What utter joy to find a publisher who did too.
Once it was published, amid all the fanfare, I felt exhausted. I needed time out, time to regroup - let alone time to do all the other work I do in my life.
I kept an eye on what writers in my circle of acquaintance were doing. I felt stunned when, after publishing a book (after me, I might add), they announced the second one was on the go. I know we're not meant to compare ourselves but I felt that mixture of dread and envy. How on earth?
But of course, that isn't me. And God's timing for me is different. I'm built differently. And God knows I need time to find that topic I can fall in love with, the one planted gently in my heart until I notice it growing there, sending out branches and connecting itself with other interests, other passions. The one which wakes me up at night when I realise - yes! That's the connection!
Your story is your own. And I don't mean the book you may or may not be writing. I mean your life, your journey as a writer. By all means, be inspired by others - but be yourself.
This can be challenging, when we examine our motives. Are they simply 'to get published'? Is that enough? Or do we claim to have more noble motives, such as 'bringing God glory'? Perhaps you feel called to share your testimony and thought 'I'll write a book!' But what if that's not the way you are called to share your story - not now, not yet? Perhaps you are to bring God glory in something less obvious, but far more important to those you encounter.
Maybe you've written something no one else seems interested in, but it is special to you. That doesn't take away its worth as an important part of your story. It's not wasted. Don't toss it away as if it were nothing, but treasure the journey you made. Perhaps God wants to speak to you through it, most of all.
Perhaps it takes you six months to write a book; perhaps it takes you six years. That's your way of doing things, that's the way you've been made.
You don't have to produce books left, right and centre. Fallow times are important for many of us. We need sometimes to put things down, even if people are clamouring at us: 'when's the next one?'
But when the right moment comes, it will capture you again.
I've just signed a contract for book number two. I'm elated, not just because of the thing itself but because it feels the right time. And now I get to fall in love all over again, throw myself into the heady mix of something bigger than I am. I'm ready. I wasn't, before.
And I'm ready to listen to God and learn from God myself in the process.
That idea fills me with delight.
Lucy's first book, Forgetful Heart: remembering God in a distracted world, was published in 2014 (DLT). The 'next one', Undivided Heart: finding meaning and motivation in Christ, will be coming in Autumn 2017. Lucy writes articles, poetry and prayers for various publications and is Editorial Co-ordinator at magnet magazine. www.lucy-mills.com
- Stepping Stones or Stumbling Stones? (July 2016)
- Using the Time You Have (April 2016)
- Resurrection Day (March 2016)
- Words in the Darkness (February 2016)
- Memories of a (Washing) Machine (January 2016)
- The God of every place (December 2015)
- A way with words (November 2015)
- Know yourself (October 2015)
- When a writer walks down a wall (September 2015)
- The power of the backstory (August 2015)
- The long way round (July 2015)
- Taming the tentacles (June 2015)
- Tracing the journey (May 2015)
- Why a bit of polish matters (April 2015)