Monday, October 17, 2011

Hope, Wisdom, and Strength, by Linda S. Glaz

It is so easy to get caught up in the hope game.
I hope my friends love the story.
I hope I win the contest with my story.
I hope an agent will want my story.
I hope an editor is blown away by my story.

As writers, we play the hope game every time we send out a query or when we meet an agent/editor at a conference. That is simply human nature, to hope and wish for what we don’t already have.

Unfortunately, we can reach a place where the hope turns to discouragement, in which case, we are apt to “settle” because we just want someone to read our stories.

That’s where wisdom steps in.
Lord, give me the wisdom to serve you with the talent you’ve given me, even if that means I can’t control this situation. I might not ever see my book in print, but give it a purpose, Lord.
Wisdom should always outweigh our own desires.

Hence, strength. Once we’ve decided on the path that keeps us directed, away from our own desires, we’ll need strength to maintain our resolve.
Strength to keep writing.
Strength to continue seeking an agent/editor.
Strength to make the right choices after prayerful consideration.
Strength to meet all the deadlines this lifestyle puts on us.

Three simple words:
Hope, Wisdom, and Strength.
Keep writing!

11 comments:

Melissa K Norris said...

Linda,

Lovely advice and so wise. I've always thought hope was the most dangerous part of the writing life. Here's to pairing it with wisdom, strength, and prayer for God's will, not ours.

Thanks.

Yvonne Blake said...

Thanks, Linda. There's a lot to think (and pray) about in these few words.

I saw my hopes and emotions climb and drop every time I entered a contest, and I wondered if it was good for me.

Then I read an interview by a Francine Rivers. She decided, early in her career, not enter contests (or even read many of her reviews) because it took her focus of why she was writing.

Even though some contests are very tempting and seem exciting, I've decided not to enter them, either.

There are so many decisions to make on this writing road. We need God's wisdom to know what is right and His strength to continue on.

Thanks again for the encouragement.

Timothy Fish said...

Perhaps we shouldn't "settle", but I do think we need to learn to be content. I don't think it so much that we need to follow a "path that keeps us directed away from our own desires" as much as we need to make sure that our desires are compatible with God's will. One of the things I've given thought to recently is that so many people have decided to write a book and then they try to find a way to call their efforts a "ministry" rather than finding a ministry that needs their talent. That's not to say that people shouldn't be writing books, but there are so many churches and other Christian organizations that need skilled writers but are largely ignored because they don't have much need for someone to write a full length book.

Rita Garcia said...

Linda, thanks for the encouragement and wonderful heartfelt advice!

Hope and emotions can really reach peaks and valleys. There are times I've allowed the valleys to set me back for weeks. But I'm learning to put it in God's hands.
The prayer of my heart is, "Lord, prosper my writing according to Your will." Faith keeps us moving forward.

Diana said...

Linda;
So true. We must realize, "all in God's good time". Impatience is sure to cause regret later on.
Thanks for this reminder, even agents can loose hope at times. :-)

Cheryl Linn Martin said...

Great advice, Linda!

I try to pray for strength every day, remembering to put my hope in him. When I'm writing, I always ask for His wisdom.

If I don't do the above, things don't usually work that well. So, thanks for the reminder!

Sharon A. Lavy said...

Along with hope we must have patience:

Romans 8:25
But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.

Timothy Fish said...

Sharon,

It's interesting that you picked that verse for this topic. In context, it is talking about salvation and waiting for "the redemption of our bodies". The point is that the reason we have patience is because we haven't seen our hope. In other words, if God showed us what he has prepared for us, we would be impatient.

In some ways, I think that applies to this topic. Authors look around and see their friends getting agent representation, contracts, large advances, or whatever. The author then begins to think "why not me?" In a very real sense, the author has seen his hope. That leads to disappointment. I don't know that people can completely blind themselves to their hope, but if they could dwell on the accomplishments of other authors and the expectations of the publishing industry, I'm sure they would have an easier time with patience.

Davalyn Spencer said...

Amen, Linda. How many times have I asked God to teach me how to write what He will bless?

Yvonne's comment interested me because I have approached contests from the other side. With a journalist's background, I like to jump on an "assignment," and that's what I do when I see a contest I can enter with a reasonable amount of time investment. The writing keeps me fresh, keeps me from tunnel vision where my novels are concerned, and helps strengthen my discipline to write everyday and query/enter every week or so. However, once I hit "submit," I forget about it. I list the entry in my Submissions file, and then move on. I simply do not have time to hang over the mailbox. If I don't win/sell, the entry/query doesn't come to mind unless it fits a different contest or call down the road.

I heard from Chicken Soup last week about a story they wanted to buy. I sent it two years ago and had since forgotten about it. What fun when I got the news! But it wouldn't have been nearly as fun if I had been "hoping" to sell that story all this time and not been busy writing others.

Linda Glaz said...

Davalynn, what a nice surprise!

Beth Ziarnik said...

Linda,

Even though this reply is a bit after the fact, I simply have to tell you how much this post means to me. I keep it in my inbox where I can read it often.

What an encouragement! Thank you for posting it.