It’s only time …

[THIS BLOG POST ALSO APPEARED ON THE INTERNATIONAL CHRISTIAN FICTION WRITERS BLOG].

I’m an efficiency nut; always have been, always will be. I’ve spent my career in public relations and the media where timing is everything. I’m not impatient; I haven’t got time for that.

One issue I’ve always struggled with in my walk is the issue of God’s timing. The whole “be still and know that I am God” goes against my grain and is probably my biggest faith challenge. I’m a person of action who is driven by deadlines, so I’m uncomfortable when I’m not at least aware of what’s happening two steps further down the process. In my career that’s been a necessity; now I’ve moved into fiction and the hope of publishing and I’ve been learning lessons about timing ever since.

The timing of development

I entered ACFW’s Genesis competition in 2015, hopeful with the novel with which I was happy. I’d spent years in crafting it and put my heart and soul into it.

I didn’t get anywhere. I was devastated. I thought the novel was ready. It wasn’t.

So I took the feedback and tightened the novel completely. I deepened characters, percolated conflict between them and condensed their dialogue. God used that time to boil my story down, simmer it and concentrate it. Twelve months later, I entered Genesis again and was a finalist.

Bear in mind, in 2015 I was devastated. I didn’t want to know anything about working on my novel any more. According to my timeframe, it was done. But God’s hand was in that rejection process. The ultimate creator knows the creation process – go figure – and without the extra time, the book wouldn’t have the characteristics it now has. Now it’s being considered for publication. Which leads me to the next waiting period …

The timing of publication

In an ideal world, you write, you edit, you type “The End”, you polish up your acknowledgements page and then you start printing your novel.

But, as we know, that’s not how it happens.

This is where I am at the moment. I’ve pitched the book to two publishers and I’m waiting to hear back from a couple of agents as well.

And I wait. Uncomfortably … impatiently …wondering why there is no movement and fluctuating between hope and rejection because, in my timeframe, the book is ready to go now.

But now, with the experience of the 12 months’ waiting in writing the book, I’m learning (slowly) to trust Him in the whole publishing process as well. It will happen in His timing.

I was chatting about this waiting process with Ian Acheson (author of Angelguard), and one comment stuck with me. “But the Lord’s got it in His big capable hands. Waiting helps us lean on Him more, I reckon.”

Amen, brother. Another lesson.

I’ve had a number of conversations with other writers about this process and found that the endless wait and the investment of time and I’m not alone. Is this an issue for you?

One thought on “It’s only time …

  1. Hey, David: Yes, waiting IS an issue for me, too! But now that I’ve done enough of it (ha!)…and suffered some rejection along the way…I wouldn’t take back a single minute. I’ve discovered when I’m waiting, I need to leave my ms alone, especially if I feel it’s “ready.” The time away gives me clarity–new eyes. So when I have to return to a ms after receiving a stinging rejection (with feedback), I am able to see my writing more clearly and make needed revisions. The first time I received feedback from an agent on my Top ONE list :-), I rushed this process. She (actually all three agents in her office) sent me two pages of detailed editorial comments with a request to revise and resubmit. The first paragraph was all about how much they loved the ms, and then it ended with BUT… Two of the revisions they requested were crystal clear to me. The third, however, I simply could not see (at the time). But I did my best to fix a problem and rushed the ms back to them. Three months later I received an email that started, “This is such a difficult email to write because we truly love this story. You are a gifted writer….BUT…” The agents were pleased with the two of the three revisions…but not the revision I couldn’t see. After that, I didn’t look at the ms for three months. Finally, I reviewed the comments again and…voila! How did I not see it the first time?! I was simply too close. The good news is–although I did not get a second chance with that particular agency–WAITING FOR BUTTERFLIES will release in June 2017! But I’m confident my ms would not be under contract if I had not taken time away from it, so I could see it with new eyes. So, for me, waiting was a vital part of the process.

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