Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Elizabeth Ludwig Guest

Elizabeth Ludwig Guest Posting today

I got the first copy of my first published novel in the mail today. What a feeling. Suddenly the culmination of years of effort—of tears, trials, and triumphs—was realized. But it’s not only the tears and trials I want to talk to you about today, it’s also the triumphs.

You see, I like many other struggling authors, wasted months and years thinking there was only one triumph—publication. I missed so many opportunities for rejoicing in what God was doing through the trials.

I first started writing in 2001. I’d written before that, but never with the singular goal of actually becoming published, so for all intents and purposes, we’ll start there. I wrote my first manuscript, sent it off to be published, and was heartily disappointed when it came back to me rejected.

I must be doing something wrong, I thought to myself, and promptly revised my cover letter. It wasn’t until I joined a writer’s group and began to learn the CRAFT of writing that I realized it wasn’t my letter that needed revising.

So, armed with the understanding that I had much to learn, I began attending writer’s conferences. With each passing year, I saw my skill grow. With each passing year, my collection of rejections also grew. I entered what I recall fondly, now, as the desert years.

The desert years were a lonely, desperate time of self-pity and despair. How I wish I had realized then the presence of God in my life. With every tear I wept, He gently and lovingly molded me. Like a potter using water to make the clay pliable, God used my tears to soften and shape me. I’ll never forget the moment the realization hit that nothing, not a moment of time in my long and difficult publishing journey had been wasted.

“Don’t be so focused on the goal that you miss the journey.” (Paraphrased)

I heard these words at a conference I attended. Suddenly, I realized that was exactly what I’d been doing. My goal was publication. Only that. Not the knowledge to be gained along the way, or the friendships forged in adversity. I missed the fleeting opportunities God had prepared to comfort me, and for me to give comfort. Like a darkened landscape exposed by a shaft of lightening, my life suddenly became visible, and I became determined to ENJOY the writing journey God had set me on.

“I thought I was ready to be published at the first conference I went to,” I told a colleague. “I soon discovered I wasn’t. The second conference I attended, I only hoped I was ready. This year, my third conference, I have no idea if I’m ready or not, but God does, and I’m leaving it in His hands.”

What a good decision I made that day. All things are safe in God’s hands, including my hopes and dreams. Once I’d been broken enough to turn it all over to Him, He was able to direct my path. There were still countless rejections to follow, mind you, but none of them ever cast me into despair the way the first ones had. Instead, I saw them as challenges to face, more difficulties to be overcome. Always, my Lord stood beside me, leading me, fighting my battles.

My hope for you, dear author, as you read this, is that you will be encouraged in the midst of your desert—that you will see the promise that is yet far off, and be inclined to wait for it. Our God is faithful, and He has great and mighty things to teach you.

May it always be our goal to accept whatever comes from His hand.

Then the LORD replied: "Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay. –Hab. 2:2-3

42 comments :

  1. Good morning Elizabeth and fellow Seekers.

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  2. Welcome to Seekerville, Elizabeth.

    I so enjoyed and chuckled at your too familiar road to publication.

    I cringe as I re read my brilliance, written years ago.

    Wishing you continued success.

    Mary has shared the cozy line books with me and they really are stellar.

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  3. Enjoy the journey ... I heard that piece of advice years. Celebrate the finishing a proposal, sending it off, getting the rejection, sending it out again, first expression of interest, notification of sale, the contract, etc., etc. Otherwise we're too tired and onto the next project when it finally arrives in the mail!

    However, 2001 is a SHORT journey compared to mine. I started back in 1993. Sales were few and far between for years.

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  4. LaTisha BarnhartMay 7, 2008 at 10:22 AM

    Patience is a virtue, sure, but I told my children--all seven of them--that if they didn't have patience with each other, they'd become patients.

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  5. I think of it another way.

    Don't wish your life away.

    We're always trying to get 'over the hump' through some rough patch, even good things are hectic.

    Stop it. Live in the here and now.

    I plan to do exactly that...as soon as I get my last kid out of college and get this next book finished and survive the release of Calico Canyon and.........


    Oops.

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  6. Hey Lisa, not only are we co-authors of the book, but also in life. I too started in 2001, and I too have seen numerous rejections. Ouch. But I have taken the time to look back at the journey. The step the Lord led me through have been awesome. I never cease to be amazed at the work of His hands. You've given great advice to other writers. One I hope they grab on to. Enjoy the ride. Bless you, Lisa.

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  7. Elizabeth, what a caring and empathetic post. I can't find one snarky thing to say, and I can't begin to remember the last time that happened to me...

    But it's early yet.

    :)

    Latisha, I love that play on words. Seven kids...

    I've got six.

    What were we thinking???? Why didn't we understand the wonders of television sooner and just buy a TV?

    Life would have been so much cheaper.

    Enjoy the journey. Great phrase, better plan. Too often we see the greatness of the path once we've ceased walking.

    Thanks so much Elizabeth, and I'm like Tina...

    Those cozies can be a hoot and a holler. Who knew?

    Ruthy

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  8. I got kind of teary-eyed about God using our tears to keep our clay pliable. I can just picture a potter at the wheel keeping the clay and their hands wet.

    What a perfect, beautiful analogy. Especially when you feel like the pot that went lopsided and gets smashed down again.

    I think I've had too much of a spiritual moment and will now go out and plant potatoes.

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  9. You've offered great insight and wisdom, Lisa. Thank you. Your Willing-Learner spirit shows and inspires us all.

    I'm thankful that you're pleased with the finished product of WHERE THE TRUTH LIES. You did a great job of writing a compelling mystery!

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  10. Lisa, your beautiful post reflects your beautiful soul. Thanks for blessing me today.

    Love you sweetie!

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  11. I really goes against my most basic instincts to let Seekerville be deeply meaningful. Where does fake food fit into that????

    So just gonna say here....
    TWO THOUSAND AND ONE?????????

    Are you KIDDING ME?????????

    And you signed the contract a year or two ago... so you wrote for what, Lisa??? five whole years???

    Oh puh-leeze....I mean sure you may have been way better than me when you started.....pretty likely. But only five years?????

    You are so spoiled.

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  12. This post really was a blessing to me today. I'm praying that all of us will accept God's direction in our lives - in all areas. Our writing will reflect that, and He will be glorified.

    Great post! Thank you for sharing your heart!

    Kim

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  13. Wow!! You guys are so awesome. It's only 10:20, but this is the first chance I've had to check on you all today.

    Thanks everyone, for stopping by. I hope my post blessed you.

    And thank you, Seekerville Team, for letting me share my experiences. Writing these words helped me remember what God has done for me. I felt like I was placing a stone--a marker, if you will--along the road to remind me of His faithfulness.

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  14. Elizabeth, you definitely inspired me this morning. I'm guilty of focusing so hard on the destination (publication) that I fail to enjoy and appreciate the journey.

    But I do appreciate a whole passel of terrific friendships I never would have had along any other road, and most of them live right here in Seekerville!

    Oh, and in case Gina is lurking, my word verification is "little old worm."

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  15. LOLOL!! Now, Mary, I said I'd written before that, but only started actively seeking publication in 2001. There's a big difference. Not sure I can say what at the moment, but I'm certain there is.

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  16. Wonderful insight, Lisa. And you're exactly right. Thanks for sharing and inspiring others.

    Nancy

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  17. What a WONDERFUL post, Elizabeth! I think I'm getting there, I really think I am, after years of angst and anxiety and frustration. And I don't mean publication when I say I think I'm getting there. I mean, I think I'm learning to do what you said, to enjoy the journey and trust God that everything is okay, that things are working out just the way they're supposed to.

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  18. But there are so many tears involved, are there not? I don't see how anyone can go down this path without the tears. (And if you have, I don't wanna hear about it!)

    God longs to give us peace, but so often we refuse to accept it. We're too focused on doing things ourself, in our own strength--right now! We want God to hurry up, already! He must shake His head at us. Me, anyway.

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  19. Good for you, Melanie! Isn't the peace of God wonderful? And it's only when we get to that place where we can leave everything in His hands that we really get to experience it.

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  20. I've been going through Beth Moore's Breaking Free study. It is so powerful. It's been a few years now since I realized what an uptight person I am, but I hope I will soon be able to say that I am no longer that uptight, driven, anguished person. I've come a long way already.

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  21. AND Elizabeth, now that you mention it, part of my problem might have been actively seeking publication from the moment I wrote "It was a dark and storm night" for the first time.

    Waiting five years of my ten year journey might have saved a lot of skid marks on my road to publication.

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  22. Wow, Lisa, I could have written that post almost word for word. Maybe you'll just let me borrow it! lol

    Congrats on holding your book in your hands! How exciting.

    What's next for you? What have you found to be the biggest (or most unexpected hurdle since being published?

    We're so happy to have you here!

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  23. Hey Janelle! I remember when we did something...some brainstorming maybe, several years ago. Great to have you in Seekerville!

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  24. LaTisha!!! I love what you posted!!! He he.

    Welcome to all our guests in Seekerville.

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  25. Great post, Elizabeth! I love your postive attitude! And I'm so excited to hear you just held you baby (new book) in your hand. Enjoy every moment of it!! :)

    Thanks for joining us in Seekerville today. You've been a real encouragment.

    Missy

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  26. Hey Pam,

    The biggest hurdle for me has been overcoming the apathy that INVADED my body after I finished that first book. I mean, you would think I'd be ready and raring to go on the second book, right? Nope. I've had an awful time gearing up and generating the same excitement I felt after book one. Guess that's because the whole process was so much more exhausting than I expected. Wouldn't trade it though, not one minute.

    I've got another cozy mystery in my editor's hands at the moment, one that I wrote myself, and Janelle and I have begun work on Died in the Wool, the sequel to Where the Truth Lies.

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  27. Wow, Elizabeth, beautiful and uplifting post -- my favorite kind! Thank you for sharing your incredible insights in Seekerville today -- we are blessed!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  28. Thanks, Julie. Glad you could stop by.

    And hey, how is your book doing? A Passion Most Pure released a while back, right? I keep meaning to buy it. I loved the cover!

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  29. Maybe that second and/or third book apathy is universal. I remember hitting that lull after I finished my third ms. Maybe it was because I'd had some success with contests, interest from agents and editors, but nothing came of those contacts...

    OOPS... did I say NOTHING?!? lol

    That's what your post was about, right, Lisa?

    I need to stop thinking that NOTHING (read: no contract) came out of that time and focus on the contacts with editors and agents that I DID make.

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  30. (laughing) Good, Pam. I'm glad to see you were paying attention. :-)

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  31. Elizabeth, welcome to Seekerville. I'm late, but so glad I didn't miss your wise and wonderful post. Thanks for the reminder to turn everything over to God. If only I could stop grabbing it back...like I've got the power to control anything.

    Mary makes a great point amidst her zany humor. When we wish our lives away we miss the now. What's that expression?

    Each day is a gift. That's why it's called the present.

    Sometimes I feel like I'm dashing through the now like I've got someplace better to be. :-)

    Janet

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  32. What's that song...it was running through my head this morning...

    oh flitter! (is that a word other than here in MS?) lol

    Okay...it's coming back...slowly..

    I'm in a hurry to get things done.
    I rush and rush until life's no fun.
    All I really gotta do is live and die.
    I'm in a hurry and I don't know why.

    Sigh. Now I'll hum it for the rest of the evening!

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  33. Goodness, gracious girls, look at the time!

    High tea is being served at this very moment on the veranda and in the front foyer, beneath the English tapestry collection. Check out those raspberry croissants, they're quite amazing, and the cucumber sandwiches are to die for.

    And although I don't dare reveal the source of our secret dressing, let me just use two words...

    Tastefully Simple...


    Life doesn't have to be complicated to be good. Who would imagine thinly sliced cucumber, herb dressing and good bread could be so incredibly good together?

    And Susan!!! Thanks so much for dropping by Seekerville. Welcome aboard and help yourself to the tea/cappuccino/coffee bar at the back of the foyer. Nice to see you here.

    Mary, you've got great friends. Not too many, but the ones you have pass muster in Seekerville, LOL!

    :)

    Ruthy

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  34. Hey Pam! Yeah, we did a little brainstorming and swapped chapters for crits. Ought to get together more often...you know, just another one of those memorable steps along the publishing pathway.

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  35. Pam, I LOVE that song. I ranks as one of the best ever.

    Now it's stuck in MY HEAD.

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  36. Hey Elizabeth! Loved your post! Especially the desert time . . . so true. Also that we have to enjoy the journey.

    Great cover! Congrats on your debut!

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  37. Hey Elizabeth,

    You've been a busy girl on this blog today! Great job!

    Yeah, A Passion Most Pure released in January and Revell says sales are "steady and strong," so I am encouraged. I have 51 reviews on Amazon.com, which is quite a few for only being out a little over 4 months ago, so I guess that's good too. Time will tell, though, but thanks for asking.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  38. Oh im late. my computer had a major meltdown this morning and i had to restore to before i put the newer version of ie on (when will i learn that everytime i try it it causes major problems)

    I subscribe to the cosy mystry line and waiting the second shipment they were kind the first time sending it by air but the mainly come by sea so take up to 3 months but I know they are on the way.

    reading the road to being published and the trials etc writers go through make readers like me appreciate you even more.

    Oh I have to ask how does co writing a book work? I have seen books co-writen and wonder who it works who writes what etc.

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  39. Hey ausjenny,

    Different people tackle co-authoring different ways. Janelle and I find it works best if she takes one character and I take another. The reader is already expecting different characters to 'sound' different, so the switch from one author to another is more seamless that way.

    (shrug) Worked for us!

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  40. thanks Elizabeth i really wondered how it worked.
    Maybe i need to do an interview with some co authors on my blog to explain this to some of my reader friends.
    I have often wondered who it works.
    and if i dont ask i dont learn.

    (or maybe seekers could do a blog on co authors a how to do it)

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  41. Wonderful Post, Elizebeth!

    I could identify wholeheartedly.

    My journey to publication has been sidetracked so many times - usually because I get out ahead of God LOL!

    Congratulations on holding that book in your hands - great accomplishment!

    Here's wishing you many BLESSINGS in your writing career.

    PamT

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