I had no idea what I was doing.
I went to my first writers conference with zero expectations. I simply wanted to explore this crazy dream God had planted in my heart.
At my allotted appointments, I sat across from editors, agents, and publishers and said the same thing, “I don’t have anything to pitch. I just came to learn. Can you tell me what you think I should know?”
Every person demonstrated gentle patience and gave me a huge boost of encouragement. One discussion, spurred by a workplace pet peeve, kept me awake most of the night jotting down notes.
On the last day of the conference, I knew my life would never be the same. And I was right.
I flew home feeling overwhelmed. My mind swirled with a mix of anxiety and anticipation. A professional thinks I have potential. A professional believes my differences are a good thing. A professional requested a book proposal. I don’t know how to write a book proposal.
I was a long way from being ready to submit anything, and I knew it.
When I arrived back at normal life, I needed help. But where do you turn when you live in a tiny town in the Midwest? What kind of education can you get when there’s no college close? How do doors open when you have no degree or credentials in writing?
You ask the Best Selling Author of all time for help.
Wanting to do nothing less than excellent work, I got on my knees and asked God to personally mentor me. I figured since His book, the Bible, had sold more copies than any other book throughout history, I should try to learn from Him.
My schooling took months, even into years. I turned the television off and got to work. I spent hours soaking up assigned books on the craft of writing. I practiced with devotions, articles, and blogs. I listened to the professionals He sent to help me develop better habits. Then I re-wrote my devotions, articles, and blogs. Sometimes it took many copies to get the words and punctuation just right.
I graduated to the study and practice of book proposal writing. I wrote at least three dozen drafts while my Mentor patiently encouraged me to keep trying. All the while, prayer and a listening ear helped me maintain a teachable heart.
Only three years later, I signed with WordServe. Recently, I signed a book contract for the original non-fiction idea I’d had at the conference. This may seem like a long time, but in publishing years, it’s pretty fast.
Today, I still need my Mentor. He’s guiding my mind and hands as I finish my book for publication. Because of Him, I hope to write many more.
If you’re an aspiring or experienced author, I encourage you to call my Mentor. He’s available 24/7/365. His name is God, and he turns good concepts into strong books. There’s no better Muse than the one who created your mind.
Do you have a mentor? Where do you go for guidance and encouragement?