|Hope Toler Dougherty|
The third person in my four-person critique group signed with an agent, leaving me sitting on the sidelines. Thoughts of “Why them and not me?” and “What’s wrong with my writing?” plagued me, but I prayed through those feelings, persevering with rewriting, and reading craft books, and attending conferences.
In the spring of 2013, my twin boys were high school seniors, waiting to see what their future held.
One son already had his world rocked when West Point declined his application citing a childhood asthma diagnosis. Almost ten years of dreaming about attending a service academy were dashed in one letter.
Meanwhile, his twin still hoped to join the Long Gray Line. In early May, our congressperson called, offering him a place in the Class of 2017.
Great news, right?
Crazy awkwardness filled our house that night. We wanted to celebrate with Quinn who was about to step onto the path of his dreams, but we had to temper our excitement and consider the feelings of Lane who had to consider Plan B.
My sons love each other and are each other’s best friend. Lane was happy for Quinn, but he wanted the West Point experience, too.
Tough night, indeed.
Before bedtime, I went to his room and said, “Lane, I know how you feel.”
He didn’t respond verbally, but his look conveyed his thoughts. “You seriously think you know how I feel?”
I explained about being the last one to become agented, about feeling left out, not good enough. I explained I didn’t want my friends not to have agents, but I wanted one also. I knew he didn’t want to take away Quinn’s opportunity, but he wanted to go, too.
Realization that I did understand dawned on his face, and in that moment, I understood my writing journey.
God gifted me with disappointment and used it to help my son.
My writing journey was God’s journey, based on His timing. I was grateful to share my feelings with Lane, to minister to him when he needed it, to see the reason I didn’t have an agent yet.
If I never published a word, my writing journey would have been worth it because through it I helped my son through a difficult time.
That lesson took away the when-is-it-going-to-be-my-turn angst.
I attended ACFW in 2013 without the usual panic, anxiety, or dread. I anticipated more lessons instead of stressing about pitching.
And then it happened.
I signed with an agent and then signed two book contracts in 2014.
Seeing my name in print is wonderful, but one of the true treasures of this journey will always be God’s timing for acquiring my agent.
What lesson has God taught you or what unusual gift has God given you through your writing journey?
|About the Author|
by Hope Toler Dougherty
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After almost three years of living under a fog of grief, Ellen Shepherd is ready for the next chapter in her ife, perhaps an adventure during a visit to Galway. Her idea of excitement consists of exploring Ireland for yarn to feature in her shop back home, but the adventure awaiting her includes an edgy stranger who disrupts her tea time, challenges her belief system, and stirs up feelings she thought she'd buried with her husband.