Have you ever started a project with the best of intentions, and then struggled to finish it? You began with such high hopes, only to find yourself wallowing in frustration before reaching the finish line. That happened to me. Has it ever happened to you?
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
2 Timothy 4:7 – NIV
For the past few weeks, we have been discussing some behind the scenes details of my writing and publishing journey, but what I have not shared is that my book, “Rough Places Smooth: Moments In A Journey Through Blindness,” almost didn’t happen. Despite my calling, despite the best of intentions, I almost gave up on the idea of publishing the book.
As I mentioned previously, my writing journey began somewhere in the course of 2015 with simple journal entries that morphed into short stories, stories that would be edited and re-edited many times thereafter. the initial stories were about the pivotal moments in my life journey. There was no background detail, no links to weave the stories all together. After my midnight call from The Lord, I began to develop a plan, a working skeleton for the book’s structure, but that plan would be revised again and again as I grew in my writing skills.
I never really had a timeline, never set an end date. That felt too much like a job, and I didn’t want the pressure of that. I had stopped work because the stress was impacting my eyes. I refused to create a new sorce of stress to replace the old one. Thus, without a deadline, I piddled along with my writing for several years.
In the beginning, I could still see my iPad screen with a few modifications to improve contrast and readability. By the time I reached the final editing process for the book, I was completely dependent on using the Voiceover accessibility feature on my iPad, forced to edit by scrolling one letter, one word, one line at a time. I couldn’t review the overall flow without listening carefully and scrolling up an down a million times. The book was divided in six separate files to make it easier for me to navigate, but how was I going to pull it all together into a finished product? Without being able to visually review the text, I couldn’t figure out how I could combine the manuscript into the proper format.
The obvious answer was that I needed a publisher. A copy editor could put the manuscript in the proper format and proofread for grammar errors and typos. Yet, as every author knows, finding a publisher is not as easy as it sounds. There is a ton of competition, and as I quickly learned, a bunch of hurdles to overcome.
I began a quest to identify a Christian publisher, but the more I researched, the more discouraged I became. I quickly learned that publishers seldom look at first-time authors without an incredible social media following with some suggesting a starting point of 10,000 followers or more. Since most main social media platforms are so visually demanding to navigate, reaching such a following was daunting for me, if not downright impossible.
My only other option was to pursue independent publishing and publish the book myself. There are many good options for self-publishing, but they all require navigating websites which is difficult for me to do, not to mention the problem of putting the manuscript into a final publishable format.
I had spent most of 2021 dithering over this dilemma. The book was finished, but I was stuck, not seeing workable options for moving forward. I had been praying for God to send me a publisher if He wanted me to take this step, but the heavenly communication lines had been quiet, and no publisher had come knocking on my door.
As the calendar turned to 2022, my spirits sank. There were no publishing options on the horizon, and I felt like this dream was destined to crash and burn. On a cold January day, I bent my dear friend Tami’s ear with a hissy-fit of frustration, venting that I was just going to have to give up this publishing dream. We discussed all the closed doors, and I felt like it was time to raise the white flag.
My forever friend and sister of the heart listened carefully as she always does, walking away from our conversation with a heavy heart. She had been a staunch advocate of me sharing my stories from the very beginning of my writing journey. Now, when the end was so near, it looked like I was throwing in the towel, and it broke her heart. Venting her concern and disappointment to her husband Doug, she shared my dilemma about how to independently publish the book. And you know what his response was? ”I’ll do it! I‘ll help her!”
I had asked God for a publisher, and God had sent me one. Like so many times in my life, God answered my prayers by putting the right people in my path. Tami served as a developmental and copy editor, and Doug did the rest. He compiled the manuscript, navigated the websites, and helped me complete the critical steps in the process. This book was brought to press by my Northup House publishing team, and I am forever grateful for the dedicated roles Tami and Doug played in putting this book into your hands.
God doesn’t always answer our prayers the way we expect. As I have said before, God loves surprises, and friends, I sure loved this surprise! I also think we learn in the waiting. When we wait, we learn to trust. Learning to trust God with all our cares and concerns is the best lesson we could ever learn..
Is there something you are praying about right now? Is God being slow in sending the answer? It is so hard to wait, isn’t it? It’s so easy to give up instead of waiting for God to work it all out, but He can, and He will, even if His timeframe is much different than our desired one..
Don’t give up on your dreams. Settle in to wait and be faithful. Who knows? There may be a good surprise coming your way just when you least expect it..
O Lord God Almighty, thank You for our answered prayers. You know all our cares and concerns. You know how hard it is for us to wait. Give us patience to wait on Your good plan. Strengthen us to face the hard times, knowing that always and forever You go with us and You will make a way forward. Help us fight the good fight, finishe the race, and keep the faith.
In the Gracious Name of Jesus, we pray,
Want to read more of Anita’s story?
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Rough Places Smooth:
Moments in a Journey Through Blindness
by Anita Peden Sherer
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