Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Day I Decided to Keep Writing

by Lucinda Secrest McDowell

“I’m not impressed and won’t be sending this manuscript to any publisher. Honestly, no one wants this book, so you may as well start over on something else,” my literary agent said during our appointment at the annual booksellers convention.

I was shattered.

I knew about rejections. I had begun my career writing for magazines and had thick files of rejection letters which had only spurred me on to try the next publisher. But now, as an established book author, I was discouraged. Why not just quit? It’s not like anyone would miss a book I haven’t even written!

Yet, I had always tried to live the words “Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust Him, and He will help you.” (Psalm 37.5) So, as I trudged through the airport in the wee hours of the next morning I silently offered all my writing back to God—praying for guidance and provision.

I even managed to be friendly to the weary traveler in the next chair in the gate area. Even before I found out she was an editor at a large publishing house.

“I’m just curious, as you leave the convention, was there one book idea you had hoped to find from an author?” I said in my most hesitant manner.

“Well, my boss was interested in something that addresses the whole baby-boomers-reaching-middle-age idea. We think that might find a good audience,” she replied.

Did I hear her correctly? Had she really just regretted not being offered something on the very subject of the book proposal now gathering dust in my briefcase?

“Uh, well, I happen to have a book proposal on that very subject. Would you be willing to look it over and see if it might fit your needs?” I stammered.

The startled editor graciously took my manuscript. One year later that new book was published. "30 Ways to Embrace Life - Wise Women Share Their Secrets"From absolute rejection to acceptance in a series of events that could only have been orchestrated by God!

What does it mean to commit everything we do to the Lord?

This simple act of relinquishment means to entrust or put in charge. It also involves the harder internal process of being willing to accept a possible ‘no’ or being redirected on a different path.

I often think back to that very low point in my writing career.

What if I had continued to pout and retreat to a corner seat in the airport waiting gate, ignoring everyone around me? What if I had simply taken my current agent’s advice or stopped writing altogether?

Instead, I chose to prayerfully continue to commit everything to God – the One who called me to write in the first place – and to believe that He would indeed help me. Life is too short to invest in work that doesn’t have God’s hand all over it. Can I truly surrender all to Him?

That’s the place where He wants me to be.

How have you had to remake the decision to keep writing? Be sure to share your insight in the comments section below.

“Lord, I believe in You: increase my faith. I trust in You: strengthen my trust. I love You: let me love You more and more… Guide me by Your wisdom, correct me with Your justice, comfort me with Your mercy, protect me with Your power.  I offer You, Lord, my thoughts: to be fixed on You; my words: to have You for their theme; my actions: to reflect my love for You…. I want to do what You ask of me: in the way You ask, for as long as You ask, because You ask it. Amen.” (Clement, 95 AD)


Lucinda Secrest McDowell, M.T.S., is the author of 11 books, contributing author to 25 books, and has published in more than 50 magazines. A graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Furman University, she studied at the Wheaton Graduate School of Communication and served as Communications Specialist for the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization (Thailand) and Editor for Billy Graham’s International Conference for Itinerant Evangelists (Netherlands). A member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA), she has received “Writer of the Year” awards from both Mt. Hermon and Blue Ridge Writers Conferences. Cindy speaks internationally through her ministry “Encouraging Words” and co-directs the New England Christian Writers Retreat. Known for her ability to convey deep truth in practical and winsome ways, she writes from “Sunnyside” cottage in New England. Visit her online at www.EncouragingWords.net 


  1. Thank you so much for sharing, Cindy. I have been truly blessed by you. God has used you in my life in ways you could not imagine. You did not know I was watching you at the writers conference. No, I am not a stalker. Hee hee. You are truly a woman of God and live what you write. So many of us have been blessed by your spoken and written words.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing this...too often we tend to take one person's opinion of our work *writing* to heart. BUT God will achieve His purpose when we are faithful to His call on our writing. God bless :)

  3. Thank you for sharing this. I can understand how hurt you were. I think what hurts the most is the bluntness of the rejection.

    I once submitted to an agent, and her one line response to me was: "This does nothing for me." No "Dear Carole" No "Sincerely," Yours truly," no signature. That was hurtful, because she obviously didn't care enough, or respect me enough, to respond in a professional fashion.

    Fortunately, I got past it and moved in.

  4. A wonderful reminder that every agent and editor is unique. Press on despite the rejections.

  5. Thanks everyone for your comments on this blog. May we all sense God's empowering and gifting to Keep Writing!

  6. Thanks to everyone for your kind comments. May we all continue to commit our work to the Lord and trust Him to open and close doors. Keep Writing!