I began writing my first novel back in 2003/04, I thought for sure it
would not only publish but likely be a best seller. I thought that of
the second as well. And the third. And the fourth.
Every one of them was rejected.
If you’re unpublished, you might
be feeling a little nauseous reading that and thinking that couldn’t
possibly happen to you. Maybe it will. Maybe it won’t. Either way,
trust me when I say it’s all good.
Each time I had to despairingly
shelve a manuscript I couldn’t sell, I had friends remind me that God’s
timing is perfect. I know that’s true, but it still hurt each time I
got a rejection letter, soared to pub board only to get shot down, or
had an editor suddenly lose interest in my work.
If I had known then what I know
now, I’d have delighted in those “nos.” Let me explain.
I grew up reading Stephen King,
and so naturally when I decided to write a novel, I figured suspense
was what I liked to read so it was what I should write. My first four
novels were suspense. But then something happened . . . I started
reading books like The Kite Runner, Memoirs of a Geisha, To
Kill a Mockingbird, Watership Down, and authors like Charles
Martin and Lisa Samson. I couldn’t get enough.
Because I hadn’t sold any of my
suspense, I was free to try my hand at any genre I wanted, and so I
did. My fifth novel was women’s fiction with a bit of a literary bent,
very introspective, and thoughtful and with more love and betrayal than
novel was, of course, the one I will debut with this May—Crossing
What would have happened if I
had sold my first, second, third, or fourth novels? I’d be writing
suspense right now and that’s neither my strong suit, nor where my
heart is. I don’t know if I’d be miserable or not, but I would
definitely be longing to write what I truly believe I was meant
to—stories that examine the scope of our hearts.
a tough thing to see the
longing in an unpublished writer’s eyes and to know just how it feels
to want something so badly, to claw and climb for years and years only
to get knocked off the mountain just as you see the summit. But this is
my reminder to you—God’s timing is perfect.
get only one chance to
debut. One. You need it to be your best. You need it to be what you
were meant to write. As you grapple with rejection and fight the
hopelessness we all struggle with from time to time, know in your heart
that God has your best interest in mind. Thank Him every time a no
comes, because when the yes comes, it will be the right yes.
I’m so very grateful now that
those four manuscripts I labored on for hours upon hours, day in and
year out are not sitting on a bookshelf in Barnes & Noble,
because that would mean Crossing Oceans most likely
If you feel like you’ve been on
the publishing path forever, and that moment’s never going to come,
hang tough. Your yes will come, my friend. Right on time.