“Don’t despise small beginnings,” said a woman named Mildred in a recent meeting I attended. Mildred’s words resonated with me. In fact, they stuck with me for several weeks. The reason being, as I’m pursuing what I believe to be my God-given purpose of writing fiction, my beginnings appear to be quite small.
You see, while my writing goals are huge, being a multi-published, best-selling author, I’ve barely scratched the surface. When I look back to when I started writing my first manuscript in 2010, I had no idea where or how far this path would take me. In fact, I didn’t know it was a path at all.
I had an idea — I believed a great story idea! And I felt compelled to write it. When I finished, I went through the editing process. Then I began pursuing traditional publication. That’s when the wheels slowed down. No, actually the wheels came to a screeching halt! I sent out numerous query letters, but the responses came back, “Thanks, but no thanks.”
Discouraged, but not defeated, I began trying to figure out why my queries didn’t generate the interest I thought they should. At the same time, I started writing my second manuscript.
I was also president of the Dallas Area Writers Group (DAWG). We held a short story contest during the summer of 2017. I decided to write a story to enter into the contest as a challenge to myself to see if I could win.
Well, I didn’t win, but my story did well in the ranking. Because we had several new writers to enter the contest, I recommended publishing an anthology of the best short stories to the DAWG board of directors, as this would give the writers publishing credit.
The board agreed and in October 2018, we published our first anthology of short stories, “Texas Shorts, Volume I“. My short story, “The Top Hat and the Feather Boa” is included in the anthology. This is my first published work.
While this is a major milestone, it seems small in comparison to my ultimate goal of being a published novelist. And as a result, I’ve found myself struggling with being truly proud of this accomplishment.
Earlier this week during my morning devotion, “Don’t despise small beginnings,” entered my thoughts again, and I wondered about the origin of the phrase. When I Googled it, I found it’s from the Bible, Zechariah 4:10 “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin…”
After reading that passage of scripture, I had a renewed sense of accomplishment, knowing that God is pleased with my small beginnings. He’s pleased because I have begun the work. It reminded me that God has the perfect timing for everything I will accomplish in my writing life. And even with the setbacks and disappointments — and my small beginnings — all of it is preparation for the “great” things He has planned for me.
So rather than feeling as though I haven’t accomplished anything significant, my new attitude is one of thankfulness for what God has allowed me to accomplish. And I rejoice in the knowledge that a foundation and a platform are being created for me which I cannot create for myself. My job is simply to continue on the path placed before me, continue to do the work, and continue to be grateful for every success — great and small — because each is part of God’s perfect plan.