Friday, August 31, 2012

Fabulous Friday Feature: Angie Dicken

Today I welcome a kindred spirit, an encourager, 
a fun-loving mom for her active children, and future authoress.  

Enter to win a copy of Terri Blackstock's new book, Covenant Child

I met Angie when she joined the Writers Alley group. When I asked her to share the "real" her with you, she said:

God Sent Me on an Encouraging Writing Journey

Two years ago, I was preparing for my first writer's conference, just as I am preparing for my third conference today. It has been quite a journey for me as a writer. And I thought I'd share what I've learned along the way.

I walked away from my first conference with an agent's request for some chapters. It gave me hope that my dream of getting published was tunneling ahead and God's mighty hand was blessing me quickly. Certainly I had discovered my calling and found the door to success.

And then came rejection. As quick as the blessing pushed me forward, the rejection pulled me back.
Whoa. My writing needed some work, and the agent was kind enough to point out specifics. Yeah, It hurt.

“What was the point of that blessing, God?”

Fast forward to the next spring, and a new novel which I submitted to contests, and semi-finaled in the ACFW Genesis contest, and finaled in the RWA/FHL Touched by Love contest. Yes! 

That little blessing months before may have ended in rejection, but I received some advice, some experience and finally arrived in the writing world...for sure this time, right?
I took my newest novel to the next conference, sure that blessings would abound. I had discovered “how” to write, hadn't I? Spurred on by the first agent's rejection, and learning techniques and tricks of the trade over the year, I had a polished almost-award-winning novel in hand.
And I got a request, and then two, and then three. And I left that conference with blessing upon blessing knowing this was surely it.

Over that next year, I received a few more requests and a few more rejections. I received some pretty harsh critiques, and I very nearly threw in the towel.

“Alright, God, what is it with these empty blessings?”

With each request, I was sure God guided and opened a door for me. And when rejection followed, I doubted that God was behind any of this at all, and it was just a luck of the draw, a fun hobby that I had put too much time and effort into.

I was knocked to the floor with humility and discouragement. Calling? What calling? Just foolish dream chasing. But, my “angels” picked me up and righted my heart toward reality. Those angels are my writing besties...the Alley Cats including my crit partner, Ashley. With their words of wisdom, I began to understand two things that prepared me not just for this writing journey, but for life in general:

            Blessings are just stepping stones to something grander, AND, God's timing is perfect.

It was easy for me to focus on the rejections and doubt I was truly being led by God. Yet, with prayer and camping in God's word, I have come to understand that those blessings of requests were not erased by rejection, but the rejections were blessings also.

In James 1:1-4  it says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

All along, I have been hopping from stepping stone to stepping stone, refining my perseverance. Sometimes I have failed in this test of faith, sometimes I have focused too much on the trial and not God, but in the end, I have submitted to Him who has my best interest in mind.

What a waste of a calling if I published the novel I intended to be my debut. That was not God's plan. And now that I look back on my writing from that first conference, heat crawls up my neck and my face turns a deep shade of red. How could I have thought my writing was ready?

The next conference is just around the corner, and I am equipping myself with a few of my favorite things: My one sheet (one of my favorites because I love graphics!), my pitch (the actress in me needs lines!), and the most important thing—a shimmering pool amidst my stepping stones of perseverance—a verse:
            “...the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7.

His peace is the best blessing I have received so far. It gives me the strength and courage to follow, even in the trials. This next conference may give me blessings of requests or blessings  of rejections, but the greatest blessing of all, is knowing that He has me right where He wants me, and all I have to do is take the next step.

Thank you Angie for sharing your journey. What encouraging words.

What encouragements has God given through your writing journey. 
No encouragement is too small or too big!!

To enter to win a copy of Terri Blackstock's Covenant Child leave a comment and sign up to become a follower. Please leave your email address. USA residents only.

Winner will be announced on Monday's post.


Julia M. Reffner said...

I can't wait to meet you, Ang! You are such a blessing to all of us at the Alley, giving us lots of encouragement, and I love your heart for being a mommy. Oh, boy, I love that verse you shared from James. Painful and oh so true. A reminder I needed.

Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing your story. Good luck at conference this year.

ginger dot solomon at gmail dot com

Angie Dicken said...

I can't wait to meet you either, Julia!!! Although, I feel like I already have! Conference will be like a reunion! Thanks, Ginger! I am looking forward to it!

Mary Vee Writer said...

Julia and Ginger, so nice to have you here today. Angie is quite an inspiration.

Karen @ a house full of sunshine said...

Beautiful post, Angie. I needed to read that!

Mary Vee Writer said...

Thanks for your comment, Karen. I am always amazed what more I can learn about a friend and how she/he can uplift me.

Heather Marsten said...

It is so true that blessings are stepping stones. In Bible study on Friday we were talking about how God has the perfect plan. We think we know the way that God should work, but He knows better. His way is perfect. The hard thing is to have the patience to wait on His perfect will. Have a blessed day.

HM at HVC dot RR dot COM

Mary Vee Writer said...

I agree, Heather, patience is one of the most difficult lessons to learn.

Cindy Regnier said...

Thanks so much Mary, Loved reading Angie's story. Aspiring to be an encourager!

Sandra Hopkins said...

Enjoyed the article. Plan to visit this site often in the future. Great job, Mary!