Thursday, July 28, 2011

She Reflects :: On the Proposal

“Sometimes rejection is God’s protection.” Renee Swope, author of A Confident Heart

Sitting in the Writers’ Coffee House on Saturday afternoon, listening to a panel of veterans share candidly about the industry, I continue to reflect on my first-ever experiences here at She Speaks 2011 this weekend. I think of myself as a confident soul, with a healthy self esteem. Turns out even the confident ones have room to grow that confidence deeper by clinging to God alone.

After spending six weeks obsessing about demographics, markets, comparable literature, and my publishing pedigree, I had a small challenge with remaining objective about the original purpose of my appointments: to have gone through the exercise enough to get the maximum benefit from the conference. To prepare for my first experience, I took a class a month before the conference, about preparing the perfect pitch. This gave me the words to say, at a time when this writer tends to get tongue tied: whenever the words have extra importance.

My first 15 minute appointment went according to the script. Except that I forgot to practice parts the editor might say. So my words tumbled out in a rush, I struggled mightily to refrain from self-deprecation, and when the door opened with 90 seconds left on my timer, I quickly wrapped up and left--without ever allowing the editor to ask me any questions about my project, or offering her a copy of my proposal. Whoops. She took a copy of my one-sheet book description, but as I felt the need to thank her for having been my “first interview,” I feel fairly confident that she will not be pursuing me this year on the basis of that (lovely, thanks to my amazing husband) piece of paper.

This first representative did manage to squeeze in a few words when I got to the question, “What are you looking for right now?” She responded smoothly that they are “looking for authors with an established platform, with whom we could partner to help market the book.” And I know I am not there. Then she offered a few suggestions on ways to grow my blog audience in order to get to the point where her publisher might have more interest in taking a chance on me.

Truthfully, this appointment went about as well as I expected, although I still experienced a sense of letdown afterward, a knowledge that on this day, I had yet to be “discovered” by the world. But I had the second appointment looming in 26 hours, to pull me through.

For the second appointment, I vowed to show more personality, to engage the editor more before launching into my project description. This second editor asked me for the chapter outline, and when I showed it, she did not seem to quite understand it. While friendly, she explained that as written, the project does not fit with their target demographic. She gave me a few indications of how the project would be attractive to her publisher, but declined to take even a copy of my one-sheet.

I walked out with my head held high, a little stunned that I had no thread of hope to hold on to that the second editor might ever call. And an hour later, here I sit in the conference room, heart breaking on the inside as I realize the advice being shared so freely by Lysa TerKeurst, Mary DeMuth, and the others does not apply to me yet. All my talking and writing, all the sacrifice of my family as I stretch the fabric to create more me time, and the world has yet to even open this 44 page document I worked so hard to create.

And from the depths of my being, all the hopes, the anticipation, the fatigue, the disappointment, the everything--they well up and with sinking heart I recognize what comes: the ugly cry. Right here in front of my writing mentors and heroes. Jesus, help me.

The session ends, and I find myself falling apart all over a sweet twenty-something twitter friend from Dallas, who has the perfect shoulder to cry on. I. Hate. Sobs. I avoid it often enough that when it comes, I have no idea how to stop it. Public or not, the crying will run its full course.

In the hours that follow, I remember my earlier Choose to go deeper moments, and I know that here I have come against a hard stop. Here I recognize that before I am ready with something of value to share, I need to sink my roots deeper into Jesus. I have followed Jesus since childhood; yet in the ache of my heart over this moment that should not have hit so painfully, I conclude that I have just barely scratched the surface of God’s mighty work in my life. And I sense God asking me to start a journey that digs much deeper, so that at a point further down the road I might have something of even greater value to share.

Photo Credit
"She is like a tree, planted by streams of water..."
Psalm 1:3

Not that discipling my children, developing a new ministry at church, and blogging have small value in the Now. All of those things have great value, and I am content to have those outlets for the message burning within me. But publication? I am only at the beginning of a long road, and that will grow naturally out of the overflow as I turn my energy to the near things.

God used a firm rejection to protect me from overextending myself, or even expending too much time in anticipation during this season of beginning homeschooling. How about you? How has God used rejection to protect you?

Coming Monday: How God physically answered me in my quest to sink my roots deeper.


  1. Hey there!
    Fellow SS graduate here, who also homeschools.

    A couple years ago, I knew that I knew that I knew that I was ready to go further -- with writing and speaking. I also knew that my family wasn't ready to take that step with me. I, too, homeschool (only one at home now). My oldest son is a senior this year, looking ahead to college. My youngest is a confident first grader in public school.

    The past couple years, my prayer has been "God, prepare my family for this journey. I KNOW it's not mine alone and I can't do it without them. Help me. Help us prepare for the next step." I wanted to go to SS two years ago. God said not yet. I wanted to start speaking and writing. God said not yet -- though I did start the blog. He seems okay with that.

    Now, God says I can go. I'm just tip-toeing into the water, but the doors that held tight for so long are creaking open. My kids are excited for me (the boys, 17 and 14, even evaluated every outfit I picked out for the conference and gave thumbs up or down.) A couple days before the conference, as I practiced my speeches, my 14 year old said, "Aren't you glad we're your family? (I am.) Because without us, you wouldn't have anything to talk about!" My kids see my "career" as launched. They carry business cards -- not sure who they'll give them to.

    Rest and wait for that day. This is a tremendous journey -- meant to be shared with your family. NOT taken in spite of them. The JOY is just around the corner.

    God bless!
    Karen Dawkins

  2. Beautiful, honest post Krista. Renee Swope's quote stuck with me too. His timing is perfect and He is doing so much behind the scenes work in all of us. His perception of success is so different than our definition of success. Thank you for sharing your journey!

  3. I think you are one of the smartest, coolest, and most beautifully articulate women I know. And you are already pouring out all sorts of wisdom and inspiration into the women that God has placed in your life....including me. I know that one day He will widen that circle through publication. Love you!

  4. hello my new Logos Twitter friend! Your writing is beautiful and wonderful. we have so much in common...homeschooling my 7th grader for the first time, 3rd grader in public school. I am confident that God is going to use you in a mighty way? I am so excited about our new friendship!

  5. Oh, beautiful friend. I am so in the place of wait. Of go deeper. You asked me about what things have been like since I went last year. Well,'s been what you have said here. Digging deeper. And I know i still have SO much deeper to go.

    He was showing me the other day a plant of mine that is flourishing and finally producing beautiful flowers. But it could not do that until it's roots were well established. My roots...they still need establishing. And I am having to learn to treasure where I am now.

    My heart ACHED for you as I read of you crying. I wanted to wrap my arms around you and hug you and let you cry on my shoulder! Cause I am not there yet either! I have NO platform. But I have Him. :) And I have those sweet moments I have tucked away just like you have tucked away.

    Praying for you as He continues to love all over you! So thankful for His protection. And so glad you got to go to the conference.

    Hugs to you,
    Your longwinded bloggy friend, K


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