour a day in prayer before we ever picked up a pen. I wish I knew who said it, but it was one of those panel situations and I was sitting in back and couldn’t hear half of it, let alone figure out who was talking. But God made sure that little nugget made it’s way back to me and I have never forgotten that advice.
Prayer is so much a part of my life and so much of who I am. I couldn’t possibly approach my career without it. I have a daily quiet time that I spend in worship, prayer, and reading Scripture. I spend that time praying for others, so my writing doesn’t often come up during that time. But it keeps me close to God, walking in the Spirit, and that makes me a better writer and person.
But I am also a pray all day as I go kind of girl, so I pray about other things as they come up. Then, as I get started on work each day, I sit quietly for a moment and pray and ask God to guide me so that I can glorify Him.
I pray for direction in God’s will as I write and plan future projects. I pray over every idea and every story I write. I pray for the readers that will someday read those stories. I pray and ask God to show me the spiritual needs of my characters, because I believe that will resonate with readers who have those same needs and I want to handle God’s truth very carefully.
I pray about different opportunities that come my way and have said yes to some and no to lots of others. Sometimes I’ll spend a few days praying about a certain opportunity or commitment, making sure I’m at peace with my decision before I give an answer.
A couple of years ago, I finished my first novel and prayed about the next step. In a series of amazing events, God provided for me to go to an incredible Writer’s Conference, Mount Hermon. I knew the next step was acquiring an agent, and I knew that would be a process that may take years. I also knew that Mount Hermon was the place to start that process.
I prayed about agents and felt led to submit to a certain one; Janet Grant, the founder and President of Books and Such. I was super excited when I saw that she would be at Mount Hermon. Once there, everyone told me I was crazy for limiting my options and only submitting to one agent, especially this one, as she is very well known and respected. I was told I should aim, well, lower.
But I truly felt that she was supposed to be my agent, so against all well-meaning advice, I submitted my proposal to her and only her, thus missing any opportunity to have a meeting and a chance with any of the other agents at the conference. But I was confident in my decision, as you can only be when God is leading.
Well, she ended up signing me within a couple of weeks! Now, I regularly pray for Janet and the others at our agency as they lead and guide the careers of a terrific group of writers that I am honored to be a part of.
I also pray for editors that are reading my stuff and that my books will find favor with them when it gets to the right publishing house. I also pray that God will block things if it’s not the right time or editor for me.
Prayer is a must!
Without prayer, I take on too many projects, I lose sight of the things that really matter, and I get cranky and selfish, which isn’t good for anyone.
If you are considering a writing career, or you’ve always wanted to write but don’t know where to start, start with prayer.
Next up… Daydreaming and Story Ideas!