Wednesday, September 4, 2019

A Writer's Journey


by Mindy Obenhaus
I’m celebrating two milestones this month. Six years ago, my very first book was released. Gosh, that was an exciting time. After eight years, that dream I’d worked so hard to achieve was finally coming true. Holding that baby in my hands for the very first time was such a thrill.

Of course, achieving that goal didn’t mean I was done. Instead, I kept working, setting new goals. Which brings me to my second milestone. September 2019 marks the release of my eighth book. A brand-new baby that’s every bit as exciting as the first one.
Writing is a journey. A long, excursion filled with ups and downs, successes and failures, joy and tribulation. A journey that will grow and stretch you, and take you to unfamiliar, sometimes uncomfortable, places.

The realization of these dual milestones had me asking myself what I’d learned since that first book was released. Here are just a few.

Keep moving forward – I worked on that first book for years, but a published author doesn’t have that luxury. If you want to build a career, you have to be productive. No longer can I afford to sit back and wait to see if a book is accepted. I have to move on to the next story. If I get revisions, I revise. If I get rejected I have to ask myself if what I had can be fixed or should I put my efforts into something new.

Be adaptable – In the world of publishing, change can lurk around every corner. Your editor sends you major revisions on your latest manuscript. Or worse, you’ve been assigned a new editor, or your publishing house has been bought out. Adaptability is key in the world of publishing. It’s part of that growing and stretching. Yes, it can be painful, but the good news is that it also makes you stronger, so when the next change comes along, you know you’ve got what it takes to tackle it.

Remember your calling – There have been times when I’ve felt led to write things that might make me uncomfortable. But rather than writing what God told me to write, I did things my way. The easy way. The way that didn’t bring me to tears and have me buying stock in Kleenex. And every stinking time I chose to go my way, I failed and had to rewrite.

God wants us to tell His story, not ours. And if we remember that, we can save ourselves a lot of stress and rewrites. Of course, this applies to life in general, not just writing.
Nowadays, my writing life looks a lot different than it did six years ago. I’m more disciplined. And as I look back on my journey thus far, I can see how I’ve grown. But it was a path I couldn’t have walked alone.

To celebrate these two milestones, I’m giving away a copy of my first book, The Doctor's Family Reunion, and my eighth book, Reunited in the Rockies, to one lucky visitor. Simply leave a comment telling me about one of your recent milestones to be entered. 


Three-time Carol Award nominee, Mindy Obenhaus, writes contemporary romance for Love Inspired Books. She’s passionate about touching readers with Biblical truths in an entertaining, and sometimes adventurous, manner. When she’s not writing, she enjoys cooking and spending time with her grandchildren at her Texas ranch. Learn more at www.MindyObenhaus.com




33 comments:

  1. Good morning, Mindy! Congratulations on your milestones! :)

    My own milestones this year include my 60th birthday back in March, our 35th year in this house (as of the day after my birthday), and one big one yet to come: our 40th wedding anniversary on December 1st, when we plan to renew our vows after our church service (since it's a Sunday).

    Another one--if you can even call it a milestone--is I sat and wrote a full book (nearly 100,000 words) this year, the first one I'd written in quite a few years, and one that I intend to submit for publication. And what you wrote about "Remember your calling"--"God wants us to tell His story, not ours. And if we remember that, we can save ourselves a lot of stress and rewrites"--resonates with me because the book that I am currently editing just flowed from my fingertips this year, as if it was being poured into ME before I could pour it into the computer. I'd never had that happen before. And each time I read it (while editing, etc.), I still love the story and the hero and heroine.

    Thank you again for this post! And congratulations again!

    Many blessings,
    Melanie

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    1. Melanie, right back atcha with the congratulations. Especially 40 years of marriage. That's wonderful!

      And finishing any manuscript is always a milestone, but 100K is truly to be commended. And the fact that it just flowed... You know where that story came from. Or should I say "Who" it came from. That alone is the best feeling in the world. Kudos to you, Melanie.

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    2. Melanie, those are lovely milestones! I was a December bride, too! We'll be celebrating 30 years this year!

      Congrats on finishing a BIG manuscript!

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  2. Congratulations, Mindy, on writing eight books in six years!I'd say that's extremely productive. And thanks you for the reminder that God wants us to tell His story, not ours. That helps when we're having a "bad" writing day and the words just aren't flowing. Then there's the great days when the tap just gushes away!

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    1. Laurie, those days when the words won't flow are the worst. That's when we have to draw nearer to Him and trust that He'll still see us through.

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  3. Mindy, congrats on hitting those milestones! This truly is a journey, isn't it?

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  4. Mindy, congrats on six years and all those wonderful books in print!

    Today's blog is delightful. I especially like your comment: God wants us to tell His story, not ours. That's something I need to remember. Plan to post it near my computer and to keep it in focus as I write. Yes, I've tried the easy way at times, but as you mentioned in your own writing, I usually have to rework those passages and include what God wants!

    Have a joyous day!

    Continued prayers for those in the path of Dorian. Let us know if you're battling the wind, rain and storm surge. Some, no doubt, will be out of power. Praying for all needs and a ton of prayers for the people in the Bahamas and for those involved in the relief efforts! God bless them all!

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    1. Thank you for the reminder, Debby. Continuing to pray for those in Dorian's path.

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  5. Congratulations on 6 years! My biggest milestone was publishing my first book a little over 2 years ago. I've often wondered if the reason I've not been able to sell a 2nd book is because I might be trying to follow my own path and not the one God has laid out for me. We recently had a chat about that I'm hoping that I've been redirected.

    Thanks for the post, it was great inspiration for me today!

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    1. LeAnne, God has a way of getting our attention, doesn't He? Praying you will clearly hear His redirection.

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  6. Mindy, that's amazing! I can't believe it's been 6 years already. Time sure does fly! You've done an amazing job. Congrats on the milestones!

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  7. The milestone I’m hitting this year is my 65th birthday in December. Where did time go? The milestone I’m hitting this week is hopefully to finish all my canning. Thank you for sharing. Blessings

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    1. Ooo, what you canning, Lucy? December seems to be a popular month for milestones around here. Birthdays, anniversaries... And you know, 65 is the new 45. ;)

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  8. Congratulations! I just signed my third contract last month so I am pretty stoked. And November will be my third anniversary of being published. :-)

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    1. Congratulations, Amy! New contracts are always cause for celebration.

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  9. Mindy - congrats on your eighth release! And thanks for the reminder to write what God wants you/us to write. I can think of a few milestones where I've let go of what I wanted and God gave me so much more than I imagined. Letting go of one of those things, and standing by convictions He placed on my heart, brought me to meeting my husband. One of the biggest milestones in my life! Blessings to you. Lee-Ann

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    1. Lee-Ann, I'd have to agree that meeting your husband is a pretty significant milestone. Letting go is never easy, but trusting that God has something even better in store is always worth it.

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  10. Eight books in six years! And you had life to live during that time, too! You have shown willpower, dedication, perseverance, and reliance on our Lord through it all!

    I saw Reunited in the Rockies in our Walmart's minuscule Love Inspired display yesterday! Congratulations on your new release!

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    1. Forgive all those exclamation points. I'm just so stinkin' excited for you!

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    2. LOL! Jan, I love those exclamation points!

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  11. Hi Mindy:

    With all due respect, I can't believe that God wants us to tell His story and not ours! But, then again, you may mean something different by 'writing God's story' than the literal meaning.

    For example: would you want your children to write only your stories? Wouldn't you want to see what they could write on their own? Wouldn't you want them to express their own individuality and experience the full joy of creativity?

    What would you tell a mother or what would you feel for a little girl who was told by her mother: "Don't write a story about your experiences in the Girl Scouts. Write one about my experience delivering newspapers at five in the morning during the depression."

    I'd cry for that poor little girl even though the mother's story may well be a much better one.

    I think, like human parents, God wants us to write stories He can be proud of and not necessarily those He would dictate.

    Now, of course, if one wants to write stories that God would disapprove of, then that would be a whole different story…especially if they were Christian stories.

    Vince

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    1. I hear your argument, Vince, but I respectfully have to disagree. What you said is not what I meant. I think God wants us to tell the stories He gives us. The ones He whispers to us. The one's He breathed into our creative minds and no one else's. The one's we can either choose to ignore and go our own way, or be obedient to and bring about the story He designed for us to tell.

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  12. Great post, Mindy, and congratulations! I finished my copy of Reunited in the Rockies (thank you!) and loved it! Plus, the cover is beautiful. I'm such a sucker for a pretty cover.

    I think what you said about writing the story God gives you is spot on. There are times when He just gives us the words and they flow from a place of deep inspiration. They are often the pieces that I cry over. Those moments don't happen as often as I'd like, but when they do they are so sweet.

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    1. I'm so glad to hear you enjoyed the story, Glynis. I love that cover, too.

      And I like what you said about words flowing from a place of deep inspiration. Those almost always make me cry, too. So forget the makeup and pass the Kleenex.

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  13. Mindy, congratulations on 8 books. I finished writing my first book this year. Still working on revising. Please enter me in the drawing.

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    1. Congratulations, Sandy! I remember how it felt to finish that first book. You've done something that many people set out to do, yet never achieve. Way to go!

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  14. Mindy, I so enjoyed your post. I didn't realized you've published 8 books! Congratulations! :) What you said here:

    "God wants us to tell His story, not ours. And if we remember that, we can save ourselves a lot of stress and rewrites. Of course, this applies to life in general, not just writing."

    Man, this spoke to me. I needed this reminder that God wants us to tell HIS story--both in our writing and in our living. Thanks for the encourgement, Mindy!

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    1. Jeanne, I need to be reminded of this daily. We tend to get so absorbed in our stories that we forget to live-out His.

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  15. I enjoyed your post, Mindy, and congratulations on your 8th book! That's fantastic!

    My husband and I celebrated our 51st wedding anniversary this summer! I can't believe we're old enough for that to happen! I'm glad he's stuck with me all these years! He's not perfect, but he's perfect for me!

    I'd love to be entered in the drawing.

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    1. Congratulations, Winnie! 51 years of marriage is definitely something to celebrate. That's so exciting. And it's obvious that you two married very, very young. ;)

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    2. Yes, we married in kindergarten! LOL

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