by Sarah Sundin
We don’t like that word, do we? But a writer’s life is filled with waiting. Most famously, we wait for that first book contract. But the waiting doesn’t end. We wait for our editor’s approval. We wait for reviews. We wait for readers’ reactions. We wait for sales figures. And many published authors go through another period of waiting without a contract.
Times of waiting test us. During my five rejection-letter years, I experienced a range of emotions from fear, doubt, depression, self-pity, and jealousy-to peace and contentment. We also battle the temptation to give in to impatience and do things in our way and our time.
So what can we do in those waiting times?
1) Seek Him
Waiting seems to be one of God’s favorite teaching methods. That’s for a reason-to draw us into His arms. Take your dream to the Lord and make sure it’s His will, not yours. And repeat.
2) Trust in God’s character
He is good. He is loving. God wants what’s best for us and for His Kingdom in the long run. Even if it’s not what we want. I had to learn to hold my dream in open hands, knowing that if He took it away, He had a better plan.
3) Trust in God’s sovereignty
God is in control, and His ways are always best—and for a great purpose. Learning to trust in God’s sovereignty helped me make peace with those rejection letters.
4) Trust in God’s timing
God not only knows what is best, but when it would be best. I learned to tell myself (over and over) that since His timing is perfect, why would I want to rush it? In hindsight, I saw He was right (someone say, “Duh.”). If I’d received my first contract in 2003 when I thought I was ready, I never would have been able to meet my deadlines. Nor in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007. But in 2008, I was ready. That’s a humbling thought.
5) Live in Hope
Refuse to give in to despair, and live in the eager anticipation that God will do something good-even if it’s not what you imagined.
Idle waiting is not a biblical principle. While Joseph waited in prison, he worked hard and gained administrative skills he’d use during the famine. While David waited to become king, he prepared himself as a leader and a warrior. You can prepare too. Learn all you can about writing and the publishing industry. Query and submit. Write and write and write.
While we sit in God’s waiting room, we can let the Muzak get to us, or we can flip through God’s Magazine and learn to trust Him, seek Him, and live in hope.
The Lord may make us wait, but He leaves us with a promise. Isaiah 30:18 says, “Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you…Blessed are all who wait for him.”
Sarah Sundin is the author of five historical novels, including On Distant Shores (Revell, August 2013). She lives in California with her husband and children, works on-call as a hospital pharmacist, and was honored to be named Mount Hermon’s 2011 Writer of the Year.