Thursday, October 14, 2021

Don't Give Up on Your Writing Dream

by Julie Lavender @JLavenderWrites

Last month on The Write Conversation, I shared several success stories of artists and professionals who didn’t give up in Perseverance For Writers: Finding the Write One When the Others Won’t Work. Notables who persevered past rejections—sometimes, a huge collection of them before finding the right answer or getting that first acceptance. 

I mentioned Dr. Seuss, a successful children’s author whose rejection numbers get mentioned often at writers conferences as a shot of encouragement. As I mentioned last month, the highly successful (though some of his work has recently come under scrutiny) author faced 27 rejections before his first book was accepted. 

I have my own a-ha moment with Dr. Seuss’ failed attempts at publication. 

Forever ago, it feels like, when I first began my writing journey that included SAE’s and SASE’s—if that’s not a clue as to how long ago my journey began, then consider yourself a newbie on the writing walk—I knew very little about the path to publication. An elementary school educator by trade, I’d sought publication after the writing bug enticed me to write a children’s book. 

I typed and retyped query letters on a computer that dinged five spaces before the margin began but seven spaces before my word ended. (I should’ve bought stock in liquid paper.) My query letters were the epitome of what not to do as a writer seeking publication. 

Subsequent rejections helped me see the need to research the proper way to query and taught me the value of writing conferences and resources from successful writers. Yet, the rejections appeared in my mailbox regularly. With no explanation, the returned mail said, “no thanks” for my picture book ideas, “not right” to my educational market suggestions, and “what were you thinking?’ to my magazine article queries.

I felt defeated and rejected, yes, but mostly I felt as if I’d heard God wrong. I truly believed it was His plan for me to write. I’d decided to give up—not really in a pouting, defeatist retaliation movement, but because I didn’t want to be on a path not designed for me by God, and I seriously thought I’d misheard His direction. And, I was okay with that. I wanted to walk in His will for me. 

Shortly after those thoughts wandered through my mommy-of-two-little-ones, scattered brain, our military family traveled to Georgia to visit family. That Sunday morning in church, the pastor preached on perseverance. And the example that jolted me? You guessed it. Reverend Roberts said, “Dr. Seuss’ first book faced 27 rejections before it was accepted.” It was the first of many times I’d hear that statistic.

At that point, unfortunately, I tuned out the rest of the sermon. I began to pray silently. “God, I heard that. If you want me to try again, I will. But I’m okay if this isn’t your plan. I’ll try one more time.”

What might not surprise you as much as it did me, the very next query I sent in was accepted. In a business-sized SASE—Self-Addressed, Stamped Envelope—the publishing house tucked a formal letter stating their desire to publish my book for educators. 

The official book “yes” was years in the making and followed several publishing credits in a non-paying, stay-at-home-mommy magazine and a couple of little-paying Christian publications. 

I came close to 100 “ways that didn’t work,” but that first acceptance flipped the switch on my writing trail and led me on a delightful journey with the Lord and many dear writing friends. I’m glad I didn’t give up! 

Don’t give up, my friend—it’s worth the journey! 

Here are a few verses that inspire me even more than statistics of authors who’ve come before me. I hope they’ll encourage you to persevere, too, in your writing and your walk with the Lord. 

  • Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6
  • Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. 1 Chronicles 16:11
  • Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9
  • Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. Psalm 86:11
  • Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Proverbs 4:25-26
  • We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end. Hebrews 3:14
  • Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. Romans 5:3-4
  • You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. Hebrews 10:36
  • Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21
  • Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2
  • May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13 

Julie Lavender loves encouraging fellow writers, in honor of all those who’ve encouraged her to persevere throughout the writing journey. She’s grateful for mentors and peers who’ve poured into her life on the path to publication. Julie is a journalist for magazines and newspapers and is the author of 365 Ways to Love Your Child: Turning Little Moments into Lasting Memories (Revell) and Children’s Bible Stories for Bedtime (Z Kids/Penguin Random House).


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to read! The verses are reminders to ME, even after all this time on my writing journey!

  2. Thank you for solid encouragement from life and the Lord!

    1. You have such a way with words, my wonderful writer friend. "Encouragement from life and the Lord" sounds like a great title for an article, right? He is so good at that encouragement business, and I praise Him often for doing so! Thanks for reading and commenting, my friend!

  3. Julie,

    Thank you for this encouraging and important article. The truth is we are often faced with giving up on our dreams (yes I do as well after writing many books). It's our calling, obedience and discipline that keeps usx moving forward and a daily trusting process.

    author of Book Proposals That $ell, 21 Secrets To Speed Your Success (Revised Edition)

    1. Terry, thank you for your insightful words! YES - it IS a calling, not just a "hobby," and we are obedient when we live that out daily. It truly is a daily trusting process ... I, too, can get discouraged after all this time of writing, and I love to reread those verses over and over as a reminder to keep going!

  4. I need this encouragement. My non-fiction writing is going great. My children's stories are great. I have a fiction story that I've been working on and hopefully, that story will be published one day. :-)

    1. Girl, you keep going! I've read your work and love it! And, YOU are such an encourager to others in their writing journey, and for that, I'm grateful! Persevere on, my friend!!

  5. Julie, thanks for this excellent article. These verses are great reminders to keep chasing our dreams. Thank you for not giving up on your writing--so you could encourage us with this article. I'm reminded of a quote by Richard Bach: "A professional writer is an amateur that didn't give up." Thanks for sharing your story, Julie.

    1. I LOVE that quote, Jim!!! And, thank you for your kind words! I'm glad I didn't give up, too! I would've missed out on so much the Lord had planned for me, including the AMAZING writing friends I've met over the years, just like you at a recent conference!! Persevere on, my friend! Thanks for the read and the comment!

  6. Thanks for your writing this morning. I learned so much through your writing and all the blogs on The Write Conversation. Please keep them coming. Yours today is so helpful. Thank you again!

    1. I just love this site that teaches me so much and encourages me so well!! Thanks for reading and chiming in on the conversation! I love that God encourages my writing in so many ways through His Word!!!

  7. Thank you so much. Your encouragement and Word has wrapped itself around my heart. He is faithful.

    1. What sweet words, Elisabeth! Thank you for sharing that with me! His Word does encourage me so much, with my writing and other aspects of my life, too!! And, when I get down or discouraged because of another rejection or a "no" I didn't expect in my writing, I just love re-reading all of those verses above to remind me to persevere! Blessings!

  8. Great inspiration, Julie. Thanks for sharing your story!