Courtney Walsh

Courtney Walsh is a published author, scrapbooker, theater director, and playwright. Her debut novel, A Sweethaven Summer, will be released in February 2012 by Guideposts/Summerside, followed by two additional novels in the series. She’s also written two papercrafting books, Scrapbooking Your Faith and The Busy Scrapper. Courtney has been a contributing editor for Memory Makers Magazine and Children’s Ministry Magazine and is a frequent contributor to Group Publishing curriculum. She works as the PR Manager for Webster’s Pages from her home in Colorado, where she lives with her husband and three kids, who range in age from 4 to 10. Courtney drinks entirely too much coffee.

For Writers Only

Hurry Up and Wait

In 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 so long?

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.

It’s 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.

Without 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.


A Sweethaven Summer