Thursday, December 1, 2016

When Your Calling Flatlines

with guest Jill Kemerer.



The alarm goes off, and you mentally calculate how many cups of coffee it will take for you to get through the day. The email you opened last night weighs on your heart.

Rejected.
Again.

Every agent you’ve queried over the past three months has complimented your writing but ultimately passed on offering you representation. You’ve been writing and submitting for years. Your writing skills are solid. Your ideas are good. So why can’t you find an agent, let alone break into traditional publishing?

You seriously wonder if it’s time to quit.

On the other hand, a published author you admire just woke up, too. She’s trying to figure out how many cups of tea it will take for her to get through the day. The email she opened last night weighs on her heart.

Rejected.
Again.

She’s written several novels for her current publisher, but the proposals she’s been submitting keep getting turned down. She’s talked to her agent and understands how difficult the publishing market is, but her peers keep announcing new contracts.

She seriously wonders if it’s time to quit.

It’s confusing when we hit roadblock after roadblock.

It feels as if our calling has flatlined.

I’ve been there. Very few aspects of my writing journey have come quickly or easily. I hit rock bottom as an aspiring writer on three separate occasions. I spent my fortieth birthday crying in the O’Hare airport on the way home from an ACFW conference because I literally had no hope left for my non-existent career. But God comforted me in that airport, and I continued to pursue my dream of becoming a published author.

As a published author, I still hit roadblocks. Not all of my book ideas work for the publishing house I write for, and when I’m between contracts, my insecurities thrive. As an aspiring writer, I fought the three Ds—discouragement, dejection and depression. As a published author, I fight the three Fs—fear, familiarity and failure.

Let’s look at the three Ds.

Discouragement. Rejections, even the most complimentary ones, are a closed door. When we submit to agents and editors, our hope is alive—maybe our book will be published and our dream will finally come true! It’s discouraging to watch our opportunities narrow as rejections come in. Rejections aren’t the only things that discourage us—we’re disappointed by lousy contest results, tough critiques, financial issues or lack of emotional support from our loved ones.

Dejection. Dejection sets in when we struggle to believe in our journey anymore. Maybe you had a lousy conference with rough pitches and negative feedback. Maybe you’ve gotten rejections from every editor who requested your manuscript. You might be functioning in your real life, but writing? You no longer cling to the hope your book will be published, and it’s excruciating watching other writers announce their good news.

Depression. I’m not referring to clinical depression here. I’m talking about periods where you show symptoms of depression (feeling hopeless, sad, empty, losing interest in life, sleep problems, appetite changes, headaches and so on). In early 2013, I had been trying to get published for five years. In a one week period, I received rejections from every editor who requested my full-length book, a rejection on a category-length book, and I found out my dad had dementia. I had already been rejected on several other books over the years, so this was a really rough period for me. Thankfully, I was able to avoid depression, but I struggled emotionally for a while. If you suspect you might be sliding into depression, please see a doctor.

Let’s move on to published authors. A contract means everything becomes glittery and rainbows and butterflies, right? Uh…no.

Publishing a book is a dream come true, but it does not make all your dreams come true.

Publishing is a highly competitive business. I’m thankful every day to be a part of it, but my life didn’t become perfect when I finally sold a book. I continue to doubt my writing, I worry about keeping my stories fresh, I get rejections, I have to overhaul story ideas, and I work hard to promote my books.

For many published writers, the three Fs knock regularly.

Fear. Fear exists at every level of a writer’s life, but it intensifies when you get something you want and don’t want to lose it. I fear growing complacent and losing loyal readers. I fear never getting another contract with a publisher I truly enjoy working for. I fear some of my writing dreams will never come true.

Familiarity. Publishers want fresh ideas, but the books must fit into a marketable model. This can be tough on genre writers. How do we continue to write unique stories that will sell? I worry about familiarity—writing the same story over and over. I think this F is the easiest to overcome. If I gave everyone here an assignment to write a short story about a single dad who hires a nanny for his two-year-old daughter, everyone’s take on it would be different. The key to fighting familiarity is to create memorable characters—real, believable individuals for each book—and to push harder to make a common theme memorable.

Failure. So your publishing house closed its fiction line last year, you can’t get another contract to save your life and you would rather lick dirt than go on Facebook and see yet another writer announcing her marvelous research trip overseas for her multi-book series, which may or may not be optioned to be made into a movie? Yep. You feel like a failure. Your dream has died, and your career is over. No, it isn’t! Sometimes we enter an uncomfortable period when we’re writing new stories with no idea if we’ll ever be published again. We have options. We can hold out for a traditional publisher, we can venture into indie publishing or we can do both. The dream is never over until we say it is.

I’m convinced if you feel called to write, you need to write. The three Ds and three Fs are not indications your calling has flatlined. The calling is still there. It’s our expectations that have been shattered. We say we’re called to write, but in our hearts, we want more. We want the book deal, loyal readers, royalty checks, respect from our peers and contest wins.

God does not put callings in our hearts to let us down.

1 John 1:5 “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.”



Those years I was submitting only to get rejections? They forced me to rely on God. I have a better understanding of His love because of the hard times. When doubts creep in now, I’m able to give my fear to God and trust that He’ll work it out, even if it isn’t the way I’d hoped.

If your journey is all uphill and full of setbacks, don’t quit. The ease of the journey is no indication of the worthiness of it. Stay humble. Do the tasks before you. And never give up.
How do you press forward when you feel like quitting?
Thank you, Seekerville, for hosting me today. I’m offering a copy of my new release, Yuletide Redemption, to one commenter! Winner announced in the Weekend Edition.

Stop by the virtual party! Eleven Love Inspired (all lines) authors are hosting a Facebook party on December 6, 2016, from 4pm-9pm (EST). We’d love for you to join us. The event is linked here, “December Love Inspired Christmas Party.” 



A Mother's Christmas Wish

After an accident leaves Celeste Monroe to raise her baby nephew, all she wants is to provide one-year-old Parker with a happy life. She hopes taking a job caring for injured Sam Sheffield will help fulfill that goal. But Sam's determination to avoid the world throws a wrench in her plans. Despite his best efforts, Sam can't take his eyes off the pretty caretaker. Her strength and her loving nature has him falling for her—and her baby. But he refuses to burden them with a man who's not whole. Can Celeste convince Sam he's daddy—and husband—material in time for them to celebrate Christmas together?

Yuletide Redemption is available in retail stores such as Walmart, Barnes & Noble and grocery stores. Or buy now on Kindle!

Jill Kemerer writes Christian romance novels with love, humor and faith for Love Inspired. Jill loves coffee, M&Ms, fluffy animals, magazines and her hilarious family. Visit her website, jillkemerer.com, and connect with Jill on Facebook, Twitter and sign up for her newsletter.








🎄🎄🎄Not only does Jill Kemerer have a holiday release, but you can read her online novella A Cradle for Christmas on Harlequin.com Read a chapter each Monday through December 26th. http://bit.ly/2fVB2RB

🙌This just in from Publishers Marketplace:

Jill Kemerer's first book of a Wyoming-set miniseries, a wedding planner inherits the family ranch, but when, over Christmas, she falls for the quiet cowboy she hires to manage it, his secret could cause her to lose it all, to Shana Asaro at Harlequin Love Inspired, in a nice deal, in a four-book deal, for publication in October 2017, by Rachel Kent at Books & Such Literary Agency (World).

Congratulations, Jill!



173 comments :

  1. Jill, I for one am glad you pressed on because I am here today to enjoy your books!! I loved everything about Yuletide Redemption...the characters, the setting, the emotions I felt throughout...I could go on & on :-)

    There's one faithful assurance , you are NEVER rejected by God. :-) If He has put that writing desire in your heart, somewhere down the road (today, tomorrow, next year or somewhere in-between) He will make it come to pass. Just have to trust His timing as hard as that is sometimes!

    I've obviously read, enjoyed & reviewed this wonderful novel, no need to enter my name. I surely can't wait for more by you :-)

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    1. Trixi, you've been such an encouragement to me! Thank you for all you do for authors--I'm thankful for you!!

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  2. Jill, welcome back to Seekerville and thank you for this message. We all need to know what reality is for all writers. Congratulations on your four book deal!!!! WOOT

    I brought caramel apple coffee cake and the coffee is on as well as hot water for tea and hot chocolate! Let the chat begin!

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    1. Hi Tina!! Thank you for letting me guest post! Seekerville is the best!

      Yum...I'd love a slice of apple coffee cake and a big ol' mug of coffee!

      THANK YOU!!

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  3. Thanks for this, Jill! I needed this today. I'd never dream of quitting because, well, I can't not write... but lately I've felt a little aimless and anxious over things like "balance." Ha! The three Ds are pretty familiar feelings for me.

    But God is good and in control of it all. He has called me to this. He is the one who puts the creative passion in me. He's the one who's called me to the vulnerability of baring my soul in print. So, He is the one that will see it to completion! That is so freeing and comforting.

    So to answer your question, on those tough days I give myself a limit. After a rejection I pull out the ice cream or chocolate, wallow for one night only, then dive back in the next morning determined to clinch the next one! The limit lets me feel the sting, but not get stuck in it.

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    1. Megan, I totally understand the "I can't NOT write." Same here! But, boy, it can be hard at times. You have a great attitude. Feel the sting for a little bit then move on. I do the same! Thank you!!

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  4. THE SEEKERVILLE 24 HOUR RULE!!! Megan you mastered it without knowing. Way. To. Go!

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    1. I didn't know it was a rule! Yay!! I'm glad to know it's legit ;)

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    2. You can learn ANYTHING at Seekerville! :)

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  5. Not a writer, Jill, but having some comfort handy can help. Taking a step back from whatever it is I want to quit and surrounding myself with some positivity from family, friends, a good book, a long walk, a treat of some kind... and of course, some prayer (sometimes in conjunction with any or all of the above!) And being reminded that life isn't a sprint but a marathon helps us to all keep pressing on towards the ultimate goal, so carry on, everyone!

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    1. Fedora, yes to everything in your comment! Positive people, good books, long walks and treats get me through discouragement, too. Thank you for the reminder about life not being a sprint! So true!

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  6. Jill, thanks for this post. I hit a horrible low this past year in writing and my sister and two good writing friends kept me going. Even at that low point I didn't want to quit, well at least not forever...

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    1. Terri, I'm so sorry last year was rough. Good friends (and sisters!) can mean the difference between keeping on or going back to bed. What would we do without them?? I'm so glad you're still motivated!

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  7. Hi Jill! Congratulations on your four book deal and for not giving up! When it is His will things will happen in His timing.

    Blessings to you all today.

    Cindy W.

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    1. Thank you, Cindy! I'm really excited about writing these books. It's my first time writing cowboys (and hopefully not the last)! So true about God's timing. I didn't really like His timing, but looking back, I'm thankful for it. Blessings to you, too!!

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  8. I find that taking a step away can give me some perspective. I continue on with renewed energy and enthusiasm.

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    1. Mary, that is really good advice. Sometimes I'll check out a stack of books from the library. Photography, travel, cookbooks, Christian living--you name it--and lose myself in them for a while. It really helps me get out of a funk!

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  9. Hi Jill! I appreciate your honesty in this post. Although rejection is tough to handle, it's part of life, not just when it comes to writing. Whatever our calling, if we love what we're doing, we should continue no matter what obstacles we face.
    Congratulations on your four book deal!

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    1. Thank you, Jill! I can't wait to see your debut on store shelves!! Yes, rejection and disappointment are parts of everyone's life. So true. It takes grit to keep going, and every writer I know has it! Thank you!!

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  10. Hi Jill! Wow, this post is spot on.

    I am super excited about your four book contract. SWEET!

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    1. Thank you, Dana!! It was so fun meeting you this summer! Wish we lived closer! Thank you!!

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  11. Oh, I forgot to tell you all! I have a Christmas novella being released chapter by chapter on Harlequin's Online Reads right now! The first four chapters are live and new ones are added each Monday until December 26! Here's the link to chapter one! You can read it right from their site or print it off.

    http://www.harlequin.com/articlepage.html?articleId=2123&chapter=1

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    1. This looks like FUN! I'll add it to your post!

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    2. Thanks, Tina! The best part is that it's FREE!

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  12. Thank you for this wonderfully honest post, Jill. I really needed this today! I agree that non-published writers experience the three Ds, but I don't think you have to be a published author to experience the last F...Failure. When you try time and again and your husband and other family and friends know you're trying to get published, it's easy to feel like a failure with every rejection and even with revision requests. I was at my mother-in-laws one day and I mentioned that I needed to go home and write and her response was "you're writing another one?" She couldn't believe that I was still trying to get published after all these years of "dreaming."

    How do I press forward when I feel like quitting? Well, for one I visit Seekerville! I can always count on a good dose of reality here. And I'm also very blessed to have friends (published and nonpublished) who will give me a swift (virtual) kick in the backside when they feel like I'm starting to give up.

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    1. Rhonda, I can 100% relate to this. It was really hard to admit at every family Christmas party that nope, I wasn't published yet. I could almost feel the disbelief, like, why isn't this lady getting it--she isn't cut out to be a writer! No one said this--it's just how I felt when year after year, nothing was happening with my career.

      Seekerville is the best! I started reading it about six months after it launched, and I still read it today!

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  13. Hi Jill,
    I'm glad for all the determination writers have when it comes to pressing through the hard stuff and rejections. We readers are blessed with some terrific reading because of it.

    Congrats on your book deal. I'd love to read Yuletide Redemption, love the cover. Please include me in the drawing.

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    1. Thank you, Tracey, and I'm thankful for writers who press through, too. Reading is my favorite thing to do! I get very fan-girl-ish when I meet a fave author!!

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  14. This is great encouragement for me, as a new writer. Thank you so much Jill! :-)

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    1. Hey Melissa!!! It's great to see you here!

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    2. You're welcome, Melissa!! When I started writing with the intent to get published, I had all these deadlines (if I don't get a contract in a year, I'll do something else...), but I've learned to throw those out. Our dreams don't have expiration dates!!

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    3. Melissa Henderson, welcome to Seekerville. Great to have you here.

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    4. So glad you're here, Melissa! Jill, I did that same thing. I set a goal to get published in 5 years. Ha! It took about 12. :)

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    5. Hahah! Yes, It was years for me, too. 8 years, give or take a year or two!!!!

      But I am delighted to be here! Not quitting is a huge key to this biz.

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    6. Welcome to the Seekerville family, Melissa Henderson! So glad you found us!

      It took me a long, long time to publish...a long, long time! :) Which made "The Call" even sweeter!

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    7. Melissa, as they say in the South, "Don't be a stranger, hear?"

      Which means make Seekerville a daily habit! Hugs!

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  15. Jill, thanks so much for sharing your writing journey. "God does not put callings in our hearts to let us down." Love this! My motto: "Write and see. Write what God tells you, and see where He takes it." I have days, (months this year!) where I feel like why do I do it? Nothing appears to be happening. But then I remember, even if nothing ever gets published, this writing is between me and God. And He doesn't give me dreams and then let them not go anywhere. It's all in His timing. But while waiting I have to get ready. Hone the craft. Have stories ready to go. I can't show something if I haven't done it yet. (I had you in there and changed it to me. I'm talking to myself this morning.) Started a new story in NANO last month and am eager to see where it goes.

    Congratulations on your release and your book deal! Can't wait to read them!

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    1. I love your motto, Sally!! I've gotten so much better about just being obedient and writing. I still have expectations, but when they aren't met, I can move on, trusting in Him. The writing really is between you and God. I love that.

      Keep going on your NaNo project!!

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  16. Love these words and love YOU, Jill! A FOUR-BOOK DEAL!?!?!? Popping the sparkling cider for you!

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    1. Thank you, Laurie!! Your pretty planners and Friday Mixing Bowls always inspire me. Thank you!!

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  17. Thanks for the great post, Jill, and congrats on your latest sale!

    I started submitting to traditional publishers in the mid-90s. After completing more than 10 manuscripts, getting more than a dozen revision letters for a handful of them, one MS placing second in a national contest requiring 5 rounds of online voting where the winner got published, another winning a Golden Heart (and getting two of those revision letters over two years), I never got "the call."

    So I've self-published 4 books and a novella since 2015. Despite taking a lot of advice from successful authors, my first book winning 2 categories of the 2016 Booksellers' Best Award and getting some great reviews from PW and RT and a bit of national press, individual book sales aren't enough to make continuing worth my time.

    I've had some great success with multi-author boxes, but those are getting more difficult to sell, too. IMO, there are so many new releases and so many books available for free or .99 that despite accolades, it's a slog for many newer authors to earn money.

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    1. Ruth, I've seen your name over the years in the writing community. I'm sorry financial success hasn't followed all your hard work and award recognition. My path to publication was long and bumpy, too. And now, I feel like the publishing landscape changes every few months. Anyway, I just wanted to chime in and say that I admire your perseverance and I hope you find happiness in whatever path you chose to follow-- in writing or in new adventures. Wishing you all the best.

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    2. Ruth, I agree, the market does seem glutted.

      BUT YOU ARE NOT JUST A WRITER. Ruth is amazing. I was watching a sweet movie a few months ago and there she was as part of the wedding group in the movie. I had to pause the movie and zoom in. IT WAS RUTH. So she is also an accomplished actress as well. ( I verified it with a friend of Ruth's..Janet Dean.) Congratulations!

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    3. Ruth, I stood behind you in line to pitch at an RWA conference years ago--Washington DC--and I remember chatting about your gorgeous website! I've followed your journeys since then. Love all the commercials you're in, and I'm really proud of you (not in a condescending way) for releasing your novels. Personally, I think income is hard to come by in publishing period, but I get what you're saying. After all these years, I'd like to think you'll still write, even if it's just for you, but if not, you can be proud of your accomplishments. I certainly am for you!

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    4. Ruth, good to see you! It's been a long time. Janet introduced us some years ago! Congrats on your books and the accolades they've received. Congrats too on your acting success! Perhaps your stories fit outside the box. Sometimes writers with a very fresh voice and a unique story have trouble placing their work in the traditional market. I'm betting that's true for you! I hope you continue to write. The world needs your stories!

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    5. Golly, Thanks for all of the kind words, everyone! You made my month!

      Alison, I hope you find happiness, too.
      Tina, thanks for noticing me! The movie you mentioned is One Small Hitch. I was an extra in that and have had speaking roles in other indie features, online videos for The Onion and commercials.

      Jill, of course I remember, and I have been following you, too! Congrats to all of your successes.

      Hello, Debby! Thank you. There are just so many books now, for me it's been a challenge to let readers know my books are there without daily online and/or paid effort...that in the short term doesn't seem to pay off in sales.

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  18. Jill, You touched on the horrible feeling that the words Rejection stimulates inside each one of us. When I receive one, thoughts of why am I doing this, why am I failing and maybe I should I quit fill my head. I stay out of my office a couple of days and take long morning walks and talk with God. I can now say I have taken a rejected short story and rewritten it sometime later and ended up selling it. So I have my faith and now understand the story may not be ready yet and to be sure and take another look at it send it out again. I believe time helps heal you too. Thanks for your spirit lifting post. Congrats for the four book deal. What a great Christmas present

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    1. Suzanne, nature gets me close to God. I don't know if it's the peace, the quiet, the beautiful colors around me or what, but long walks always get me back on track, too. That is so great you were able to retool a story and sell it! That's what perseverance is all about. Congrats!!

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    2. Suzanne, so glad you didn't give up on your story! Congrats on the sale!

      Thanks, too, for your sweet note!

      Hugs!

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  19. Jill, I admire your perseverance. Congratulations on your success! Most every writer I know has experienced the 3 D's and the 3 F's at one time in our lives and many a boatload of times. Thanks for your encouragement today!

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    1. Thanks, Barbara, I really appreciate it. Sandie Bricker and I had lunch a few months ago, and she told me about your amazing friendship. I really admire you. Sending hugs as I know this time must be difficult. And you're very welcome for the encouragement. I need it all the time!!

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  20. Jill, I've been disappointed, okay-a couple of times even mad, at contest results. But I guess I never really think I'll get the call from an editor so it hasn't got me down. I get more frustrated from the long wait.

    My current wip is a suspense that I think has the right hooks/conflict to get published. I figure this one will have me more upset if it gets rejected than my previous submissions. Does that make sense? The closer to publication, the worse the rejection stings.

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    1. Connie, yes, I think the closer we get the tougher the rejections get--because we get our hopes up more as we get closer.

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    2. EXACTLY, CONNIE. And after you publish it stings like ripping a band aid off.

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    3. Oh, Connie, I know!! While all rejections sting, the ones we know are good--the writing craft is finally there, the hook is great--those are the toughest to take. But if we don't submit, we never know. And it only takes one Yes for our dream to come true!

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    4. Keep moving forward, Connie. I've seen too many folks give up with they are so close to publishing, which makes me sad! If only they would have kept working.

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  21. Jill, thank you for not only offering some serious comfort to those of us who are still looking to the dream but also opening our eyes to the actual published writer's side. You gave me extra food for thought. So glad to have been able to read your post this morning for some extra lift!

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    1. Thank you, Kelly! Sometimes it seems as though there's a thick curtain separating unpublished reality from published reality, but the truth is, they're more similar than many people know. I truly believe developing a good work ethic (writing/revising consistently and working on new projects when we're submitting) is vital to staying published. The work you're doing today is preparing you for the work you'll do when you get the call. It's worth celebrating!!

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  22. Jill, I can relate to this post in soooo many ways! Writing is not for the faint of heart, for sure. Congrats on your new contract, too!

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    1. Thank you, Alison! So many of us have been there. I know very few writers who sold their first or second book. I might have set a new record for how many I wrote before I sold! Haha!

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  23. Jill ,thank you for this beautiful post. I was especially touched by this: "If your journey is all uphill and full of setbacks, don’t quit. The ease of the journey is no indication of the worthiness of it."

    Thank you for sharing so that we all know we're not alone when we struggle along this career path.

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    1. Missy, if the ease of the journey was the deciding factor, I would have given up in 2009! We're so blessed to be part of a community where we support each other and lift each other through the down times.

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  24. What a fabulous post, Jill. After selling my first book, I've been struggling to edit my 2nd and often feel like I'm just going to be a one book wonder and never finish it for my editor. Thanks so much for the inspiring words and congrats on the 4 book deal! Wow!

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    1. LeAnne, I know the feeling!! I think some books are easier to write than others, and we mistakenly believe the hard ones aren't any good. Or we think we're only as good as our last book. So not true! My editor has liked some of my books more than others right off the bat, and I routinely have to change aspects of the book in revisions. It always improves the book. So don't worry! You've got this!!

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  25. Thank you for this encouraging post, Jill. I needed it. I've been wrestling with my calling this year. Even though the closed doors I'm struggling with are a little different, it's the same root. I need the reminder that "God doesn't put a calling in your heart to let you down."

    Thanks for sharing. God bless you.

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    1. I understand, Amber. I don't know your situation, but sometimes we have so many options to choose and it's really hard to know what the right move is. Keep praying on it!

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  26. Good morning, Jill! Welcome to Seekerville. Thank you for the encouraging words today.

    I love your reminder that, "the ease of the journey is no indication of the worthiness of it". I find great wisdom in this, as I believe the pursuit of writing is a burning desire for many of us, even though the path is fraught with heartache. Yet, some of the sweetest times I've had with God were moments after a rejection when He bathed me in His love and healing. Of course, it's always a great reason to break out the chocolate ice cream too.

    Thanks again for your post. Congratulations on your book series.

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    1. Renee, yes! I've had sweet moments with God after awful rejections, too. What a blessing! I would have missed them if I wouldn't have put my heart on the line. I'm so glad you're showing up and taking chances. It takes so much courage to write and submit. Bless you!

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  27. Jill! Congratulations on the 4-book deal!!

    Your post is timely as I reevaluate this writing year. I'll check back in later to read Seekervillagers answers to your question. Thanks!

    Nancy C


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    1. Nancy, thank you!! Every November I review my year and plan the following. It's amazing how many accomplishments we overlook when we fixate on the negative or only "today." I hope you pat yourself on the back for all the ways you showed up to write this year.

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  28. Ahhh... JILL. My friend. I'm so, so proud of you!!! Congratulations on ALL your accomplishments. And a FOUR BOOK CONTRACT???? That's awesome!

    Such a tremendous post today. Thanks for speaking so honestly about the realities of the business. I think many writers can relate.

    Here's a mini synopsis of my last 10 years: Child #1 almost died. We lived in and out of hospitals for years, saw two surgeries, countless meds and procedures, etc. Long story short--God provided. BUT..writing career put on hold. Again.

    THEN... my dad suffered an aneurysm. Survived. Countless events and procedures over the years. Writing put on hold. Again.

    THEN... my mom had open heart surgery. She survived. Relatively short recovery time. Praise! However... writing career sidelined... Yes--you guessed it. Again.

    THEN... countless other stops and starts. Tears. Fears. But... I wrote. And wrote. And wrote.

    THEN ...

    There was a little contest that gave me a boost and some much-needed encouragement.

    I plodded on. And on. And on.

    THEN... Baby Bird #2 flew the nest to college. We became empty-nesters. My world changed. I found a "new normal" and...I wrote some more.

    It's a different place, but it's all good.

    And as you said, when we've reached what we term as "the end," God sees it as our new beginning.

    When I've thought I had nothing left, God's laughed, I'm sure, and said, "Wanna bet?"

    Thank you, JILL, for your words. Blessings over you, my friend. xo

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    1. Cynthia, first of all, I loved your newsletter in my inbox this morning. It was like waking up to a hug. Your journey has always set me back on my heels. You are one of the most obedient to Christ women I know, and I'm so proud of all your accomplishments. Through all of the troubles, you still show up and write. I admire that!

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    2. Must sign up for Cynthia's newsletter. Thank you for this.

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    3. TINA... Yaaay!! YOU are part of the reason I've kept going. I'll elaborate on that another day. Anyway, if you'd still like my DEC newsletter that went out this morning, I can forward one or you can pick it up from my Twitter feed where I reposted.

      JILL... I'm. SO. NOT. PERFECT. But thank you for your sweet comment.

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    4. How can I get your newsletter, Cynthia? Twitter? Okay, I'll try.

      Thanks for sharing your journey! You had some tough times. Glad it's a new beginning!

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    5. Hi DEBBY, you can subscribe to my monthly newsletter at my website cynthia(at)authorcynthiaherron.com. There's a sign up box on the home page, as well as others. Thanks so much for your interest! :-)

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    6. Oops...Sorry. I just gave you my e-mail address. Website is authorcynthiaherron.com.

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  29. What a beautiful reminder - for anyone. I am often in awe of authors as they keep plodding along knowing what they go through! I will keep feeding authors by buying their books. ;)

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    1. Thank you, Susan! I'm thankful every day I get to write as my career. Books have always brought me so much joy, and they still do. I'm with you--I'll keep feeding authors, too!

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  30. Jill, great post. I've signed up for your novella being posted every Friday. I am like I can't not read! And yes, I always learn something from Seekerville! Thanks again!

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    1. Aww, thanks, Marianne! I appreciate it!! I hope you enjoy the novella! The first four chapters are live now at http://www.harlequin.com/articlelist.html?activeTab=READ. Just click on Love Inspired (a box to the right of the page) and you'll find them!

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  31. Welcome, Jill! Oh my goodness, is there a single line of this post I didn't connect with in some way? I don't think so!

    Every writer aspiring for publication needs to read this and be reminded that the calling to write also means we'll face pitfalls and setbacks. But with faith, perseverance, and always staying open to God's guidance, we can discern and follow God's plan for our writing.

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    1. I'm so glad I'm not alone, Myra! Writing for publication takes so much faith. Faith in ourselves, faith in God's plan. It's hard! I love what you said about discerning God's plan. That's the most important thing. If my books sell three copies, I trust God knew those three people needed to read my book. I can't get down on myself if the book doesn't sell well. God's mission was accomplished!

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  32. Thank you, Jill for sharing with us today. I've been through the D's more than once. Your honesty touched my heart.

    Congratulations on your new LI. The cover is beautiful. I'll try to stop by your party on Dec. 6.

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    1. Thank you, Jackie, and I'm sorry the three Ds keep visiting you, too. Next time they show up, I hope you'll remember you're not alone. Most of us deal with them on a regular basis. Thank you!!

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  33. JILL, thank you so much for sharing! Congratulations on your newest release!

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  34. Hi, Jill! What a treat to see you here! I enjoyed meeting you at ACFW Nashville. :)

    You are so right with your look at being pre-published and being published. Those emotions can derail us...but they don't change our calling.

    Looking forward to reading your new book!

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    1. Wait, is that my "sister" Jan? LOL! It was so fun realizing we share family! Thank you very much, and congrats on your books, too! You've been busy!

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  35. JILL, welcome! Thank you for this inspiring yet practical post! The writer's life isn't without struggles and disappointments, but then, anything worth having rarely comes easy. I especially love your statement that God does not put callings in our hearts to let us down. What a blessing it is to know God is in control and all we need do is trust in His timing.

    Yuletide Redemption looks and sounds great. Can't wait to read it! Huge congrats on your 4-book contract!

    Janet

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    1. Thank you so much, Janet!! I've looked up to you for a long time. Your career is impressive! Yes, every stage of writing life has its share of ups and downs. I would not have continued if God hadn't strengthened me again and again.

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    2. You're so sweet, Jill. Thank you! I'm a slow bird, but I always hope my books meet a need for my readers. I'm sure you do the same.

      Hugs, Janet

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    3. Your books DO meet a need! Thank you for writing them!

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  36. I don't know if I've ever told this story before, but it came to mind when I read your post Jill.

    I've said here many times...I wrote for ten years before I got my first book published. And on that day when I earned my first contract, I had 20 finished books on my computer.

    I had (I'm being deliberately vague here) multiple agents before I sold. And one of them, well it was in the dark ages. I didn't have the internet at home. All our contact was over the phone. And near as I can tell she ran a one woman shop and very often (reasonably, right?) her phone would ring and ring and ring.
    Our connection was not tight.
    We worked together for a year. I felt like her approach (It took me a while to feel this way) was really to just take my submissions (I had to make multiple copies or she'd charge me for copying expenses) and scattershot them. I probably sent her ten copies of multiple books over and over.
    She's say, "I'm going to send "Mary's Manuscript du jour" to ten people so I need ten pubishers, so mail me (Yes mail, no email) ten copies of it asap."
    And I would. It was all very slow.

    Anyway we did this for a year to no avail. And near the end of our year she called me very excited one day and thought she'd found a publisher, she asked me to pick like...my (I can't remember) five or ten favorite books, a copy of the first three chapters of each. Which ever were my favorites)
    So I did.
    The publisher rejected them all.

    The agent was all....I have no where else to send your stuff.

    I felt like every single thing I'd done had been rejected by every single publisher out there.
    I really looked at...maybe fifteen books at that point and it was all rejected, ashes. BAD.

    It really through me into a tailspin.

    All I could do was just think, "I have to start over. Everything I have written sucks and I need to forget it all and start again."

    It was a dark and demoralizing time.

    I blamed the agent a little. I got that she was sending things too wildly. Sending books much to long to LI, stuff like that. Not TARGETING. (at least not in my opinion)

    I parted company with her and her response was sort of, "Okay, bye bye."

    Like she wanted to part company with me just as badly. So that was easy.

    And I just started again. I completely quit subbing those fifteen books and starting from scratch, because apparently, I'm OCD with writing.

    I don't remember wanting to QUIT I just remember thinking nothing I'd come up with so far was any good and I had to do BETTER.

    I kept hearing this echo in my head from a writing article I'd read, written by Jennifer Crusie. She repeated many times in the article, 'write the best book in the world. write a book so good no one can say no. write a book so good Harlequin will say, 'just this once we're going to publish a 100,000 word Women's Fiction, because this book is so good.'

    So I set out to write the best book in the world.

    And it still took another three years and five more books to get published.

    Anyway, that story of rejection and dejection and reflection....came to me today.

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    1. Wow, Mary, I had no idea!! I remember the first book of yours I read (don't ask me for a title because I can't even remember my own books' titles!!). I laughed throughout your book. My insides clenched as the heroine was constantly in danger. I could NOT put that book down! And I thought, there's no way I could ever be as good as Mary Connealy. And then I thought, that's okay. I don't have to be Mary. I can just keep trying to make my books better.

      It's funny isn't it? I assumed your gift was so obvious to the world that of course your books were published. But you went through all those dark times and years of struggle to get your books into our hands. Thank you for persevering. Your books make the world better.

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    2. MARY, thank you for the encouragement. I'll always remember when I jumped back into the writing world, and CAROL Moncado from our local writer's group gushed about Mary Connealy's books. :-) Your story gives us hope.

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    3. Ah, thanks both of you. I always thought they were kinda good. The world remained blind for some reason!!! Many of those original 15 books have sold since and been really successful.

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  37. Have you seen...I think it's a meme on facebook.

    Something like:
    Teach a woman to read and she'll have a life full of joy.
    Teach a woman to write and she'll be drowning in self-doubt for a lifetime.

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    1. Oh, Mary, that is so true!! We creative types are masters at creating worse case scenarios in our heads.

      Janet

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    2. Janet and Jill when someone says to me, "What's the worst thing that could happen?"
      I just laugh in their faces. T
      There IS NO SITUATION in which I can't imagine it ending in my painful, lingering death. I mean, c'mon. Anyone who asks, 'what's the worst that could happen?' just ain't usin' their God given imagination!!!

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    3. I can think up some real doozies on the worst that can happen. BAD!!!

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  38. RUTH K, I know how hard you've worked toward publication. Frankly, if financial success was the main reason to write, I'm sure there would be far fewer authors in the mix. If a story should demand to be told, I hope you'll give it life. Whatever you decide, you have been given the gift to create. Besides creating stories, your skill for voice over and acting blows me away!

    Hugs, Janet

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  39. Congratulations on your new contract. It always looks so easy, from the contracted and published side of publishing, but you've shown the other side so well. I know we've all be there. We all have our stories of discouragement, dejection and depression. If it didn't matter so much, we wouldn't care. Blessings on your continued writing journey.

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    1. Thank you, Carolyne! I think social media is so wonderful for connecting with people, but it's not great at transparency. If aspiring writers really knew the day-to-day hiccups, successes and failures authors faced, they would be surprised. I don't want them to be surprised. I want them to remember all published authors were aspiring ones too. And the journey IS worth it. It is. All the rejections before publication made me stronger to move on from the ones after publication.

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    2. I am in full agreement here. The tougher we are when we GET the call... the better chance we have of staying. It's not an easy business, and egos get mashed on a regular basis... but having said that, my ego got mashed waitressing, too... and being a teacher's aide.... so that's a given in most jobs, and in this one, I'm doing absolutely, positively what I love best.... writing. :)

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    3. So true, Ruth! I waitressed for years and there's no room for an ego in that biz! I also had a professional job as an electrical engineer, and I'll be the first to say my ego was regularly mashed in that job. You're right--no job is perfect. But this is the one I love!

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    4. Carolyne, lovely to see your smiling face here.

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    5. Jill I made sure all my girls (I have four daughters) had a job waitressing. I think it's about the best preparation for life there is.

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    6. 4 daughters! That's awesome!! And, yeah, waitressing is a crash course in life, that's for sure!

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  40. Jill, this was so encouraging and just plain compassionate. Writing is the toughest thing I've ever done and some days it's hard to keep plugging along.

    "God does not put callings in our hearts to let us down." - Beautifully said.

    I want God's best in his time, and when things don't go as I planned, hoped, begged and cried over, I remind myself, "If not this, then something better."

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    1. Sharee, "If not this, then something better." is the perfect response. I've seen exactly that over the years, but usually there's a wait involved, which only makes the better, sweeter.

      Janet

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    2. You have such a great attitude, Sharee! Sometimes I act like a little toddler and stomp my feet and want to yell, "Gimme, gimme, gimme!" You are so right, though, I want God's best. :)

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    3. That's beautiful, Sharee. If not this, then something better.

      I'm going to hang on to that.

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  41. I'm dying laughing at Mary Connealy's meme.... OY!!!!

    Jill, what a great post. It is truly an honest look at both sides of a coin, and I think you summed it up well...

    But here's a tip a major consultant gave me on a recent trip to NYC and it makes a lot of sense:

    1000 true fans

    Get a list together of 1000 true fans.

    The market has changed completely. The opportunities have changed with it.

    If you have a list of 1000 TRUE FANS (not just people who sign up for whatever, but to develop the list to true fans of Jill or Ruthy or Tina or even MARY!!!!) :)

    Then if the contracts dry up....

    if lines close....

    if your traditional publishing route becomes clogged...

    You have 1000 TRUE FANS to light the way in another direction.

    What you write has now become salable through new opportunities because that 1000 TRUE FANS will be your launch.

    He made such a good point of not tying ourselves down, of being ready for ANYTHING that might come our way, and we know this is a fickle business...

    So yes, I came home and on top of writing for a bunch of great folks, I've put together a list of 1000 true fans because he was right...

    I have everything I need at my fingertips no matter what happens, and why not be ready.... just in case!

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    1. Always a good idea to be nimble. More than ever it's important to be in charge of your own career as much as you can. Do your best work and satisfy your readers.

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    2. Ruthy, your positive attitude always makes me want to jump to my feet and pump my fist in the air and yell, "I can do this!!" Thank you for this GREAT advice!!

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  42. Jill, I forgot to add my congrats on the four-book deal! Singing a hallelujah chorus on that!!! Mega congrats to you and Shana knows a good thing when she sees it!!!

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  43. Yes Jill, congrats on the four book deal! I'm also excited about your Christmas novella. I love Christmas stories.

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    1. I love Christmas stories, too, Terri! I always snatch a few up at the supermarket this time of year!

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  44. Jill, I loved this post. And I know you write it from experience. You are an inspiration to me (and I suspect to many others). I loved what you said here:
    "It’s our expectations that have been shattered."

    It's those expectations that can do us in, isn't it? Sometimes I have a hard time setting them aside and just leaning hard on the Lord. Trusting Him as I walk out this calling. Thanks for the reminder to release those expectations and walk faithful and trusting.

    Beautiful post, my friend!

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    1. I feel the same about you, Jeane! You're always encouraging and positive, even when life is hard. Thank you, my friend. :)

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  45. Jill, loved your 3 Ds and your 3 Fs! The writing life is wonderful, but there can be problems as well! :) You've given us an honest view of some of the downsides. Thanks!

    I've been struggling with a story that's not writing itself, so to speak. Then I realized all the procrastination is really time well spent digging deeper into the characters and what drives them. Now I'm seeing the story more clearly. I prefer when everything comes together quickly, but that isn't always the case. :)

    Congrats on your four-book deal! Wonderful!!!

    Thanks for being with us today.

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  46. Debby, my manuscript isn't writing itself either, and I wish it would! I spent far too much time researching details yesterday, and now I'm staring into space, muttering, "Uh..." Thank you for your encouragement! You've blessed me so many times!

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  47. "I prefer when everything comes together quickly, but that isn't always the case." EXACTLY, Debby! Sometimes they do and that's great, but I have to stop beating myself up when they don't.

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    1. Please tell this scene to come together quickly... My writing is a mess today!

      Is there a manuscript whisperer in the house? :)

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  48. Dejection dogs us and it's so easy to just drift along and say well maybe this isn't for me after all. Then an image, a conversation, or an intriguing news story sets us off on a new story. The journey is indeed long but apparently one some of us just can't stop from traveling. Thanks for this well articulated post about what is in the heart of all writers.

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    1. Linda, oh, you're so right! How many times have I written a book based on the flimsiest of an idea--the image or the news story. It's fun! Even during the down times, thinking of stories is fun!

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    2. Linda! So good to see you. Happy Holidays!

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  49. Congratulations, Jill, on the new contract!!

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  50. Congratulations, Jill, on your new contract, and thank you for sharing those 3Ds and 3Fs for unpublished and published authors. I fall into the former category as I'm unpublished. For me, when I get down over the latest rejection or bad scores from contest judges, I try to return to why I love writing. And for me, it's simply sitting down in front of the keyboard and spending time with the plot and the characters, but it's always time well spent to come to Seekerville for a daily dose of encouragement or to hear how other authors survive the writing journey as well.

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    1. Tanya, YES! Writing is fun (usually!), and it's easy to forget the joy when we're focused on our problems. Connecting with other authors is a must!

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  51. Jill, how exciting to have a story on the HQ website! Did your editor invite you to do so or did you pitch the idea to her?

    Heading there now to read your story!!!

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    1. Oh, Jill, you hooked me! Can't wait for the next installment of your online read!

      Great beginning...great conflict...great story!

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    2. Thanks so much for reading it, Debby!! I had a blast writing it! My editor invited me to write it, and I jumped at the chance!!

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  52. This is a great post, Jill. The 3 D's hit me hard a lot. I will keep trying to work through them.

    Please enter me in the drawing for your book.

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    1. Sandy, I understand. You're not alone. Keep going!! There's a desire in your heart to write, so write!!

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  53. Thank you, Jill! This is such an inspirational and encouraging post - just what I needed. Congratulations on your new book deal!!

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    1. I'm so glad it resonated with you, Laura. I have to remind myself often to leave the outcome in God's hands. I just have to do the work! Thank you!

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  54. Jill, just in case I don't get back here until after dinner in Arizona, thank you for spending the day with us! Your post really touched hearts. Thank you!

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    1. Thank YOU, Tina! What a blessing to be a guest here! I really appreciate you letting me share today. Enjoy your dinner!!

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  55. Thank you for this motivational speech! I've not had an agent or publisher turn me down because those roles are played by my dad (thank goodness for familial ties and self-publishing). I can't imagine what it would be like to have a full manuscript turned down. I have entered a few competitions for writing short stories, but have never won. And that day when I stare at the computer screen in disbelief not seeing my name on the list of winners (or even in the honorable mentions!) after waiting ten months impatiently, certain that I will win- well certain I will win until the last three months when I am suddenly plagued with innumerable doubts. Well it isn't pretty- and neither am I when I am done ugly crying.

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    1. I know the ugly cry well, Nicky! That's awesome you have family ties in publishing. The more people who can help, the better!! Thanks for sharing your story!

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  56. I remember someone BIG, not an author but maybe an author ALSO, but a publisher or agent or marketing guru who said in a speech, "Just get your newsletter list up to 100,000 and then every release you have will have at least that basic group to draw sales from.

    I wanted to yell, GET OFF THE STAGE!!!

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    1. I probably did yell it!! I get SO frustrated when I see motivational speakers who have industry backgrounds giving advice to authors that isn't realistic.

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  57. Congrats neighbor...from 2 towns over. What a lovely encouragement for conquering doubts and fears. I'm so glad to hear that you have been contracted for a new series. I'm happy for you! I haven't bought your Yuletide book yet so please throw my name in for the drawing.

    For those of you out there who haven't met Jill in person, she is very kind and sweet. I'm glad her perseverance has paid off!

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    1. Aww, Bettie! It was great seeing you at ACFW!! I hope your writing is going well--thanks for the kind words!

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  58. I love your books. Looking forward to reading this one.
    Thanks for the chance to win.
    Becky B.

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  59. Hi Jill:

    Looking forward to reading your "Yuletide Redemption". Five stars on Amazon. Christmas romances are my favorite and when it comes to Christian romance, it's hard to beat a redemption theme.

    I appreciate how one can worry about the 3-Ds and 3-Fs but I favor a different frame of reference. As we know from Seekerville experience, it can take even very good writers over 10 years to get published. So I look at these return slips as similar to checking the thermometer in a turkey you're cooking. If the bird is not done, then you give it more time. The turkey didn't fail nor was it rejected.

    The key here is to think that you're not ready and finding out what you need to do to improve. This takes time and we should all know that.

    Thanks for your post.

    Vince

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    1. So great to hear from you, Vince! What a great analogy--the turkey just isn't done! No need to throw the bird out. Perfect!! Thank you!

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  60. Hi Jill! SO sorry I'm really late stopping in, but had to say this post is exactly what I needed to read right now - - thank you!!
    And a huge CONGRATS on your latest contract - - that is SUPER!! :)
    When I met you in person this past August at the Love Inspired open house in Nashville, I liked you right away - - you were SO sweet to me. Now I've read in your bio that you like coffee and M&Ms - - oh my! You must be the baby sister I never knew I had, LOL! (seriously, coffee and M&Ms are what I live on some days---especially when I'm getting a lot of writing done!).
    Thank you again for this post - - I'm putting it in my keeper file and know I'll be re-reading a lot. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas!
    Hugs, Patti Jo

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    1. Hi PattiJo! I loved meeting you, too, and thought the exact same thing. You're so sweet! We must be sisters. I'm sending you virtual coffee and M&Ms right now!

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  61. Yes, Jill! Thanks so much for this timely post. After having two books published, I feel like I'm in a waiting period. I needed your encouragement today. Congratulations on your new contract! I like magazines, too!

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    1. Congratulations on having two books published! That's such an accomplishment! The waiting periods are always rough. Hang in there. And buy a juicy magazine to get through it!

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  62. Jill,

    Scrolling through these comments... Do believe your post resonated with a few!

    It certainly did with me.

    This past week, things are filtered through our "Need to find our lost dog, Anna" lense. Today marks exactly one week that she's been missing. So many of the Godly concepts you brought forth are, again, just what I needed to read.

    In a rare moment today, my DH and I had morning tea together. I shared your post with him and he graciously related to my books and journey. He said something like, "The several letters we get from people whose lives have been changed make it all worth it."

    We must keep on doing what God's calling us to do.

    I'm thankful for your post today. Thank you for sharing it. :) Congratulations on being faithful in your journey, and wawzah, what a jump start with a shiny new 4 (FOUR!!!!!) book deal! Woot!

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    1. KC, I hope you find your dear dog. I can't imagine what you're going through. My little mini-doxie is on my lap as we speak.

      Yes, the letters you get do make it worth it. They're God's reminders that obedience can change people's lives. It doesn't matter if we sell a billion books. Thank you so much!

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  63. Hi Jill. Wow, this was a powerful topic and it sure hit home. Thank you for reminding us that God's plans for us should always, always take precedence--even over D's and F's. Thank you for this encouragement. It's scary how much I related to this article. I so love LI books! Congratulations! Your cover looks fabulous! Thank you so much for this post. Blessings to you.

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    1. Rebecca, I live this article often, and I'm thankful I've experienced everything in it to minister to other writers who deal with the Ds and Fs. We are not alone! You can safely assume most writers are dealing with something negative at any given moment. Thank you and blessings to you as well!!

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  64. Awesome post, Jill! Thank you for your transparency as well as your encouraging words and reminder to lean hard into God's promises. Congratulations on that four-book deal! That's fantastic!

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    1. Thank you, Heidi, and congratulations to you, too!! I hope you're celebrating!!

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  65. I'm very late to this post and still want to read the comment,b but thanks for sharing with Seekerville. I would love to be in the draw for your book.
    Congrats on your newest book contract!

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  66. I love the cover of your new book, Jill! It makes me want to go sit on the bench with the couple and visit with them!

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    1. Wouldn't that be fun, Valri? I would love to as well!

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