Friday, March 18, 2011

Letting Go … My Path to Publication by Marlo Schalesky

When it comes to your writing career, what are your dreams? This Fortifying Friday, author Marlo Schalesky is here to share a little bit about her own dreams and journey to publication. Many of us will be able to relate to her story. Enjoy!

Letting Go …
My Path to Publication
by Marlo Schalesky

When I was thirteen years old, I wrote a poem on the bus on the way to school. It was about an old tree, forlorn and desolate, standing alone in a field. I read that poem at every recess, tweaked it, polished it, and for the first time, felt the thrill of how the written word can convey profound beauty. That day, I fell in love with writing. I also grabbed on to a dream.

Shortly after that, I told my mother (with all the angst of a newly-turned teenager), “I will just die if I don’t write!” So naturally when I grew up I decided to get my degree in Chemistry (at least I’d figured out how difficult it is to make a living at writing!). And, oddly enough, I didn’t die. I enjoyed chemistry. But always that desire to write was with me, saying “Someday, someday.” Someday, I would follow my dream.

Someday finally came. I knew God was prompting me to write. Finally, I was going to be the next great American novelist, so I wrote a proposal for an end-times series, sent it out, and waited for the contract offers to come pouring in. But, alas, all that poured in were “Dear Author, we regret to inform you that your proposal does not meet our editorial needs” letters.

But this was my dream! How could I get nothing but rejection letters? Next, I started writing articles for various magazines and putting out more proposals for book projects. I thought if I just hit the right idea, I would get the coveted contract in no time.

Instead, it took six years of writing and honing my craft. And more than that, it took giving up my dream entirely. For me, I had to come to a place in my heart where I didn’t have to write to be content. The dream of publication had become an idol in my life. So I had to let go of that strong desire born at thirteen years old and embrace God’s will for me whether that will included writing or not. Only then, only when my dream had given way to God’s, was I offered a contract by Crossway Books for my first published book, Cry Freedom, released in 2000.

Since then, I’ve had six more novels and one nonfiction book published. And, I still write articles. But I also have to keep reminding myself that writing isn’t my dream anymore. My dream has to be to simply follow God, nothing more, nothing less. In a culture that cries out, “Follow your dreams! You can do anything you set your mind to!” I have to remember to keep surrendering my dreams instead, and set my mind on Him, not on the next contract.

Marlo Schalesky is the award winning author of numerous books, including her latest novel Shades of Morning, which combines a love story with a surprise ending twist. Marlo’s other books include the Christy Award winning Beyond the Night, and its sequel If Tomorrow Never Comes. Marlo is also the author of nearly 700 articles, the mother of 6 young children, and holds her Masters in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary. When she’s not changing diapers, doing laundry, or writing books, Marlo loves sipping Starbucks white mochas, reading the New Testament in Greek, and talking about finding the deep places of God in everyday life.

My website: or
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