Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Divine Appointments?

We're joined today by Jessica Ferguson, the host of Praise, Prayers and Observations - and the erudite guru of all things writing. Welcome Jess!

If God knows and cares about each hair on our head, doesn’t it stand to reason that He cares about our writing? I know He does. We might laugh about divine appointments when it comes to meetings with agents and editors at conferences, but honestly, God cares about our appointments too. He makes things happen in His own way, in His own time. I have no doubt He knows exactly where our manuscripts will end up and when.

At one conference I attended, God told me I would be wasting my time when I met with a particular agent. No, He didn’t say it in a loud booming voice. I heard Him deep down in my gut. Give that appointment to someone else. That's not the agent for you. I didn't listen. Even though I’d been disappointed in that agent’s response during the agent's panel, I still didn’t listen to God. I can use pitching practice, I rationalized.

When God tells us loudly and clearly what He wants us to do, He means it. His orders are for our own good. He has a plan. When am I going to learn that?

I kept the appointment. I sat across from said agent and we clashed from the get-go. I came away from my fifteen minutes feeling battered and bruised, and less like a writer than ever before. Today, I still wonder who God wanted me to give that appointment to. I wish I’d listened to Him.

At another conference, my critique partners and I discussed how we planned to approach each editor and agent. One crit partner learned the editor of her choice wasn't accepting historicals so she kindly, generously, (obediently?) gave her slot to me. Today, my completed manuscript is on that editor’s desk.

Lesson here: Listen to God. It’s a given that when you get to the conference, you’ll want to change your plans because of what you hear and who you meet. If you’re in tune with God, paying attention to Him instead of focusing on your own plans (the way I did), you’ll be ahead in this publishing game. Our Almighty Father in Heaven has a plan for each word we write and each word we utter. And yes, He can continue with His plan in spite of our mistakes, but will He? I urge each of you to make it easy on yourself: Listen to God when you get to that conference. He’ll direct your steps to the editor, agent and publisher of His choice.

Abundant peace belongs to those who love Your instruction; nothing makes them stumble. Psalm 119:165

I won’t make a conference this year, but I pray each of you listen to God and have abundant peace as you sit in your appointments and pitch your manuscripts.
Jess is the author of The Groom Wore Blue Suede Shoes w/a Jessica Travis. She's also published in Chicken Soup for the Chocolate Lover's Soul, Daily Devotions for Writers and a number of regional magazines and newspapers. Jess has a heart for encouraging other writers.

Visit Jess at Praise, Prayers and Observations, her informative and entertaining blog.


Marcia Gruver said...

Jess, this is such great advice. We tend to make a right mess of things when we wrestle the reins from His hands. Thanks for sharing your wisdom.

Susan said...

I hear you, Jess. Why is it so hard for us, okay I meant me but us sounded so much less convicting, to remember that God's plan is sooooo much better than ours? Why, why, why, when my plans often end up like your agent appointment, do I still follow the wrong voice? Hmm, maybe because I scream and shout and God's voice is soft and I have to stop to listen. Thanks for reminding me to not only listen but to follow.

Linda Yezak said...

Great post, Jess. I hope when I go to my first ACFW conference, God speaks a bit louder than He usually does. In fact, a 2x4 to the head would be nice--anything to get my attention and keep me from messing up!

Missy Tippens said...

Great post, Jess! But I'm so sorry I won't see you at a conference this year!


Janelle said...

Hey Jess, great reminder of Who is truly in control and that His plans are always better than our own...if we'll only listen. Be sure to remind us again before we head off to the conference.

Debra Harris-Johnson said...

I have never met a person so spiritually connected as you are. Your spirit continues to bless us, the wannabe writers through encouragement, teaching, preaching, and especially sharing. May God contine to bless us with your friendship for many years to come.

The Voice said...

I agree with every comment. I pray that I can stop and listen and then to be able to follow the directions given.

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