A lot has happened in my life in seven years. My husband and I lost everything, including our ranch (a very long and interesting story I may someday write about). Not long after, I became sick, and was soon diagnosed with lymphoma.
You tend to reevaluate things when death breathes on you. Before my diagnosis my art was taking off, I was writing with everything in me and submitting to agents and even getting a lot of great responses, although no contracts yet. But once the chemo started I was fairly useless. Because of the constant pain, I couldn’t draw or write, there were times when I couldn’t even find the energy to read. Mostly I just sat and stared at the wall. It was a strange state. A hopeless one.
But God is good and he chose to take away the tumor and released me back into life once more. Of course, I wasn’t the same. I didn’t know what I was beyond wife and mother anymore. After a year of what I realize now was basically torture I was confused, afraid of everything, and hollow.
It took another close call of the doctors discovering a secondary tumor six months into remission to wake me up from that. When I opened my eyes after the surgery, and heard the words I’d pleaded with God to hear, Not cancer, it was as if God was saying to me, I still have work for you to do.
And in the struggle of discovering that mission, I’ve come to a very important realization. The WHY of my writing. For so long I thought it was something for me to enjoy, something I was supposed to be honing and perfecting. I was being obedient. But I wasn’t enjoying it. In fact it had become a bit of torture in itself.
After a few months of wondering what the heck I was trying to prove, I decided to just “hang it all,” and put one of my favorite novellas on Kindle. I told myself it didn’t matter how many I sold — that wasn’t the point. The point was to allow people to read it.
And, in this, I discovered my WHY. I discovered the joy in writing again. And I found that God will use me and my work. Because even in the small story of Winter Rose, I’m seeing Him move.
By writing this post I’m not advocating e-publishing, but I felt it was important that we as writers — especially we who write speculative works — know what our goals are. We need to be obedient, but we also need to be willing to shrink our large-sized artist heads down so God can get us through the right doors.
My goal is still to be published with traditional publishers. But I also feel it’s important for us to let God be the one to guide each work to the right outlet.
In my next post I’ll talk more specifics, how I made the cover, how I chose the venue. And even the evil “P” word of self-promotion.
In the mean time, consider why you write. Dig deep inside and seek God’s will for your work. Don’t be stuck on one way for every piece you write, there’s so much available to us out there. In the end your journey may not look how you imagined, but it’ll be right.
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Rachel A. Marks is a writer and artist, a surfer and dirt-bike rider, chocolate lover and a keeper of faerie secrets. She teaches her four kids at home and tries not to act like a nerd during science class. She was voted: Most Likely To Survive A Zombie Apocalypse, but hopes she’ll never have to test the theory.
Her novella Winter Rose is currently available on Amazon as a free download.