Wednesday, June 27, 2018

The Ups and Downs of the Writing Journey by Narelle Atkins

When I was a pre-published writer, I learned from more experienced writers that the writing journey is not for the feint of heart.

For writers seeking traditional publishing opportunities, the arrival of rejection letters becomes a normal part of the process. The rejection letters with constructive feedback provide a glimmer of hope that a future contract offer is possible.

For writers seeking independent (indie) publishing opportunities, there’s a steep learning curve in not only how to write well, but in learning all the steps involved in the publishing process.

I sold my first book to Harlequin Heartsong Presents in 2013 in a six-book contract. My debut contemporary inspirational romance released in February 2014, and I had a book releasing every three months until May 2015. In 2013 I also signed with my agent, Steve Laube, after meeting him at an ACFW conference appointment.

It was a busy eighteen months, from signing the contract in March 2013 to submitting book 6 to my editor in September 2014. And then it happened...

In November 2014, the month my fourth book released, Harlequin announced they were cancelling the Heartsong Presents line. I was fortunate to have all six books release before the cancellation date, but what next?

By 2014 many of my author friends had dipped their toes into the indie publishing world. I decided to join them. I released my seventh book in a multi-author box set in mid-2015, followed by two more box set novella releases in 2016.

2016 and 2017 were hard years from a writing perspective. Family commitments arose that limited my ability to write. I started a new day job in early 2016 with longer hours. I reached a point in 2017 where I was prepared to walk away from my writing. I was overwhelmed with life, in general, and I couldn’t see how I could add writing deadlines into my busy schedule.

I prayed and I waited. The answer I received was to persevere and keep going. The characters in my head started talking again, and I embarked on writing a new novella, Solo Tu, for an indie group project.

In 2017 I participated in a Writing Immersion retreat with Margie Lawson, and I’ll be attending another Immersion later this year. I made the decision to hold off on re-publishing my out-of-print Heartsong backlist. I want to update the stories before I indie publish them.

I’ve learned to be content with my writing journey, and to wait on His timing. My backlist will be available for new readers when the timing is right.

Have you experienced unexpected twists and turns in your writing journey? I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences.


A fun loving Aussie girl at heart, NARELLE ATKINS was born and raised on the beautiful northern beaches in Sydney, Australia. She has settled in Canberra with her husband and children. A lifelong romance reader, she found the perfect genre to write when she discovered inspirational romance. Narelle's contemporary stories of faith and romance are set in Australia.

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  1. Hi Narelle!

    What a beautiful name you have!

    Thanks for addressing this issue. I think most writers have experienced a slump at some point due to life circumstances, folding lines, and health issues. As Dr. Suess says in "Oh, the Places You'll Go", unslumping oneself is not easily done. But you brought up a good point. As Christians, it's essential that we pause our activity to ask God for direction.

    I think if we're just barreling ahead in our careers without consulting the One who gave us our talent, we're setting ourselves up for disaster. Pause and reflection is a good thing, especially in light of this ever-changing business.

    Thank you for sharing this inspirational post today.

    ~ Yvonne Weers

    1. Hi Yvonne, I agree. Taking the time to pause and reflect and listen is so important. It can be hard to say no to an opportunity when the timing is wrong, but ultimately it’s His plan that matters as we we write for His glory. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. :)

  2. Narelle, awesome post! So candid and inspiring. Love your books and can't wait to see where He takes your writing.

    1. Hi Sally, I’m glad you found my post helpful. I appreciate your encouragement. :)

  3. Thanks for visiting, Narelle. Love this encouraging post. We each have a different writerly road, don't we? I enjoyed learning more about your experience.

    1. Hi Annette, I appreciate the opportunity to visit Seriously Write. I’m glad you’ve found my experiences helpful. Life would be boring if we all walked the same road the same way. :)

  4. Narelle, good to see you visiting Seriously I often see you around here and there! Your thoughts on the ups and downs...and the waiting...involved along this writing journey lifted me up today. Good to be reminded that persevering and listening to God’s timing is so important. May your journey continue to be blessed!

    1. Hi Sherida, It’s good to see you here. The waiting can feel tiresome, but it can also lead to greater things down the track. I’m glad my post has encouraged and blessed you today. :)


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