Have you ever been waiting and praying for something to happen, and finally, just when you think it’s going to become a reality, it doesn’t? Instead, you’re told, “Not yet.”
One of the most exciting days of my writing career was the day I signed a contract with a well-respected agent. Last summer, she decided to leave the business of being an agent and my heart felt the same as it did the first time a boyfriend broke up with me. I knew I’d recover from the heartache, but for days, I walked around with shoulders slumped, sighing.
I met several agents at the ACFW conference last September and four requested proposals, but I didn’t have a clue as to which professional would be the best fit for me and my work.
When you have appointments with agents at a conference, it’s sort of like speed dating. You have fifteen minutes to get to know each other, and then it’s the writer’s job to convince the agent that publishers will be clamoring to buy his/her manuscript.
The relationship between an agent and a writer must be built on mutual trust and respect, and it’s impossible to develop that in one brief meeting. I want a long relationship with my next agent, so I’ve been researching the Christian publishing industry and praying for God to lead me to the right person.
Last month, I finally sent material to three agents. Two replied immediately and said they would give my proposal a serious look. Their prompt, professional reply narrowed the field down from three to two but still, I tossed and turned.
Most rejection emails have only one sentence and it start with, “I’m sorry, but…” However one agent explained that he asked a fiction expert to review my manuscript. Her credentials made my eyes bug out. The critique included paragraphs explaining what I did well, and what I need to do to get one of the larger publishing houses interested in my work. To sum it up, the fiction expert thinks I have potential, but the response from the agent was, “Not yet.”
A successful author told me a critique like this is a rare and wonderful gift. I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, which agent I want to represent me. He’s already made an investment in my success, and I’m going to do my best to ensure he receives a return by listening to his advice. My prayers were answered even though I haven’t been offered a contract (yet).
You might think I’d be disappointed with the response, but God prepared my heart. I’m currently working through Jennifer Kennedy Dean’s book Live a Praying Life. Consider these words I read on the morning I received the email.
“God has good, loving, and productive reasons for scheduling waiting periods into the prayer process. When He has called on you to wait, it is because what He is doing during the waiting time is necessary for the best outcome. If He didn’t need the incubation time, it would not be there.”
This weekend, I’ll be visiting Lake Couer d’Alene, Idaho to attend a writing workshop which is being taught by award-winning, Christian author Brandilyn Collins. To be a guest in this prestigious author’s home seems like a dream, and to have the opportunity to be her student is an amazing gift from God. (He provided me with a free airline ticket.) I’m going to enjoy every step on my writing journey. My goal is to glorify God with my very best effort. I know God has a good plan for the words I write.
What about you? Have you been working on a goal that seems impossible? Have you been waiting for an answer? Don’t give up. Pray and seek wisdom. God will provide you with exactly what you need, and when the time is right, when your heart is right, he’ll give you your heart’s desire.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord rather than for people. Colossians 3:23.