I was hurt last week. Not by a critique or critic, those I can take. I was hurt by an expert because they caused me to doubt my path.
You know those experts, the ones who tell you to do this and that, and don’t even try doing xyz because you’re not ready yet? The ones who leave you feeling like you will never be who you feel you are called to be? I don’t want to discount them, because they are experts in their craft, which happens to be the same craft I am trying to get into. However, I don’t want take every single word they have to say as if it were plated in gold. At least not after last week.
Please remember, at least somewhere deep down in your soul, that God doesn’t always take the proven path to success. Sometimes, He has other ideas and He doesn’t listen to the experts.
Am I saying you should stop filling your inbox with all those helpful writing emails from noted authors and agents? No. Should you blaze your own trail because you have a calling from God and anyone who stands in your way is just plain wrong? No. Am I confusing you yet?
What I am saying is this: Do continue to learn the how’s an why’s. Do continue to add to your vocabulary and infuse your writing with new things you have learned. Do write what you are called to write and if it feels like you should take a chance, like you are being shoved off a cliff, sometimes you should take the jump. Sometimes God has reasons for you to do those things.
But don’t allow yourself to get too discouraged if that leap of faith was only meant to teach you something. Perhaps that something couldn’t be learned by you any other way. We each have our own mistake-filled, utterly human path that we have to follow. For some of us, it will eventually lead to self-publication and if your words are then put before the people the Lord intended to read them, you have served your purpose. For others, the battle for traditional publication will follow the long battle plan. The plan that will take you many years to complete, but if that is truly where God wants you to be (i. e. you are feeling truly led in that direction and not pushing that direction) than He already knows where you will publish and how many you will sell to and people you were meant to touch. And some people, bless their hearts and try not to be jealous, will get that contract and be published before you, seemingly without any effort. Why? God had a different plan for them.
If we listen too much to experts, and not the Ultimate Expert, we deny ourselves the reward for our gift. Our stories, non-fiction or otherwise, are intended to glorify God and if we push ourselves too soon or don’t act when we feel led to because of expert advice, we are not being Christians, we are not allowing Christ to lead our lives.
I want my book out there in the hands of readers more than I can ever tell you, but for reasons I can’t elaborate on completely, I want it to be published traditionally. I have a feeling the Lord is trying to teach me patience. You would think with four children I would get the gold star, but that just isn’t the case. I know He didn’t have me work this hard for nothing. I know it will be published eventually; it is only a matter of timing.
When all is said and done, I only ask that you listen to the experts with your ears not your heart, use what you can and grow from it, but don’t let it cloud your path, God doesn’t consult experts.