As writers, we're all eager to see the fruits of our labor and our writing goals can take forever to be realized. Author Marilyn Turk shares her experience and encouragement. -- Sandy
Marilyn: I spent all morning looking for a bookmark my six-year-old grandson gave me for Mother’s Day. I’m particularly upset about misplacing it because it’s special, unique – not only because it’s a gift, but it has a picture of him taken in his classroom at school holding a bouquet of flowers. The bookmark is not valuable to anyone but me, but it represents a truth I’ve come to understand because it captured a time in his life that has passed – a fleeting moment in his rapid growth from a child to an adult.
Time can be so fickle. It can move too fast or crawl too slowly. It can be in the future or it can be in the past. It can be a tool or an excuse. And it can be an enemy or a friend.
When I first began this writing journey eleven years ago, I didn’t expect to become an overnight success. I knew it would take time to brush the cobwebs off my writing and relearn technique. In addition, I realized there were new things to learn about the writing world. So I proceeded slowly and carefully, one step at a time. I wrote devotions, attended conferences, entered contests, and pitched stories, but not yet books.
But when a magazine editor accepted my pitch, I discovered the reality of how long it takes from submission to publication in the magazine industry – from a year to a year and a half. As I attended more conferences, a desire to write books developed. I heard speakers disclose how long it took them to get published – for some ten or more years. Naturally, I assumed I would be an exception, my story would be different and faster.
So I began writing my first novel, then pitched it to an agent (a year later) who recommended a few changes, then I reworked it and we began submitting it to publishers. In the meantime, I found a critique group and we edited each other’s manuscripts. Now, six years later, although the book did well in contests, it is still not published, and I’m considering rewriting it with what I’ve learned in the time since I began it.
However, after the first book was written, I wrote a sequel which took another year. It has not been published yet either and I plan to make some revisions to it too.
I finished writing the second book, then started the third in the series, but when my agent was looking for another type of book, I decided to stop working on the current WIP and write a different type of book.
Finally, one of my books was published this March. So, it’s taken me eleven years to have a book published, or you could say six from the time I started writing books.
Conclusion: The writing process takes time, and although some people learn faster, write faster or work harder than others, writing really is a journey. A journey of trying and failing, of learning and relearning, of sowing and reaping.
So how do you view time? Do you appreciate its value – using it, dedicating yourself to it daily, or do you think you’ve got all the time in the world and waste it?
The Bible warns about our use of time. “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:15-16 (RSV)
So is time your enemy or your friend?
Marilyn Turk’s debut novel, The Gilded Curse, published by the Heritage Beacon imprint of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, was released in March 2016 to great reviews.
In November 2015, her book Lighthouse Devotions, 52 Inspiring Lighthouse Stories, was published by White Glove.
Marilyn has been published in a number of other formats as well, including a short story in A Cup of Christmas Cheer, published by Guideposts books.
In addition, she is a regular contributor to Guideposts magazine and her devotions will debut in the 2017 issue of Daily Guideposts. On her website, http://marilynturk.com, Marilyn posts on two blogs – one, a weekly lighthouse blog of intriguing lighthouse stories, and also on a writer’s blog. In addition, she is a monthly contributor to the blog, “Heroes, Heroines and History.”
Marilyn lives in Florida with husband Chuck and seven-year-old grandson Logan. She hosts a monthly Christian book club so she can keep abreast of her craft and expose her friends to other Christian novelists. In addition to reading, she enjoys boating, fishing, tennis, and gardening - when she’s not climbing lighthouses.
Represented by Joyce Hart/Hartline Literary Agency