Sandra Merville Hart serves as Assistant Editor for DevoKids.com where she contributes many articles about history and holidays. She also serves as an Assistant Editor on The Barn Door Book Loft blog, www.barndoorbookloft.net. She is a contributor for Faith & Finance: In God We Trust. She has written for The Secret Place, Harpstring, Splickety Magazine, Voice, Pockets Magazine, Common Ground, Afictionado, and ChristianDevotions.us. A finalist in the 2011 Hamilton Writers Guild Fiction Contest, Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas will release her Civil War novella, A Stranger on My Land, on August 21, 2014.
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Ready to Call it Quits by Sandra Merville Hart
My writing hit a brick wall about four years ago. After much prayer and soul-searching, I had followed a strong urging to leave a job I enjoyed to pursue a writing career in 2004. Knowing I needed to learn the craft, I took correspondence courses, a few college classes, and attended writing conferences.
My goal was to write books. I loved reading inspirational historical novels and wanted to write them. At conferences I met editors and agents who asked me to send them proposals and manuscripts. No one offered to represent me or gave me a book contract, but I had small successes in publishing devotions. Other opportunities in the writing field came my way but I didn’t even pray about them so they passed me by. This was a mistake. I remained focused on writing books.
I signed up for another writing conference and paid the deposit. After a series of painful rejections, I began to question whether I had misunderstood God’s leading. No one wanted to publish my books. Obviously I was not gifted at writing.
In this depressed state, I didn’t feel like going to a conference. Why waste more money? I attended knowing that this would be the last time to see many of my writer friends. I was giving up.
My heart ached as I continued to pray for God’s leading. Many friends at the conference bubbled over with excitement for the opportunity to speak to agents and editors. I had lost hope.
After the evening’s activities, many people met casually in lobbies to talk. I enjoyed the camaraderie of getting to know other writers and joined in.
One evening I arrived first to the lobby and sat down to wait for friends. One of the faculty members, Todd, sat down with me. I was almost too depressed to speak. He asked how the conference was going for me.
“I did something wrong,” I blurted out.
This upset him. “What did you do?” Obviously apprehensive, he didn’t know if he’d hear that I robbed a bank or blew my chances with an editor.
“I quit a good job to write.” My heart broke as I confessed.
Todd looked at me compassionately. “That took a lot of courage.”
“But no one’s offering me a book contract.” To me that defined success.
“You’re in the right place to learn more about writing. You meet editors and agents at conferences. You’re doing the right things.”
God used this wonderful author to somehow say the words I needed to hear to get back up and start walking again. He answered my prayers for guidance.
I wish I could say that an editor got excited about one of my manuscripts and offered to publish it at the end of the week, but that didn’t happen. It wasn’t time.
I received my first book contract last year. It releases next month.
Rejections still sting every time. Some devastate me and take me to deep valleys. Praying for guidance and the courage to take another step on the journey, I cling to God’s hand.
Our lives have a purpose. There’s a reason God created us. Whatever journey you’re on, pray for guidance and the courage to take the next step. He knows where the path leads. It’s enough.
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Sandy’s Civil War novella, A Stranger on My Land, is available for pre-order on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Stranger-My-Land-Sandra-Hart/dp/1941103278/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1405606746&sr=1-1&keywords=A+Stranger+on+my+land.