Friday, January 28, 2022

Stay on Track with Your Writing by Learning When to Say No

By Lori Hatcher @LoriHatcher2

I’d been working hard to break into the publishing world. One day I received an invitation to blog for a well-known publisher. They’d read my book for homeschooling moms and thought I’d be a good fit. When I opened the mail invitation, my heart leapt. This is the break I’ve been hoping for. If I blog for this publisher, thousands of people will read my work. I’ll gain name recognition, build a following, and position myself for future publishing opportunities.

Then my soaring heart did a nosedive.

The topic I’d be blogging on, homeschooling, was one I was well versed in. I’d homeschooled my daughters for 17 years. But I’d graduated my last student the year before. To write relevant content for current homeschooling families, I’d have to spend hours doing research because my knowledge was no longer current. And I’d build a following of homeschooling moms who’d expect me to write books about homeschooling.

My years as a homeschool educator were some of the richest of my life. I loved encouraging homeschool families. But did I want to continue to write about homeschooling? If I was honest with myself, I’d have to say, Not really. I’d completed that season of my life and moved into a new one. My happy place was now devotional writing. 

Torn between a fabulous opportunity and my sinking heart, I did what every wise author should do when faced with a major career decision—I prayed and called my agent, the wise and no-nonsense Les Stobbe. I knew what he’d say: “Are you CRAZY? I can’t believe you’d even question whether to accept this offer. This is the break every writer dreams of.”

After I shared what was on my heart, Les made two statements: 
  • “How do you feel whenever you think about the project? If you’re not excited, every day will be a chore.”
  • “It doesn’t make sense to hop on a train going in a direction you don’t want to go.”
Les’s answer gave me the clarity and direction to graciously decline the offer. In hindsight, it was the right choice. Not spending 20 hours a week writing homeschool material allowed me to focus on what I loved—devotional writing. I submitted my devotions to Christian Living magazines, denominational publications, and well-known devotionals. I gradually built my writing resume and made contacts in the industry. And I wrote my first book with Our Daily Bread Publishing, Refresh Your Faith, Uncommon Devotions from Every Book of the Bible.

Several years later, I received an invitation from the publisher who had extended that first wonderful offer. Would I like to contribute a series of devotions for a new project they were developing? With a leap in my heart and joy in my soul, I said YES. I’ve since contributed to four or five of their books. 

Isn’t God sweet? Following the passion He’d placed in my heart wasn’t career suicide. It was career focus.

My words for you are three-fold:
  • Be true to the direction you feel God is calling you to write.
  • Pray and seek wise counsel.
  • Don’t be afraid to say no.
If you’re not sure which direction God is calling you to, I hope you’ll join me at Asheville Christian Writers ConferenceFebruary 18-20 or Blue Ridge Christian Writers Conference May 29-June 2. I’ll be teaching a class called “Confirming Your Calling, Charting Your Course,” designed to help writers discover their unique, God-given writing purpose.

Now it’s your turn. Have you faced a similar career-charting decision? What steps did you take to determine the right path? Tell us about it in the comment box below so we can learn from your experience.


Lori Hatcher is an author, blogger, writing instructor, women’s ministry speaker, and career dental hygienist. She writes for Our Daily Bread, Guideposts, Revive Our Hearts, and Lori’s latest devotional, Refresh Your Prayers, Uncommon Devotions to Restore Power and Praise, releases March 1 with Our Daily Bread Publishing. Connect with her at or on Facebook, Twitter (@lorihatcher2) or Pinterest (Hungry for God).


  1. Lori,

    Thank you fo rthis insightful article about the choices for our writing. I've taken on projects that have been a chore and hard to accomplish. We need to use our godly wisdom with the many opportunities for our writing. Everyone has the same limitations on our time (whether we are aware of those limits or not).

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

    1. That's an excellent point, Terry. God gives us the same 24 hours a day. And He can guide us to how best to spend (invest them). Thanks for joining the conversation!

  2. Thanks, Lori, for this inspiring and instructive post. I printed this one to keep.

    1. So many choices! But God promises to guide us if we seek Him for direction. Aren't we glad?

  3. More sound advice. You're so full of wisdom. I have to be careful I don't get sucked in and head a way that will take me from what God has called me to. Thank you!

    1. Amen, Heather. This is a pray we must pray every day, regardless of what are of life we're talking about. Lord, make us wise!

  4. Thank you, Lori. Your message is both informative and encouraging.

  5. An excellent post! Thank you, Lori! Blessings to you!