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Writer Probs: Doing the Next Right Thing

One thing I've been awful at since day one—discerning God's will when I don't know how to move forward. Especially in the publishing world, there are so many avenues an aspiring author can take, each with its own pros and cons. There are gazillions of advice websites, how-to-publish books, and social media accounts to get totally lost in. There are horrible, horrible odds of success when it comes to traditional publishing, specifically. And there are stakes, too—high ones, in our minds.


I may never get an agent.


I may never get a publishing contract.


I may never be a real author.


So I should just quit now.


Maybe that last one isn't an option in your mind, but I'm ashamed to say that it sometimes is in mine. Which is ridiculous, because writing stories is like breathing to me. I mean, when people ask, "What do you like to do?" it's the first and usually the only thing I can think of. No joke. If I quit writing, I would be walking away from a huge part of who I am, who God has made me to be.


But sometimes I'm still tempted.


It gets hard. Watching time slide by. Pouring love into a project only to see it get overlooked, being faced with the odds that tell me how slim my chances are of ever getting a story where I think it needs to go. It's especially hard in the lulls, when I've tried something and failed and don't know where to go from there. When I could take it as a sign that I should just give up.


That's when it's time to look for the next right thing.


God has been speaking those words to my heart. Telling me that when one thing doesn't work, it's time to get up, dust off the ol' manuscript, make tweaks with the new knowledge from my latest failure, and look for the next opportunity. Maybe it's a social media pitch event, or a contest, or a chance to land a mentor who will take my writing to the next level. Maybe it's just another round of beta reading, or a few more revisions, or another batch of queries, or even a hiatus to reconnect with God and make sure it's all firmly in His hands.


Whatever your next step is, take it. Paralysis will solve nothing if it's just your way of hiding from stress. If God told you to step back and take a break, do it, but if you just don't want to face the struggle, maybe you're letting Satan's lies poison your drive, stagnate you. Maybe you're writing the wrong story. Fine! Time to start something new! Exciting, right? Maybe you're writing for the wrong reasons. Well, bring that to God and ask him to equip you with the right ones!


The point is, if God has called us to write, we need to trust Him with the details. Our job is not to know how it's all going to turn out—even if we don't get published or reach our little, nearsighted goals, our job is to keep doing what He has called us to do and to leave every outcome in His hands, remembering always that our relationship with Him and the ways we glorify Him in our daily lives are most important in the eternal scope of things. Even more important than our little writing dreams.


Keep trucking along. Take the failures, learn from them, get close to God, find courage in Him, put Him first and writing second, don't try to predict the future, enjoy the ride, find inspiration in every blessing, and when the road feels like a dead end, just look for the next right thing.


It'll turn out the way He wants it to, so do your part and leave Him the rest.



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