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Waiting, Writing, and Why You Must Not Quit

By Cynthia Herron

Most writers will tell you the in-between seasons are the hardest. Because I’ve promised to tell you the truth, I won’t sugarcoat it. They are.

Waiting (especially a prolonged season of waiting) is like a knife to the weary writer’s heart. As each hope-filled day passes, so does a tiny bit of our resolve.

We struggle to make sense of the “close, but no cigar” or “not quite there” feedback, while realizing, too, traditional publishing is evolving.

Our season of waiting may entail many dynamics. Maybe we need to refine our craft, work on character development, and eliminate POV bugs. Maybe we need to seek honest feedback from critique partners and mentors. Maybe we need to rethink our genre.

Then again—our season in the abyss may not have anything at all to do with our writing. Perhaps, it’s just not our time.

Some years ago, as I visited my favorite blogs, I was struck by the poignancy of a commenter’s words.  Discouragement punctuated the last two paragraphs of his blog comment. This writer mirrored what many writers experience.

He reflected upon his writing ability based upon beta readers’ views.

While he seemed articulate and expressive, his story struck a familiar chord.

“…But balanced against that (my story) are the numbers of queries which received polite rejections over the years or which drew no response at all.

It may be content, it may be timing, it may be many things…but it may be time to let go.”

My writer’s heart clenched at his last four words. I knew how he felt. I’d been there.

This was what I said in reference to his comment:

“Or… maybe you could revise and try sending it out ‘just one more time.’ And while you’re in the season of waiting, maybe the Lord’s nudging you to start something new. Just a thought.”

I hope he read my response because I saw so much potential in his writing.

Of course, you’ve heard it before—the writing life isn’t for the faint of heart. That’s the G-Rated version.

And what about those uninformed souls who ask the tough questions and then add a footnote? Like this gem, instance.

“What on earth’s taking you so long? You’ve been at this forever!”

I have to shake my head.

No idea.

They. Really. Have. No. Idea.

It’s not just a matter of taking pen to paper or putting fingers to a keyboard. It’s not about writing the story. (Oh! If only!) It’s not about getting the agent. The publisher. The whatever.

Let’s get real.

It’s about the season. The timing. The God-ordained This is YOUR moment!

Yes, perhaps, there are things we, as writers, can do to hasten our moment.

  • Read books on the writing craft
  • Join writing groups and attend conferences
  • Enlist mentors
  • Enlist critique partners (vastly different from beta readers)
  • Hire an editor
  • Write as much as we possibly can

Those things make sense.

BUT when we’ve done all that and more, and God’s answer is still “Not yet,” we have no other alternative but to wait…and trust.

Trust that our writing ministry isn’t about us.

Trust that our story will still wait.

Trust that God sees the bigger picture.

Trust that He will bring our season to fruition.

Trust that we can’t quit now.

Why trust? Well, I’m so glad you asked!

  • God can change circumstances in a heartbeat.
  • He can orchestrate happenstance into the here and now.
  • He can alter detours into divine appointments.
  • He can and does demonstrate deliberate turn-of-events in our favor.

If you quit now, you’ll always wonder.

If you quit now, your stories may die, but the words won’t.

If you quit now, your human flesh might be appeased, but your soul will still ache.

Why?

Because your writer’s heart will still beat.

For that deeply intrinsic thing God’s gifted you with.

Your craft.

Write, dear writer, write!

***

Have you ever experienced a waiting season?

If you’re in a season of waiting—be it writing related or something else—how are you staying proactive?

Are you in a season of discouragement, dear writer? Stand tall! THIS is for you. @c_herronauthor #ACFW Blogs #amwriting www.acfw.com/blog Click To Tweet

Cynthia writes Heartfelt, Homespun Fiction from the beautiful Ozark Mountains. Her Hope Discovered, her début novel and the first in a three-book series, releases January 2019 with Mountain Brook Ink. She is a 2017 ACFW Genesis Finalist, a 2016 ACFW Genesis (Double) Finalist, and a 2015 ACFW First Impressions winner. Her work is represented by WordServe Literary. Cindy loves to connect with friends at her online home. She also hangs out on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.

 *This post originally appeared on my blog.

 

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9 Responses to Waiting, Writing, and Why You Must Not Quit

  1. Exactly, Cynthia! We wait while trusting in Him. When I’m not able to put BICHOK, I plot short stories in my head or read craft books, always moving in the direction my writer’s heart demands to go. Thanks for the valuable advice, dear friend.

  2. Thank you for chiming in, Sherida! Moving forward (with small goals) often leads to big, God-ordained accomplishments! Go, my friend, go!

  3. David F says:

    “Trust that our writing ministry isn’t about us.” Such a good reminder. I often lose focus of that.

  4. I will be writing today. Working on several stories, my blog, guest blog posts and guest writing for a local magazine. Busy times and happy writing times! 🙂

  5. David, it is so easy to lose sight of our main writing purpose. I think we’ve all been there. Blessings as you proceed!

  6. Melissa, good for you! Way to be proactive!

  7. I wrote for many years before I was contracted by a major publishing house in 2012. What if I’d quit in 2011? You are so right that it’s all about God’s timing. Thanks for a wonderful and encouraging post.

  8. Delighted you weighed in, Pat! We never know what awaits us if we quit too soon!

  9. Katie Powner says:

    Thank you for this post, Cynthia! Whenever I’m in a season of waiting (as I am right now), I like to throw myself into a new project to keep my mind on moving forward. Baby steps!