When I first embarked on this writing journey, I really didn’t know what to expect. I went to writers’ conferences, took classes, listened to industry professionals and experienced writers, and tried to figure out how things worked in this field, what steps to take, what to do next.
After many years in a sales career, I understood the way the sales process worked. You called on a prospective customer, you suggested a product, they either bought or they didn’t or sometimes they’d say “maybe later.” I didn’t let rejection get me down too much because 1) they weren’t rejecting me, they were rejecting my product, and 2) I had more successes than failures and learned that the more often I asked for the sale, the greater the odds of making one. All in all, a pretty simple process which I enjoyed because it gave me great satisfaction to make a sale, not to mention the extra income it created.
So I entered the writing field with the same expectations with one exception. What I was selling was not a product someone else made – it was my own, made by my own little hands. I was fairly confident I could write, but listened to instruction because my writing was rusty.
I figured out the process worked this way: 1) write something 2) pitch it to someone 3) they like it and they buy it. Well, I was right about the first two. But when I didn’t get the desired response from people, I was confused, disappointed, and surprised. Still, I felt the more I pitched, the better my chance of selling.
I also expected the steps of the process to be like this: 1) write something, 2) get an agent 3) agent would get publishing contract for me. Once again, the first two steps worked, but the third didn’t happen as soon as I signed with the agent. As a result, I became disappointed again, disappointed by my agent, disappointed in the editors and the publishing houses they represented. And I hate to admit the disappointment resulted in depression, anger and self-pity.
Problem was, my expectations were wrong. I expected my writing was as good as or better than everyone else’s. I expected my agent to get me a contract. I expected editors and publishers to love my work and fall over themselves to get it. And I expected it to happen right away, on my self-imposed schedule of success.
As I’ve become more mature about the writing world and more knowledgeable about the process, I realize the reason my expectations were wrong was due to putting my hope and trust in people. First, I trusted myself and my own ability to succeed. Then I trusted my agent to have no problem delivering a contract. And I trusted the editors and publishers to offer contracts as soon as my proposal or manuscript was in their hands.
But my biggest problem was that I didn’t put my trust in God. The success of my writing doesn’t rest in my hands or my agent’s or in the editor’s or in the publisher’s. Only God determines what will happen and when. He is in control of the situation and no one else is. Does that mean I sit back and do nothing? Of course not. It means I put forth the effort, follow suggested procedures, then wait for the result without complaining, whining or getting frustrated.
The Bible talks a lot about time, in fact the word is used 888 times. And what does it say about time? A lot.
“There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:” Ecc. 3:1
God’s clock is different from mine.
“With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” 2 Peter 3:8
Since I don’t know what time things will happen with my work, my job is to wait.
“Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes.” 1 Cor. 4:5
And trust. In Him.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV
What or whom are you trusting in?