Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Unanswered Prayers

You know that old Garth Brooks song called "Unanswered Prayers?"

(I like this picture because it was on a billboard by my house not long ago--Vegas thing:)

I was thinking about this song the other day as I reflected on my first manuscript. When I first started writing I had all sorts of stars in my eyes. I figured I could jam out a pretty decent story, what with my education as an attorney. If I could pass the bar, then I could write a novel! Right? I wrote a paranormal romance set in France. I was way into it. It consumed me. I spent days and nights in the magical forests of Bretagne on the west coast of France. I had two betas read it and one or two critique partners. All in all, I think I spent nine months on the thing. I queried. I got requests. I got a very exciting full request from a dream agent. I thought my prayers had been answered. A few weeks later....rejection.

So I went back to the drawing board. I went to a few conferences, got some more critique partners, re-wrote. Then tackled a new idea and wrote that. I went to a few more conferences. That's when I met Sara Crowe at the Storymakers Conference last year. She sparked an idea that has pumped me up like nothing before. Which got me thinking...thank heavens I didn't succeed with that first manuscript. It might have been sort of good (according to some people at least), but it wasn't good enough. I wasn't ready.

I don't want to publish some book that is "sort of good," or allright. I want to lead with my best foot forward. So I love the idea of unanswered prayers. I love how we get better with time. Even though it is sometimes rough to be in those pleadings stages, it will make those future "aha" moments even greater.

Have you had those stars in your eyes? Have you had unanswered prayers?

23 comments:

  1. Timing is everything! I truly believe that. Many times I've wanted something only to later learn I wasn't ready for it. I don't know if it's unanswered prayers or rather an answer that comes at the right time.

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  2. I thought my first story was it! After a couple agent requests at least I knew the idea was good. But looking back, phew, glad it wasn't published. I wasn't ready.

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  3. Oh, YES. I look back at my first book...and my second...and my third...and think, wow am I glad those never went anywhere! I still love those stories. They helped shape me into the writer I am today. But they weren't ready, despite all my pleadings and hopes. It's a good thing God knows how to say no. :)

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  4. This is an amazing post and so true. I know what you mean. I thought the exact same thing (if I could pass two bar exams on the first time each-I could certainly wirte a legal thriller) I believe in your analogy of unanswered prayers. I also admire you for not being content to just publish a "good enough" book. You have an incredible attitude.

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  5. Love that old song. And yes, sometimes the unanswered prayers are the best answer we could have gotten for the long term goal.

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  6. I agree that prayers that go unanswered happen for a reason. We may not always understand why, but someday we'll look back and say, "Ooohhhh."

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  7. This is so true. I have four complete MS and after each one was done I was like THIS is the one! Yes! Lets go get an agent. Some got pretty far.

    But now with this current MS its like...I really think its the one. Not just because of the story but because the way I felt when I wrote it and feel when I read it.

    And if it's not, the next one will be ;)

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  8. I absolutely agree - I think first novels are just learning processes really and are what make great "debut" novels (as in, first published). My family say why don't I epublish my first book, and don't seem to understand when I say I don't want to put anything out I'm not completely happy with!

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  9. He is one of the very, very few country singers I could ever listen to. I've been thinking about this TONS in pretty much every aspect of my life recently. Funny how it ends up working out in the end, right?

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  10. Awww! I love this! I love when a prayer seems unanswered, but really, it's just answered in a better way.

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  11. I want to be ready so bad, but I know the time isn't yet, no matter how much I want it. The work has to come first. It's hard, but it will make me a better writer in the end.

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  12. Serious stars! I am SO glad my first ms didn't get represented or published! I'm different now. I write a different genre (YA) and want different things. So I'm glad I had the time that rejection afforded me to figure those things out.

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  13. I feel the same way! I mean I haven't even started querying yet, but the first two novels I finished are not up to par. At the time I thought they were great, though.

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  14. I do, unanswered prayers only answered at the right time.

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  15. Holey moley, I could have written this post. I figured, I have an MD, maybe I can do this. I had the exact same thing happen with my first novel. I'm so glad it didn't get picked up. I went through another one and outlined a third idea, but it was my third official novel (fourth idea) that got me an agent and a deal. I knew I was ready then.

    You will be too. Good luck!

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  16. This is an excellent correlation :) I got a bummer rejection yesterday and I had to tell myself, "I just wasn't the right fit."

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  17. Ah, Garth and I go way back. I'm with you. I love unanswered prayers because it reminds me that someone beside ME is helping me along my path. If God answered ALL my prayers I would have ended up with Garth up there. LOL.

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  18. I hear ya girl. And I love that song.

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  19. Wow! You certainly hit a nerve, Jessie.

    Unanswered prayers have definitely helped me grow, not just in my writing, but in my overall personal development as well. (^_^)

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  20. When I look back at my life - I see what we felt were unanswered prayers at the time, but ended up being the biggest boosts we've ever gotten.

    I'm definitely with you here.

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  21. I think I still have those stars in my eyes and in a way I hope I never lose them. It's the stars that keep me going. But I also totally agree with your post. I had a short story I wrote once and thought it was brilliant. Sent it out and for some unknown reason it kept getting rejected. But it was brilliant! Ha! I rewrote it and it is sooooo much better. Now it's published. Yay! The journey is a long one but the wait is well worth the end result.

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  22. You have no idea, really no idea, how timely this post is for me right at this very second in my writing life. Thank you for this. I LOVE that song by the way! Seriously, this is an amazing post that I needed to read on this very day.

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  23. Amen sister! That's all I have to say. :)

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