The Long View of Getting Published

Photo by Michael Hirst

There are two distinct parts to my career as an author. Part one, when I saw myself as more of a lone wolf and part two, when I finally started admitting I don’t know everything.

The second half where humility has played a lot bigger part has been more rewarding in every way, particularly financially and spiritually.

Funny little thing I’m learning about life is that when I stop trying to force my will and realize I may not get what I want but I can still be of service, more of what I wanted all along shows up. However, to head down that path the first few times took a lot of courage and hope because I didn’t have any personal proof. Fortunately, I had worn myself out trying things my way. I became willing.

To be an author, whether it’s as an independent or through the traditional venues takes more people and therefore a lot more willingness. The independent route sounds like it would be easier to stick to your own common sense and that would be more than enough, except for the occasional question. But publishing a book is a process that requires a lot of hands.

Besides, I was more arrogant than that anyway, running down the traditional path and still telling everyone how I saw things.

However, when I stopped listening for just the small kernel I wanted and expected to hear, dropped any agenda and not only took in the information but gave it time to sink in, things really began to move in a better direction. That opened things up even more.

What if I even followed through on some of the suggestions to see if other people who are actually the professionals in their slice of the publishing game were right? Perhaps my part in the entire process is to be a team player, be open to all of the information that’s coming in and just do what’s been suggested.

Some wrong turns are to be expected and even that’s okay because  the last tool I keep close by is the one that makes all of it okay.

I am powerless over the outcome but there is One who has His hand on everything, loves all of us beyond our ability to understand and has a plan that includes everyone. This is the most important part to me and makes it possible to relax and go back to the day I’m in when I’m worried about how book sales will go or if a book will get published at all.

The answer is, maybe it will, maybe it won’t.

In the past I couldn’t live with that answer so I tried harder to fix things. That just didn’t work and I wore out others as well as myself. Doors closed.

Now, I ask myself if I’ve done my part? Do I trust the professionals I’m working with on this book? What’s in front of me to do? How can I go be of service?

I know, all of that sounded really contrary to becoming published to me too, at first. But I had tried the lone wolf gig and only gotten mediocre results, at best.

I became willing to try a new tack. God is everything or God is nothing and I wanted, maybe even needed God to be everything so I started listening with a new ear. I asked for help and admitted when I didn’t know something. I grew more patient and less ‘helpful’ with suggestions. I did what was asked of me, on time and nothing more, allowing others to do their job without my interference. I became willing to change structure or style and see what happened.

And on the days when my anxiety still sits on my chest like an angry gorilla, I go pray, turn it all over to God and ask for peace of mind and heart. Then I get back to my day, do what’s right in front of me and keep going. As a result, more of my publishing life has fallen into place and my relationships in that area are a lot stronger.

18 Replies to “The Long View of Getting Published”

  1. “Funny little thing I’m learning about life is that when I stop trying to force my will and realize I may not get what I want but I can still be of service, more of what I wanted all along shows up. However, to head down that path the first few times took a lot of courage and hope because I didn’t have any personal proof.”

    That statement speaks volumes to me, especially that last bit. I remember feeling so torn over the time I took to write, because I’m not superwoman and most days it seems that every minute I spend on one thing means two minutes taken from something else.

    1. Angie – a great minister, Rev. Thelma once told me that in God’s space there is no limit of time so just do what’s in front of you to do, be happy with that and see what God does with the rest. As it turns out, I wasn’t as needed as I thought! Thank you God

  2. I think we need that arrogance to get us moving and set us on the writing path. It’s that arrogance (that’s usually later replaced by a solid sense of self-worth and a healthy sense of self-scrutiny) that tells us that what we’re doing is worth the hundreds and hundreds of hours we pour into it.

    1. I had a different experience – even after getting published my vision was still glued to the future because the new book didn’t give me the lasting sense of worth I had hoped for. I was destination living and hoping to earn a sense of worth. When I am… then I will be. I finally heard someone say you’re enough now, exactly as you are to be of service. That’s enough, go do it. I started living the right size in my own life and my writing grew deeper as well.

  3. This post made me think of the whole “I think I can, I think I can” mantra we’re taught early on in life. (The Little Engine That Could.)
    Some folks have an “I’ll do it myself” mentality –and that means we’re supposed to do it ourselves too.
    But if you read that story (which isn’t very long at all) another little engine helped the little engine get over the hill. It wasn’t a lone wolf, er, “engine” mentality that got the engine over the hill. It accomplished it’s goal with the help of someone else.
    Appreciated your honesty and insights, Martha.

    1. That’s so true Beth! And when I became willing to be lead somewhere and not predetermine where it had to be I was able to work with others.

  4. Hi Martha,
    Great post. I used to worry myself sick about all kinds of stuff. And just this week I posted on the topic of, “How much control do we really have?” The Serenity Prayer helps me a lot: God grant me the Serenity to Accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference. There’s so much power in that prayer. I think a big part of this is surrender. As you said, turning it over to the ONE will help us cope with our anxieties more than anything else. We really don’t have much control and when we think we do we can make ourselves crazy.

    1. I’ve also heard a variety of add-ons to the end of the Serenity Prayer – and my favorite is, “Give me patience for the changes that take time, an Appreciation for all that I have, Tolerance for those with different struggles, and the Strength to get up and try again, one day at a time.”
      Second favorite is, “And even when I believe things are hopeless, God give me the courage to do it anyway.”

  5. Martha, you hit the nail on the head when you said, “Funny little thing I’m learning about life is that when I stop trying to force my will and realize I may not get what I want but I can still be of service, more of what I wanted all along shows up.” Thanks for this great food for thought today. Blessings!

    1. Thanks Donna! Rachelle sent me a magnet for Christmas last year that had the old saying, “This is God, I will not be needing your help today.” I’m hoping everyone else got that too? LOL!

  6. Listen to people who (probably might) know what they’re talking about????!!!!
    I too have had a period of going it my own way and thinking I don’t need to be humble enough to accept advice and learn. Publishing is a huge industry full of countless pitfalls. Thank God that He helps us navigate it, that He has a plan for our writing.
    We’re definitely blessed.

    1. And not only listen to them but be willing to take their suggestions and act on them, over and over again even when the results aren’t coming in as fast as I’ve decided they ought to. This is where a lot of prayer comes in handy! Thanks for writing Natalia.

  7. Thank you for your post. I found it very informative and very helpful. I am new in the whole world of trying to get published and I appreciate all the help I can get. You have an awesome way of sharing your views and I know it will help me in the future.

    Your Sister in Christ,
    Glenda Parker

    1. We all get ahead by reaching back and sharing what has been given to us. Blessings in all your ventures.

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