Tuesday, August 18, 2020

The Day I Almost Gave Up Writing

by Lucinda Secret McDowell @LucindaSMcDowel

“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. 

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? I certainly wouldn’t be celebrating the release of my 15th traditional published book right now. 

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.

“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 a storyteller and seasoned mentor who engages both heart and mind while “Helping You Choose a Life of Serenity & Strength.” A graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Furman University, McDowell is the author of 15 books and contributing author to 30+ books. Her award-winning books include Soul Strong, Life-Giving ChoicesDwelling Places, and Ordinary Graces. Lucinda, a member of the Redbud Writers Guild and AWSA, received Mt. Hermon “Writer of the Year” award and guest blogs monthly for ‘The Write Conversation.’ 

Whether coaching writers and speakers, pouring into young mamas, or leading a restorative day of prayer, she is energized by investing in people of all ages. As a communications teacher, she has served on the faculty of Speak Up ConferenceMount Hermon Christian Writers ConferenceBlue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, Florida Christian Writers ConferenceAsheville Christian Writers Conference and co-directs the annual spiritual retreat reNEW – retreat for New England Writing & Speaking.   Known for her ability to convey deep truth in practical and winsome ways, McDowell shares words from “Sunnyside” cottage in New England and blogs weekly at www.LucindaSecrestMcDowell.com


  1. Lucinda,

    Fascinating article and emphasises something I say often: publishing is a lot about being in the right place at the right time with the right stuff--like your editor encounter. No agent or editor gets it right all the time. I certainly don't. I've also fired several agents that I've worked with over the years--not the right connection for me. It is a key aspect of this business that many writers neglect. There is much for each of us to learn in this business--certainly true for me.

    author of 10 Publishing Myths, Insights Every Author Needs to Succeed

  2. Thank you, Lucinda, for this encouraging post and great reminder to trust God rather than people. If it's meant to be, God will make a way.

  3. Amen. Commit everything to God. He will see us through when we have doubts about writing.

  4. Lucinda,

    Recently I have experienced some God-inspired writing which others have commented about, and I rock back on my heels and say, "Wow! Only You, Lord, could have inspired that at the right time." It's an uplifting charge in my writing battery.

  5. Thank you so much for this encouraging post. I adore when an event or development can only be attributed to God. "Orchestrated by God." Stress lifts, pressure evaporate as I commit everything to Him. This beautiful post brings tears to my eyes. The faithfulness of our God.
    Again, thank you.

  6. This is an amazing story!

    I still think your agent could have been nicer! Yikes!

  7. Wonderful encouragement to continue to do what the Lord has called us to.

  8. God knows when to send a post to encourage and inspire!

  9. What an encouraging blog Lucinda! I needed to hear how much effort we MUST put in and trust the Lord. I will commit all my writing work to the Lord, always. Also, I just sent this blog to my best friend. I think she will really benefit from it, even though she isn’t a writer.

  10. What a beautiful story! God already had a perfect plan for your book, and I am truly sorry you were rejected the first time. One of my favorite verses resonates with me throughout this blog. Romans 8:28 tells us, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Thank you for being an encouragement to all of us.