Tuesday, May 4, 2010

My Journey to Publication

When I read the email that the editor at Heartsong Presents wanted to contract my book, I was shocked. Not only because my work was going to be out there for the world to read, but because God had brought my writing journey full circle.

A year earlier, I had been in church doing everything I could not to cry. I had a new baby, and I had been feeling God pulling me away from my dream of being a writer, a dream I had pursued since college. That day, our pastor was talking about how sometimes God calls us to give up our dreams so that he can give us something even better. The pastor didn’t know it, but he was talking to me.

On our way to lunch after church, I broke down to my husband having a big, ugly cry and pouting about the fact that God would let me chase after something for so long and then, tell me to let it go.

I was especially worried that all my friends and family who had supported me on my journey would think I was a quitter. I didn’t want them to think that I couldn’t cut it and had given up. My need for everyone’s approval was one reason my writing dream had become toxic. It was more about proving to everyone that I could do it than following God’s will for my life.

I had one submission left that was ready to go out the door. I prayed about it and decided that it would be a good form of closure. I’d send it off, get another rejection letter, and know that I’d done the right thing.

I stopped writing. I gave away most of my writing books. I stopped reading the blogs of all my favorite writers. I started reading more nonfiction. It was too hard to read the books that I had dreamed of writing.

It turned out to be a tough year for our family. My husband’s grandfather passed away. We also lost my husband’s dear uncle and his other grandfather within one day of each other. I received an email from JoAnne Simmons requesting the full manuscript while I was in Kentucky for Kevin’s grandfather’s funeral. We were flying to New Mexico for his uncle’s funeral the next day. With the tough times we were going through and my belief that this submission was merely closure on a chapter of my life, I sent the manuscript when I returned home and didn’t let myself get excited about something that I thought wouldn’t happen.

When things began to settle down, I realized that I was bored. I had been spending so much time and energy on my dream of publication, I didn’t know what to do with all my free time. I had a new baby at home, so I obviously spent most of my time focused on my beautiful family. Outside of my family and my job, I didn’t have anything to do.

I prayed about it, and I volunteered to lead the 6th grade girls small group at my church. I learned to crochet by watching videos online. I took a knitting class. I joined the YMCA and started taking care of my body. I still missed writing, but slowly, I found other ways to fill my time and I was thankful for my life and all my blessings.

One day, I opened my inbox and there it was - an email from JoAnne Simmons asking if my book was still available and congratulating me because she wanted to contract it.

I knew God had reopened the door for me to start writing again, and this time, I had a whole new outlook.

My writing is about following His plan - not about my need for affirmation from others. I’m so thankful for the journey.

17 comments:

  1. That's awesome! So happy for you!!

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  2. This is a wonderful story of surrender. I have done what you did a few times, but God always brought me back to my dream of being a writer. I have accepted that it is His call on my life, but that He wants me to keep it in perspective. I admire that you did what you had to do - I know how hard it was.
    Blessings

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  3. You've had an amazing journey so far--and so inspirational. It's so hard sometimes to wait for God's timing or follow the path He wants for us when we don't think it's right, but He's so faithful and just because we can't always see HIS path, doesn't mean He isn't guiding us on it.

    Thanks for sharing about your journey.

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  4. That's an amazing story.

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  5. Wow! That is a great story of faithfulness, both yours and God's!

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  6. Truly, you are a woman of surrender and obedience! And now God is fulfilling a dream!!! Thanks so much for sharing your story! I love hearing how God works in the lives of His people.

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  7. Your obediant heart shines through! Amazing journey. Out of curiosity, how long did it take from the time you sent the email until you heard back and your dream was fulfilled?

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  8. Thanks for all the wonderful comments! Georgiana - It was 9 months between my original submission and getting the email that they wanted to contract the book. They requested a full 4 months after submission, and there was another 5 months between the full and the contract.

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  9. Julie, that is a LONG time to set your writing aside in obediance. Wow. I can learn from that.

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  10. Congratulations. You've inspired me to keep trecking on.

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  11. That is SO COOL Julie!!! And as T.Anne said - inspiring to keep trecking on!!!

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  12. Julie what a wonderful story of how God had brought you to a place of submission to his plans! I didn't know you were on Twitter! I'm signing up to follow you--will be fun to connect with you there!

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  13. Okay, I feel like a dork! I already am following you! :-) I'll add you to one of my friend columns on Tweetdeck so I can keep up with your tweets! :-)

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  14. thanks for sharing your story! something i really needed to hear/read. love you, girl!

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  15. Your story is so inspirational! Congratulations! I am on a similar path now. I've created a new blog that might interest you. Please check it out if you get a chance:

    http://laurenspathtopub.blogspot.com/

    Thank you!

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  16. An amazing story to read! I love that you gave up your dream, then had it returned ten-fold. :)

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  17. Truly touching story!!

    This so relates to me in several areas of my life! Thank you!! I definately needed to hear this!

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