Getting Real

Taken around the time I wrote my first novel, five years ago.

Dude, time for a discouraging, yet very honest, post.

For nearly five years, I’ve checked my e-mails daily, hoping for a word from an agent…and then from a publisher. Sometimes I think I’m going to be certifiable at the end of this experience. I’ve wrestled with grief. I’ve compared myself to other authors. I’ve poured my heart out to God, only to come up feeling empty and un-listened to.

I’ve skimped on meal-planning for my fam. I’ve fallen behind in my laundry. I’ve ticked off my husband with my oft-pensive moroseness over the hardships of getting published. Sometimes I sit in church, and instead of listening, I’m brainstorming for my story. 

I’ve almost given up, more than a few times. In fact, I don’t know why I HAVEN’T given up on this dream of being published–of having my books speak to people. I think it’s because of blog readers, writer friends, family, and FB supporters who won’t give up on ME.

That, and the fact that I don’t know how to go back. I can’t go back to NOT being a writer. Yes, it’s possible to take down the blog, the twitter, the FB author page–I could try to go back to being a homeschooling mom and wife, who was content to be only those things.

Sometimes, I honestly wish I could. 

But I’ve come too far to go back, even though I have no clue when I’ll be seriously moving forward. People are following this dream, right along with me. People who want to read my stuff. People who think I can write.

I don’t even have a sum-it-up take-away today. I guess I’m just here to say that I’m Heather Day Gilbert, author, and I couldn’t give up writing if I tried. 

27 thoughts on “Getting Real

  1. Heather, I think we've all had dismal days where doubt seems to drown us. And no I didn't just plan all those "d" word.Every day you trust God to work on your behalf, every day you write a blog post, every day you write, revise, plot, dream, every day you connect with writers and readers…YOU. ARE. SERIOUSLY. MOVING. FORWARD.You're a gem, friend. When God is in it, it'll happen. No man thwarts God's will. πŸ™‚ I live on that one!I also visit Abraham's story often. When God?? I'm old! "No one born in my house belongs to me!" I feel that frustration and yet can giggle, b/c I know the outcome. But he did not. Not the timing anyway.I think of Joseph and how his throat burned from begging and pleading through sobs and screams not to be sold into slavery, yet he abided and trusted. And then when he did the right things and didn't sin against God with Potiphar's wife, he wasn't patted on the back and rewarded in the sense he surely expected, but landed in prison. Yet God had been working behind the scenes, guiding him to places of darkness, loneliness, frustrations, and heartache before he could make him ruler of a nation. It's these things that keep me going when I want to curl up and think about tossing in the towel. And I pray today you'll be encouraged by them too. I know you know all this! Sometimes we just need to get it off our chest! πŸ™‚ Hugs and prayers and chins up today, lady! And hey, if nothing else, you got beautiful going for you! πŸ™‚ You have such a classic beauty, if I haven't mentioned that before, in a non-creeper kind of way. lol

  2. Jessica, thanks so much for all those thoughts (love the "d" alliteration, non-intentional as it was!).And you're so right. We're reading about David and how he was running from Saul forEVER and he had all these rough dudes surrounding him and he could've killed Saul 2x, but he WAITED for God to put him in position as the king. That kind of patience is mind-boggling to me. Same with Joseph…and so many of those prophets, who had to live horrid, spat-upon, hunted-down lives, but they kept on doing what they were supposed to.And thanks for the compliments, girlie! You're lovely yourself! And those white hairs have multiplied on my head since this pic was taken 5 years ago! HA.

  3. You can't give it up, it's who you are. Just like you're a wonderful wife and mom..you're a wonderful writer. Everyday you write, you are moving forward even though you don't see it for yourself. Hang in there girl!

  4. Heather, I've only been at this for a year and I already feel the way you do. I couldn't go back now, even if I wanted to. God has shown me something in this year. He showed me that my writing journey is like a 1,000 piece puzzle. He's slipping each piece into place, in his own timing and his own way. He knows what the final picture will look like, but I can only see one piece at a time. Every once in a while he finishes a section of the puzzle, and I can see that picture coming into focus a little more, but I stil don't see the whole thing. It's so much more than writing – it's character building and faith-walking.

  5. Jill, thank you for those encouraging words! And Gabrielle–what a vivid word picture that is. I never thought of it that way! It seems like an endless trudge sometimes…maybe an odyssey, but not in a "cool" way. HEE. Anyway, yes, the faith-growing is hard. I've lately been trying to focus on giving thanks for what is COMING from God (since He's surely heard all my gazillions of prayers) instead of praying the same rote requests over and over. It's helping me believe that there is more to this than I can see.

  6. My name is Becky Doughty, and I'm here to vouch for you. You're an author. And you're right – there's no going back.And yes, I don't know what we'd do without our support systems. My husband is my champion, my biggest fan, and I know your David is yours. God is our Rock – but I also understand the feeling of shaky ground underfoot and the cry out to God, "Where ARE You?!!?" Days when my knees give out, then I have no alternative but to pray. What the heck? I'm on my knees anyway, right?I know I'm supposed to pray first, last, and in between, but when God seems silent, I go to His vessels – my husband and friends – and ask them to speak to me for Him. Just like you've done today.And their words are often HIS spoken, audible answers. How can I say that God is silent?Love you, my author friend.

  7. Any writer can identify, Heather. It's been ten years of writing for me, though I've only recently started seriously pursuing getting published. My critique partner and I regularly tell each other we're ready to give it up. Now when either one of us says it, the other one responds with something like, "I'm sorry you're having a bad day (or week), but we both know you don't mean it. If you could have given it up, you'd have done it already. Keet at it." I truly believe that persistence is what gets almost anyone there, just not on the timetable they may have chosen. If you're getting positive feedback, you're on the right track.

  8. If we're not honest, what are we?And people love honest writing.The waiting . . . waiting . . . waiting that is part of the journey along the writing road — oh, how I wish that was optional. All the writers I know wish they could opt-out of the waiting. The wondering. We wish we could figure out the answer to "When?"And the "When?" question changes, depending upon where you are along the writing road.But here's the thing: (at least it's my takeaway from your post)You know who you are.And who you are not.You are a writer, whatever happens. And whatever doesn't happen.You can't go back.You've been changed by the journey — scarred and glorified.And better able to reflect Him to the world in your writing.

  9. Your post is refreshing because it's real. Honest. Sincere. Thanks for sharing, Heather. We all feel this way sometimes. I do too. Now, with a crazy work schedule, I'm trying to find time for book 3 and wondering when on earth I'm going to be able to fit it in. But the honest truth is, I can't stop writing. Even if I never sold another story, I'd still be writing. Don't be discouraged. God gave you the writing virus for a reason. He will complete what He started in you. In the meantime, never, never, never, never, ever, ever, ever give up!

  10. Aw, what a blessing to pop in and find all these kind remarks! Yes, Becky, I hear ya! And you are a WRITER, too! And Rachel, wow–ten years. I can't imagine it…and then I CAN! AGH. But I'm so glad you're going after this gung-ho now. Yes, those crit partners/writing friends can see into our innermost insecurities and come alongside us.And Beth–sometimes I think I'm more scarred than glorified! HA. But I love your description–yes, we're asking "When!?"And Adam–just got your book today and thanks for the words in the front. I do plan to stay this course, come what may. At least, I feel that way TODAY…hee.And Lisa, thanks so much! I appreciate it!

  11. Remember what is says in Esther? "For such a time as this".God gave you a gift, and whether or not you are ready, His timing is never off.When it is time for you to shine, you will have been prepared, just like Esther, for such a time as God chooses for you.:)

  12. I love your honesty. It makes you who you are. If we can't be honest, what are we? Keep at it, girl. God's best is often just around the corner, and it'll happen when you least expect it. For now, keep being faithful to the calling He's given you. And THAT, right there, is success.

  13. Keep writing and submitting – that's the only way to succeed. You can't be 'discovered' if you haven't shared your work! One day it will happen.Hubby is a musician – he's plodding along, gigging in pubs, sometimes to 2 men and their dogs, other times to larger audiences. He's making a living – and year on year his reach is getting bigger (bear with me, there's a point to this…)Contrast this to the 'musicians' who give up after six months because they aren't famous and think they've failed.You've spent five years doing the groundwork that Hubby is doing. One day, you'll get that break – your MS will land on the right desk at the right time. Good luck πŸ™‚

  14. Botanist, yes, we just keep trying, don't we? And writing is so fulfilling, in and of itself. And yet you want these stories to reach others. And Annalisa (pretty name!)–great example w/your hubby. We can't all be "American Idol" flash-in-the-pan successes. I'd rather build my talent for the long-term, like he is.And yes, praying for that right desk to be hit!

  15. It is so easy to give in to those negative thoughts, but the fact that your holding fast and continuing your quest proves that you're a writer. The tumblers will click into place…the combination is just complex. Hang in there!! πŸ™‚

  16. Hah! You sound just like a writer. Read my lips and repeat after me…"it's God's timing, not mine." Your writing won't move until He says so. And then nothing will be able to stop it.In the meantime, keep seeking after God and keep writing. Oh yeah, and don't forget to keep your chocolate supply handy.

  17. I giggled when you mentioned daydreaming about your stories when in church, supposed to be listening to the sermon. I've done that too, lol! And it always makes me feel so horrible. πŸ™‚ Heather, I know what you're talking about. Sometimes I wish I could go back to the Gwen who was content to read books and watch movies in her spare time. But like you, I can't. And I don't think God wants us to. He gave you your writing gift for a reason. And every time you sit down and write on those stories, you are using your gift to glorify Him. He smiles when you write. You're not going to be one of those people who stammer at the throne of Christ, trying to explain why they didn't use the gifts He'd given them. And personally, I think God has a glorious library, filled with the stories his children have written. He bottles our tears, so you know he treasures our creations. πŸ˜‰ Bless you my friend.

  18. Gwen, that is just astonishingly beautiful and uplifting! Sometimes I do feel like I have only one gift to do anything with–one gift that merges my spiritual gifts perfectly. It's hard to justify typing away on books when you could be serving somehow in church. But I feel I'm in the period of my life when this is it–what I need to be doing w/my time. I KNOW you get that, and thanks so much for the thoughts of that library. I'll enjoy strolling through that someday, taking my time and reading our offerings to God!

  19. Hang in there, Heather. I know, I know. Not much comfort in those words. But I know well the hunger you feel for your writing. If I told you where I really was in terms of personal sacrifices, you would think I'd lost my grip on reality. But I want it just that bad. I hope you do, too!

  20. Thanks for stopping in, Byron (cool name there!). And yes, we do make sacrifices for this crazy writer life. And sometimes, we just seem like crazy writers! AND I've obviously had too much coffee today. Anyway, all the best w/your writing–enjoyed your post on Suite T.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s