Thursday, June 6, 2019

MY PLAN (AND GOD'S)


By award-winning, multi-published author Dr. Richard Mabry

My writing journey had God’s fingerprints all over it. But there was a time when I had to change my plan. I deviated from it, and I’m glad.

            I was fortunate in the beginning to get a fiction contract from a publisher. I left (with their blessing) to accept one from an even larger house. After that one was fulfilled, I went back to my former publisher until they stopped publishing fiction. After that, things got sort of complex, so—like many other authors—I decided to strike out on the “indie” road.

            I planned a fairly simple pattern of self-publication: a novel, then a novella, another novel, then another novella. Sounded good enough. But it didn’t work out that way.

            I published my novella, Emergency Case, and in the back of it was the “tease” for the novel I was working on. That was to be my next one, but while I wrote, something kept niggling at the edge of my consciousness. Didn’t I have another writing project started somewhere? Well, it could wait. But what was it?

            Then, I found the project and remembered why it was still on my computer. At the outset of my writing “career,” I’d become discouraged enough that I had made up my mind to quit. I’d been struggling for four years, without anything but rejections to show for it. During this time, I’d started following various writing blogs, and in hers, agent Rachelle Gardner posted a contest. The person submitting the best first line of a book would win. I was extremely surprised when my submission was chosen. It was, “Things were going along just fine until the miracle fouled them up.”

Subsequently, through a series of events that I remain convinced were divinely ordained, I gained representation by Rachelle, got my first fiction contract, and eventually published a number of novels and novellas—eighteen, to be accurate. All after I’d quit writing.

            So why did I go back to this particular line saved on my computer? Because, over the years, I’d written a story around it. That story had gone through several iterations, and on more than one occasion my first reader looked at it and warned that it didn’t sound like one of my novels. But I felt it was a story worth telling, so I continued to work to make it one worth reading. I sent the first chapter to a number of people who’d been influencers for my other novels, and they loved it. So, with some trepidation, I changed my carefully crafted schedule and made this one my next. That novella, Bitter Pill, was released in Kindle and print format on May 29. I hope you agree that it was worth deviating from my plan to publish it.    
       

            The lessons here? I see at least two. First, even though you may think you’re through with whatever you’re doing (not just writing), God may have other ideas. Listen to Him. He’s always right. And second, when you make a plan, be willing to change it. Again, God’s ideas are better than ours. Every time.

            What has been your experience along these lines? I’d like to hear.

Ruthy here: Richard has graciously offered a Kindle or hard copy of his newest novella "Bitter Pill" to one fortunate villager! Leave a comment below... and think about the good Doc's musing that God's plans are better than ours... every time. 

*     *     *

Dr. Richard Mabry is a retired physician, now writing “medical mystery with heart.” His novels have garnered critical acclaim and been finalists for ACFW’s Carol Award, both the Romantic Times’ Inspirational Book of the Year and Reviewer’s Choice Awards, the Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and the Selah Award. He is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, the International Thriller Writers, and Novelists Inc. Bitter Pill is his latest novella.

He and his wife live in north Texas, where he writes, works on being the world’s greatest grandfather, and strives to improve his golf game. You can learn more about him at his website, and via his blog and Facebook page.


17 comments:

  1. Hi, Richard. I'm very encouraged and appreciative of your writing testimony and uplifting words. Through the years of trying to write I had plans and dreams. God had His own version, and definitely His own timing. And so I waited. Then publication by a traditional publisher did happen, followed by the Indie route of several novels; all this occurring because of His direction. I hadn't understood it at first but have now quit questioning, wondering. He's currently leading me in another direction, on top of my faith-based books. With no questions asked, I'm following! May your writing continue to be blessed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Elaine, that new direction sounds exciting! You'll have to let us know what you're up to!

      Delete
  2. Doc, we're so glad to have you with us again today! I can so relate to your post. I have had so many of my plans that have gone by the wayside as God works out His plan for me. :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. You are so right! God's plans are always better than mine. Every single time.

    A recent example began last year when my husband and I started looking for our retirement home. We were ready to downsize and move into the Black Hills from our house in the city. We made our "wish list" and, with the help of our realtor, started shopping. After ten or eleven months of this, a house came on the market that has NONE of the items on our "must have" list...except a stellar view. But when we toured it, we realized that it might not have everything we thought we wanted, but it is definitely the house we need. And God knew that. We're moving into the home He chose for us later this summer.

    That has been a great lesson for me as I negotiate the ups and downs of being a published author. What will my career look like a year from now? Only God knows! And I'm glad He does.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amen to that, Jan!! And I'm so glad you found your dream home!

      Delete
  4. Hello Richard, thanks for sharing your insights. I enjoy reading your books and look forward to picking up your latest novella (or maybe I'll be selected to win it here?? ;) ). The year I turned 30 was one of those years in my life I let go and let God lead. It was an incredible journey but one that definitely grew me spiritually, and eventually led me to meeting my husband. The blessings are so much more than we could think or ask when we follow God's lead! Thanks again for sharing with us. Lee-Ann

    ReplyDelete
  5. Always great to see you in Seekerville! Every year, I ask the Lord if I'm supposed to keep writing. I know there are other things he might want me to do so I spend time in prayer and listen to hear his response. So far, he keeps telling me to write.

    Getting confirmation from the Lord helps me push forward.

    Congrats on BITTER PILL! Love the cover and title. Will you provide a blurb and also give us a hint how this book differs from your other stories?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Debby, I love that you re-confirm every year!

      Delete
  6. Hey, Doc, so glad to see you here at Seekerville again! Thank you for the reminder that God has a definite plan, and that we're wise if we listen when He wants to change things up.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Good to see you here, Richard! I love your books and always read them. Don't enter me in the drawing 'cause I will be getting a copy soon!
    Keep up the great writing!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Great post. Always good to be reminded that the Lord will have plans for us that we may not even realize.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Now trying different browser. I've been attempting to leave comments all day, without results. Thanks to everyone for your patience.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This worked! I'm glad. You know, I've been having trouble with Safari this week.

      Delete
  10. Thank you for these wise words and reminder that God really cares for us.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Dr. Mabry Thank you for this timely post!

    ReplyDelete

If you have trouble leaving a comment, please "clear your internet cache" and try again. You can find this in your browser settings under "clear history."