“When is book three coming out?”
I am asked this question in some form or another nearly every week.
And every time, I shrug and say…”It’s coming along.”
And it is. Half of my writing process happens in my head. Dialogue and plot lines dance, tangle, and…unravel, and the process begins again. Snippets of daily life–radio programs, conversations with friends, news stories–they enter in and sharpen the plots I’ve begun to play with. Then, eventually, I have to commit to the story and do the writing part. And I’m there with book three. Have been there for a while and have written the beginning ever so slowly and carefully. But, I keep stopping. I can’t get it just how I want it and as the conclusion–and to me the most important installment–of the trilogy it needs my utmost care and attention.
In all of this I also learned that my publishing company is no longer publishing the way they once were. Now they help authors self publish and the cost is much more than I can swing any time soon.
So, I took a break.
I wrote something else. Three other novels, actually. Two were specifically written for a publishing company that encourages authors to submit proposals even if they don’t have an agent. Even better? They offer advance money. I told myself that I could not only help my hard working husband pay off the rest of our debt that we’ve been plugging away at for years, but I could also use the money to publish book three. The novels were fun and easy to write;”Beach Reads” is how I would categorize them. And don’t we all crave beach reads every so often? I had a lot of fun writing the books and even submitted a proposal for one to that publisher five months ago.
I know a few women in my area that write successfully–very successfully–for this publisher. One of them is kind enough to answer questions I have or just those “Ahhh! When will they answer??” texts I send her way. She’s been encouraging, letting me know the publishers are actually in the middle of a move and taking a long time to get back to their established authors, let alone pitches from new ones.
And then the company launched a huge writing contest. In a category that I don’t write and have no business writing.
In the meantime, I’ve continued to write, to take notes, to outline and dabble. And read. I’ve read A LOT.
I figure if I can’t publish a book this year, I might as well read other ones and write reviews for those authors.
So I wait.
And sometime this week in all of the waiting and reading and writing, I admitted something to myself:
I don’t want to write for that big publisher that pays advances. Or, rather, I don’t know that I’m supposed to. There’s nothing wrong with the company, but I know that my work would change. I kept editing these books I’ve written with this publisher in mind and realized that I wanted them to be so much more. That I had other ideas for these characters that don’t fit in with the guidelines I would need to adhere to in order to write for that big house.
I took a deep breath yesterday and pulled the proposal.
Lightening didn’t strike. I didn’t feel an overwhelming sense of peace. In fact, a few little things came up to remind me that I have been less than successful in this arena.
But a good friend talked me down from my ledge of self-doubt and frustration. She reminded me of my convictions and encouraged me in what the Lord has created me to do. Truly, being creative is one of the most soul crushing experiences I’ve ever faced.
So, yes. Book three is coming along. I’m working on it. Slowly, carefully, methodically. I stop to dabble in other things because the subject was not one I ever thought I would write about and I need the emotional release of a Christian romantic comedy sometimes. And as it stands I don’t have a publisher.
But I still feel that the Lord called me to write these books and others. And I don’t want to lose sight of why I write: to point others to Christ for His glory. Even if I never make money. Even if these stories sit on my computer and no one but my Dad sees them.
Even if just being faithful to pursue what He’s called me to do never materializes in a tangible way that I can share with you; it will be enough.
B.D. Riehl is the author of The Earth is Full and The Heavens are Telling both available here