by Yvonne Lehman, @YvonneLehman
When my great-American, best-selling, internationally-acclaimed novel was rejected, resulting in my becoming physically ill and spiritually deficient, I had to re-think what this writing life was all about. Perhaps God wasn’t going to put a novel in my brain, let it flow from my fingertips, and didn’t really want to work for me as my agent who would earn 10%.
Thinking I might have more to learn, had only a high school education, I began taking one literature, then English, course at a time and discovered there was more to writing than my inspired thoughts.
- Review of basic grammar
- Rules of good writing
- Confirmation that I did some things right
- Challenge of becoming good enough to be published
- Courage to keep trying in the face of rejection and disappointment
I learned that Writing is a profession and my goal at that beginning and early stage should not be instant publication. My goal should be learning the craft, just as anyone must learn the craft of whatever job or profession he enters. One may have a certain expertise, natural inclination, or tendency but there is still the requirement of learning the craft and practicing what one learns. There should never be a time when one stops learning.
In those early years, I was given the Christian Writers Guild Course Book by Norman Rohrer (from whom Jerry Jenkins bought the course). I learned from that and began practicing, then teaching what I learned from college and CWG courses.
I became delighted with everything I learned and could incorporate into my writing. I started the Blue Ridge Conference, taught classes, critiqued, and mentored because those who have gone before me and taught me have encouraged, motivated, challenged, inspired me and I want to pass it on.
I want other writers to reach their potential, have the joy of the writing journey, and find where God leads them in this profession. That’s why it’s so thrilling to me when students make comments like these:
“My first article was just accepted. I wanted you to know. Thank you for your mentoring.”
“Thank you for your kind and encouraging notes. I believe that I am learning a good bit through this course and your mentorship, and that gives me a great deal of happiness. I realize there’s still a long way to go, but I am enjoying the journey.”
“I have attached my final lesson. I cannot thank you enough for your time and feedback over the last several months. I have moved forward on several projects during our time together. It has been a great course!”
“A week and a half until Christmas! I am thankful for the Journeyman course because it has kept me writing a bit more than I might have otherwise through this busy season. Good to remember that I CAN make time to keep writing through December.”
“I’m certainly grateful for the mentoring you’ve provided—I’ve learned so much this year.”
“I am blessed to have you as my mentor! I praise God for you!”
Ah, I think, it is I who am blessed to have the privilege and opportunity to be used by God in this way and give back a little of what others have given to me through the years.