Connecting the Dots
From Wannabe to Published Author
by Christine Rhyner
How many of us remember as children taking our yellow wooden pencils to paper and playing “Connect the Dots?”
We began with a single line, then another that might take us in a different direction, then a third that could be quite long, and a fourth, just a tiny inch. We would zig-zag our way across the page until we found ourselves staring at a kite or a butterfly and think, “Cool.”
I have discovered that a walk with the Lord is much like this. In Ecclesiastes 3:11 it is written, “He has made everything beautiful in its time.” Though we cannot see the bigger picture God does when we set out on a journey, we must take that first step of faith, that first pencil stroke to move along a path that we believe will lead us to something “cool.”
I never realized that finding a blurb about the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writer’s Conference in a trade magazine would lead me to becoming a published author. That ad led me to Founder, Marlene Bagnull’s website where I found “Write His Answer.” What a treasure! While publishing magazine and website articles as a fairly new Christian I had struggled to understand the passion God had placed within me to write, how to approach this calling on my life and how to move forward in my desire to do so for Him and from Him. I immediately bought the book and found just what I needed—a Bible study for Christian writers. I never knew such a resource existed!
Right away I registered for the next GPCWC. There I found the blessing of hundreds of others just like me, with the same focus, passion and calling–to connect with and learn from. I had never felt such a sense of belonging, acceptance and encouragement. I was at home!
I knew that I wanted to write a book sharing my testimony about my
God who had determined to make me a mother through international adoption. It was during perhaps the third summer I attended the conference that God decided the timing for such a book was right. I had learned a lot, grown as a writer and explored various ways of communicating my story. Then, it just happened. While on the ride home back to NY, my entire book outline just poured out of me onto paper while my husband drove. I saw the dots starting to connect!
After returning home, I set to work sharpening my book’s theme and message. As I wrote chapters I also worked on a proposal. After I sent off this proposal to an editor who had taught at the conference and graciously offered to review it for me (an amazing benefit of the GPCWC in that professionals will actually offer to follow up with you on projects), it was clear that my proposal was a mess. But I had already purchased W. Terry Whalin’s “Book Proposals That Sell” at the conference. Why wasn’t I using it?
After carefully following Terry’s direction and advice, my pencil took a detour and I re-wrote a proposal that garnered three positive responses and a contract within a few months!
But the picture, as any author will tell you, wasn’t quite complete. I now needed an editor to help me polish my first manuscript submission to a publisher. Back to Marlene’s website I went. What I thought was a random pick of an editor to hire was actually God’s way of connecting another dot. This editor was a staff member of my publisher’s, able to give me insight into their expectations and navigate my way through the process! Additionally, she is a godly, professional, faithful woman, always quick to respond to my many questions and concerns.
After a few more months of hard work and re-writes the dots were finally connected! In fact, I saw a butterfly. One that had finally emerged from its long night captive in a cocoon, now beautiful and free to fly forth with a message of a mighty God’s blessing, grace and forgiveness before and after an adoption journey.
Ecclesiastes 3:12-13 goes on to say, I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil—this is the gift of God.”
As authors, we need that sense of purpose God has intended for our work. We can delight in it if we remember that God has called us to do it, that the fruit of our labor is a gift from Him and that this is how we serve Him. Understanding and focusing our purpose and calling is what Marlene brings to authors with “Write His Answer” and her tireless efforts at running the GPCWC for decades. The dedicated, godly and professional people I’ve mentioned above are the kind she offers year after year for our benefit and instruction.
Were it not for a blurb in a writing magazine for the GPCWC I may not have seen How much did you pay for her? Forgiving the Words That Hurt Adoptive Families come to fruition.
How is God connecting your dots on your journey?
For more about my book, view my trailer at: