And, of course, meeting with agents.
Many writers go to writers' conferences with the intention of pitching the novel (or other writing project) to agents. I did, although pitching my manuscript wasn't my primary reason for attending. That said, I've seen the anxiety that agent appointments can bring—to the point where one conferee who I met in the ladies' room this year was sick with nerves before meeting with an agent. Why? Because writers want to be published. Many will say they need to be published. We want to be validated in our ability to write well and impact our readers. For some, it's a desire that haunts them day and night. I know. I've been there, done that—once upon a time.
In the last few years, I've come to realize a much more important reason for writing. God has showed me over and over that what He puts on my heart to write is as much for me as it is for my readers. The issues I address in my characters' lives often end up applying to my own life as well, although our circumstances aren't necessarily the same or even similar. And, incredibly, I've learned so much about myself—and about how God sees me—through my characters and what they learn about themselves throughout their story.
God is awesome that way, knowing just how to speak to us in the language we understand best.
As I thought about this today, I was reminded of a quote by author Ted Dekker. He said, "You are a writer for your own transformation, not for your success. Let go of the need to be better than you are and discover your true beauty right now through your writing. Your focus is to live life, not to publish books, so focus on your writing as a means to knowing God."
Maybe you're at that difficult place right now, yearning for success in some area of your life. But God doesn't call us to be "successful" as the world defines it; He calls us to be faithful. Then through our faith and trust in Him, He can use our gifts for His glory and the success of His plan to bring all people to Him. If you're discouraged about your current minimal or lack of "success," take heart. If you're living for Him and dedicating your talents and passion to Him, He will bring about what's meant to be in His perfect timing. Know that—and embrace how the gift He's given you can bring you even closer to Him.
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean
on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths."
– Proverbs 3:5–6