Let’s Face It – what about brick walls?

A brick wall at Jerusalem's Golden Gate

A brick wall at Jerusalem’s Golden Gate

What is it in your life you don’t want to face right now? For me, it’s this: after all I’ve done to get my manuscript ready for publication, it still might not be ready. It’s been professionally edited. I spent a lot of money on it – never mind the time.

What prompted this? I got another reject letter this week – from another agent. This one was a nice reject, written by the agent himself, and he offered the positive things he liked, besides saying the writing could improve and be stronger.

Sheesh. So what do I do now? Pay another couple thousand dollars to have it edited by another professional? I’ve already spent a LOT of money on editing, plus a LOT on writing classes. How much more do I spend?

When do I say “Enough is enough?” I’ve been wondering about this for quite a long time. I’ve heard two theories. Some would say that brick walls are meant to stop you so you don’t make further mistakes. Others would say they’re to climb over – remove them as an obstacle. Don’t let it stop you. I’m never sure what to do.

I also entered another contest this week with another publisher. I’ve got a badge on my widgets. It’s the New Look Contest with WestBow Press.

I also submitted something to Chicken Soup for the Soul this week. The deadline was today. I wrote about the topic of Hope and Miracles. It’s the story of my godsend friends at the Denver Airport a year ago. We were all in the same Christian Writer’s Guild (CWG) Craftsman XI class. We spent a couple days in Colorado with our mentor and others from CWG.

Jen, Martha & Meagan at the Denver Airport

Jen, Martha & Meagan at the Denver Airport

I hadn’t flown for a while, so what was supposed to take me, on the way out from PA to CO, five hours, took 15. On the way home, it was worse. I wasn’t used to all the problems I encountered. I got on the plane, then there was mechanical failure. After a five-hour delay, they cancelled the flight, put me in a taxi to Denver, where I missed the booked flight I was on, then I had to wait another hour to book another flight.

Having finally done so, I wandered towards my gate so I would know where it was about nine hours later when my flight would leave. I heard my name being called, and these three ladies found me. It was wonderful. I wasn’t alone any longer – at least for a little while.

But I was talking about facing up to the truth about my manuscript. Okay, if it’s not ready, it’s not ready. I’ll have to think about what I could do. In the meantime, I’m finding other things to do – part of that waiting game again.

What do you think I should do? Leave a comment and let me know. Thanks for reading. I appreciate all of you.


13 Comments on “Let’s Face It – what about brick walls?”

  1. Yay for Chicken Soup! I love our story of the four of us. About manuscripts, I think time is the best possible thing to give them when you don’t know where else to take them. I had to give my first manuscript a break after I’d written it, and down the road after I’d written another manuscript, my writing and I had changed and I could see more options for my first MS. Keep on keeping on, Donna!


    • Thanks Meagan. I’m hangin’. 🙂 You and Jen and Natalie are really going to be busy this next month with NaNoWriMo. I thought about the NaNoBloMo (for blogs) but with my school courses and a ministry internship starting soon, I thought I better pass this year. Hope you guys have a lot of fun with it! 🙂


  2. Oh, Donna, I’m so sorry to hear about another rejection slip, but, take heart, I have heard many published authors say that they received LOTS of rejection slips before finally succeeding. Also, you may want to consider self-publishing. I understand it’s not terribly expensive, and I have read about writers who chose to self-publish and their book was quite successful. You just have to be your own advertiser and promotional person as well, and the internet and social media is a great place to start. Remember to continue to lean on the Lord. He knows the desires of your heart, and sometimes He just says, “Wait”. I highly recommend two books that might help encourage you: Chicken Soup for the Writers’ Soul and Write His Answer by Marlene Bagnull.


    • Hi Kelly. Thanks for your thoughts. We’ll see what happens. I have self-published before. I was trying to see if I could get this published traditionally. I’ll be thinking about all my options. I should know about my current possibilities by the end of January. It helps me feel better knowing that people like yourself care and offer encouragement. Are you coming to LCW in two weeks?


  3. I always enjoy your postings, Donna! Plenty to think about. I say wait a little longer, see what happens. I’ve noticed that there always seem to be a handful of writers of Christian fiction who are popular at any given time. And I’d say even some of them don’t always write up to their own standards, but if they’re popular with readers, the publishers want to squeeze as many stories out of them as they can while they’re “hot”. So patience, my friend.


    • Thanks so much for being a faithful commenter, Dorothy. This journey is long and the older I get, the more impatient I get sometimes. I probably won’t be doing anything with it unless an idea has started to brew in my mind about changing the beginning takes better shape. Because these guys made their evaluation on the first two chapters I sent. I thought they were pretty good, but they didn’t. So – I’m thinking – what can I change – before I submit to two new agents – if at all. We’ll see. Thanks again. 🙂


  4. Donna, I seem to be staring at the same brick wall. Halfway through the first chapter of Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, I started the major re-write. I was appalled that, as a new writer, I had fallen into so many of the “don’t do” pits. I’m struggling to get out and have had major self-doubts. I was staring at my computer screen at 5:30 again this morning praying that a light would come on. Nothing. I decided to go through my backlog of emails just to be somehow productive and learned ACFW is offering a course in November entitled “Show Me a Story”, I signed up. Also ordered 2 books from My Book Therapy: From the Inside-Out: Discover, Create and Publish the Novel in You & Deep and Wide: Advanced Fiction Techniques Work Text. I decided I need all the help I can get. Please pray for me, I’m praying for you!


    • Hang in there Gail. We’ll be OK. My writing mentor just emailed me to hang in there and wait before I do anything else to my story. You’re learning through taking courses. That’s a good thing. I’ve taken the best courses Christian Writers Guild had to offer. But you can do this Gail. I’m with you on it. 🙂 🙂 🙂


  5. Whatever you do, keep writing! It might take one year or ten years, but if you keep at it you will be published. And in the meantime, don’t forget the joy of it.


    • I won’t quit, but it can’t take 10 years. 🙂 My mentor advised me to go on to other projects before changing the manuscript. So I have a few months to do something else. I’ve been at this writing game for about 40 years. Won’t stop now. Thanks for the encouragement and the comment. 🙂 🙂 🙂


  6. Donna, sorry you had such traveling woes, but perhaps you can work it into fodder for the next book. My advice is to write the next book and the next one and the next one. You learn so much more on each book and write each one better. Don’t drive yourself crazy trying to revise the same book over and over. Take what you’ve learned and apply it to the next book. One day you may be able to back sell that first one (or latest one) or see how to make it much stronger. Like you, I invested a lot of money in learning the craft–CWG journeyman, numerous paid edits, including a full, lots of conferences and online workshops. The one ms (my 3rd) that I kept fixing and fiddling with, and that went through a couple of those edits, won me the Daphne and did land me an agent, but it’s still not published. But thankfully, in the midst of reworking it and reworking it, I kept writing more books and applying what I’d learned. The info in the last rejection for that ms equipped me to make a few necessary changes to one of the next two mss I had finished and voila, that next one sold. And was I ever glad to have another one ready to submit right away when that happened. Since you’ve been at this for decades, I suspect you probably have a few mss like that. What’s cool is that God is using your writing and your journey and your perseverance in ways to mold you and to touch others in ways you might not even realize. You’ve been an encouragement to me this week with your email. Thank you!


    • Thanks a lot Sandra. That’s some of the most practical advice and encouragement I’ve had. I still have two contests and two publishers to hear from. We’ll see what happens. But I will be moving on to something else. Review of Deadly Devotion is now up on it’s own page, plus Amazon and Christianbook.com.


  7. Pingback: What You Liked | Donna L.H. Smith

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