I’ve been going through posts from one of my many previous blogs and came across this one titled: Stealing My Own Joy. It was written October 24, 2011. I’m sharing it today to show how if we transform our minds, transform our thinking and commit to our goal, we can have all that we desire. Hope it encourages you in some way.
“I was committed to the work, and God blessed it.” Paula Deen
***Regardless of Paula Deen’s current situation, this still applies to the pursuit of your dream…whatever it may be. Please don’t let your opinion of her distract from the lesson in this post.***
Commitment. One thing I’ve always had a problem with. We’ll talk about that another day. Listening to Paula Deen on Oprah’s Life Class say that she was committed to the work and in return, God blessed it was an eye-opener for me. She committed to cooking with $200 and now is sitting on at least $20million.
Ohhh, commitment. That’s all it takes?
I began writing in 2000. I often say writing found me because I had no desire whatsoever to be a writer. One day a voice whispered in my ear while working a boring job. My fingers pecked away at the keyboard putting her whispers in black & white. Her voice soon became their voices. The rest is history.
Writing provided a release for me. It allowed me creative freedom. An opportunity to have full control over what I did with my time and mind. At some point it hit me that I wanted to share with others what these voices shared with me. After completing the first rough draft I went on a hunt to see how I could put it in print. From being a part of a few online writing communities, I found someone who knew someone who would read my manuscript and provide me with feedback. The critique coming from a college English professor wasn’t bad at all, it was just void of the words I needed to hear to pursue my goals of publishing. So I put “my baby” aside, let it collect dust until its main characters shook me and told me to get myself together. I did. Picked it back up starting from page one word one. A few things changed, more words came.
This time I set out to find an agent. Mind you, I had no idea about the query process. I basically typed up a letter sending it off to a few names I found in a book of literary agents. When that didn’t work too well for me I considered self-publishing through iUniverse. Something always came up which kept me from pursuing further. Again, I put the book down. Again, the characters begged me not to forget about them. Again, I picked the book back up. Their stories evolved. They let a few friends go. Divulged more of their pasts with me. Told me to scratch a few things. I had to tell them to get it together just as they told me years before. And again, I tried to get their story out to the masses.
Every time I experienced rejection or didn’t receive a favorable response, I put the book away. I abandoned my love for creating. I neglected the new voices whispering in my subconscious to tell their stories as well. I forgot how liberated I felt putting words on paper. Writing afforded me with a fulfillment nothing else allowed me to experience. I took all of that away by focusing on getting published. I abandoned them and as a result I abandoned me.
“I was committed to the work, and God blessed it.”
Ah ha. I get it. Writing for three months religiously only to turn around and not write for over a year isn’t going to get me where I need to be. Not writing takes me away from my happy place. I feel complete when I write, so why would I take that away from myself simply because my book isn’t in print in a bookstore on a shelf somewhere? I shouldn’t. That’s not what it’s about for me. These voices didn’t show up for me to forget about them when my desires go unfulfilled. If I commit to them and my reasons for writing, God has to honor it with His favor. Commitment is consistent. It all makes sense the more I think about it. Can’t expect my hair to grow if I’m not washing, conditioning, nurturing it on a regular basis. Same thing applies with craft. Michael Jordan didn’t toss the basketball aside when coaches told him “no.” He consistently committed to getting better. It’s not fair for me to ask God to produce results in any area where I’m not willing to put in the work. I’m the culprit in stealing my own joy. Not agents, editors, publishers. Me.
Be committed to the craft, Julia. Don’t be committed to results. Do the work. I’ve spent eleven years on this up and down rollercoaster. I’m getting off now! I’m doing the work.
“While I’m waiting on something to happen that something is waiting on me.” Oprah Winfrey
I did get off that rollercoaster. Less than two months after this post was written, I was informed that a short story of mine was selected to be in Zane’s anthology. After sharing the news with my agent, they submitted my novel. I got the call with an offer for a two-book deal shortly after that. The anthology came out in August ’12. My debut novel was released a month ago on June 11th. You see what happens when you commit to the work? God does bless it. It may not be in the time we imagined, but if you transform your thinking process and allow things to happen in the own time, God will honor your desires.