I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Now what?

© Patrick Jordan
With a pounding heart and shaky finger, you pressed submit. Your contest entry or manuscript whizzed through cyber space to enter the inbox of the contest coordinator, agent, or editor of your choice. Or maybe you received "the call" and sold your first book!

Hooray!! You did it!! Congratulations!!

Now what?

1. Pray. Pray? Yes, pray and ask for His favor on your writing. Pray and ask for His will to be done--even if you don't final or if you receive a rejection letter from that agent or editor.

You see, God has a plan and a purpose for your life--a plan to give you a future and a hope. Long before the desire to write stirred your heart, God put His plans in place for when the time came for you to travel down that chosen path.

I believe every writer needs to feel the sting of rejection. I cried when I received my first rejection letter--ironically from Love Inspired, who is my new publisher! At that time, though, my writing wasn't ready. The feedback from the contests I entered and words from those who mentored me helped me to improve my writing.

2. Celebrate! You need to celebrate the milestones you reach as you strive for publication. Celebrate finishing that first draft. Celebrate submitting to that contest. Celebrate that contest final. Celebrate that agent acceptance. Celebrate that first sale.

When I received the call from my wonderful agent, Rachelle Gardner, that Love Inspired wanted to buy my book, I cried. Yes, I'm a sap. :-) The years of working harder to write better were paying off. 

3. Study the craft. Writers who don't invest in their craft become stagnant. Consider how you can improve a new technique in your next novel. Maybe it's dialogue. Or word painting. Or symbolism. 
But you know what?

4. Keep writing. Whether you submitted a contest entry, a manuscript for consideration, or sold your first novel, keep writing. Polish that manuscript or begin your next story. Writers write. Plain and simple.

5. Be prepared to wait. Writers wait. Agents wait. Editors wait. At each stage in your writing career, you'll be asking "now what?" and waiting.

With my first sale, I haven't arrived. I've simply taken a bend in the road for a new direction in my career. I still wonder "now what?" Now I have line edits, marketing, and the next books to consider.

Writing isn't easy. But if it's your heart's desire, you'll stay the course. While you're waiting, ponder "now what" and be prepared for God to take your breath away. 

John Waller - While I'm Waiting (Official Music Video) from Provident Label Group on Vimeo.

Your Turn: Are you thinking "now what?" At what stage are you in your writing career? How do you handle the waiting?


Congratulations to Katie Ganshert! She won the I.O.U. for an autographed copy of my novel, Lakeside Reunion, when it's available in the fall.

Lisa Jordan


  1. I'm a softie, too. I know I'll cry. God has taught me so much about trusting Him in this time.

    It's also been a great test to see how passionate I really am about writing.
    ~ Wendy

  2. Thanks, Lisa--helpful and nicely organized. This is an encouraging road map to keep travelling the writing road before us to see where it leads and how far we can go!

  3. Just what I needed today, Lisa. And I love the Waiting song at the end. I've learned waiting is an active verb. May God continue to bless your writing.

  4. I cried when an agent asked for a second look! I'll be a puddle on the floor when I find a publisher.

    I'm keeping busy while waiting. I'm taking a break from editing my book but I'm writing articles, book reviews, reading about writing, and submitting to other contests.

    Thanks for the "to-do" list while waiting. Praying is the most important step. Congratulations again on your book!

  5. Waiting. Yeah, that's the not-so-fun part of writing. But we don't have to waste the time. We can be productive--and we can also rest in the waiting time too. Refresh ourselves. Maybe pamper ourselves a bit. Reconnect with God and our family and friends . . . renew our spirits.
    And then get back to the writing world.
    It's what we do. It's who we are.
    Great post, LJ!

  6. Lisa, LOVED this post. The video made me cry. :) Both because of the message of the song, but also the message of the movie. :)

    I'm so glad you began that list with praying. Though I recently submitted something for the Frasier, and I prayed my through preparing the entry, I've almost been afraid to pray my entry would find favor. Thanks for that exhortation.

    Waiting is active, and I plan to keep writing and waiting with anticipation for whatever the Lord has for me on this writing path. Beth, you're right too, it is good to rest in the waiting process too. :)

    Thanks for the "list," Lisa!

  7. One other thing we can do while we're waiting: Celebrate others' success.
    Now that's fun!!

  8. Awesome post, LJ. I'm in the waiting to have time to write fiction stage. I am still working on my thesis, and am not letting myself multitask one more thing until that is done. I long to write again.

  9. Thank you, LJ! I first heard that song during worship at my first ACFW conference in Denver. I was so moved I had to sit and write down the words. In that moment, God spoke to me not about my writing, but about my journey to healing from my car accident injuries and how He wanted me to wait.

    It has been over 4 years, and I'm still waiting. This song is just as moving and appropriate as it was in Denver 2 years ago. Today, especially, I needed to be reminded how God wants me to be waiting. And as crazy as this might seem, I don't think it's a coincidence that I woke up this morning to your post and the video the woman took of the 2X4 board flying through her windshield. I guess what I'm trying to say is that your "To Do" list applies to any situation in which one must wait. I can:

    1.)Pray for my own healing as well as the healing of others.
    2.)Celebrate that I am alive.
    3.)Study the Bible!
    4.)Keep living and moving forward every day.
    5.)Be prepared to wait. God told me to wait on Him and I would renew my strength, mount up with wings as eagles, walk and not be weary, run and not faint.

    Thank you, my friend, for the reminder!!

  10. Love your post, LJ! Practical and also encouraging...because it reminds me that there's purpose when we're in waiting mode. There are things for us to do an accomplish while we're waiting...including learning to trust God's timing! :)