Life has provided another conundrum.
It’s been two years since I started the trek to getting my first book published, having begun with no idea how it all works. I’ve been to two writers’ conferences and have met a few people in the industry to give me pointers. At my first conference an acquisitions editor for one publishing house even asked that I submit my book proposal for publication. It wasn’t published (obviously).
At another of the conference, an editor from the team that had rejected my book was very complementary, stating that they had discussed it for a long time. He said that the content is publishable, but apparently a major aspect of the book selling industry is being able to actually sell books, and people don’t buy books from an author they don’t recognize. So, I started this blog. It has turned out to be hard work, but very rewarding. I’ve also submitted articles to many magazines and have received three contracts to write devotionals. I’m doing my best to get my name out there and to develop my writing.
My wife has been with me in all of this, encouraging me and reading my stuff through before anybody else so that I don’t embarrass myself. She found a Christian writing competition for previously unpublished authors by a very reputable publishing house (I’ve done a book review on one of their books on this blog). It’s for people registered for the Sentralized conference that features great speakers and authors who have inspired me on many occasions. But, in tandem with my publishing woes has been my lack of full employment over the last year. The registration fee for the conference is pretty low as far as those things go – and I’d even planned to drive the 2,000 miles round trip to save on travel costs – but it’s too high for us right now. We’ve decided that I’ll have to wait for the next conference and hope that we’ll be better situated financially for me to take another stab at this.
I feel disappointed. But, am I allowed to feel that way? When I started writing the book I knew that there was no guarantee that it would be published. And just because this seemed to be my best prospect yet, that doesn’t mean it will never happen. My greatest fear is that I am losing hope, because hope it intricately linked to faith: Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1). My faith in Jesus isn’t even remotely in question. But, for a guy who writes about risking everything to live life to the fullest extent, hope can be about making God-given dreams a reality. When they aren’t realised it can hinder any spiritual journey.
But as I prayed last night I realised that my notion of hope is distorted, at least according to this verse. Biblical hope is about salvation and an eternal trip with the One who makes everything right. It’s not about getting everything we set our hearts on, even if we believe it is in line with the passions God has given. I’ve been praying for the whole book writing process, but my prayers haven’t been that God publishes the book; I’ve prayed that he uses my efforts as he sees fit. What if he’s doing that right now?
I’m certainly not giving up on getting this book published (or the next!). But it’s good to remember that, as my wife reminded me yesterday, if God wants it to happen, there will be no stopping it. If it isn’t to be, then the message he’s put on my heart will come out some other way.