Thursday, January 26, 2017

When God Gives You a Story Nobody Wants by Robin Patchen

As an author and freelance editor, I’ve had the privilege of knowing and working with a lot of writers, and I’ve discovered most have one at least one thing in common: a sense of urgency to publish.

Since the majority of my writer friends are Christians, I’m not sure if the rush is unique to Christian authors or universal among all, but I do suspect that believers may feel a bit more hurried, what with the need to get the message out there and share the truth with the world.

Would that we were all so eager to witness to our neighbors, but I digress.

Whether you’re published or not, you may feel a sense of urgency about your writing projects. Maybe you worry that somebody else will come along with the same idea and beat you to it. Maybe you worry that by the time your book reaches your audience, the perfect opportunity for your message will have passed. Or maybe the worry is more personal than that. After all, none of us is getting any younger.

With the explosion of indie publishing, impatient writers don’t have to wait any longer. All it takes is a few clicks of the mouse, and you can load that book on retail sites, making it available to your adoring public.

You can indie publish, but should you?

I’m not knocking the process. I’m indie published myself, so I consider this a valid option. The question I want to tackle isn’t whether or not you should take this route. The question is when. Even if the Lord handed you the story, the image for the book cover, and the title, that’s not proof He wants you to rush out and throw it on Amazon. Not sure I’m right? There’s plenty of biblical justification for waiting:
  • Abraham was told he’d have a son and then waited 19 years before little Isaac was born.
  • Biblical scholars estimate David waited 10-15 years after he was anointed king before he finally ascended to the throne. 
  • The apostle Paul didn’t begin preaching until more than a decade after his conversion.
I’m sure there were times when Abraham, David, and Paul felt the waiting was unnecessary and wished God would hurry it along. Abraham and Sarah did hurry their promise along. We know how that turned out. David not only waited but, for much of that interim, had to battle just to stay alive. The time wasn’t wasted, though. Lessons are learned in the waiting. Patience, perseverance, and faith, of course. But I suspect some of those lessons were more basic than that. For instance, David learned how to be a leader others were willing to die for. If he’d been crowned sooner, he may not have become the greatest earthly king in Israel’s history.  After all, he began as a shepherd, lowly and obscure.

Maybe you have a book you believe needs to be published. Maybe it’s a book you think the Lord gave you, and maybe it even came with a promise. If so, be patient. The anxiety fluttering in your stomach when you think about this project—that isn’t from God. When you pray and trust, you’ll be filled with peace, not worry. But if you force your way through doors He hasn’t opened, the anxiety will likely grow. And the book will not have the impact it could have if you’d remained in His will.
I’ve seen too many books brought to the light through indie publishing that weren’t mature enough, weren’t seasoned enough, weren’t ready to be there. Instead of jumping ahead, trust that when God wants you to publish your words, He’ll make it clear. He’ll open the right doors and lead you to exactly the right the people who can help make it happen.
In the meantime, move on to other projects. Build your newsletter list, learn new marketing strategies, make connections with other authors. Mostly, keep learning, keep growing, and keep improving your craft.  It may be that if you come back to that project in a year or two, you’ll realize you can make it shine. 

I speak from experience. The Lord gave me a book almost four years ago. It’s the only time I’ve ever felt one of my stories came from God, and, still, it was the hardest book I ever wrote. I believe that with the help of a great editor, it can be my best book. But that story has been pitched and pitched, and nobody’s interested. I write and publish other books and help other authors do the same while that book languishes silently on my laptop. When I pray about it, I don't have a clear direction. I don’t feel free to indie publish it, and no acquisitions editor has shown any interest. So I wait. The last thing I want to do is treat His gift with haste and carelessness. I trust that God has a purpose in the waiting and a plan for the story He gave me.

The Lord may make you a promise, give you a vision, or impart to you a message, and then ask you to wait. He’s been doing it for thousands of years, and He’ll keep doing it today. You could choose to be like Abraham and Sarah and rush ahead, or you could trust God’s timing, which is always perfect.

Twisted Lies: Book 2 in the Hidden Truth Series
She thought they’d never find her.  And then her daughter vanished.

Marisa Vega’s life as an adoptive mom in a tiny Mexican village isn’t what she’d dreamed while growing up in New York, but as the target of a man who’s convinced she stole millions of dollars from his financial firm, Marisa believes hiding is her only way to stay alive. When her daughter is snatched and held for ransom, Marisa must discover who really stole the money in order to rescue her. 

Months after being kidnapped, tortured, and left with PTSD, Nate Boyle is ready to live a quiet life in rural New Hampshire. When the source of his breakout newspaper article—and the woman who haunts his dreams—begs for help, he gets pulled into a riddle that’s proved unsolvable for nearly a decade. 

Can Nate and Marisa unravel the years-old mystery and bring her daughter home?


Robin Patchen is an award winning multi-published author, but only because she can't pursue her other dream.

If time and money were no object, Robin would spend her life traveling. Her goal is to visit every place in the entire world--twice. She longs to meet everybody and see everything and spread the good news of Christ. Alas, time is short and money is scarce, and her husband and three teenagers don't want to traipse all around the world with her, so Robin does the next best thing: she writes. In the tales she creates, she can illustrate the unending grace of God through the power and magic of story.

Visit me at


  1. Wise words, Robin. I have one of those "I don't understand why it isn't published" manuscripts. Maybe one day...

    1. Maybe one day...we'll both be talking about the books that were finally published after a long wait.

  2. Very good insight - for authors and readers alike. Blessings!

  3. I absolutely loved this post, Robin. "You could choose to be like Abraham and Sarah and rush ahead, or you could trust God’s timing, which is always perfect." I'm going to save you're quote in my journal along with other 'words to remember'. Just wonderful.

  4. Timely words - thank you so much for writing them!

    1. My pleasure. They're a good reminder for me, too. It's hard to wait!

  5. Well-said. And the book sounds fabulous.

  6. Does it count if I wasn't writing the whole time? Father told me I was a writer 20+ years ago. Life happened and I picked up my pen (planted my bottom in front of ye good ol' laptop) and really started writing 3 1/2 years ago - and it's taking off, slowly but it's happening!! * working on my FOURTH book already!! :-O

    1. Of course it counts! I love how each of our journeys are different, but God is with us all, step by step.

  7. Robin, this is such an excellent post. I want to do things in God's time not mine. Even though it's tempting not to be patient at times.

    I'm so thankful you guested on Seriously Write today.

    And both Inconvenient Lies and Twisted Lies are fantastic books! I highly recommend them.

    1. Thank you for having me! I love this blog, so it's a real honor to be able to contribute!

  8. I'm so glad to have read this today. I also feel I have a special story that is waiting, for me, to be written. It's not the right time to start on it, though. Glad to know others find themselves in the same place.

    1. I understand that, Marti. I trust that God will provide all you need to dig into that story when the time is right.

  9. You mean I have to wait?! Thanks for the encouragement in patience and growth, Robin, but mostly for putting the focus back on Whom it belongs.

  10. Thank you. I am writing my first novel. I am going to stop worrying about being published and just truly enjoy the experience of writing. :-)

  11. Loved this post. I wrote what I consider my most important book nearly a decade before it was published. I had zero doubts about the timing when it actually came. And the way God worked it out made it even more special.


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