The Great Migration was Saturday. After six months of running back and forth between a newborn and my writing, I braved the ice and cold to unlock the door of my writing shed. First I cranked on the heater. Then back went my laptop. Back my favorite keyboard. Back my cushy office chair, which I pushed down our seventy-foot ramp and heaved up four steps and into my shed, which I’m told I should call a “studio” or a “cottage.”
But I’m a farm girl, which my husband says is no excuse for being rude, by the way.
Regardless, I grew up hurling myself off rope swings and tunneling through stacks of hay. I’m more comfortable under open beams and blue skies than in finely appointed homes. Writing in a shed fits.
So, there I was, heater pumping, keys tapping as I worked through revisions–again–on the memoir about my daughter Ruth. About how God brought her to us. And how he took her away. And God’s heart for the broken and abandoned, me included.
After mostly working at my husband’s (ah-hem, messy!) desk in the mudroom to be within nursing distance of our baby, the silence of my shed was liberating, my mind free from distractions. And it felt goooooood, the way that first cup of hot coffee feels at four on a white winter morning when the thermostat hovers below sixty, the way it feels knowing how hard I’ve worked and how far my writing has come and how close it is to being published.
That same Saturday, I signed a contract with my new agent. This time last year, I was fasting from writing, using my writing time each morning to read my Bible and seek God’s will for my work. I also asked him to show me who should represent it. The children’s agent I had was good, but I needed someone who also believed in Ruth’s book. The August day I said goodbye to my former agent, I hung my head and cried.
“I’m drowning!” I said to God as waves of self-doubt closed over my head.
No, I clearly heard him speak. You’re walking on water.
A couple months passed, and I kept praying, not knowing what to do. Finding an agent is nearly as hard as finding a publisher. Then my mom suggested I contact a writer she’d heard speak about abandoned and orphaned children like our daughter.
“You should contact him,” she said more than once. “Maybe he’ll help you.”
When I finally did, this man sent me the name of an agent. I emailed her. She emailed me back. We talked. I sent her chapters from Ruth’s book. We talked some more. Was she by any chance also interested in children’s books? Yes! I sent her chapters from my novel. She liked that too and offered suggestions. In fact, this woman spent more time with me than my previous agent had in five years.
Like life, writing is a journey with twists and hazards and set-backs. A year or so ago when my ten-year-old daughter was baptized, I stood beside her, facing the gray, stormy horizon of the Atlantic, no boat or island in sight, and said, “When the Lord calls you to walk on water, go deep.”
That’s where I’m going. If you want to go with me, please subscribe to this blog or “like” my Facebook page here. I’m not giving anything away (yet). And I promise not to send you any cat photos or political rants. I don’t post spam or share your contact information. This is simply an invitation to journey into the deep along with me as I share God’s hope with the hurting.
I’m back in my shed. I’m walking forward. Let’s see where this goes!
“And Peter answered him, ‘Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.’ He said, ‘Come,'” Matthew 14:28-29.