Turn In the Bend

As you know, I recently turned a bend in my writing journey. Agent Rachelle Gardner offered me the wonderful opportunity of having her representation. Of course I accepted! And now I'm moving forward on a new, unfamiliar path.

So how am I feeling? I'm super excited and thrilled that I've made it over the incredibly high hurdle of finding an agent. But now that I'm on the other side of that hurdle, I'm looking ahead at this new path with both excitement and trepidation.

Ahead I see shadows of things I don't understand. The path slopes upward with steep heights and crags that I've yet to climb.

So far in my writing journey the path has been a steady uphill climb. I've plodded forward one step at a time. I've strengthened my muscles, built my stamina, developed my callouses. I've written at least five books that will never see the light of day, filled notebooks with research, queried numerous agents, received countless rejections, waited in slush piles for endless months, slaved over contest entries, paid for professional editing.

I'm ready for the next phase of the journey. And yet. . .

I wonder, do I really have what it takes? Will I have the time to devote to the demands of this climb? Will my stories really be good enough? Can I persevere for the long haul? Because there's no turning back now.

When I'm plagued with self-doubts, first I tell myself there are many who've already gone before me. If they can do it, why can't I? And second, I remind myself I'm not alone in this journey. I have an excellent agent to guide my steps, I have the encouragement and support of all of you, and most importantly I have One who walks beside me and promises never to leave my side.

Where are you in your writing journey? And how are you feeling about where you're at? Since I've poured out my heart, I would love to hear what's in yours!


  1. This is such a good, true post Jody. I love how you've compared writing to climbing/hiking.

    I think I'm at a peaceful place right now. I have a few partials out and I'm revising a manuscript into something longer. Hmmm, I guess you could say I'm meandering up the mountain, munching on an apple and taking pictures. LOL

  2. Like Jessica, I'm in a pretty peaceful place, too.

    There's always so much MORE I want to do, but I'm willing to take in the scenery while I'll get there. :)

  3. Oh goodness, girl, you definitely have what it takes! Anyone who can write FIVE books and keep climbing, slow and steady, has what it takes. Annnddd...I have read part of one of those books and know you will definitely keep climbing higher and higher. Your eyes are on HIM and He will lead you right where you need to be.

    As for me, well, I have the same doubts. I can't even seem to get my own WIP finished. Life seems to get in the way for me. I blog instead of write, thinking I need a bigger stretch of time to really "write". If I can't find the time to write, am I a "real" writer? I guess, we shall see. :)

  4. A belated congrats on acquiring an agent. Whoot! :-)

  5. Congratulations! I'm so happy for you! I guess your struggle as to whether to go to BEA or not is answered, huh? Aren't you glad you stuck with it? All those worries and now, BAM! You're on your way! Way to Go!

  6. I love how real you are Jody! That was an excellent post. And I know this doesn't make you happy, but the fact that you've written five novels that won't see the light of day actually encourages me! Because I just finished my third novel and am starting to think it's just another warm up to "the one"... you know, the one that catches an agent/editors eye.

    Where I'm at in my writing journey... taking small baby steps forward, one step at a time. Just where you were not too long ago. A steady uphill climb. Learning something new every day, working on my craft, trying to grow and grow and grow as much as possible. I'm not yet seeking representation or publication. I hope to venture down that road after the conference. :)

    By the way - I know you're doubting yourself. But just based on this post alone, I can tell you have exactly what it takes to step forward on the path.

  7. I totally hear what you are saying! New adventures can be scary! I have NOT A DOUBT in the world that you have what it takes. If you didn't have what it takes, you wouldn't have made it this far. ;-) I'll say a little prayer for you.

  8. Dear Jody:
    Thank you for your transparency. I think it is very natural for you to feel this way. In fact, i would be concerned if you were 100% self-assured and cocky. If you know you can't do this on your own, you are more likely to rely on God to help you succeed, and that's the best place to be.

    I sent Tosca Lee an email, congratulating her on her Bronze award for Havah, which is an incredible book, absolutely stunning, and she said she was humbled by my comments, becasuse she is an imperfect lady with many issues. Which is why God can use her, I believe--- that sense of humility.

    Didn't mean to preach you a sermon, Dear. Just to say all of us are a mess, and you CAN do this, with Jesus' help. We are so proud of you, and we and He will hold your hand and pray for you all along "the path."

    Much love, Jen

    P.S. I didn't answer your question, did i? I am just starting on this path, getting rocks in my shoes sometimes and other times discovering beauty and even checks in the mail! Mostly I am finding new, wonderful friends that I treasure, whether i ever get published or not.

  9. Jody, thanks for sharing your feelings, worries, excitements, etc. It really spoke to me today because my feelings are much the same. I am excited about the progress I've made but nervous about the future. I am trying to be confident about this next step but it's intimidating, especially because this is unknown territory for me.

    Thanks for the reminder that the Lord is always beside us. With Him, it makes the challenge easier, steadier, more purposeful and even, at times, more peaceful.

  10. It's nice to know that I'm not the only one with a bit of self doubt. But you've jumped an amazing hurdle (or should I say made it up a really steep hill on the way up the mountain?) I am SURE you have what it takes to make it to the top. And with such an amazing agent working with you, I think you will also be incredibly successful!

    Thanks for this post! Oh and love the gnome award on the side ;)

  11. Jody--writing is in your blood. You wouldn't devote so much of yourself to it if it wasn't. I'm so excited for you. When you have the doubts, just throw them away. Who needs them?

    Me? I'm still in the ring of fire. I keep getting closer, but for me, it's all about being a GOOD writer, not a published writer, and I can't say I'm there yet. Although, I fully intend to be both!
    Thanks for a great post!

  12. Jessica: I wish I could meander and munch too. Sounds so peaceful!

    Jennifer: Aah, to enjoy the scenery along the way! Sounds wonderful!

    Sherrinda: Thanks for your encouragement! And you ARE a real writer! Don't ever sell yourself short!

    Rebecca: Thanks! Glad to see you around the blogosphere again!

    jdcoughlin: Thanks for your congrats! It certainly does pay off to persevere!

    Katie: I'm sure you're way ahead of where I was at book number three! You're doing so much! It won't be long now!

    Litgirl101: For sure, new adventures always have a heart-stopping excitement and the ability to raise our fears!

    Jeanette: Rocks in our shoes! Keeps us humble and dependent on the One walking beside us! Hope you have some smooth paths at the conference!

    Cindy: I'm glad to know I'm not the only one with mixed feelings! They're all good and normal, but new nevertheless!

    Marybeth: My blog just wouldn't be the same without my little gnome keeping me company! He's SO cute! Thanks for sharing him! :D

    Jill: I love your no-nonsense approach!I'll have to take your advice and throw my doubts away! And you will be both (good and published)--I just know it!

  13. I'm in the plodding along stage. I haven't gotten to the crazy cliffs to climb yet. But I know soon I'll be submitting to agents, and that means learning not to stumble from the rejections.

    You'll totally rock this next stage in your climb.

  14. Great post Jody! Sharing your feelings as you take the next step in your journey is not only encouraging to us who have yet to reach that next stage, it also allows us to join you and cheer you on.

    Keep moving forward, you're doing great.

  15. Maybe I am eating a picnic lunch? Waiting, but resting in what I've done, how far I've climbed, knowing full well there are higher heights to climb. Eating for me is the good stuff, it's working on a first draft of a novel -- pure yum!

    Love this question and Jody, there may be times you'll have to piggyback on God or others...but you will get there!!! Someday you'll hear, "Well done!" from the One who matters most.
    ~ Wendy

  16. we wouldn't be human if we didn't doubt ourself. i think back to Moses, who told God he didn't have what it takes...send Aaron out as your mouthpiece instead. But who was it who was used by God to part the Red Sea? whose staff was used to bring about the plagues? MOSES! who was "slow of speech."

    sometimes i think i'm "slow of write." :) but jody...God has blessed you with a talent. you've been honing it, and now that time is upon you to not be afraid! step forward in faith that He's going to provide exactly what you need it when you need it.

    whew! i'm on my preaching soap box! i'll step off now...but be encouraged. you've got what it takes. you always's just coming into its own fruition. God is smiling down on you.

  17. I feel like I've diligently moved along the path, and am about to turn a corner. Much of the initial hard work forging the path is behind me.

  18. I can relate to this post for sure. It's daunting to climb the mountain, and when you get to the top realize an entire mountain range spreads before you waiting to be crossed.

    I take comfort from the words of Angela Hunt. "We're all muddling in the middle. There are writers ahead of us and writers behind us on the path, but no one has arrived yet."

    So I muddle on. :)

  19. What I find reassuring is that at the very least, I have created something that I enjoy. In your shoes, you should be very proud of the manuscripts that you have completed, even if they don't get published. On top of that, you're found an agent who believes in you. Those are huge challenges that you have overcome! Even if nothing else happened, you have done a lot more than most writers are able to do.

    I try to hold onto those thoughts because I'm constantly feeling insecure. I'm starting to query agents--at least I plan to soon--and the voice in my head in always telling me I'm not good enough, that no one will like my work. It defeats me even before I've begun. But, I just have to force myself to do it because we never know what will happen in the end. And, if we hold onto the idea that simply finishing the book is satisfying, then anything that happens on top of that is a bonus.

  20. I'm excited for you Jody, but understand your misgivings. I've gotten this far and have recently sensed a shift for me...I'm not really sure what it means just yet...God hasn't shown me.

    I've published more than I ever thought I would, but I'm feeling like it's time to move to the next level.

    Thanks for honestly sharing. :)

  21. Joyce: I think this journey has a lot of stumbling and picking ourselves back up!

    quixotic: Thanks for cheering me on!

    Wendy: A picnic sounds great! Maybe once I get through this next leg, I'll be able to rest for a picnic too!

    Jeannie: Thanks so much for the encouragment and the reminders!

    Joanne: I hope you will let us all know when you turn that corner!

    Erica: Your comment reminded me of Lewis and Clark when they came to the first mountain of the continental divide and thought they were almost to the Pacific. When they climbed to the top, they saw all of the peaks and knew they had so far to go!

    Davin: Wow. Just what I needed to hear. Just finishing a book is pure accomplishment in itself! We need to relish that, and know that anything on top of that is a bonus!

    Julie: Moving to the next level takes courage, doesn't it? And sensitivity to where God is leading!

  22. Whenever you doubt yourself, just remember your agent believes in you. That's a big deal!

    Lynnette Labelle

  23. Are you saying that everything isn't happily ever after once you get an agent?!?!

    Okay, okay, I guess I already suspected that, and it's a good reminder that there is always another goal to reach for.

    As for me, I am still climbing towards that agent goal, but I also had a good realization this past weekend as I was working on rewrites - I just felt really happy and alive, and it made me realize that I really do love the act of writing. It's good to remind myself of this from time to time, I think, or else I spend so much time looking forward to what's next that I forget to enjoy the now.

  24. You're at such an exciting point! And I don't blame you one bit for feeling a bit (ok, a lot!) of trepidation. I'd say that's pretty normal.

    I'm at a strange part in my writing career. It's sort of on hold. And I'm ok with that. I think I just need time to "be" after the divorce, etc.

  25. I am still in the "getting good at writing and finding an agent stage" and I'm fine where I am, really. I'm not ready for that other bend in the road. Not at all! It's scary and my life is just, well, too fragile for that kind of turbulence at the moment!

    Remember, enjoy the journey, no matter what it brings. You have an amazing agent who will take care of you! I'm sure you'll do splendidly, and it will be so wonderful to watch your progress. :)

  26. I can really relate to you on this issue. How can you be excited and thrilled and scared and unsure and full of hope and overwhelmed....all at the same time? Crazy.

  27. So far, I'm climbing, often tripping over my own feet. A bump on my head, a bruise here and there, but I'm still moving forward.

    Jody, you're doing great. All that hard work and perseverance is paying off. You give all of us hope. :)


  28. Lynette: Thanks! I do have to remind myself of her confidence!

    Kate: It's so easy to get wrapped up in what's coming ahead and then we forget to enjoy the present. Thanks for that reminder!

    Melissa: We definitely all have points where we just need to take a hiatus!

    Lady Glamis: Enjoy the journey. I think I need a tatoo with that on both my wrists so I can see it every time I type!

    Tess: I am sure you can totally relate!

    Susan: We sure do get a lot of bumps and bruises on the path, don't we? But hopefully they can make us tougher and build us stronger!

  29. Jody, again, HUGE congrats on getting an agent! A major milestone on your path! WOOHOO!

    Am I happy where I'm at? I don't know if I'd use that word, but I am content. I'm where God wants me to be, and that is what matters. He knows so much more than me and I'm excited to follow HIS path for my life. You are right, the whole path is windy and curvy, filled with bumps and rivers to be waded through, brush to be slashed aside. SO glad I have a very big wise God leading me through it!!

  30. I can soooo totally relate to this. At this point I'm looking at publicity and thinking, "Can I do this?" And then I have to keep reminding myself that God brought me this far and I need to remember to leave things in his hands.

    Congrats on the agent! So cool!

    Keep pressing on. God didn't bring you this far to leave you!

  31. I'm hating my computer. I know I commented yesterday on this and came back to see if you responded, Jody, and there it's not there. It must have been when the explorer pages started opening up again on me and I had to hard shut down. Man, this bugs me big time.

    Now, can I remember what I said and be concise about it?

    Basically, I'm at a good phase right now I think, with feeling like I'm getting some where finally with my stories. Being a finalist gave me a boost of confidence that I desperately needed to keep prodding forward. I've much more to learn still, but this really helped me to feel like, yeah, I'm on the right path.

    And, you Jody, are doing amazing, friend. I can't wait to learn all about agent representation and publication through you.

  32. LOL Jody. Sometimes taking pics and eating an apple don't go too well together and I fall on my face. Snort!

    btw, I just found out that one of those partials never reached its destination (four months ago!!!) Sigh. Time to resend. So much for peaceful meandering. LOL

  33. Oh, this hits too close to home. The path I'm on is slow, but steady. I know that right now I have a young family to devote many of my otherwise "writing hours" too. But I'm okay with that because I know it is all in His time.
    You will do excellent. You have worked hard and you deserve to be where you are. Just keep climbing!

  34. First, I want to say that I've recently begun reading your blog. A wonderful friend, Marybeth, had previously mentioned it to me so I decided to start reading. Second, congrats on the agent!!! And lastly, a new "bend in the road" is always a little scary at first, but just think about how fulfilling it was to reach this place in your journey. Surely, the path behind you held just as many (if not more) rocks to stumble upon... but here you are at a point in this road that many never see, let alone reach. Good luck in your journey ahead!

  35. Krista: I'm so glad we have a wise God too! I definitely need the leading!

    Lynette: Thanks for stopping by! It's encouraging to hear others struggling with mixed emotions too!

    Eileen: Sorry about your computer problems again!! Thanks for reposting! I love chatting! And you certainly got the boost you needed and I'm so glad you did!

    Jessica: So pack up the camera and apples and get hiking again, right?!

    Kara: Slow and steady is good too! You'll keep moving forward and building your muscles and someday be ready for more!

    CMOM: Thanks for stopping by! I'm so glad Marybeth sent you my way!

  36. At the moment I am feeling that I am in an academic twilight zone. Learning to dodge the uncertainties that come in life letting them reveal the road to a higher ground.

    Thanks for sharing your journey Jody


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