Thursday, September 27, 2007

Timing is Everything

It's funny how much God has been talking to me about timing this past week, including the night before I left for conference. My devotional Bible brought me to an entry entitled "Timing is Everything." (From the NIV Women's Devotional Bible 2.) For a reference, it used the famous chapter that says (to paraphrase) "a time to be born, a time to die, a time to tear down, a time to gather stones together." The point of the devotional was that what may be right at one time in your life isn't right at another. If we try to force things before God's timing is right for us, things probably won't turn out well.

This worried me a little, with the conference coming up. Oh, no, I thought. Is God trying to tell me I'm going to have to do even more waiting on my dreams?

I didn't take my devotional Bible to Dallas, since it weighs a ton. I just hoped the Gideons would be faithful and leave one in the hotel room, and sure enough, they did. I picked up with that same chapter of Ecclesiastes and read through that book. I don't know whether that was the best choice of subject matter. You know how Ecclesiastes is, right? Lots of "vanity, vanity, all is vanity," and life can sound pretty depressing. And sure enough, I did encounter "more of the same." In other words, the same stuff that's kept me from writing success before--writing the wrong thing at the wrong time. Mixing genres, a real no-no. "Missing the market," even though I try to study them and do the right thing. I kept wondering, what is God trying to say to me--through his word and through this conference?

I always get conflicting advice about my writing at conferences. It takes me awhile to sort it out after I get home and choose which suggestions I should listen to. The main conflict this time came as to what I should work on next. My agent feels I should write romance novels, because it's easier to break in there. Someone else whom I respect told me I should go forward with my current WIP, even though it apparently mixes genres shamelessly. But I'm passionate about it, and it does seem to intrigue people.

Now that I'm home, I've returned to my devotional Bible. Last night, the devotional took me back to Ecclesiastes. This time, the words jumped out at me in a beautiful way:

"Whoever watches the wind will not plant;
whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.
As you do not know the path of the wind,
or how the body is formed in a mother's womb,
so you cannot understand the work of God,
the Maker of all things.
Sow your seed in the morning,
and at evening let not your hands be idle,
for you do not know which will succeed,
whether this or that,
or whether both will do equally well." *

Isn't that fantastic! Here's the less lovely interpretation that I took from it: "Robin, get to work! If you keep looking at those clouds, fretting over more waiting, mixing genres, not getting it right, you'll never get anywhere. As to which book to write--why not both? I'm not telling you which will succeed. But stop feeling sorry for yourself and get busy!"

Suddenly, I'm over that post conference fog and ready to get back to work.

* Reference is from NIV, Ecclesiastes 11:4-6