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Sunday, 17 January 2016

The waiting game by Claire Musters



We are still in the first month of the new year, and so I am going to admit to you what one of my unfulfilled goals was for last year. To get my book published. Now some of you may feel that was quite greedy – and that it was fulfilled anyway, as my Bible study notes on David came out before the end of 2015. But, while I have indeed had five books published traditionally over the years, each one was an idea that came from an editor with whom I already had a relationship with (either as a freelance editor or writer for them). So they feel like a bit of a cheat (which is silly, I know).

The problem is, I have had a book simply burning within me for a few years now. Based on my own life’s circumstances but then broadening out, I feel passionately that God has called me to write it. After some initial wobbles, I felt him speak clearly to me during a leadership training day … on preaching of all things. He told me that this is my story, and this is what I am to convey. While others in the room were being called to preach, I was being called to write my story down – and then be willing to talk about it.

Since then, I have had interest from one publisher, only to have that initial interest wane after the publisher was made redundant. I am in correspondence with another publisher – but still have no idea (or any guarantees) whether they want to publish. The commissioning editor has been extremely kind, and brutally honest – which I know those of you who have been on the receiving end of that before can probably still remember the sting of it. And yet the comments were well meant, and have made the book better as a result. I am exceedingly grateful – even though it hurt at the time.

But my book still remains unfinished and without a contract. I feel like I’m in a waiting game, and that is very much like being in limbo. Yes, I could be finishing it off anyway – and I do try to write bits of it when I can, but life does tend to crowd in, in the form of other writing assignments that pay and family and church activities. Oh yes, and enforced rest from work due to ill health – I’ve had a surprising and unexpected amount of that in the last year.


I am trying to do the waiting well. Trying not to pin all my hopes on this one publishing house. I’m trying to keep things in perspective, as well as keep on with relevant research and bits of writing when I can. I know I’m not alone – that waiting is one of those painful but inevitable parts of being a writer. How about you? How do you do the waiting well? I’m hoping I can learn something from you…

Claire is a freelance writer and editor, mum to two gorgeous young children, pastor’s wife, worship leader and school governor. Claire’s desire is to help others draw closer to God through her writing, which focuses on marriage, parenting, worship, discipleship, issues facing women today etc. Her books include David: A man after God's own heartTaking your Spiritual Pulse, CWR’s Insight Guide: Managing Conflict and BRF Foundations21 study guides on Prayer and Jesus. She also writes a regular column for Christian Today as well as Bible study notes and is currently standing in as editor for Families First magazine. To find out more about her, please visit www.clairemusters.com and @CMusters on Twitter.

8 comments:

  1. I wish you all the best with your book Claire. Praying you find a publisher

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  2. Yes, Claire, patience is a necessary writer's virtue. I tried to cope with the waiting in two ways: 1. multiple submissions, so that I didn't have all my hopes pinned on waiting for one answer. 2. getting on with other projects, e.g. planning/writing the sequel, building a website, speaking engagements, etc. I don't know if this helps, but good luck. :-)

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  3. I have yet to pluck up the courage to approach a publisher with my 3rd book. The first two were autobiographical and self-published. But I want to try to approach publisher with the third one. I know it is a lot of waiting. But I have work to keep me occupied, and I like Philip's suggestions. All good ideas.

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  4. I currently have a novel being looked at by a publisher. Initial feedback was quite positive, with suggestions! But now, with the formal proposal made, I just have to leave it alone. Frustrating at times, especially when I think that I could have self published months ago. But on the other hand, waiting is part of the process. And it was worth waiting for earlier feedback as the book has been significantly improved as a result. So I put it firmly on the back burner, leave it simmering, and (as Philip said) get on with some other projects. Plenty of those!

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    1. Yes it can feel quite odd to leave our 'baby' alone while we await feedback on a proposal. And the timeframes of traditional publishing can be exceedingly slow - but hopefully worth the wait! ;)

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  5. I can so relate to this Claire! I didn't feel like a 'real' author until that first book was out, and it felt like it took SO long to write it - I think 7 years with the ups and downs and twists and turns. Now I see the wisdom in the timing and the publishing house - but ugh, as you know, since then there have been more conflations in the publishing market. I'm wondering more and more about indie publishing - have you ever considered that? But like you, I seem to need a deadline before I'll get down and write. Prayers for you on this journey - and do please write what God has told you to write! You'll feel pregnant with it until you do.

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    1. Thanks Amy - I was sure plenty of people would be able to relate to this experience, which is why I decided to write about it for the blog. Good to be reminded of your journey too x

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  6. I think it is quite normal not to be able to finish the book until you have a publisher lined up - with non-fiction anyway. They may want to shape it differently and you will have to undo what you've done. Also, it's a way of self-preservation. By finishing the book you will be even more emotionally committed to it than you are already. And that will hurt even more if the answer's no. So I think you've done the right thing. A word of encouragement: a project that I thought was dead in the water 4 years ago - so much so that I moved my note and files on it into the loft - has recently shown signs of resurrection. Out of the blue a producer has expressed interest in it (without me even approaching them_ and I've had to send the hubby into the loft to hunt down my notes. It's not a yes yet, but it does indicate to me that God is in control of it all. My heart was broken when it wasn't produced before, and then I let it die. But the Lord can bring life when and where he needs to. I'm not saying your project will die, but just know that if it does it might just be until a time more suited to God's purposes.

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