Aspiring Writer – The Unexpected

As unpublished novelists writing our stories with no contract in sight, we sometimes wonder. Will all this dreaming and effort take us to the land of published books? And then, along comes …

The Unexpected

Am I getting close, Lord?

That Spring, I decided to find out and entered my novel in the American Christian Fiction Writers’ Genesis Contest for unpublished novelists.

Weeks later, the scores from three judges arrived. What would one day become Her question-reallyDeadly Inheritance didn’t final, but oh, how exciting–it had missed by a mere fraction! One of the judges, a multi-published romantic suspense author, gave my entry an astounding perfect score and assured me I had a publishable manuscript.

Lord, is it true? Is she right?

A month later at the Write-To-Publish Conference, the manuscript evaluations for the first chapters of my two novels came back running over with enthusiastic comments. The publicist who evaluated them urged me to use her name and contact a Guideposts editor she believed would be interested.

I was stunned. Really, Lord? But God had more encouragement in store.

During an evening critique session at the same conference, a well-known author of romantic suspense listened as someone else read a portion of my manuscript. “Now that’s great writing! ” she said.

I was overwhelmed.

Then in September at the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference, agents and editors and published authors shocked me with their enthusiasm about my novel. One agent told me the publishers gathered at that conference were looking for romantic suspense. I could hardly believe it. Somehow my novel and I had arrived at just the right time. A time when Christian publishers were for writers of my genre.

What happened, Lord?

God’s answer was abundantly clear. “For the Lord is a just God. Happy are all who wait patiently for him” ~Isaiah 30: 18 (The Living Bible, Tyndale House Publishers).

After years of working and years of waiting, I was surprised to discover my novel’s time was near.

***

Dear Reader, you may be hurting. You may wonder if all your hard work will ever result in a published novel. Please don’t give up. God is with you and working behind the scenes to bring you to that right moment.

Until then, believe in your growing ability and God’s purpose and for your writing. Trust in his timing.

~ Beth

Copyright 2010 Beth Ann Ziarnik

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Aspiring Writer: The Fear

Fear gripped me in the pre-dawn dimness! Had I tackled a writhing anaconda? What made me think I could weave all the intriguing elements of fiction into flowing perfection? What made me think I could capture readers’ attention … entertain them … inspire them … make them feel my characters’ passions as they pursued their dreams?fear-trust

I squeezed my eyelids shut and burrowed my head into my pillow. Even if–by some fluke–I managed to do all that, what made me think someone would publish my novel? The marketplace grew tighter every day … the competition greater. I was getting older!

I groaned. Was I out of my mind? God, you gave me this dream. I’m doing my best, but I’m scared to death that I can’t pull it off.

God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love and of a sound mind.

Wha …? The words from 2 Timothy 1:7 (New English Bible) wrapped me like a warm blanket — words I had written on a note card and kept on my desk as a reminder that fear is not from God. His enemy uses it, pressing in to squeeze the life from my creative efforts … to stop me from accomplishing the good God gave me to do.

I threw back the covers and bolted out of bed, wielding the words like a sword. “God has not given me a spirit of fear!” I shouted, “but of power! Of love! And a sound mind!”

Fear slithered away.

Taking a deep breath, I marched into my home office, vowing to fight fear with the Word of God every time it showed its scaly head. For “I can do everything through him [Christ] who gives me strength (Philippians 4:13, New International Version)” and “with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26, King James Version).”

Sitting down before my computer, I prayed as I booted up. Time to get to work … with the Lord.

***

Thanks again, dear reader, for sharing my journey. Until the next time … Fight fear and work with the Lord!

~ Beth

Copyright 2004 Beth Ann Ziarnik

Please share your tips on overcoming fear. We can use one another’s encouragement on this one!