by Lindsay Harrel
I’m impatient by nature.
I see something I want and I make a plan to go for it. Sometimes, no matter the cost.
But as an author of Christian fiction…well, I just can’t. I can’t force myself to learn something faster than my brain will process it. As we all know, learning characterization or plotting techniques isn’t just about reading a craft book and becoming an instant expert. Instead, it’s learned by doing.
Over and over and over again.
And the thing I am learning most of all is that it’s difficult to know when you’re ready to submit your work. I mean, if you’re constantly learning – and I believe all authors should still be learning, whether published or not – then how do you know that you’ve learned ENOUGH to finally move forward and submit?
For instance, I have attended a few conferences and received some agent and editor interest. I have degrees in journalism and English and have worked as an editor in the past and as a copywriter now. I thought I was on the verge of being ready.
But then I attended a writing retreat and was overwhelmed by how much I still have to master.
I’ve got to tell you – that didn’t feel good, to think I was in one place and discover I really was in another.
But the cool thing is, it’s okay to be in the EXACT spot in the writing journey where you’re at. Because everyone learns at a different speed. My pace doesn’t need to match yours. God has each of us on our own path, and while our paths will intersect and grow apart, He is ultimately in control.
If you find yourself discouraged that you aren’t where you think you should be – whether that’s published or multipublished or bestselling – then instead consider the benefits of taking your time and trusting God to have you exactly where He wants you:
• Not rushing restores our joy in writing. We write because we love it, instead of because we have some self-imposed deadline telling us when we should be ready to submit.
• Not rushing gives us joy for those who are farther along in the journey. Because we’re no longer comparing ourselves, we can have true happiness for our friends when they experience successes.
• Not rushing results in a better product. In our rush to “be ready,” sometimes we produce something we wouldn’t want to pay money for ourselves.
• Not rushing increases our confidence. The more time we spend studying and learning, the more certain we can feel in knowing that we are doing everything we should be doing to grow in our writing – and our calling.
In the same way that it takes lots of work to be a great writer, it’s also not easy to be patient in this writing journey. But with prayer and determination, we can each learn the art of not rushing.
Lindsay Harrel has a bachelor’s in journalism and a master’s in English, and is published in the Falling in Love with You anthology from OakTara. She works in marketing as a copywriter and has worked in the past as a business writer and curriculum editor. Lindsay lives in Arizona with her husband and two golden retriever puppies in serious need of training. Connect with her on her blog or via Facebook or Twitter (@LindsayHarrel).