Many years ago (Hmmm...more than twenty-five) I became interested in American Sign Language. I took an introductory course at a local church and fell in love with the language. It's beautiful and dramatic. My husband and the teacher encouraged me to take another course and another. It ended up that I actually devoted a full year of my life almost entirely to learning American Sign Language. I ate it, drank it, slept it. I practiced every moment I could. I even prayed in ASL, which, I am convinced was not only a huge motivator, but a key to my success in learning the language. For a year I said "no" to some wonderful opportunities because I was totally focused on communicating the gospel to the deaf community.
Why did I chisel out a year of my life to accomplish this goal?
I fell in love with the language.
I realized God was calling me and enabling me to minister to deaf people around me.
I fell in love with the deaf people who welcomed me into their culture.
Fast forward twenty plus years to 2004.
I became interested in learning how to write for publication in both the adult and children's markets. I attended a couple of conferences. I joined a couple of critique groups. I mustered up the courage to submit some things.
I keep saying I love to write.
I keep saying God has called me and enabled me to minister to people around me through the written word.
I keep saying I love children and women who are lonely or hurting or searching.
But my success in this area has been so small. It's been seven years and I do not have a book contract or even the hope of one in my near future. I constantly ask God and myself, "Why?"
A few night's ago I realized something: where is the year of my life that I should have carved out and dedicated entirely to becoming published? Does God want me to let go of all of my responsibilities at church, and even in my extended family, to seriously pursue the publication of my manuscripts?
Am I willing now, like I was with ASL, to sacrifice some things I love to do in order to immerse myself in the world of publication? Am I willing to say "no" to a lot of good things in order to do this ONE thing?
That's what it's going to take, I believe. Am I willing? Do I really have what it takes to pursue publication with a passion? To be a "successful" published author?