Thursday, August 31, 2006

Softening the Blow

By Nichole Giles

Lately I’ve learned the value of diversifying my work. I generally have several different projects going at once. In the spring, someone asked me how many “several” means, so I counted. At that time, several meant thirteen. I was almost overwhelmed by that large number. But these last few weeks as responses to my work have begun to show up in my mailbox, I’ve discovered there is virtue in diversity.

I recently finished my first middle grade novel and mailed it to an agent. During the summer, I also wrote several magazine stories and articles, and kept up on my weekly blog submissions—which has proved challenging for many of us. I have also done a great deal of research and begun working on my next big project. All the while, I’ve been jotting ideas down for future writing.

Sounds busy, doesn’t it? When I look at my ever-growing list of works-in-progress, I feel a great deal of pressure to get it all done, and I can’t seem to find the time to do it all. So everyday, when I have a few minutes set aside for writing, I look at my list and pick one thing to focus on for the day. I work on that project until I either run out of time or my eyes won’t focus anymore, and then I put it away. And I do it again the next day, and the next, and the next.

And the rewards? Last month I finished several projects all within a few days of each other. It felt good to stand in line at the post office with seven submission packets all packaged and ready to fly off into the world. Even better than sending out several submissions at once is getting several replies within days of each other. I admit, there have been rejections but—more importantly—there have been contracts.

As difficult as it has been to keep up with my many projects, I am beginning to reap the rewards. For instance, the timing of one particular contract last week was more than just a coincidence. I was sent a contract for one of the church magazines one day, and the very next day I received a book rejection. I have the distinct impression that the timing of the contract was of great importance. I believe it happened this way for a reason. I feel like it was the Lord’s way of softening the blow. Maybe it’s His way of telling me not to give up, that what I’m doing is real, and of value to Him. And I need to keep on trying—because if I do my best, and have faith, He’ll show me what I’m supposed to do next.

So even though I’ll keep writing every day, I’m not going to stress about whatever rejections or roadblocks come my way. I’ve decided to let Heavenly Father take the wheel for a while. Because when your eyes get blurry, and your knees begin to cramp, and about the time your rear end starts to fall asleep, it’s time to close your eyes and rest while someone else drives the car. He’ll make sure you get where you need to be.


Anonymous said...

I loved this. What a great perspective. I think all writers should work toward developing this attitude.

Nichole Giles said...

Thanks. I'm trying to see the positive side of it. Glad you liked it.


Stephanie Black said...

NIchole, congratulations on the contract with the church magazine! What exciting news! Thanks for such an uplifting blog about some of the Lord's many "tender mercies."

Nichole Giles said...

"Tender mercies." I love that! I'm glad to share.