It’s time for Raven to test his wings (pun so intended). With the help of friends and family, I believe I’ve polished the manuscript up as much as I can.
Compiling a list of agents to query, checking all their submission guidelines, scrolling queryshark to learn the dos and don’ts–it’s all starting to feel a lot like hunting for a job, which is one of the the most miserable things I’ve ever had to do.
It makes me want to retreat to a safer task, like sewing or knitting. Something where if I screw up nobody has to know, and I can always go back and fix it.
But that’s not going to get me published.
This last weekend I had the opportunity to help out with a conference for the teens in my congregation. The theme for the conference was Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
It seems I needed to hear that message as much as the kids did.
I can do hard things. I can face inevitable rejection.
Will Raven’s story get published? Maybe. Will I learn how to be a better and more professional author? Yes. Will my experiences help me get something else published someday? Definitely!
So I’m going to grit my teeth and send out those first queries–and try to keep things in perspective.
Now for something vastly more important than yarn or novels.
This weekend Christians all over the world celebrate the Atonement of Jesus Christ. He lived and died so all humankind could live again. Because of Him, life does not end after death, and life can be a joy while it lasts.
I’d say that’s good news.
Enjoy a short uplifting video produced by my church.
Or read about Jesus Christ in the New Testament: Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John.
I always try to draw on my own emotions and experiences when writing, to make my characters more life-like and relatable. But sometimes a story idea itself springs from my struggles, and perhaps that is when I do my best, truest work.
Why? Why do I change my name and my face, my culture and maybe my planet, to tell a story from my own life? It might be to gain a little distance, a little perspective and objectivity.
But I think I do it out of loneliness.
I create another person in another place going through my struggle so I feel less alone. Finally there is someone who understands every iota of my pain, and works through it alongside me.
That’s what I hope my best, truest stories can do for someone else in this world, maybe just one person I’ve never met, who picks up a story out of loneliness and finds she is not alone after all.
In writing this out, I’ve realized something else: if I’m looking for the balm that comes of deep, shared pain, I’ve already found Him. I hope I can remember that, going forward, and lean on my Lord Jesus Christ more than I am wont to.
As I write, and try to help, and try to heal.