Saturday, July 16, 2011

If You Want To Walk On Water, You've Got To Get Out Of The Boat

Catchy title, don't you think?  Look how the "A" in boat is actually a piece of the boat.  No, it's not mine.  It is the title of an inspiring book by John Ortberg.  This book did not change my life dramatically all by itself or anything like that, but it was the last in a series of kicks in the pants that I needed to pursue a dream.

You should absolutely read this entire book, but for the purposes of this blog, I will just say that the title about sums up what you need to know.  Before Peter could walk across the water to Jesus, he had to take a step out of the boat into the raging, stormy sea.  He had to fix his eyes on Jesus.  When he looked away from Jesus in fear, he began to sink. (Matt 14:22-23)

In the same way, if you have a dream of something big you'd like to do for God, you must take the first steps.  Take a risk.  Don't take foolish risks and squander your family savings.  But pray and research and take a risk on something God has put into your heart to do.  Dare to fail.  This was the theme of a Sunday School class I attended in 2010.

Well, let me back up a little.  This started before 2010.  It probably started in, oh, I don't know, 1980 or so. When I was in elementary school, we learned about poetry.  Then we moved onto short stories and creative writing.  I loved this stuff.  My best friend and I said we wanted to be writers when we grew up.  We wrote notebooks full of poems and stories and traded them to read each other's writing.  In the 8th grade, I took a Creative Writing class.  In the English Seminar my Senior year, I worked harder and learned more than I ever had about writing under a fabulous teacher who instructed us to just call her "The Queen," or "Your Majesty."  I worked on the school literary magazine, and was the editor of the magazine my last year of Junior High and my last year of High School.  I even submitted a few poems to miscellaneous anthologies, where they were published (yes, they were pretty much vanity publishers, but my name was in print).

So then, you would expect that I majored in literature in college and went on to become a great writer, right?  No.  I did take a Creative Writing class my Senior year in college under another great instructor, who encouraged everyone in the class to submit at least one book for publication, but I kept my writing a hobby.  I satisfied the requirements of the class by getting some items published in the college's literary magazine.  I have made my own greeting cards for people's birthdays and told stories to my own kids through the years, and I've had articles published in a few newsletters.  The dream of being a real, published author continued to hang on in the back of my mind, though.

About three years ago, I was looking for some books on the theory of Intelligent Design for my children, whom I homeschool.  There were a few books for teens and upper elementary students explaining the theory, but while I taught the subject to my oldest son, I needed storybooks for the little ones.  Sure, there are storybooks about Creation and about God making the animals, but I wanted a storybook for small children that talked about the scientific theory.  (If you are not familiar with the theory of Intelligent Design, click "follow" over in the margin - we'll be talking more about it, I assure you!)  I couldn't find any books like this.  So I wrote one for my kids.  Then I thought, if I'm looking for a book like this, I wonder if other people are, too?  Maybe I should try to get it published.

So then, you are expecting that I began bombarding publishers with my fabulous new book and made millions, right?  No.  I still sat in the boat, thinking maybe one day I could be published, but taking no risks toward that goal.  My husband and kids were very supportive.  They kept asking me if I had sent my book to any publishers yet.  I kept saying I would get around to it.

Then came the Sunday School class.  "If you want to walk on water, you've got to get out of the boat."  The teacher asked us each to write a dream we had anonymously on a slip of paper.  I wrote that I would like to get a children's book published.  He took all the slips and wrote the class's dreams on the whiteboard.  Then he said, "Now take one step toward that dream.  Do one thing.  See what happens."

That was it.  I had to submit my book.  I did receive one more swift kick, which God must have sent lest I back down again.  I told my aunt, who also enjoys writing, about the class and about the book I had already written.  She wasn't just a little encouraging.  She practically yelled at me.  "You have a talent that God has given you, and you are not using it!  I didn't know you had already written a book.  You've got to get that published.  You are like the wicked servant who took the talent his master had given him and buried it instead of investing it!"  (Matt 25:14-30)  I did not want to be a wicked servant.  She continued, "Now submit that book to a publisher, and let me know where you are submitting it so that I can pray about it!"

I submitted my children's book to a publisher.  I received a rejection.  I submitted it to another publisher.  I never heard back from them.  I submitted it again.  I received another rejection.  I lost count of how many publishers I contacted and how many rejections I received.

Finally, last month, I received a call from Tate Publishing (we'll review Tate Publishing in another blogpost as well).  MY BOOK IS GOING TO BE PUBLISHED!  IT IS GETTING READY TO BEGIN PRODUCTION!  I AM AN AUTHOR!!!!

In case you can't tell, I am quite excited about this.  I am - well, let's not discuss my age or how long I have taken to get to this point.  Let's just say, I could have done it a little earlier.  But that doesn't matter.  What matters is, I'm doing it now.  God put a dream in my heart a long time ago, and I finally took a step out of the boat.  I took the risk, and God blessed it.  Amazing Animals By Design is being published!

Yesterday, I received an email from a magazine to which I had submitted an article, and they will be publishing it in October.  Woo-hoo!  Two publications.  I'm on a roll now!

So, why am I creating this blog?  Well, when I tell people I'm getting a book published, they say, "How did you do that?  What publisher are you using?  What about illustrations?"  Many people have a story inside them they'd like to tell, or another dream they'd like to pursue.  Now, I'm no expert - yet - but I've taken the first step.  I could sell thousands of copies of this book or only dozens.  I may write more (that's my plan) or this may be a one-hit wonder.  The pages of this adventure are not yet written.  I am inviting you to come along on the adventure with me.  If you are interested - and perhaps would like to embark upon such an adventure yourself - click on the "followers" tag over in the margin, and join me as I continue to climb out of the boat and try to keep my eyes fixed on the Great Author of my faith.  Success or failure, join me in the journey.  (For the record, though, no matter what happens, I will consider myself a success just for getting it published.)

I can already tell you the first step you need to take.  Get out of the boat.


  1. I look forward to following along with you on your exciting adventure! Congratulations on the magazine article now, too!

  2. Thank you! It will be in the Oct 9 issue of Christian Standard, btw, if your church gets that! :)