Reflection: Cast out your nets! (Again.)
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 yet...it 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.