Please welcome this week’s guest Janet Sketchley for The Journey. She answers the question: How have you seen God work in your writing journey?
God dragged me into writing kicking and grumbling. I was a sleep-deprived at-home mom. My husband knew I needed to get out of the house, so he encouraged me to join a friend’s new writing group. She needed bodies to fill the chairs, so what was I to do?
Then God nudged me to pray for someone in jail. Again I struggled, but He didn’t let up until I obeyed. The letter came back unopened, but I wondered: what would you do if you came face to face with a dangerous offender – one you’d been praying for?
I expected the ideas to dry up quickly, but over time a whole novel unfolded. Because I didn’t know what I was doing at the start, it needed major revisions. When I thought it was ready I heard about what’s now the Write Canada conference. But to spend so much on airfare and registration?
Out of nowhere, a member of one of my online writing groups emailed to ask if I’d be attending the conference and would need a place to stay. Through a series of emails, God spoke through her to convince me to attend.
Well! My manuscript was ready (I thought). God wanted me to go to this conference where I wouldn’t know anyone. There would be editors there from publishing houses. Would one of them want my story?
Anyone who’s been writing for a while is laughing at that idea, and rightly so. I came home with a clearer view of how much still needed to be done – and with a grim determination to do my best for my characters.
The manuscript quality improved, and the rejections became more encouraging. Every time I got discouraged, God provided something to get me moving again: a new insight to improve my writing, connecting with an agent, even a song. (Peter Furler’s “It’s All in Your Head”)
Then I saw an email in another writers’ group about a new publishing house that looked like a fit. With my agent’s blessing, I sent off yet another submission. When the reply came back “yes” I didn’t know what to do at first. Signing the novel contract was one of the most surreal experiences of my life.
I’m so thankful to God for prodding, prompting and pushing me on this journey, and for encouraging me each step of the way until the timing (and writing) was right to connect me with a publisher that could take my rough story and make it shine.
It’s been worth the struggle, and the journey is not over yet. There’s ongoing promotion for Heaven’s Prey as well as fine-tuning the sequel and writing more stories after that. I may have started reluctantly, but I’m where I belong.
Janet Sketchley’s debut novel, Heaven’s Prey, is a story of suspense and redemption. You’ll find her Christian living articles and book reviews at http://janetsketchley.ca, plus a true-life story in the award-winning anthology, A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider. Janet lives and writes in east-coast Canada. Christian suspense fans are invited to join her writing journey through her monthly newsletter: http://bit.ly/JanetSketchleyNews.