(This summer, while there have been a few road trips for our family, I’m also taking a virtual trip down memory lane back to when my writing adventure began. Today’s flashback takes us to 2013.)
After the personal drought of 2012, I deliberately dug deep roots into my foundation of faith and started a new blog series called Creation Declares that took a deeper look at God’s fingerprints all around us. Then, following the plan, I compiled the Be Like a Tree series from the previous year into a book and published it.
As Winter melted into Spring both inside my heart and outside in the world at large, I returned to my neglected romance novel and finally began to make progress. I also dusted off all of my finished manuscripts and article ideas, did some serious research about markets, and sent queries out by the dozen.
It became a season of door knocking, but as the rejections piled up, my stamina waned. Why was I even putting myself through the torture? Was I destined to be a self-published non-fiction devotional author who blogged on the side? Would anyone ever buy one of my novels? Maybe I didn’t have what it took to be a novelist after all?
Fall rolled around and a glance at the calendar let me know it had been nine years since I had made the decision to Climb the Mountain of my dream. But not everyone who attempts to scale Mt. Everett reaches the top. And maybe my climbing attempt had been only intended to stretch me outside my comfort zone.
Then it came. One more form-letter rejection of Dance Over Me…on the exact anniversary of my grandmother’s death. My biggest fan and my favorite story. Both gone. I wanted to give up. Seriously, give up. Call it an experiment gone wrong. Shut down the website. And retreat to the library to simply enjoy reading again.
Deep down I didn’t want the journey to end with a whispered whimper. I wanted to be able to look at myself in the mirror and honestly say I’d given it my best shot. So, I decided to go out with a bang. To give it one more year of concerted effort. Like a double-barreled shotgun, I was going to take aim at my goals. No regrets. All in. Only my best effort would do. And if I hit the ten-year mark on the dream without something significant happening to keep me going, then I’d take that as a sign from God that it was okay to move on.
With new resolve, I rolled up my sleeves and finished writing Catch of a Lifetime. Then I entered it in ACFW’s new First Impressions contest. I didn’t even Final, but I got the valuable feedback I needed so I could polish the opening before entering it in even more contests.
The year 2013 started slow, but I ended strong.
What about you? Have you ever stepped back to evaluate your progress toward your dream? Have you ever caught your second wind and got back in the race? If you were to pursue a passion with no regrets, what would that look like?