Well, I’m back in the saddle…briefly. The OCW conference is past, but next week is church family camp. I’m the director, so I’ll be focused on that all next week.

The conference was fine, as expected. I reconnected with several old friends, made a few new ones, and missed the several who weren’t there this year.

My debate with James Scott Bell (plot versus character) went well. I won, of course. (Just don’t ask Jim who he thought won).

The big news, though, is something that happened apart from the conference. The publishing committee at a large Christian publisher met on Wednesday to consider a proposal of mine. Although I was expecting a “yes,” I got a “no.” And yet I wasn’t horribly disappointed. The reason is that although the proposal was on a topic dear to my heart, it was also one I was a bit hesitant to pursue. So I left it in God’s hands….and He, working through the decision of the committee, obviously closed that door. The result is that I’ve asked my agent not to submit that proposal nor the two others that were on the same general topic to any other publishers. It’s somewhat painful to close the door on that topic, but I think it’s for the best. This all goes back to the first step in becoming a Christian writer—trusting God to open and close doors as He chooses. I now feel free in a way. And, hey, this now means there are only 52 projects (instead of 55) on my list of books I want to write. I’m being narrowed as a writer and that’s a good thing. I expect there will more narrowing ahead too. I know I certainly will never live long enough to write all the projects on my list. But having a vision for each of those books is important, even though it means a season of pain when some of these envisioned projects must be put away for good. As someone as once said, the delete button is a writer’s best friend.

The hardest part, really, is that once I knew the proposal was under consideration, my mind kicked into high gear in preparation for that particular project. Everything I saw, read, or thought somehow got sifted for material to use in the eventual book. Even now, hours after hearing the negative verdict, I’m having trouble shutting down that part of my mind that was becoming consumed with gathering material for the book. I imagine this will last at least another full week. Maybe longer.

Perhaps the week at family camp will quiet my mind a bit. We’ll see. In the meantime, if I don’t get the fifth and final step in how to succeed as a Christian writer posted before family camp, rest assured I’ll do it as soon as I’m home again.

Meanwhile, I want you to consider how God might need to narrow or expand your vision as a writer. Is it time to hit the delete button on some projects….or perhaps time to refresh your vision with something new and exciting?

9 replies
  1. Nona King says:

    Bittersweet, I think, best describes the outcome of that proposal. But thank the Lord for the peace afterward! 🙂 And to the lesser amount of projects on that to-do pile, eh?


  2. Gigi Murfitt says:

    Thanks for sharing Nick. I hope this project is just temporarily on hold and will be picked back up or incorporated in another project on your list.

    A closed door leaves room for more growth and it saves on energy.

    I can hear my Mom now “Please close that door, do you think you live in a barn? I don’t want to heat the outdoors.”

    God knows the desires of your heart and now with this particular door closed there is room to move to the next.

    Take care,
    Gigi Murfitt

  3. Angella says:

    Great post – I’ve been feeling for some time the need to whittle the unnecessary projects and expose the ones I’m led to do. There is joy in knowing that He works in others the same way, and that you’re not alone in knowing the need to ponder His vision vs. your own.

    Enjoyed the Plot vs. Character debate at OCW SC! Since I’m a waffle (sometimes plot, sometimes character, sometimes “oh, I don’t know!”), I’ll say you both won. The Wizard of Oz and Gone with the Wind parts had us gasping for breath from laughing. Nice job to you both!

  4. Richard Mabry says:

    Nick, Has God changed my directions in writing? You bet. I’m firmly convinced that he directed me into it in the first place, even though I had plans to retire, play golf, and travel. And on more than one occasion he’s guided me through the maze of indecision by closing all the doors I wanted to go through and pointing me to the one he’d opened for me.
    I can only pray that this current rejection is only the herald of a wonderful opportunity for you.
    Blessings, friend.

  5. Mary says:

    Sounds like God works the same way for all of us. Good to hear you listened and accepted. A good example for the rest of us. Thanks for sharing.

  6. April says:

    Hi Nick!
    I am new to your blog, but have dearly loved your candor and the way that you approach Christian writing- expressing the reality of the business side and yet maintaining a firm faith that we are all seeking and following the Lord through the maze! It is good to read someone who knows this calling can’t just be about platforms! Thanks for your ministry! May the Lord bless the family camp you are working on and open a new door quickly!

  7. Caleb Griffin says:

    The guidance of the Holy Spirit is the greatest asset to believers today. I love God for creating each of us so uniquely and creating places for us that we could never imagine for ourselves. It’s sad when writers try to be someone else or try to be too many things.

    When we find that particular grace that God put inside us, we flow with supernatural ability. Others are blessed by our work and drawn to us and sometimes open their spirits to us without even realizing that it is the power of God that compels them. In that way, we can win souls for Christ without ever preaching the Word, just by being true to the glory that God put in His children.

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