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"Hard is not hopeless." - General David Petraeus

Monday, November 23, 2009

Faith & Writing To Publish

Have you ever found yourself in such an ungrateful state that you couldn’t function? Couldn’t truly give thanks to God for His many blessings?

That has been me in the last month or so. High stress job, low money, training the dog, responsibilities at church, responsibilities to other writers and – oh yeah – my own writing too.

It has been especially depressing to me listening to all the gab that is burning up cyberspace about traditional publishers (like Thomas Nelson and Harlequin) launching self-publishing arms in their companies. It left me scratching my head asking, “When did publishers forget that a book you’ve spent thousands of hours on is a PRODUCT that I sell, not a service that I buy?”

In short, I would no more pay to have my own book published then I would pay my employer to work for them. As much as I love writing, I could never allow it to become a source of debt. If I can’t sell to a traditional publisher, then I just keep my books in a drawer. Simple as that.

And yes, I know that self-publishing IS a viable alternative for some writers, for a host of reasons. It just doesn’t fit my personal philosophy.

So with all this angst and baggage I’ve been stooping under lately, as you might imagine, any work on my novel went straight out the window. I couldn’t even draw forth the energy to click open my novel document.

Fast forward to yesterday where I was snapped out of it by two things in succession. First, a conversation with a friend who reminded me that publication is a matter of faith. Formerly, I’d been fairly good at remembering to trust God with my writing—that He would take care of the publishing part when/if He chose to do so. He gave me this desire from the early years of grade school, so I trusted Him to carry it out to the conclusion He set for me.

Until recently.

My friend had simply stated the obvious, but it took someone else speaking it for it to sink into my thick skull.

Second, with that realization came another, equally obvious revelation. My troubles appeared right about the time I got sloppy with my prayer and Bible study time in the mornings. I’ve been experimenting with wake up times and when to take the dog for training walks, and do other morning chores, but in the process, set aside my routine of prayer and bible study first before anything else.

Aha! Again, should be very OBVIOUS. In fact, the one thing I’ve had published so far is a devotional that deals with this very subject. But sometimes, I just need a smack on the side of the head.

End result? Last night I was able to sit down for almost 2.5 hours and work on the next chapter of my book, and get it submitted in time to my crit group.

From a spiritual standpoint, I feel like an oppressive dam has been blown up inside me and now my thoughts and praise can flow freely again.

From a writing standpoint, last night answered another question about writing. With all the self-publishing talk, I had begun to ask myself, “If this is the wave of the future for getting your books out there, why bother to write?”

Last night I found the answer.

Because I have to.

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