We’ve all heard that there are three P’s to publishing. Well, I’ve come up with a lot more than three!
Saturday, I purchased an interesting book titled Where to Find It in the Bible by Ken Anderson, published by Thomas Nelson. I thought it would be a wonderful resource for devotionals when I bought it, but then realized it’s also great for blog posts that are due today!
I searched the entire section under “P”. Words like passion, persistence, and preparation popped out at me, and I immediately thought of ways to apply them to writing.
So, I decided that I would!
I’ve taken some of the scripture references out of context to shine the spotlight on publishing, and the writing life. I won’t quote these scriptures because of time and space, but will only excerpt short pieces. If a particular section speaks to you, feel free to look the scripture up. Maybe some of these vignettes will be helpful and encouraging to someone today.
Partnership: Ministry partnership, 2 Corinthians 8:23
In some ways, writing is a solitary occupation, but at some point you will experience a partnership with agents, editors, and publishing houses. Relish this partnership. Embrace it. Learn from it. You’ll be glad you did!
Patience: Patiently see what God will do, 1 Samuel 12:16
We’re all anxious to see something happen with our writing. We want publication now. We want recognition now. We want our efforts to be rewarded. Now. But sometimes we have to be patient, and “…stand and see this great thing, which the Lord will do before your eyes.” Stand still, and wait on the Lord, but while you’re waiting, write!
Penmanship: Writing with clarity, Habakkuk 2:2
Before I read this verse in Habakkuk, I thought that penmanship would be to write carefully, clearly, and concise, to make every word count. However, the verse states, “Write the vision, and make it plain… .” I realize that Habakkuk’s vision was more terrible and dreadful than my fiction, but I do need to write with clarity, and make every word count. Or, in the words of Habakkuk, make it plain.
Perfection: Aim for perfection, 2 Corinthians 13:11
On the heels of penmanship is perfection. Same thing, maybe? 2 Corinthians 13:11 tells the brethren to “Be perfect”. Let’s aim for perfection in our writing. Many times we do this through studying the craft, working with critique partners, going through the editing process. It’s not a one-stop-shopping experience. Keep learning. Keep growing, and … keep aiming for perfection.
Persistent: Never give up, Luke 18:1-5
You may have read the story of the persistent widow who kept petitioning the unjust judge to grant her request. Finally he gave in, because she had just about worried him to death! No, we shouldn’t worry industry professionals to death, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be persistent in our desire to perfect our writing. Write, write some more, then turn around and do it again. Persistence for some of us might mean it takes years to see any fruit from our labor, but take courage. The persistence you display today might yield fruit tomorrow!
And, when you’ve perfected that piece through persistence and penmanship, that might be a good time to petition that judge (editor/agent) again!
Plan: Estimate the cost, Luke 14:28-30
Whether you are a plotter or a pantster doesn’t really matter. Each of us figures out where our stories are going at our own pace, and in our own time. Experienced pantsters might not plot, they tend to write intuitively, and a lot of that intuition comes from the penmanship, perfection, and persistence already mentioned above.
Position: Asking for prestige rather than earning it, Mark 10:33-40
People appreciate what they have if they have to work for it. It’s the same with the writing life. Work to improve your writing, and you’ll be doubly appreciative when your efforts are rewarded. And the reward isn’t always a contract. There are different rewards. One reward is the satisfaction of a manuscript that is top-notch quality and ready for publication. A manuscript that you know without a shadow of a doubt is ready to be read by an editor. It might not be a contract, but it’s earning another step up the ladder. A step you’ve earned!
Prayer: Persistent prayer in time of need, 1 Samuel 7:8; God listens when people pray, 1 Kings 8:52; Psalm 6:9; Unanswered prayers, Job 30:20; God’s varied answers, Job 33:14-17; Persistent daily prayer, Psalms 5:3
There are almost 3 pages of scriptures on prayer listed in this wonderful book called Where to Find It in the Bible. Even if there isn’t a specific prayer that speaks to your heart regarding your writing, prayer can soothe your troubled spirit, and help you make it through your day. Pray for your writing to be all that it can be. Pray for God’s will in your writing life. And then turn it all over to Him.
Preparation: Spiritual preparation for future victory, Joshua 3:5; Dig ditches to receive water, 2 Kings 3:15-17; Break up unplowed ground, Hosea 10-12; Advance preparation, Mark 11:1-2
No matter what we’re doing, we need to be prepared. That might mean plotting our stories, or researching the publishing houses and agents we submit to. We need to study the industry, know which editor likes cowboys and which ones like firefighters. Which houses are publishing more historicals, and which ones are looking for contemporaries, or futuristic, or suspense. Plan ahead. Be prepared.
Well, apparently, I was having way too much fun with this, and my “P” words and ideas kept growing and growing. Finally, I just had to stop. No need in bombarding you all with so many “P” words that you don’t have time to stop by Ruthy’s Sideboard!
I've listed more "P" words below, and I can think of several ways to relate them to the writing life.
Productivity: Time to enlarge, Isaiah 54:2
Progress: Staying too long in one place, Deuteronomy 1:6-8; Growth takes time, Mark 4:28; Progress toward perfection, Philippians 3:12
Project: When God terminates a project, Genesis 11:1-9
Prolific: Prolific wisdom, talent, 1 Kings 4:29-34
Proposal: Fear of refusal, Genesis 24:5
Protocol: Going through proper channels, Philemon 12:14
Publicity: Let others praise you, Proverbs 27:2; Word-of-mouth publicity, Matthew 4:24, 9:26, Luke 5:12-15
Prestige: Humility before honor, Proverbs 18:12
Positive: Message not yes or no, 2 Corinthians 1:18-10
Possessive: Greedy for gain, Jeremiah, 8:10
Power: Nothing to hard for God, Jeremiah, 32:27
Enjoy your day ... and think on these things.