By Rachel Hauck @RachelHauck
I’ve been writing full time for 11 years.
When I look back over my career, however mediocre or stellar it may be, (ha!) I’m amazed and grateful to still be in this writing game.
My first books were Heartsong romances, one written with author Lynn Coleman. I thought they were pretty darn good.
But I didn’t win any awards or accolades.
Chick lit was becoming a big hit about the same time and after reading Kristin Billerbeck’s What A Girl Wants something clicked with me!
Georgia On Her Mind was my first chick lit. Earned a 4 star review from RT. “Hauck’s first chick lit is splendid.”
But, no awards or accolades.
All the while, I’d been attending conferences, meeting people. I became Vice President, then President of American Christian Fiction Writers.
Writing, along with networking, got me in the door at Thomas Nelson with two more chick lits, Lost In Nashvegas and Diva Nashvegas.
I’d arrived! Thomas Nelson was my dream publisher. But I had a lot to learn about the business side of publishing.
When my books released, there was no publicity person. Promises fell through the cracks. And in those days there were no blog tours or blog talk radio.
The Nashvegas books didn’t sell well. No awards. No accolades.
Except! Diva Nashvegas won the Maggie Award of Excellence.
The nod came so out of the blue when I got the call I was confused. “What? Who is this?”
My next books did better. Two lowcountry chick lit/romances set in Beaufort, South Carolina.
Sweet Caroline won ACFW’s Book of the Year. Love Starts With Elle was a RITA finalist.
I hired the young publicity company, Litfuse, to do blog tours. My publisher had decided to do zero promotion for Love Starts With Elle. A decision they told me about but still hurt nonetheless.
So, I scraped together a few dollars and hired Litfuse. I learned you can’t sit on the sidelines.
I’d been on MySpace since Lost In Nashvegas. I tried to do some promo there but it was largely a confusing, weird social media site geared largely toward music.
All the while, I’m praying. I’m seeking God. I didn’t want to spend my time writing if He’d not called me to do it.
Writing is too time consuming emotionally and physically to be chasing it if God had something else for me to do.
While writing Love Starts With Elle I said to the Lord, “I got nothing. My writing career is not taking off. I quit my corporate job. Hubby and I are not doing youth church any more. I lead worship but if I’m not there to do it, someone else will. We don’t have kids. Hubs is very low maintenance. Hey! I’m 100% available. What do you need me to do?”
Here’s the kicker. God is so good I knew if I wasn’t writing, I’d love whatever task He set for me.
About a month later, my editor asked if I’d be willing to write with country artist Sara Evans.
Sure!! I had such a peace. I knew this was next on my God-writing journey.
I loved those books. Writing them was fun. Very low stress. They didn’t have the impact any of us wanted, but I knew I was doing what He’d called me to do.
Meanwhile, the Lord gave me the gift of The Wedding Dress. A USA Today Bestseller and Romantic Times Inspirational Book of the Year. 🙂
My good friend Debbie Macomber says, “I was a 25-year over night success.”
That inspired me, doesn’t it you?
Why am I telling you this? Not at all to brag. There’s really not much to brag about. It’s to remind you to stay with it!
Writing takes time. Writing takes patience and yes, having our ear against the heartbeat of Jesus.
There were times when other publishers wanted me to write for them. I never had peace about it even though my friends and several big name authors were writing for the latest CBA publisher on the scene. And doing well.
A few years ago my agent talked to me about co-writing as a way of helping another author while boosting my sales and earning potential.
Never had peace about that either. Soon after I ran into a physical issue that slowed me down for about four months. Had I had a co-writing deal going amid my own work…. Shivers!
The Lord would’ve sustained me but HE knew! “Not yet Rachel.”
He was building my faith and my testimony.
A few weeks ago while at the gym—how many of us know God speaks to us at the gym?!—I felt a release in my spirit over some things I’d been praying about.
I knew it was “go” time.
But still? Going forward with prayer, “go time” might mean a year from now.
In this business it’s easy to become consumers of fear, envy and jealousy. It was hard watching other authors get the big book deals or touting their sales while I was languishing in “barely there” land.
But I have to run my race. Walk the journey the Lord called me to walk.
Jesus said this, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”
Writing with God means hanging on in the ups and downs. Leaning into Jesus. I have a ton of stories of God meeting me in the midst of writing, in the midst of worry, in the midst of pain.
He always brings joy! He is good. He is faithful. Don’t lose patience with the journey.
Rachel Hauck lives in sunny central Florida with her husband and ornery pets.
A graduate of Ohio State University with a degree in Journalism, she worked in the corporate software world before planting her backside in uncomfortable chair to write full time eight years ago.
She’s the author of USA Today, EPCA and CBA best sellers, RITA and Christy nominated books.
She also co-authored the critically acclaimed Songbird Novels with platinum selling country music artist Sara Evans. Their novel Softly and Tenderly, was one of Booklists 2011 Top Ten Inspirationals.
Rachel serves on the Executive Board for American Christian Fiction Writers. She is a mentor and book therapist at My Book Therapy, a conference speaker and worship leader.
Rachel writes from her two-story tower in an exceedingly more comfy chair. She is a huge Buckeyes football fan.