college, I did a lot of theater. I’d make it to the stage by our call
time, get my hair and make-up done, rush into my costume—then sit
there. And wait. I was ready. My butterflies had started their
tap-dancing routine. I wanted to get this show going already!
But I had to wait.
The audience hadn’t taken their
seats. The backstage crew hadn’t finished checking the props. The
curtain hadn’t gone up.
Writing is a lot like that,
isn’t it? We’ve written, edited, and rewritten. We’re ready! Our
proposals are out to ten different places, our agents say they’re
promising—and soon we’ll see our books on the shelf! So what’s taking
Often our faithful resolve
becomes a target during the waiting. We know we’ve been called to this.
It’s our purpose, what we were born to do. Shouldn’t it be easier?
Would God really call us to something and then make it this difficult
to see results?
I began writing fiction in the
summer of 2008. By December, I’d signed with my agent. By late summer
the following year, I had a contract. I was going to be a novelist.
(Did you hear the angels singing as you read that last sentence? Lean
in, they’re there.) It happened so quickly that I felt I had the
confirmation that this was what I was meant to do.
Fast forward to today. It’s
years later and I’m just now on the cusp of the release of my debut
novel (in February of 2012).
I was ready in 2009! I wanted to
take off like a rocket, but just because I thought I was ready doesn’t
mean I was. I hurried to turn in proposals and edits and revisions. And
then, like I’d done backstage so many times, I’d wait. Sometimes for a
really long time.
Waiting, I’ve learned, is part
of the journey. And if I get caught up in the Why me? and the This
isn’t fair, it’s very likely I’ll miss out on important lessons before
my first book hits the shelves—or the next book after a hiatus, or the
book that doesn’t seem to be coming together.
clear to me now that this time before the release of my first novel has
been full of lessons, even as many as I learned while writing and
editing the book itself. During these extra months, God showed me ways
to become a better writer. I’ve been able to take more time with my
manuscript and use new life experiences to get to the heart of some of
my characters’ struggles. I’ve taken time to read more and apply what
I’ve read. I’ve had conversations with writer-friends that have taken
my story down a different path—and made it better.
the extra months, none
of that would’ve been possible.
But beyond the writing, my faith
has been stretched and rebuilt. Because, like many of you, I know
this is part of my purpose, so I’ve had to rely on God even when it
seemed like He’d forgotten me. So often I’m busy and don’t stop to
listen. I fail to hear the still, small voice that has something
important to say. But in the waiting, I learned to seek—and He found me
there. I took the necessary quiet time to prepare my heart for what’s
ahead. He gently pointed out some of my weaknesses and showed me ways
to improve them.
Waiting is hard. Carpool line.
Doctor’s office. DMV—don’t get me started. Next to the phone, hoping
your agent has great news for you. It’s all hard, testing you in one
way or another. But sometimes these moments or days or months of
waiting shape and prepare you, equipping you to fulfill your purpose.
Do I like waiting? In a word,
no. But, I have grown to appreciate it, because I now know that even
when it seems nothing is going right, there’s something to be
learned—and I wouldn’t trade wisdom or knowledge for all the book deals
in the world.