I’ve been pregnant twice and birthed three babies. My first pregnancy ended with my husband and I doubling our family by adding twin sons. My second pregnancy ended with the birth of a beautiful daughter we named Faith because that pregnancy, laden with difficulties, required faith like we’d never known. And though the calendars told me neither pregnancy made it to 40 weeks, I secretly wondered if I’d been pregnant much longer.
Yep, for many soon-to-be mamas, the days carrying new life inside stretch and pull endlessly, and you begin to feel like you’ve been cradling a baby (babies) forever.
(Pregnant with twins at 33 weeks.)
I recently read that an elephant’s pregnancy lasts 92 weeks, or more specifically, 645 days. I know that’s not super surprising given the size of an elephant, but I doubt that gives the mama elephant on day 462 of her pregnancy much consolation.
As my deadline for turning in the first draft of my book approacheth, I think I can identify with the pregnant elephant, at least a little. Considering the book won’t release until fall of 2015, I am not even halfway through this “pregnancy” and it feels like I have been working on this project much longer than I have. I’m not complaining, however. While I do get tired and sometimes wonder if I’m in over my head, I am surprised at just how much I enjoy the writing process that this book requires.
But to stretch this elephant-book comparison a bit further, I’ll just get crazy and say the process of writing and birthing a book is more akin to being a pregnant elephant who first struggled with infertility. Because for me (and most writers, I think), there was a good deal of time between when I first felt the spark to lean seriously into publishing and when I read a positive response from a publisher.
To be sure, my hands held many a negative reply first.
When I first shared my book news with y’all back in May, I asked if you’d be interesting in knowing more about my own road to publishing. Many of you said yes, so here’s a bit more on that subject.
The proposal that led to the book I’m currently writing wasn’t my first rodeo. I went to She Speaks in 2011 armed with my first proposal. One editor told me no flat out, but the other liked it enough to take it back to her publishing board. Then the pub board told me no. And before you think that is where the no’s ended for me, think again. I wrote another proposal that was turned down, too.
And there were several smaller no’s tucked inside those big ones.
So yes, I know what it’s like to hear a regretful no. Or rather, several no’s. I know what it’s like to look around at the dirty floors you haven’t mopped this side of forever and wonder if your writing time shouldn’t be used elsewhere. I know what it’s like to have a college degree in something other than writing or English and wonder if you should just be sensible and go back to doing what you paid a lot of money to learn how to do. I know what it’s like to take something seriously by pouring endless amounts of time into it even though it doesn’t add to your bank account and even though some of your friends think all this “writing” is really an excuse to play on facebook the whole live long day.
I know what it’s like to push through the doubt and bravely compose a proposal only to get an unfavorable response. I know what it’s like to tell yourself, “See? That’s what you get for thinking you have what it takes to do this.”
I also know that nothing of value comes to us the easy way, and we have to grow thicker skin and not let the questions or doubts or rejections stop us from answering the callings God gives. We have to let our faith steep in the Truth that says we will spend our time on what God created us to do and believe in what God says He will do.
“If I never had another book published, and it was very clear to me that this was a real possibility, I still had to go on writing. I’m glad I made this decision in a moment of failure. It’s easy to say you’re a writer when things are going well. When the decision is made in the abyss, then it is quite clear that it is not one’s own decision at all.”
~ Madeleine L’Engle, A Circle of Quiet
So to any of you writers who hope of things not yet seen, can I scoot my chair close to yours and give you a word of encouragement?
If you are writing because you want to write, then keep writing. If you feel yourself coming alive doing it regardless of how many no’s find you, don’t let rejection still your pen. If you feel in your heart God is directing your creativity whether you’re outwardly praised for it or not, whether your words are published or not, then please keep creating. Keep doing it for God’s eyes and trust that if others are meant to see it, He will bring it to them.
And that no you recently received? Let’s instead call it a not yet. Because while I don’t know what specific plans God has in store for you and your talents, I do know He wants to birth something from your creativity. Something wildly beautiful, something wildly needed.
And until the day you get to hold it in your arms, may you hold onto the Hope that lies in things unseen.
It’s hard to hold onto hope when “no” is all you see and hear, even if there are a few other quiet voices whispering “keep going.” This journey is a difficult one.
I know it is, Pattie. And I’m so sorry. Consider my voice one of those in the quiet whispers. I love you, friend. xo
Kristin Taylor says
I love, love, love watching this journey of yours from a distance – thanks for sharing it with us. I’m already looking forward to hearing more and READING YOUR BOOK!!
You are such a dear, Kristin. Thank you so, so much.
I feel like you wrote this for me today. Just the words I needed – and praying for you as you continue to grow this new book baby over the next year 🙂 Will celebrate every milestone (50,000 WORDS! WOOHOO!) and pray through every bump in the road on the way to the finish line, friend.
Thank you so much for your encouraging words. Your words reached me when I was feeling the exact way you described…thinking I need to go back to the degree I spent all that money on (which was NOT writing) and wondering if this is all just a fantasy and a big waste of time. Thank you for reminding us of the “no’s” we all face! For God’s eyes!!! Yes!!!!
I am so glad I read this post! It is just what I needed to hear. Been struggling with what I believe God has told me to do. I feel this is just encouragement and confirmation for me. Couldn’t have come at a better time.
God bless you, Kristen. Praying for you as you walk your journey of publishing a book. Thank you for your willingness to share it with us and encourage each of us along the way. I don’t have plans to write a book but this thought still takes place in my mind more often than not, ““See? That’s what you get for thinking you have what it takes to do this.”
But I press on because of Him. For some reason He keeps telling me to write.
Thank you again for this needed encouragement.
Much love. xoxo
Lori Harris says
I love the idea of no’s being not yet’s.
A breath of fresh air for me this morning.
Thank you thank you, so glad I stumbled here today. I loved that ML quote. When I write I feel God, regardless of who sees it but it’s my dream to be published some day. I’ve never heard of she speaks, so I’m bookmarking that, too….Also, I’m 20 wks into growing twins and suddenly grateful I am human not elephant! :):)
Beth Williams says
You go girl! Don’t let rejection run your life. Keep on trying–if it is meant to be then God will allow it to happen!
Best wishes on your book!