MY PLAN (AND GOD'S)
By award-winning, multi-published author Dr. Richard Mabry
My writing journey had God’s fingerprints all over it. But there was a time when I had to change my plan. I deviated from it, and I’m glad.
I was fortunate in the beginning to get a fiction contract from a publisher. I left (with their blessing) to accept one from an even larger house. After that one was fulfilled, I went back to my former publisher until they stopped publishing fiction. After that, things got sort of complex, so—like many other authors—I decided to strike out on the “indie” road.
I planned a fairly simple pattern of self-publication: a novel, then a novella, another novel, then another novella. Sounded good enough. But it didn’t work out that way.
I published my novella, , and in the back of it was the “tease” for the novel I was working on. That was to be my next one, but while I wrote, something kept niggling at the edge of my consciousness. Didn’t I have another writing project started somewhere? Well, it could wait. But what was it?
Then, I found the project and remembered why it was still on my computer. At the outset of my writing “career,” I’d become discouraged enough that I had made up my mind to quit. I’d been struggling for four years, without anything but rejections to show for it. During this time, I’d started following various writing blogs, and in hers, agent Rachelle Gardner posted a contest. The person submitting the best first line of a book would win. I was extremely surprised when my submission was chosen. It was, “Things were going along just fine until the miracle fouled them up.”
Subsequently, through a series of events that I remain convinced were divinely ordained, I gained representation by Rachelle, got my first fiction contract, and eventually published a number of novels and novellas—eighteen, to be accurate. All after I’d quit writing.
So why did I go back to this particular line saved on my computer? Because, over the years, I’d written a story around it. That story had gone through several iterations, and on more than one occasion my first reader looked at it and warned that it didn’t sound like one of my novels. But I felt it was a story worth telling, so I continued to work to make it one worth reading. I sent the first chapter to a number of people who’d been influencers for my other novels, and they loved it. So, with some trepidation, I changed my carefully crafted schedule and made this one my next. That novella, was released in Kindle and print format on May 29. I hope you agree that it was worth deviating from my plan to publish it.
The lessons here? I see at least two. First, even though you may think you’re through with whatever you’re doing (not just writing), God may have other ideas. Listen to Him. He’s always right. And second, when you make a plan, be willing to change it. Again, God’s ideas are better than ours. Every time.
What has been your experience along these lines? I’d like to hear.
Ruthy here: Richard has graciously offered a Kindle or hard copy of his newest novella "Bitter Pill" to one fortunate villager! Leave a comment below... and think about the good Doc's musing that God's plans are better than ours... every time.
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Dr. Richard Mabry is a retired physician, now writing “medical mystery with heart.” His novels have garnered critical acclaim and been finalists for ACFW’s Carol Award, both the Romantic Times’ Inspirational Book of the Year and Reviewer’s Choice Awards, the Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and the Selah Award. He is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, the International Thriller Writers, and Novelists Inc. Bitter Pill is his latest novella.
He and his wife live in north Texas, where he writes, works on being the world’s greatest grandfather, and strives to improve his golf game. You can learn more about him at his , and via and .