I am thrilled to be invited to Seekerville today. Thank you so much for having me! All of the Seekerville authors and guests have taught me so much.
Moses and I have a lot in common. Oh, I haven’t led any Egyptians out of bondage, but I have looked at the path God laid out for me and rattled off excuses like the great spiritual leader himself.
You’re probably familiar with the story. God gets Moses’ attention with a burning bush, and then when He begins to disclose his plans for Moses’ future, the excuses start.
(Paraphrase below is obviously mine.)
“Moses, I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people out of Egypt.”
“I’ll be with you.”
“Who says I can do this?
“But God, what if they won’t believe me? They won’t listen to a word I say.”
“I’ll make sure they do.”
“But I’m not a good speaker.”
“Moses, I made your mouth! I know what you can do!”
“Please, Lord, send someone else.”
“Fine. I’ll send your brother with you. I’ll give you the words to say and teach you what to do.”
Did you notice Moses’ excuses? He doubted himself, he was scared of the reaction of others, and he even begged God to not put him that position. Finally, God gives him a partner. We humans do like backup.
Now, how Moses-ish have I been in my writing? A bunch. About three years ago, I realized that God wanted me to take the passion He’d placed within me for writing onto a new level. I’d been writing fan fiction on a wonderful site for several years, but I felt a tug that it was time to work toward publication.
My prayers mirrored Moses’. “What if I can’t do this? What if no one wants to read it? What if I fail?” and I felt God’s answers just as surely. He even sent me dear friends as backup. Finally, I had to come to a point where I said I didn’t care if I never became a published author, I was going to write because that was what God wanted me to do. I developed a new mantra of “God’s words. God’s will. God’s timing.”
God should have just said, “Hold on! I’m going to take you on the ride of your life.”
Shortly after that decision, I found Seekerville. I decided it was going to be my college course in writing. It didn’t take long to realize even if I taught high school English, I didn’t know anything about writing. POV is not first, second, and third? You’re kidding? GMC’s –synopsis--one sheets--hooks. I had a whole new language to learn.
I took all the wonderful things I learned and applied them immediately to my work. When Mary Connealy said to get rid of back story in the first chapter, I chucked several pages. When she said to give the character someone to talk to, even if it was the dog, I did.
From Julie Lessman, I learned about upping the romantic tension. (Although my scenes still don’t sizzle like hers.) I read everyone’s posts, including the archives. From guest blogger Gina I learned about writing a synopsis, from Camy about voice, and Tina’s reminder about the Genesis contest changed my life.
No. I didn’t win.
But I did find ACFW, and through that, I found a mentor and friend. When I went to my first conference in 2008, I didn’t expect to land a contract, but I did feel prepared. I had my one sheet in hand, proposal written, and pitch polished. And I’d prayed so hard I was afraid God was tired of hearing from me.
I stepped up to Andrea Doering, Revell’s senior acquisitions editor, and introduced myself at my editor meeting, praying she didn’t see my legs shaking. Then, the worst thing happened. I forgot every word of my pitch.
Blank. Empty. Gone.
What popped into my head was a Seekerville post by Myra Johnson. She’d explained that she often handed her one sheet to the editor and sat quietly while they read it. After all, she said, they were used to making decisions on what they read. Bless you Myra! That’s exactly what I did.
When Andrea finished the one sheet, she asked me a few questions and then asked to see my chapters. I again sat silently while she read two of the three chapters. Thank goodness she laughed at the right places. I knew I was in trouble if she didn’t.
She then set it down, complimented me on my fresh voice, and asked me to send a full of it to her.
Seekerville now failed me. No one had ever covered how to stay in your chair at that moment.
But when Andrea asked if I could come up with two more book ideas in a short period of time, I came back here, whipped out Cheryl Wyatt’s Plotstorming Form, and wrote two book synopses in two weeks. Within the year, I had a three-book contract with Revell.
I’m so glad that God didn’t take my excuses any better than He did those of Moses. God had a plan for me, but fear almost kept me from realizing it.
Are you letting excuses keep from reaching your goals?
Today, I encourage you to give them up.
Now for a sneak peek at Making Waves.
Council Bluffs, Iowa 1895
If forced to endure Roger Gordon for five more minutes, Marguerite Westing would die. Dead. Gone. Buried. Six feet under Greenlawn Cemetery.
Her parents would need to purchase a large headstone to fit all the words of the epitaph, but they could do it. Money wasn’t an issue, and after bearing this unbelievable torture, she deserved an enormous marble marker complete with a plethora of flowery engravings. She could see the words now:
Here lies Marguerite Westing. Only nineteen, but now she’s resting. Strolling through the park with Roger Gordon, Once full of life, she died of boredom.
Roger stopped on the cobblestone path of the park and frowned at her. “I don’t see anything funny about my uncle Myron’s carbuncle, Marguerite.”
“I’m sorry. My mind wandered for a minute.”
“You do seem prone to that. Perhaps you should work on your self-control.” He patted her hand, lodged in the crook of his arm, like a parent would an errant child.
And perhaps you should work on making yourself more interesting than milk toast. She bit her lip hard to keep the words from escaping. Good grief. What did he expect when he was talking to her about a boil?
Don’t forget to leave comments for a chance to win Making Waves, hot off the press! Winner announced in the Weekend Edition.
Lorna Seilstad has called Iowa home her whole life. She received her B.S. in education from Lubbock Christian University. After her first child was born, she quit teaching and became a professional wiper. "I wiped noses, tears, skinned knees, baby's bottoms, and counter tops every day. But at naptime, I wrote." Today, she writes historical fiction with a generous dash of humor, and lives in Iowa with her husband and three children--ages 18, 16, and 11.
Make sure you stop by Lorna's website and sign up for her newsletter. She's having a special Making Waves basket drawing at the end of September from the names on her newsletter list.