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?
27 Replies to “Mentored by The Best Selling Author”
Anita, I love how you celebrate the Best Selling Author of all time. Wish I could have read this before attending my first writer’s conference. I know it would have encouraged me that I wasn’t alone in feeling overwhelmed. It’s common for new writers. And seasoned ones too.
We have a mentor who wants to lead us in this trust journey. You’re right: we need to call out to him, and remain teachable. He who started a good work will be faithful to complete it in us.
So well put Cheryl. That first conference or submission makes us feel so vulnerable. Knowing He won’t leave or forsake us can give us the courage to act, instead of just dream. And the verse you quoted at the end of your reply is one He reminds me of when my fears threaten to swallow my faith. Thank you for your kind words.
I love how you say, “Knowing He won’t leave or forsake us can give us the courage to act, instead of just dream.”
Many blessings to you as you live out the dream!
I love the way my morning devotions spark corrections or deeper detail in my writing.
Amen, Sharon. Seek first the kingdom is another reminder God often speaks to me. I try to focus on daily Bible study before I start typing — no matter how little time I have.
Cool! I know your mentor!!! Great guy. Excellent writer too. Filled with wonderful, rich stories ;o).
Love your “only three years” phrase. People from my non-writer world think I’m spinning my wheels. I’ve only been at this two years, I tell them. Their eyebrows bunch. They don’t get it.
I’m chuckling as I read your comment, Connie. Non-writers definitely don’t understand the process or the timing. I recently signed my first publishing contract, and I can’t believe how many people have asked for an autographed copy — now! The book hasn’t even went through first edits. Lol
Keep writing, keep learning, and maintain a teachable heart. In a later post I’ll share another one of my early prayers with some practical advice, that kept me from giving up when I was tempted. The journey is long, but oh so worth it. Looking forward to reading your published work in God’s future timing.
Ah! We share the same wonderful mentor. Praise Him! :))) And thank you for a lovely post!
I love people who study under The Master with me, Shellie. Isn’t it encouraging, and fun to know we are not alone. 😀
Thank you. I needed to hear that this morning. God bless you.
If God used this post to help you, then I am very grateful. May He bless you on your journey.
Glenda, I was gentle nudged by the Voice that decidedly dwells in you and instructed you to write this moving story. Blessings.
Charlotte M. Liebel
Haha, no problem on the name mixup. But so happy God used my story to nudge you to follow your calling. I encourage you to act on your God-given dreams. It’s worth the effort and energy! Besides you can learn from the best-selling Author of all time. 🙂
Great insight! I love the reference to God as the Best Selling Author of All Time. It’s the truth and a reminder that He should be out guide. Thank you, Anita
Thank you Zan Marie. I hope you are guided by The Best Selling Author to write great things. Blessings on your future.
Beautiful post! As a book coach working with writers of non-fiction Christian, I will definitely share this with my clients.
I’m inspired by the way you attacked the problem, then trusted God to make it all come together for your good and His glory. God never promised things would happen overnight for us, but He did promise that if we say “yes” when He calls and seek Him with all our heart, soul and mind that He would direct our paths and make them straight. I love how He put the call in your heart, then completed it several years later.
Thank you for your inspiring comment, Susan. I’m still in awe of God’s blessing over my efforts. I feel honored to hear from you, in light of your profession. Feel free to share my humble process with whomever you want.
I love it! Who better to ask than the Best Selling Author that controls every aspect of our lives? What a thrilling reminder ~ and call to action. Now, before I even attempt to write anything, I hit my knees.
I just came back from my first writer’s conference, and I think it’s awesome that you took the initiative and went to agents, editors, and the like to learn. What an opportunity! Fantastic post. This post blessed me today, thank you.
Thank you, Amanda. Your response blessed me. Keep us posted on your journey. Plan for a few disappointments, days of fatigue, but don’t dare give up. It’s worth riding the roller coaster of emotions to do what you are meant to do with your life. Besides, you have the best Mentor to learn from.
I didn’t think about God as being the best-selling author of all time until you pointed that out. See how clever you are? All your hard work paid off. You hooked me!
You make me smile, Doc. Getting ready to read your awesome book, The Eden Diet.
You have it so right. Without Him we can do nothing. My wife is currently writing a 7 week discipleship programme. this morning she asked me for my advice.
My first thoughts were:
1. Any discipleship course should start and finish with Jesus
2. In the NT start with John’s baptism of Jesus
3. Like the first disciples follow Him and learn from the Master (don’t look elsewhere)
4. Don’t avoid the truth of the cross
5. Live the resurrected life through the message of God’s grace
6. Listen to him every day; in prayer, in worship, in reading the Bible, in patience.
7. Look forward to heaven
What a great set of points you offered your wife, Fred. I think I need to post these myself — I especially like the reminder, “Don’t avoid the truth of the cross.”
Thank you very much for your wise comment.
Great post, Anita! I think we met at your first writers’ conference. I remember sitting in the coffee shop–practicing our pitches and sharing our stories. I’m glad we’ve got the same Mentor! Keep writing!
LOL — God also sends earthly mentors who serve Him. You are definitely one of mine. Love those coffee shop memories. 😀
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