Nearly twenty years ago, I was totally spent as a writer. I’d endured a three-year process of revision and revulsion on one book that had me doubting my ability and drained of all enthusiasm for writing.
I’d had a good run. I’d authored or coauthored numerous articles and books. I’d won awards and appeared on best-seller lists. I didn’t need the stresses of editing and revision, contracts and deadlines.
So I prayed.
I do that when I get desperate–and there’s nothing good on T.V.
And God answered. I decided, before throwing in the towel, to write a proposal for a book that would really float my boat, a project that I would enjoy more than anything I had written to date. I sent it. I never got an offer.
But a couple months later, an editor who had seen my proposal contacted me and asked if I would be interested in an assignment to work on a project called The Prayer Bible. It wasn’t the door I had knocked on, but it was in the same neighborhood.
For the next couple months, I spent my workdays praying through the second half of the Old Testament, praying God’s Word, a process that not only revived me and stoked my prayer life—I believe it saved my writing ministry.
If I had given up then, my novel The Bone Box—a timeslip novel before I knew what timeslip was—would never have been written. My dream of writing a novel based on events in my Amish family’s history would never have become the historical novels (coauthored with a distant cousin), Northkill and The Return. My love for Shakespeare and the Bible would never have resulted in The Bard and the Bible: A Shakespeare Devotional, a labor of love that offers a daily reading based on a short quote from Shakespeare’s works with a corresponding or contrasting verse from the King James Version of the Bible (which was produced in the same era, country, and city, by men who knew each other). My longtime dream of writing children’s books would have died on the vine, long before I got the inspiration for Don’t Close Your Eyes: A Silly Bedtime Book.
And those are just some of the 30+ books I’ve been blessed to write and publish since the day I didn’t give up. Some have made money. Some have won awards. And, more importantly, some have touched lives. Maybe even changed a few.
So don’t give up. No matter where you are in your writing journey, no matter how discouraged you may feel, consider the impact of all the words that remain in your future. The readers you may gain. The articles and books you may have in you. The lives that are waiting to be touched—maybe even changed. It’s going to be worth it. Maybe soon, maybe not. You don’t get to decide the timing.
But you do get to choose to persevere.