Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Don’t Wait, Dream Big by Carrie Lighte

In order to write, I need to walk. Particularly, I need to walk outdoors. There’s something about the rhythm of walking and the openness of landscape that releases my imagination, especially if I have writer’s block. I rarely return from a walk thinking the same thoughts as when I began.

A year and a half ago, I was out walking and thinking about a plot for an Amish romance novel. I’d never written a story with Amish characters, nor had I ever written a romance novel. But I could “see” the entire novel in my mind and I’d read about a publisher who was actively soliciting Amish romance novels—no agent required.

At the end of the hiking trail lay a small collection of stones painted in various colors. Some were decorated with faces and flowers, some were inscribed with words. Walkers were encouraged to take one or two and to paint and bring back a few for someone else to find.

I chose a blue rock with red lettering saying, “Don’t Wait.” A few days later, I took a green rock with the words, “Dream Big,” written in silver paint. I chose those specific rocks because they mirrored how I felt about writing the Amish romance novel.

I knew I couldn’t wait any longer. I dreamed big by working hard and soon I’d finished the book. I was very excited but a few people familiar with the publishing business listed all the reasons I shouldn’t get my hopes up. They also suggested I wait to submit the manuscript until I’d done X, Y, and Z.

I knew they had my best intentions in mind, so I carefully considered their advice and prayed for God’s guidance, just as I’d done all along. Then I submitted the book. Long story short, the publisher offered a contract. A year and a half later, I’ve completed three books in a six-book miniseries contracted with that same publisher.

I often wonder where my novel would be now if I’d taken the advice of those who told me to wait. I understand the publishing journey requires a lot of patience; without it, writers will neither survive nor progress. But sometimes we’re so thrilled to get our first awards/agents/contracts/etc. that we allow others to make decisions about our writing for us. I think that’s a mistake.

I’m not suggesting anyone should send out a first draft manuscript, nor do I think waiting to submit one’s work is a bad idea. The fact is I don’t know what’s best for anyone else’s creative process or road to publication. I only know that after much prayer and consideration, I was confident about my direction, despite the “expert” naysayers.

If I could decorate two rocks to give to the writers reading this, the stones would say, “Pray hard” and “It’s your path.” But I’d understand if you chose a rock with flowers on it instead, and I’d wish you joy and success along your way.

What would you paint on a rock encouragement?


Carrie Lighte is the author of the Amish Country Courtships Love Inspired miniseries. In addition to romance novels, she’s written and published poetry, short stories and greeting card verse. When she’s not writing or reading, she can be found hiking, kayaking or body boarding with her family on Cape Cod.

Anna's Forgotten Fianc

An accident leaves Anna Weaver with no memory of her Amish hometown’s newest arrival—her fiancé! After a whirlwind courtship, their wedding’s in six weeks…but how can she marry a man she can’t remember? Carpenter Fletcher Chupp takes her on a walk down memory lane, but there’s one thing he wants to keep hidden: a secret that might just lose him the woman he loves.