Monday, August 29, 2016

Follow Through for Breakthrough by Annette M. Irby

Annette M. Irby

Hey, fellow writers! Annette here. Raise your hand if you're just back from ACFW's annual writers' conference. I didn't go this year, but I have a feeling I can relate to how you're feeling. Once you've recovered from the exhaustion and processed the last few amazing days, no doubt you'll have some follow-up that needs attention. Here's some encouragement for that moment!*

What if the only thing stopping your advancement is you?

I was just cleaning my desk and God brought me this question. I might be procrastinating right now. I might. You tell me. The dusting spray is out, the right side of my desk is dazzling, and on the left side of my desk? A manual on how to make that book proposal sparkle.


First, I need a little company here in my procrastination pool. Raise your hand if you *love* writing proposals… Anyone? Hmm. That’s what I thought. 
I just returned from the ACFW conference. And I had some great meetings and requests for proposals. So, like a diligent writer, I’m trying to get my act together, study what these different agencies and houses want in their proposals and get them sent. Right? 

Or maybe I’ll just work a bit more on clearing off my desk. After all, this room was a hotbed of preparations just a couple of weeks ago, prior to conference. And I have things strewn all over that I haven’t had a chance to pick up, or file. And then there’s the dust… Oh, the dust. And then, there’s…

Well, there’s the proposal I need to polish.

So, there I am when God asks me: What if the only thing stopping your advancement is you?

Did you feel that all the way over there? ;) Yeah, me too.

So, I’ll research, and I’ll polish. (Say it with me now.) And I’ll follow. Through. 

I made a new friend at conference. She lives locally, but we met at the airport. (Don’tcha love that?) She relayed a story where an editor asked every single person around the lunch table (what is that, ten, besides the editor?) to send her their proposals. All ten of them. And how many followed through? Can you guess? I mean, here’s an open door. An. Open. Door. How long do we writers wish for, beg for, pray for, search for an open door? And they all had one. Now, I’m not saying there were any guarantees, we know that’s not possible in this biz or any other, but they all had the same invitation. And guess how many took this editor up on it?


Not one.

What if the only thing stopping your advancement is you?

What if your lack of following through (believe me, this hurts me as much as it does you) is what’s keeping you from breaking through??

God has heard your prayers.

God has held your hand.

God has given you an open door.


Follow through.

Don’t be the reason you don’t advance. Don’t do that to yourself, to your dreams, to your future. Buck up. Settle down. Forge ahead. And follow through.

And we’ll be here cheering you on.

“I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, 
and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, 
have kept My word, and have not denied My name.” 
(Rev. 3:8 NKJV)

Her Nerdy Cowboy

Whoever heard of a bookish cowboy? When Logan McDaniel’s brother-in-law dies, he steps in to help his beloved sister run her ranch. But what does a city boy know of herding cattle? Claire Langley loved her cousin. After he dies, she agrees to serve as a temporary nanny for two heartbroken children. 

Claire and Logan find they share a love of books, and Claire can’t resist the nerdy uncle who is great with children, and who reads to her of pirate romance. Claire’s ailing mother needs her in Seattle. Can she break away? And if she does, can there ever be a future for Logan and her?


Annette M. Irby

Annette M. Irby has three published books and 
runs her own freelance editing business, AMI Editing
See her page here on Seriously Write for more information.

* This article first appeared on SW in 2011. 


  1. Annette, so much truth to this post! I'm my own worst enemy or saboteur. I'm working to change that now. Thanks for reaffirming what I need to do.

    1. Thanks, Terri! It's interesting that we have this inner battle of "that's what I want" and "eeks!" You know, the first time I posted this article, a very successful fellow writer wrote that she procrastinated out of fear and once she named it, she could conquer it, with God's help of course. That spoke to me. Write on, my friend! We have something valuable to offer. :)

  2. Just the right type of cowboy! Lovely post! We often sabotage our own success, sometimes subconsciously.

    1. Thanks, Kathleen! I'm with you on the cowboy type. ;) On self-sabotage, I'm beginning to think we need to dig down to the root of why we do and address that. The writing journey is full of self-discovery and opportunities for growth. Thanks for dropping by!


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