In 2015, after spending a year writing my first manuscript, I attended a Christian writer’s conference. Talk about an eye-opener. The most valuable experience during those three days was Eva Marie Everson’s critique of my first three chapters. Her professional feedback made it clear my work was far from ready for primetime. At the same time her encouragement affirmed my decision to say goodbye to retirement and hello to career number two as an author.
My motto became, it’s never too late to follow your dreams. When dreams collide with God’s purpose something magical happens. Which brings me to the first P.
Webster’s Dictionary describes passion as intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction. In Wake Up to the Word devotions, Joyce Meyers wrote: “If purpose is our journey and destination, then passion is the fuel that’s going to get us there.” For Christian authors, passion is inspired by the desire to fulfill God’s purpose and write from a Christian perspective.
While fueled by passion, I learned the road to publication is often long, arduous, and riddled with detours and disappointments. A lesson confirmed after experiencing my first rejections. Fortunately, the desire to write kept my feet firmly planted on the path and inspired me to connect with other authors, attend conferences, and take online writing courses. My latest study? James Scott Bell’s Writing Unforgettable Characters. I learned valuable techniques I am applying to my current WIP. Applying passion to studying the craft is a key step to success. What comes next?
I always enjoy watching gymnastics and ice skating during the Summer and Winter Olympics. No matter how accomplished, the athletes rely on coaches for ongoing training while devoting countless hours to practicing their sport. Thus, the old cliché—practice makes perfect—fits. Earning a perfect score in an Olympic competition doesn’t mean the athlete won’t seek to improve. Although perfection is rarely reached striving to achieve it is a worthy goal.
For authors, that means writing. Every day. Whether a manuscript, devotion, blog, short story, or an article. When authors’ fingers race across keyboards or scribe on paper, skills they’ve learned improve their writing.
Of course, there are times when doubt creeps in or writer’s block strikes. That’s when the third P is critical.
When God places dreams in our hearts, He gives us the means to pursue what we’ve begun, no matter how big the mountain ahead seems. Accepting obstacles and disappointments as growth opportunities helps writers overcome doubt and take risks. For example, submitting work to competitions that include critiques provides valuable insight. Critique groups and beta readers are equally important. Like athletes, successful authors stay the course. Which brings me to the last P.
I admit after finishing that first manuscript, I expected immediate results. However, God in his infinite wisdom was preparing me for a longer journey. Preparation takes time. What seems like instant success for Olympic gymnasts and skaters results from years of sacrifice and training.
God didn’t open the door for my first publishing contract until I had spent three years practicing and preparing. My message to pre-published authors? Keep your passion ignited and stay the course. Success will come when the timing is right.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”Galatians 6:9
Retired from a twenty-seven-year corporate career Pat Nichols draws on her experience working with hundreds of women from all walks of life to create stories about women facing tension-laced challenges and heart-warming triumphs in the pursuit of their dreams. Her debut novel, The Secret of Willow Inn, is a 2020 Selah Award winner. Pat received an NGCWC Georgia Peach Award for her short story, The Vet and Valentine’s Day, and an NGCWC Georgia Peach Award for Starstruck in Willow Falls. She is the mother of two and grandmother of four. One precious granddaughter lives with the angels. Later this month she and her high-school sweetheart will celebrate their fifty-sixth wedding anniversary. Life is good.