Monday, November 25, 2019

Writing a Christmas Story

by Ane Mulligan @AneMulligan

A few years ago, before I got my first publishing contract, I had an idea for a novella collection of Christmas stories. After all, many authors contributed to collections and got their first contract that way. I was on a quest to publish and figured it was worth a try. 

This was also at a time when I was still clutching the reins of my writing, instead of letting go and allowing God to lead. When I put on my 3-D 20/20 hindsight glasses, I see how silly I was.

Not too surprisingly, the original collection idea didn't come to fruition, but I wrote my story—to a surprising conclusion.

When I finally realized God had a definite place and time for me to be published, I relaxed and let go. What freedom there is in that! Yes, I still worked as hard as I could to make my writing the best it could be. Yes, I still had twinges of envy when someone else got a contract, but they didn't last long. 

I knew God had my work in His capable hands. So, I sat back and had fun writing. By the time that contract finally came my way, I had two books completed and half of the third written in the 4-book Chapel Springs series. 

The best part was my publisher. Back when I first began writing, I went to every Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference I could. In 2005, it was where I met my critique partners, and a young man named Eddie Jones. He and Cindy Sproles (another friend and crit partner) started a devotions ministry within a few years after I met him. 

In 2007, Eddie started Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas or LPC Books (now part of Iron Stream Media). I love to watch God work. I especially love how He creates circles of His people. I knew that was where I belonged.

Another fun wrinkle in all this is I had always wanted to work with Ramona Richards. God kept closing the doors, no matter how much each of us expressed interest. Guess what? Ramona is the associate publisher of Iron Stream Media. 

Why am I telling you this story? To encourage you. To help you relax and enjoy the journey. You never know who you will meet along the way. So let God take the reins of your endeavors. Allow Him to lead. Your job is to write, to grow in your craft, and to step through the doors He opens. 

Oh, and that surprising conclusion to my Christmas novella? It turns out I wrote a modern version of the O. Henry story, The Gift of the Magi. I hadn't planned it. It simply happened. It surprised me as much as anyone. The only One it didn't surprise was God. His fingerrints are all over it. 


Ane Mulligan has been a voracious reader ever since her mom instilled within her a love of reading at age three, escaping into worlds otherwise unknown. But when Ane saw Mary Martin in PETER PAN, she was struck with a fever from which she never recovered—stage fever. She submerged herself in drama through high school and college. Years later, her two loves collided, and a bestselling, award-winning novelist emerged. She resides in Sugar Hill, GA, with her artist husband and a rascally Rottweiler. Find Ane on her websiteAmazon Author pageFacebookTwitterInstagramPinterest and The Write Conversation.


  1. Love this, my dear friend. The Season collection is in my Kindle TBR file. Sorry to say I've been so busy making book deadlines I've done little reading of other peoples' work late. I'm going to call it up later today and give it a read. Blessings to you and Terry this Christmas season.

  2. "Enjoy the journey!" I could not agree more Ms. Ane. God's blessings; and Happy Thanksgiving ma'am.