Wanna Be Published? Relinquish Your Dream, Your Heart


Publishing can be so hard at times. I remember YEARS of coming “this close” to having a book published. I had projects go to committee but not get picked up. Once I had an offer for a multiple book contract . . . and then the publisher changed direction and the offer was retracted a few weeks later. More than once I felt ready to give up.

Even though I’m multi-published there are always things to get discouraged about: sales numbers that aren’t what we hoped (even if they’re good, we can also long for more), rejection (I still have projects I love that haven’t found a home), the need for more hours in the day, and overall weariness that comes from the hard work of sitting at the desk and writing (eye strain, back aches, etc.).

The thing that helped me when I was unpublished is the same thing that helps me now: relinquishment and faith in what I cannot see <click to tweet>.


I remember after one very hard rejection on July 16, 1998 (the day before my 27th birthday!). After hearing that a project went to committee but wasn’t accepted, I remember crying most of the day. And then I remember coming to the end of myself, getting on my knees at the end of my bed, and opening my hands to God asking him to take all of it. All my dreams, all my desires, all my tears, all my comparisons with other—everything.

I can’t say I haven’t been discouraged after that, but it helped so much to know God was holding it all in His capable hands and He would take care of it all. I continued to be diligent in my writing and my life and doing “the one thing” He asked me to do next.

And the truth is that I was surprised by what He led me to: homeschooling my kids, caring for my dying grandfather, and launching a crisis pregnancy center. He gave me small writing projects during that time, too, but my “big break” came until 2001 when I got a contract for From Dust and Ashes—my first novel. After that the flood gates opened, and last week I finished my fortieth book. It is exceedingly more than I ever hoped for or imagined!

Wanna be published? Just remember:
God placed those dreams in your heart and He has a good plan for them.
God loves you more than you can imagine.
God sees YOUR stories finished and on the shelf. He knows when that good and proper time is <click to tweet>.
Sometimes the good work God is asking us to do isn’t about writing.

When I looked to see where God wanted me to join Him in my world/community I was shocked by where He led me . . . but I also discovered He knew my heart and knew how I would enjoy those things, too. He knew the lives that would be reached in those places.

I discovered something important. When I take care of God’s work (the people and ministries He leads me to), He takes care of my work (the words on the page).

Finally, everything works together for good. The writing skills God gave me impacted and helped my work with crisis pregnancies, teen moms, families, etc. And the work with crisis pregnancies, teen moms, families, etc., has impacted my writing in huge ways. I’m a different person and writer because of those things.

All that to say, don’t give up! His dreams are there for a purpose . . . and maybe there are other, different dreams that He’s eager to explore with you, too.

Don’t be afraid of the first step . . . because Jesus has all the other 999 steps taken care of for you.

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  1. Lynda E. says:

    Wow. Great perspective and encouragement to leave my own dreams in His hands. My job is to be obedient, whatever He calls me to. Thanks!

  2. Oh I needed this … tonight, right now. The weariness and frustration has slammed into my heart and I’m fighting that urge to “get a real job” and forget all this writing and speaking stuff.

    Thank you, my friend, for sharing truth … and for being you! Tonight, God used you BIG in my life.

    • In your weakness HIs strength is complete. I guarantee you’ll never feel weaker than taking on this gig … and that’s exactly where you’ll be able to hear HIM speak!

  3. Thanks so much for sharing, Tricia! As an unpublished author working on my first book, I’ve had several times this week where I’ve stopped and wondered if it was even worth trying. I know that God has placed these words in my heart and I’m trusting that He has a plan and purpose for them, so even if He and I are the only ones who ever read them, that’s OK. I’m learning to trust Him to guide my steps and open the doors. My job is just to be obedient and do the best job I can for HIS glory and not my own. Thanks so much for the reminder!

  4. I appreciate your post. This month a lifelong dream was realized. I published the book “Rise Up! 71 Thoughts of Hope & Inspiration for Women of Value.” Although I know I have a major role in promoting this book, I am releasing it daily to God for Him to direct it’s distribution into the hands of the women He knows need it. Humbling. Exciting. Adventurous. Health issues challenge my ability to physically make presentations outside of my home. I’ll need to take advantage of the many other options to reach women through social media, webinars, etc. I’m seeking His guidance and trusting His direction-for action-for His glory.

  5. Thank you for sharing this story. I appreciate seeing this side of the coin instead of all the (deservedly!) jubliant posts about getting boxes of books in the mail or galleys to edit or multi-book deals. Those things are all good, for sure, and should be celebrated. But it’s nice to know almost every writer has struggled w/rejections and bitter grief in this process–even a wrestling with God about whether He really wants the best for us. I feel like I’ve been in the tunnel for a while now. I do thank the Lord for the encouragement He sends along the way, and this post was encouraging!

    • I’m go glad, Heather. I just read this in a devotional book this morning:

      Let me find thy light in my darkness,
      thy life in my death,
      thy joy in my sorrow,
      thy grace in my sin,
      thy riches in my poverty
      thy glory in my valley.
      –Puritan Prayer, The Valley of Vision

  6. Thanks so much, Tricia. At fifty-five, I am beginning to use that “never” word when I think about my writing career. But, what a wonderful pathway we’ve been on My God and I.

    • What you think is “never” God might think as “not yet.”

      • So true. Remember Abraham & Sarah? They thought they’d NEVER have a child and yet look what God did! So not “never,” just “not yet!” Maybe I should take these words of encouragement to heart! 🙂

  7. Patricia Marie Warren says:

    Tricia, I am always inspired by your words. Your FB updates of everyday life with your family are refreshing and fun. This article is particularly important to me because I have been searching for my direction in writing. As a Christian who is a writer, I know from Whom my gift comes but finding guidance from like-minded souls has been a challenge as there are no close chapters of ACFW. It is all too easy to fall into the ‘write for the market’ mindset which set me up for major writer’s block. This post is another breathe of Life, reminding me of my true writer-self. (P.S. I love the ‘click to tweet’ feature!)

  8. So this is very inspiring. And comforting. And I guess I need to pray more for some guidance about what I’m writing. Do you think to be a Christian you have to write Christian fiction?

  9. Tricia, I needed this, thank you so much. With what seems like so many dreams on my heart right now, I often wonder how on earth it’s all going to happen. You are such an inspiration to me..thank you, friend. Hugs.

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