Thursday, October 13, 2016

Not Erased By Rejection

Angie Dicken wrote a great piece. She is a great friend and an author with a debut release in a year. I'm so excited for her success. I'm sure you'll be blessed. Leave her a comment at the end to encourage, empathize, or chat.

Not Erased By Rejection

Six years ago, I was preparing for my first writer's conference. 

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. It 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 one request, then two, then three. 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.

Ashley and Angie
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?

Angie is a historical author
and  especially enjoys Lady Jane era.
This is her Lady Jane costume

The next conference I will continue to equip 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. 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.

Mary here: Since then, Angie signed with an agent AND her really awesome news: Angie received a book contract. I'm so excited for her!!

1 comment:

Connie Porter Saunders said...

Angie, as I read your comment about your embarrassment as you think about the first novel that you thought was ready for publication, I recall more than one time that God's Perfect Plan saved me from embarrassing Him and me. It was nothing terrible but it certainly wouldn't be a happy memory either! I am so glad that He watches over me and my human failinhs!!
Congratulations Angie! I wish you many successful stories to share and Mary, I wish you blessings also@