Monday, January 22, 2018

Writer, Don't Despise Small Beginnings

By Andrea Merrell

The writing and publishing industry is a wonderful, exciting, terrifying place. Can I get an amen?

When attending my first writers’ conference, I was overwhelmed … the proverbial fish out of water. What in the world am I doing here? I asked myself for days. I was completely outside my comfort zone, not to mention my element. Observing and speaking with others who had achieved varying levels of success almost convinced me I would never make it. But I hung in there and persevered.

Fast forward ten years. Since that first encounter with the industry, I now have three nonfiction books published (LPC Books), have contributed to numerous anthologies, and even won a few awards. I have written hundreds of devotions, articles, short stories, and blog posts, and am currently working on three novels. For the past few years, it has been my privilege to teach at a variety of writers’ conferences—something I never dreamed possible. But will all these "accomplishments," the greatest blessing of all would have to be the countless number of amazing people that have crossed my path over the years, many of whom have become close friends.

Why do I say all this? Those of you who know me well understand that I’m definitely not one to toot my own horn (that’s why marketing is my Achilles heel). The reason for sharing these achievements is to show you what God can do in your life when you obediently step into your calling and trust Him to lead the way.

And it all happens with small beginnings. Zechariah 4:10 says Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord  rejoices to see the work begin …

Moving toward my God-given destiny began with someone handing me a business card. My connection with that writer and speaker led to a small writer’s retreat, my first conference, and several life-long friendships. As I continued to move forward—one tentative baby step at a time—God opened doors of opportunity I never even knew existed. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us that God has a plan and purpose for our lives. That’s a promise you can take to the bank.

When something small happens to you, especially in your writing career, you may tend to overlook it or think it unimportant. But look at the life and ministry of Jesus. He could have chosen hundreds of disciples, but He carefully selected twelve. He could have called down manna from heaven, but He fed thousands of hungry people on a hillside with a small boy’s lunch. Jesus shows us how a mustard seed—the tiniest of seeds—can grow into a massive tree and how a pinch of yeast raises a lump of dough to be made into bread. These are all kingdom principles that teach us valuable lessons.

What drives you as a writer? Do you have a heart to write for God or simply desire to see your name on the cover of a book? Are you willing to do what it takes to learn the craft and perfect your gift, or are you trying to advance by skipping important—and necessary—steps? Do you want to be bigger or better?

Pastor and author Bob Gass says, “All the prayers in the world won’t pressure Him (God) into giving you what you are not ready to handle.”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow said, “Most people would succeed in small things if they weren’t troubled with blind ambition.”

Jesus said, “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much (Luke 16:10 NIV).

Nobody wants to be a flash in the pan—well-known and successful today and gone tomorrow. Bigger may be easier to measure, but gradual success is a solid foundation that is valuable, lasting, and fulfilling.

Writer, if God has called you and given you the gift of words, commit that gift to Him, take one baby step at a time, and watch what He’ll do. Don’t allow yourself to get discouraged, and never compare yourself with others. God has great blessings in store for you, and His timing is always perfect. Don’t ever despise small beginnings. Be thankful for each step forward and believe that God will open amazing doors of opportunity made just for you. With Him, all things are possible.

Photos courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/markuso, nenetus, and Andrea Merrell.)


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8 comments:

  1. Thank you, Andrea. I like the term "gradual success" - which means moving forward step by small step. Thanks for being part of my writing journey!

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    1. Sarah, it's my pleasure to be part of your journey. I hope your book is doing well. By the way, I'm using it as one of my examples in my class next month at ACWC "Turning Pain into Prose." I also used it last year at BRMCWC. Blessings! :)

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  2. Thank you, Andrea. Such encouraging words as I make my way through this writing world. I'm definitely in the baby step stage - one small step at a time.

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    1. Every one of those steps count, Sheryl. Don't ever stop moving forward. Blessings! :)

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  3. Thank you, Andrea, for being God’s mouthpiece. I needed to HEAR these words, especially Zechariah 4:10. And oh those quotes......I’m listening, Lord!

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    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Deborah. God is so clear sometimes in His direction. May we all be listening. Blessings! :)

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  4. I love this. Thank you for the encouragement!

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    1. My pleasure, Ashley. So glad you found it encouraging. Thanks so much for stopping by. Blessings! :)

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