Friday, November 8, 2013

Book Contract, Author Status, and Life as a Catholic Writer

I have wanted to be a writer since I was in 9th grade. That’s when Mr. Canterbury made us write short stories and read them to the class. I shook. I found it hard to swallow. But I fell in love with writing and sharing my words with others. I realized not everyone feels that way about writing when Val asked me to be her ghost writer the next time Mr. Canterbury gave us a short story assignment. I declined the offer, but Val affirmed something that needed some affirmation. I was born to write, and I was pretty good at it.

I was fourteen.

Now, I’m forty-nine.

It was a long time coming, but I have a book contract. I can finally say I’m an author, although it feels a lot like saying I’m a columnist – a title that was far easier to obtain. The sky doesn't turn to rainbows when I say it. I don't hear music swell. There is no drumroll. I am a columnist. And now, I am an author.

You think everything will change when you have a contract. Literary agent Rachel Gardner sums it up well here.

Perhaps the greatest change is that there is a sense of justification when I sit at the computer. I always felt like I should be cleaning or running errands. I still feel those things calling, but it’s easier to keep writing. I am an author after all. We authors sit at the computer. It's what we do.

But the house still needs to be cleaned. The errands must still be run. So, I’m still me.

The best part about being a Catholic author is that I have friends in high places, and like the writer to the Hebrews says, they are a great cloud of witness. They cheer me on. They pull me through days of writer’s block and hold my hand when I feel the rush of adrenaline that comes with radio spots.

And Mary has become my greatest advocate as a writer. She keeps me little. She wraps me in her mantle. She shares her story. And I listen.

This is what I was born to do. When everything falls away and it’s just Mary talking to my soul, I know that I know that I know – this is what I was born to do.

The road to publication is long. Books don’t pop up on Amazon the second you sign a contract. But even then, Mary yields grace. This is the best part. The waiting. Waiting with her.

It’s like being in Advent for a year. Not a bad place to be.

Pray for me.

Pray that I will glorify Jesus Christ.

Pray that the Blessed Mother will become vivid – profoundly real and accessible – to readers.

Pray that I will let Jesus and Mary take center stage. All for Jesus through Mary.

Yes, that is the correct posture. And it feels amazing – as it always does when one knows this is what I was born to do. And this is how I was meant to do it.




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