Reflection: Cast out your nets! (Again.)

One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.
When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”
Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.~Luke 5:1-6

If writing were fishing, I guess you could say I've been casting out my nets all night long with no success. I've written six full novel manuscripts, with over two dozen drafts to show for them. I've entered (and even won) contests, worked with mentors, emailed over a hundred query letters, sent out dozens of requested manuscript files. And to show for all that, I have...well, six manuscripts, most of them permanently shelved, and a boatload of email correspondence. There were plenty of bites--but I never reeled in that contract.

Keeping track of my writing career here on this blog has turned into a humbling experience. All the internet who cares to look knows that I've been writing and submitting for over a decade with no concrete success. Dozens of friends who started writing at more or less the same time as me are now agented or published. Some of them extremely successfully. I walked into a bookstore a few weeks ago and saw two friends' books staring at me from the shelf of National Book Award longlisted titles.

Almost every day the thought occurs to me that maybe I should sail this boat back to shore and dock it permanently. Heaven knows, mothering requires enough emotional energy and stamina without throwing writing, submitting, and being rejected into the mix.

And was after the night of failure that Christ demanded an act of courageous faith from his disciples. This carpenter from Nazareth (what did he know about fishing, anyway?) told the veteran fishermen how to do their job...and they listened. They must have been so tired, physically and emotionally. They could have grumbled. But they listened...because Jesus "said so."

And their catch was so great that their nets began to break and their boats began to sink.

So I'll cast out my nets one more time. And another. And another. I don't know how long the night of rejection is going to last, but I'll keep sharing it here. If you're in the same boat, whether your work is writing or art or ministry--or anything done for God's glory!--let's encourage one another. Let's keep our eyes on the Master and the success that will come with the dawn.


  1. "Personally, I've learned about perseverance: when you hear the word 'No,' and when you hear rejection, that it's not always final. And that timing is everything, and you have to stay the course and just keep working hard and know that, when your time comes, that it will be sweet and that it will be the perfect time."- Angela Robinson

  2. Oh yes! Never give up when this desire has been placed upon your heart, by our Creator God. You are amazing for all you do. And SIX complete novels?!!! Holy smokes!!! Impressive!!!


Post a Comment

Comments make me happy.

Popular Posts