Weddings, Writing & Words of Encouragement

Between the last week of September and mid-March, I was a bridesmaid in three weddings. Three. It’s been an incredibly blessed, busy, beautiful, occasionally-manic, joy-filled season.

And now I’m ready for a nap.

At the most recent festivities, I was honored to be a bridesmaid to my hilarious, loving, incandescently-beautiful friend, Sarah. As so often happens, Sarah’s wedding party was cobbled together of friends from different periods of her life. We required a few rounds of introductions to get to know one another.

It wasn’t until several hours into our pre-wedding slumber party that I learned Sarah had raved to the other ladies about my novels (for which she’s been a gracious beta reader) and introduced me as a “world-renown novelist.” I blushed, rolled my eyes, and made a joke about how you had to actually publish a novel before you could become world-renowned.

But on the inside, my heart blossomed, warming, practically glowing. I kept thinking: Thank God for friends who see us as the writers we want to be, instead of the writer we are right now.

I’m currently in the query trenches, searching for a literary agent to represent my historical 1920s Texas novel. I had an agent previously, but we amicably parted ways when she decided to leave agenting. So here I am, researching agencies, crafting queries, and holding myself with an iron fist to my rule of only checking my professional inbox once a day. I’m not the first writer to hack her way through this battle and I won’t be the last. My book has received some interest and I still have a long list of agents I can query. By God’s grace, I’ll survive a process that can feel kind of like a boxing match. But as anyone who’s been here knows, the ebb and flow of hope and rejection can range from mildly disappointing to gut-wrenching.

So when a friend loves your book enough to rave about it to her friends the night before her wedding (when she has lots of other things to occupy her thoughts!), or when one more beta-reader-cum-friend/family member reads your sample material and writes you a note that includes a line like “Someone will want to publish this. It’s just a matter of finding the right house,” it makes all.the.difference. The fact that these reviews come from people whose taste I trust, and whom I can count on to give me honest reviews is the fluffy cream cheese frosting atop my red velvet cupcake. (Dang… now I want a cupcake.)

Of course, I’m still on pins and needles, waiting for a literary agent to echo that sentiment. But when the querying road starts to stretch out long and discouraging (and my husband looks like he can’t handle one more soothe-my-writer’s-anxiety conversation), having loving words of encouragement to cuddle up in my heart is invaluable.

So to every friend or family member who’s taken the time to speak those words, or listened as I poured out ideas, hopes, or disappointments, thank you. And to everyone who’s ever helped a writer friend in need, know your words echo on, lifting that writer up again when they stumble.

With rejection being an inherent part of the authorial gig and so much of the process occurring in isolation, writing can be a lonely profession… but praise God we don’t have to do it alone.

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