The Key to Persevering in Publishing
by Grace Fox
I’d barely begun to dabble in writing for publication when someone spoke these words to me: “If God has called you to write, then don’t stop until He says so.” That advice, given 22 years ago, has helped me persevere through the challenges most writers face.
The craft of writing tests our mettle. Say, for instance, we invest hours slaving over words until we’re satisfied that we’ve done our best to accurately communicate our message. But when our critique group or editor suggests changes — and lots of them — self-doubt creeps in and whispers, “Maybe you don’t have anything worthwhile to say. Maybe you’re better off spending your time and talents elsewhere.”
Writing for publication guarantees we’ll experience disappointment. We write articles or book proposals convinced they’re Holy Spirit inspired, but others don’t share our conviction. Polite rejection letters squelch our enthusiasm, and self-doubt finds yet another way into our thoughts.
I’ve heard the voice of self-doubt, and I’ve agreed with it at times. I’ve also heard the voices of others. True confession — I toyed with quitting after a family member declared that my motives for writing were self-centered and that I’d fallen for the lure of fame and fortune. If she was right, I wanted no part of it.
Voices and rejections aside, sometimes we experience seasons when life demands everything we can muster, and our writing time is reduced to a few scattered minutes sandwiched between other responsibilities. We might be tempted to hang up our writing hat for survival’s sake. Been there, done that.
Perhaps you can relate. Maybe you’re dealing with disappointment at the direction your writing journey has taken. Perhaps you wonder if you’ve wasted time and money on a pipe dream or you feel as though your circumstances will never allow you to delve into writing at a decent depth. If so, let me encourage you with the best writing advice I’ve ever received: “If God has called you to write, then don’t stop until He says so.”
I’ll always remember one morning about 15 years after I’d begun writing for publication. I’d just added one more rejection to my fast-growing collection, and I’d received a letter from my agent stating that she’d taken me as far as she could in my career and was releasing me from our contract. I sat on my sofa and cried as I prayed, “God, if You’re telling me to quit writing, then I’m OK with that. If not, then I’ll keep going. Just make Your will clear, and do it today. Please.”
My phone rang five hours later, and a stranger’s voice said, “Grace, please don’t think I’m a groupie or a whacko. I’ve never phoned an author until today. For some reason, I felt compelled to call and tell you that your book, Moving from Fear to Freedom: A Woman’s Guide to Peace in Every Situation, has changed my life.” She paused and added, “And for whatever reason, I feel I should tell you to keep writing. Don’t quit. Readers need Truth.”
The woman’s words stunned me. I choked back sobs as I told her about my prayer five hours prior, and then she cried with me.
Writing for publication comes with challenges that stretch and test us. Be faithful, my friend, and you’ll experience God’s faithfulness to you on this journey. If He’s called you to write, then don’t stop until He says so.
Grace Fox is a member of the First 5 writing team, a devotional blogger and the author of 10 books. Her new devotional, Finding Hope in Crisis: Devotions for Calm in Chaos, is available in the P31 bookstore.