Fall in Love…With Your Writing Career
At my very first writing conference ever, author Bette Nordberg gave this advice: “Selling your first book is like what happens when a dolphin jumps through a hoop. You still end up in the same pool with all the other authors hoping to sell their next book.”
Well, here I am. Two books later I’m swimming in circles, looking for another hoop to jump through. Even with Bette’s words of wisdom, I’d still thought selling my first novel would make me Shamu—drawing the big crowds and loved by all.
Tired and overwhelmed, I start to wonder if the Bible is talking about me in verses like, “He who chases fantasies lacks judgment.” Should I go back to school so that all this energy spent on writing would at least earn me a degree? Would my family be better off if I were making money in a nine-to-five job? Can I even call my writing a career, or is it actually a hobby?
I posed these questions to God this week, and found answers in the words of another writer. King David.
“God, the one and only—I’ll wait as long as he says. Everything I need comes from Him, so why not? He’s solid rock under my feet, breathing room for my soul, an impregnable castle: I’m set for life.” –Psalm 62:1-2
What’s my rush with jumping through the next hoop? The hoops come from Him. I need to be thankful that He’s provided me this pool to swim in—the opportunity to enjoy the journey and grow stronger. I’m set for life.
I do believe there are seasons in life for all of my above questions: school, job, family, career. And they are going to be different for every writer. But I’ve dedicated this season to my writing career. And rather than waste time doubting, I need to thank God for promising to reward the work of my hands.
David followed up the previous passage in Psalms with, “Love to you Lord God! You pay a fair wage for a good day’s work!”
I honestly learn so much through my own writing. That in itself is a fair wage. Wisdom is “worth far more than money in the bank,” according to David’s son Solomon. And he should know. He had both.
I don’t have to bring home the big bucks to be successful. I don’t have to get great reviews on Amazon to feel like I’m somebody. That stuff can just get in the way of what my career should really be about. Paul sums it up nicely in Romans 12:3. “The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him.”
What has God done for me again? Oh yeah. He gave me this amazing pool to swim in—a husband who supports my dreams financially and emotionally, friends who give free critiques literally worth thousands were they to charge me as a client, an agent with heart, and kids who inspire me every day.
Talk about a career worth keeping, a career I should fall in love with more every day. And what does God say about loving our work in Romans?
“Let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t…Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it.”
So while I may never be Shamu and may never even jump through another hoop, I’m still proud to be a dolphin. Because that’s who I was made to be.
Who were you made to be?