Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Art of Persevering

I asked Karen Wingate, a fellow writer and friend to be a guest on my blog today. At first, Karen said, "What could I write about? Persevering?" That is exactly what I asked her to do. I think you will find her insights inspirational. Be sure to check out Karen's blog "Grace on Parade." I will return next week...and hopefully, you will have me back! 

The Art of Persevering 

by Karen Wingate

I'm an award winning author. Yes, sirree! Two years ago, at a writer's conference, I won the "Turtle Award" for the person who has waited the longest to have a book published.

The fact is, I'm still waiting. 

I had the seed of an idea for a unique approach to Christian education curriculum thirteen years ago. One company was interested but wanted it morphed into their structure.  No problem.  I changed my idea and wrote three books. I got paid and was told my books would be published the next year, then the next, then the next.  Two years ago, I was asked to correct the galleys with the assurance they would be published soon.  Six months ago, I was told they were in the spring, 2013 catalogue.

I'm still waiting.

I started writing my novel in 2007. Six years later, I've had multiple rejections.  I'm getting closer.  At least, I now have an agent.

I've read stories, and I imagine you have too, that tell of other authors who have faced years and multiple letters of rejection.  Madeleine L'Engle got 26 rejections for A Wrinkle in Time.  John Grisham was rejected by a dozen companies and sixteen agents for A Time To Kill. One publisher said of The Diary of Anne Frank, "The girl doesn't, it seems to me, have a special perception or feeling which would lift that book above the 'curiosity' level."

I have a love/hate relationship with those kind of stories.  They are reassuring to a point, that even the big name authors suffer multiple rejections. On the other hand, there's always that twinge of hope that I'll be different, that publishing companies won't take as long to discover my raw talent.

But, as I've waited and worked and waited some more, I've discovered something. An author doesn't just keep sending out the same manuscript over and over again.  Most authors don't write that perfect, awesome novel the first time then patiently wait for one company to screw their head on straight and see what the common reader will love about that potentially bestselling novel. I can imagine those famous authors tweaked each submission to make it a little better.  Each new contact was made with a little more confidence and professionalism.  Each rejection served as a reminder to keep growing, keep writing, keep shaping and sculpting the craft of writing.

Wise authors continue to hone their craft.  They evaluate why they got rejected and make the next submission better. They read books on writing.  They read other authors.  They keep networking.  They hire free lance editors to comb through their brain child for missing commas and extra quotation marks.  They listen to advice from others, yet have the courage to sort through the advice and find their own voice.  They keep working to make their writing stellar and their proposal appealing. They have the humility to admit they still need practice and precision at their craft.  And while they wait, they move to other writing challenges, so they keep their skills sharp. They keep going so they can keep growing.

And they pray. They serve God's people and listen to God's call on their lives.  They enjoy the journey as they hope for the fulfillment of their dreams. They grow in their trust of God, refusing to give up on the gift He has given them because God refuses to give up on us.

In the end, the turtle wins the race.
Any new skill takes time and practice to perfect, whether it's music, language acquisition, carpentry or cooking.  To become good at what we do, we have to practice, experiment, practice some more, work at it every day, try new methods and alternatives, and practice some more.  Writing is no different.  You may feel like a turtle, but in the end, the turtle wins the race.

That's perseverance.

Karen Wingate has written over 250 magazine articles and devotions, and many units of Christian education curriculum.  While waiting to hear from yet another publishing company about her first novel, a historical fiction set during the Great Depression, she is trying to apply the grammatical rules for commas as she edits her second novel.  Read stories of God's grace passed forward on Karen's website,

Here is a "Praise God" footnote for you! Last night I received this email from Karen:

Hi Rebecca. 
You’ll be amazed at what happened today. That guest blog I sent you starts out with a story of    how I wrote some curriculum years ago and it never got published. Well, today I walked into a Christian bookstore and there are my three books! The company never told me they were coming out this year and I never got author copies! No matter, they’re published. I bought a copy of each of them!
WhooHoo! Finally! The turtle won after all. Smile
Just thought you would like to know.
Karen Wingate


  1. Perseverance is an absolute must for a writer. Without it, there are only writers, no authors. Persevere, persevere, persevere!

  2. Thanks for being such an encouragement. Perseverance has such great rewards and so many people give up moments ahead of realizing their dream.


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