I was through writing. Done. Finished. Ready to throw my computer and every book I owned out the door.
After two books in print, I hit a really tough spot in the road. Received a number of “thanks, but no thanks” replies from agents I’d tried to acquire, and wasn’t having any better luck in the way of publishers. Discouraging, but I wasn’t yet devastated.
Then I received an “analysis” of one of my books from a manuscript submission entity whose name I won’t mention. It was a crushing example of criticism on the flipside of “constructive.”
I read the two-page letter, and let it slip from my numb fingers onto the floor. The edges of my vision went dark. My chest closed up, and for a moment or two, I could not breathe. Literally. That’s how harsh the words of that “analysis,” and how deeply they affected me. In a nutshell, the person who analyzed my manuscript said I was not a writer, that the storyline lacked any merit whatsoever, and that no publisher would read past the first page.
Did I cry? Oh, yes. After I forced myself to pick up that poison missive off the floor and read it again, I threw myself what could technically have been termed a “hissy fit.” Stomped my feet, yelled, slammed things around my office. I stopped short of throwing anything against the wall, but just barely. After I exhausted myself, and cried until no tears remained, I lay on the sofa in my office and made a decision.
I was through writing. All that effort, all that labor, all the love I put into my books—and this was what people thought of it? (Notice how hurt and confusion turned that one person’s opinion into the be-all and end-all of everyone’s opinion, in my mind.)
But then…I slid off the sofa onto my knees. I took it all to God, and ranted and raved into His ears. I reminded Him how hard I had worked to make my words edify (as if He didn’t already remember). I told Him (like He didn’t know) how I’d prayed and sought His face before each and every writing session, in a sincere effort to make my words encouraging and uplifting to those readers who knew Him, and to reach out to those who did not.
Gradually, a measure of peace eased into my heart. Something moved me to send out one more manuscript, and provided the shaky courage to do so. Just one more. If it had been rejected, I sincerely believe I would never have written again. And I guess God knew I’d reached the end of my ability to take rejection. We all have our human limits, and for that moment in time, I had reached mine.
That “one more manuscript” I allowed myself to risk sending out was Destiny’s Dream. The folks at White Rose Publishing loved it, and contracted not only that story, but an entire series, of which Destiny’s Dream is the first.
I believe my own special angel directed me to White Rose Publishing. God promised to give His angels charge over me, to keep me in ALL my ways (Psalm 91:11). My writing ministry—yes, that’s how I think of it—is one of those “ways.” I haven’t a single doubt that I was divinely guided to this publisher. God soothed the ache in my heart, and fixed what the unconstructive criticism in that letter had seriously broken within me.
My point? Don’t give up. When you reach the end of your rope…let go, and let God be God. He’ll cushion your fall, heal your wounds, and set your feet on the path He intends them to follow.
Will I receive other rejections? Yes. As long as I’m writing and submitting my work, there will be rejections. It’s part of the process. I’m able to take them again, for a season. God did that for me, too. Of course, my hope is that I never again have to endure that same kind of cruel, unconstructive bashing, but if I do…I’m sure the tears will come again. I’ll probably have myself another childish tantrum, maybe even slam a few more things around my office.
And then I’ll drop back onto my knees and tell my heavenly Daddy all about it. I’ll let Him be God.
He’ll fix it again.
Wow, that's very inspiring. Thank you for sharing. Do you have any favorite quotes to share?
I have so many “favorite” inspirational quotes. May I share two?
Sure, we'd love for you to share them.
“Never, never, never, never, never, never, NEVER give up.” — Og Mandino (The experience I related above is a perfect example of why this is so important to remember.)
And my current favorite, from Max Lucado: "A woman's heart should be so hidden in God that a man has to seek Him just to find her."
I love those. Can you share some information about your current release?
My current release is titles, Destiny's Dream.
Is a little respect too much to ask at a parent’s funeral?
Apparently it is for Destiny May. Clay Gallagher is built like a small mountain and far more vocal than is fitting when he shows up late to her mother’s “going away party.” When it turns out he’s not even at the right funeral, Destiny demands retribution in the form of an escape from the day’s dreary proceedings. Spending time with a handsome stranger who makes her laugh is more therapeutic than fighting with her overbearing family.
Clay finds Destiny beautiful, charming...and intelligent. So why is she stubbornly determined to open a Christian dating service? Clay has little respect for such a frivolous profession, and doesn’t think the small, conservative town of Castle Creek will welcome such a progressive business. But when Destiny is threatened by an anonymous caller who deeply resents her and what she does for a living, Clay makes it his business to keep the saucy redhead out of harm’s way.
Trouble is, spending time in her company weakens his defenses, and Destiny may be the one thing Clay can’t escape...if he even wants to.
Delia, thank you so much for stopping by today and sharing your encouraging story of your writing journey. It's awesome how God is always watching over us and He has a wonderful plan for our lives.