Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Publish, Perish, or Push On ??

In academic circles there is a saying that professors who wish to be retained and prosper in their chosen profession must "Publish or perish."  Seems a little drastic to me.

From time to time, however, I have been asked about whether I have considered trying to get some of my writing published.  Considered?  Yes.  Convinced?  Not yet.  Not this time.

I should admit, however, that I did try it many years ago, and it did not turn out well.  Maybe that is why I am so hesitant to try to it again.

During my early thirties, for three and a half years I worked on a little book that was part humor and part reflections on Christian living involving some fairly unique circumstances.  Shortly after I completed the manuscript, on a little blue Underwood manual typewriter that I had gotten by trading in umpteen books of "green stamps" - a kind of coupon savings plan that you younger readers will not remember - I attended a Christian writer's conference.

The setting was rural, leafy, and came complete with a babbling brook literally under the window of my room.  What could be more perfect?  I was soon to find out.

Each day we attended learning sessions and group editorial exchanges.  Attendees could also sign up for an individual meeting with the publisher who was sponsoring the conference, provided you could supply at least three chapters of a completed manuscript.  I signed up, attended the meeting and was surprised at how friendly and low-key the discussion was.  The publisher and his senior editor, who was also present, had read my submitted sample chapters and gave me some favorable feedback.  I left the meeting encouraged.

The next day, just before the close of the conference, I was called back for a second meeting, wherein they told me they had selected my book for publication. 

I remember calling home to tell my husband the marvelous news, crying with excitement and happiness, thrilled beyond measure.  I also remember clearly thinking that, other than the three days upon which my children were born, it was the happiest day of my life.

The thrill didn't last long and ultimately the book was not published.  I was sorely disappointed and let down by false promises.  But I did not perish.  A little over a year later, through a theft during a relocation move, the only two copies of the manuscript were stolen and lost forever.  (This was before PCs, so two hard copies were all that existed.)  I did not perish.

We don't, you know.  We do not die just because our hopes have been crushed.  We do not perish when we have been duped.  But we do have a decision to make.  We can either lie down and give up, because to do otherwise is just too hard.

Or we can push on.  We can learn from our grief and become stronger for it.  It really is a choice.  It took me awhile to decide to push on; and I struggled with the disappointment for a long time.  It was the first time I had encountered truly dishonest people, who also claimed to be Christians.  It was devastating.

Today, however, I can sit here tapping away on my little notebook device, and know that it was not in God's plan for my life to become a "published author" at that time.  It may never be, I do not know.

But I am content to know that I have pushed on.  I persevered and I have, hopefully, learned from my mistakes.  Sometimes that is enough.  Today it is.

Hope your day is full of good things while you push on.  Until next time ... Marsha


  1. I can't imagine being deceived so... especially by someone who claims to be in Christ. How hard. And having the only copies of your manuscript stolen... gone forever? Reminds me of the episode in Little Women when Amy throws Jo's manuscript in the fire. My heart nearly stops every time I read that portion and I wonder if I could be as quickly forgiving as Jo. I know that I should.

    Your's is a beautiful encouragement... I pray that the Lord blesses you with the 'right time' (His time) to be published. Even if that's not what He has in mind, you are making an impact to those who find you here. I love what you write, and have enjoyed your style very much!

    Blessings, Debbie

  2. Thankyou Marsha for your comment on
    robert-7000ft. I too have been disappointed in trying to get published years ago but I pushed on. Now we are pushing on as a family with the loss of our dear son-in-law. We feel the sadness often especialy our daughter. The picture below jesus on my blog was our son-in-laws rank in the airforce years ago-Senior Airman or SrA. After retirement all my friends at my former job turned out to be not friends but just co-workers except the secretary Cindy whom I have known a long while. Ihop is not only a bright spot but a sense of belonging for me since retirement left me with few friends and too much time to do this and that. We were at iHop this morning. Great service and they are getting to know us. Next week I am taking my wife to Yosemite for a few days. She has never been there and I was last there as a teen. Have a great week.

  3. You are so talented. I love that you share your words with us on your lovely Blog. Keep writing, and perhaps being published may happen!!

  4. Love this Marsha. There is honor is persevering. You make me want to try harder.

    (And btw, I was a green stamps girl at the grocery store I worked at in college. I know exactly what you're talking about! Does that make me old?)