Sometimes I wonder, do I want to keep doing this? I don’t mean writing – but writing for publication. Two rejections in one night and I’m feeling very deflated….
Last January, my book went out on submission. A fun little land, filled with hopes, fears, heartache, and a whole lot of waiting. Nothing too exciting happened until March, when my story made it through editorial committee and was slotted for pub board in April (to learn more about the process toward publication, see this
by my agent).
Yes. Seven months.
I’m rushing around after work, trying to get changed so I can head out the door to a school committee meeting. Hubby’s on my computer, so I interrupt and check my email. Literally, I’m hopping on one foot, shoving the other in a shoe, impatiently waiting for Gmail to load so I can get to the meeting on time. Pub board’s the last thing on my mind.
Up pops Gmail and mixed in a pile of junk, my agent’s name. The subject line reads: Don’t get your hopes up too much yet but….
I must have misread it at first, because my hopes plummet. You see, I’d received some disappointing emails the week prior (hence, the journal entry) and was primed for letdown.
But I read Rachelle’s email, find out my book went to pub committee, and it was met with a very favorable response. My body goes all wonky. Like I’m entering into premature menopause and it can’t decide whether to be hot or cold. In the midst of some serious heart-palpitations, I think. Wait a minute. Doesn’t that mean….?
Nope. Not yet.
There’s one more level of approval to pass through and because of vacations, I won’t hear anything until November.
Fast forward a week and a half. Still October.
I’m sitting at my desk, gearing up for the Halloween party at the end of the day. One kiddo’s beside me doing math – a little guy who looks more like a 1st grader than a 5th. Nobody calls me during the school day. I don’t even know why I have my phone on. So when it buzzes, I glance at the screen, expecting one of those annoying voice-automated telemarketers with an unfamiliar area code.
Instead, my screen says Rachelle.
It’s just me and that phone.
But I can’t answer it. I’m in school. All I can do is stare at the buzzing while a million thoughts and prayers pop inside my brain. Pop. Pop. Pop. Like heated popcorn kernels. None of them coherent. Not a single, solitary one.
The buzzing stops.
The kiddo at my desk asks me a question, but I can’t process his words.
The screen lights up. Rachelle left a message. Oh my gosh. She left a message. My heartbeat turns manic. My breathing gets shallow. I press the one on my keypad and smash the phone against my ear. I might start rocking at this point. I’m not sure.
A friendly voice: Hi Katie, it’s Rachelle, and this is the call you’ve been waiting for….
Oh. My. Goodness.
I cannot breathe.
I cannot think.
I cannot scream.
I cannot do anything.
I am surrounded by 5th graders.
Poor kid at my desk looks at me funny and backs away, like I’m going to throw up on him. Instead, I put my face in my hands and let this moment wash over me – this absolutely insane, hand-trembling, thick-throated, are-you-freaking-kidding-me moment. I’m going to be published.
And I know this is the biggest cliché in the world. But man. That thought? It took my breath away.
Here’s the thing.
There were A LOT of moments, from the time I started writing my first novel, to Rachelle’s phone call, that I had some serious doubts about whether this would happen. I mean, for serious, for real doubts. The journal entry up at the top? It’s not the only one like that. My hopes had run the gamut. Super high when I got some bites. Super low, when rejection followed. But mostly – stuck in neutral. I remember thinking I’d wait forever. That I’d be this gray-haired, wrinkled, age-spotted, ninety-year old woman still waiting on pub board. People would say, “This will happen for you, Katie.” But the small voice in my head would whisper, “Yeah. But what if it doesn’t?”
Yet somewhere in the midst of all the uncertainty, something pretty amazing happened. Something Lina AbuJamra
put so eloquently in a recent post.
Waiting, she said, is part of the process. It makes you who Christ wants you to be.
I love these words. I experience these words. While waiting for an agent. While waiting for pub board. While waiting for the contract. And for all the waits that are sure to come. God meets us in the waiting. He blesses us. He keeps us on our knees. He draws us nearer to Him. He molds our character and teaches us to trust. He asks us to be still. And in that stillness, He reminds us why He gave us this passion in the first place. A reason that has nothing to do with book contracts and advances, and everything to do with telling stories that matter.
So if stories burn in your heart, keep writing. No matter what happens, no matter where you are on this journey, no matter how long the wait, keep telling those stories. Write what matters, and trust God to take care of the rest.
Later that night, I spoke with my stellar agent, Rachelle Gardner (who’s making all kinds of dreams come true these days). She assured me this was real. It was happening. She got excited with me. And she filled me in on the details. Waterbrook Multnomah, a division of Random House, offered me a 2-book contract. Sometime next year, I’ll get to hold my very first published book in my hands. And that, my friend, is absolutely insane.
The happiest trip to Staples I’ve ever taken!
Had to stare at this awhile. Just to make sure it was real.
Fun Give-Away: The ever-lovely Keli Gwyn (who just snagged a book deal of her own) offered to kick off the celebration with some chocolate! One random commenter will get this bag of yumminess. Thanks Keli!