© Patrick Jordan

With a pounding heart and shaky finger, you pressed submit. Your contest entry or manuscript whizzed through cyber space to enter the inbox of the contest coordinator, agent, or editor of your choice. Or maybe you received “the call” and sold your first book!

Hooray!! You did it!! Congratulations!!

Now what?

1. Pray. Pray? Yes, pray and ask for His favor on your writing. Pray and ask for His will to be done–even if you don’t final or if you receive a rejection letter from that agent or editor.

You see, God has a plan and a purpose for your life–a plan to give you a future and a hope. Long before the desire to write stirred your heart, God put His plans in place for when the time came for you to travel down that chosen path.

I believe every writer needs to feel the sting of rejection. I cried when I received my first rejection letter–ironically from Love Inspired, who is my new publisher! At that time, though, my writing wasn’t ready. The feedback from the contests I entered and words from those who mentored me helped me to improve my writing.

2. Celebrate! You need to celebrate the milestones you reach as you strive for publication. Celebrate finishing that first draft. Celebrate submitting to that contest. Celebrate that contest final. Celebrate that agent acceptance. Celebrate that first sale.

When I received the call from my wonderful agent, Rachelle Gardner, that Love Inspired wanted to buy my book, I cried. Yes, I’m a sap. 🙂 The years of working harder to write better were paying off. 

3. Study the craft. Writers who don’t invest in their craft become stagnant. Consider how you can improve a new technique in your next novel. Maybe it’s dialogue. Or word painting. Or symbolism. 
But you know what?

4. Keep writing. Whether you submitted a contest entry, a manuscript for consideration, or sold your first novel, keep writing. Polish that manuscript or begin your next story. Writers write. Plain and simple.

5. Be prepared to wait. Writers wait. Agents wait. Editors wait. At each stage in your writing career, you’ll be asking “now what?” and waiting.

With my first sale, I haven’t arrived. I’ve simply taken a bend in the road for a new direction in my career. I still wonder “now what?” Now I have line edits, marketing, and the next books to consider.

Writing isn’t easy. But if it’s your heart’s desire, you’ll stay the course. While you’re waiting, ponder “now what” and be prepared for God to take your breath away. 

John Waller – While I’m Waiting (Official Music Video) from Provident Label Group on Vimeo.

Your Turn: Are you thinking “now what?” At what stage are you in your writing career? How do you handle the waiting?


Congratulations to Katie Ganshert! She won the I.O.U. for an autographed copy of my novel, Lakeside Reunion, when it’s available in the fall from last Friday’s MBT Ponderer’s blog interview with me.

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  1. Jessica R. Patch

    Lisa, a wonderful post and video! I wrote something similiar on my blog today. I handle the wait by…writing! I keep writing and revising and praying.
    Congrats on winning the book, Katie!

  2. Gina Conroy

    I love this! Great reminders and I recently wrote a post on waiting. Seems like whatever stage we are in life or career, we're always waiting for something. Could it be because we haven't learned to be content in the moment?

  3. Terry W. Ervin II

    Yep, have to keep moving forward once a piece is submitted–or accepted. Have to have that next project going despite all else that is going on.

  4. Terri Tiffany

    Wonderful post, Thank you. I am at that place where I pushed send to a few contests and send to some agents. And now like you said, I will pray for favor with my writing and hope too that I will learn what I need to in order to make it as good as it can be.