We Have to Believe

Rachelle Gardner

Blogger: Rachelle Gardner

We all have dreams of publication. Writers dream of sharing their words with others, whether they’re words of story to entertain and inspire people, or words of non-fiction to share some truth that might help others live better lives. Agents and editors dream of bringing those words to readers.

Our dreams are constantly being threatened by the difficult publishing industry. We are bombarded with articles about the death of publishing, and rumors of how “impossible” this road is, and disappointing rejection letters.

But here’s the thing. If you have a deep, burning passion to share your written words with the world, then you—and only you—have to believe with everything in you that it will happen.

The sky is always falling in the publishing industry. It seems some people are afraid for the future of the written word. But I say, there’s nothing to be afraid of.

Woman on mountainOur options are expanding, not diminishing.

We live in an information-hungry society. We are voracious consumers of the written word for education, enlightenment, and entertainment. There is a hunger out there, and we will continue to need writers like you to satiate the appetite.

The way we deliver the written word is certainly changing and expanding at the speed of light; this means there are more opportunities to share your words with the world.

You may need to change your preconceived notion of how that’s going to happen. You may need to get more specific in your own mind about who your audience is, and how they can be reached. Nobody needs to reach everybody with their book; your job is to understand who you want to reach, and then begin to learn the best ways of reaching that specific audience.

Do not be frightened or discouraged by the changes in traditional publishing. This business is a dinosaur that is in need of change, and it’s all for the good.

Do not allow all the “competition” from other writers to discourage you. Understand that there is room for everyone who writes something that people want to read.

When you get rejection letters, let them fill you with gratitude that you’ve learned something; at the very least, you’ve learned that this particular agent or publisher isn’t for you at this time.

Be aware that somebody took the time to look at your work and respond – and let it make you smile.

Be grateful that you’ve been given the passion and ability to write.

Be overwhelmed with thankfulness that millions of people love to read, and you love to write.

Believe you’ve been given this passion for a reason. Understand that you have to work to bring it to fruition—but you’ve also been given the energy and enthusiasm and time you need to make it happen.

I believe it for you. I believe it for every single one of my authors. But you’ve got to believe it too. God gave you something powerful—a story or a message, and the desire to share it. God is not in the business of tricking people, or of squandering anything—not talent, not passion, not time. Pursue your God-given passions with an unwavering faith. Praise and bless the obstacles. And keep believing.

What are you believing for today?



The sky is always falling in publishing, but @RachelleGardner says there’s nothing to be afraid of. Click to Tweet.

There is a hunger out there, and we need writers like you to satiate the appetite. Click to Tweet.

What are your believing for today? Click to Tweet.

46 Responses

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  1. I believe that the Lord’s timing is impeccable.
    Thank you for the pep talk Rachelle, so full of truth as to make me grin from ear to ear.

    • One hundred trillion years, jackie!

      7 continents!

      106 billion people! (Not counting Atlantis, Lemuria, and the others.)

      96 zillion dreams come true!

      And not once, not even close, not even on my most generous, loving, caring days, has anything ever happened in time and space – good or bad, big or small, rich or poor – that wasn’t sparked by someone’s imagination and followed up with their own baby steps.

      Not without you,
      The Universe

      Quoted from Mike Dooley and the universe. thoughts become things, pick the right ones.

  2. I’ve seen things that people have done to one another that have led me to doubt God’s purpose, and even His existence.

    And I’ve seen small kindnesses from the most unlikely individuals, acts that cast God’s titanic shadow across the fires of Hell.

    I believe that God’s out there somewhere. Frustrated, loving, and still hopeful after all these years.

    I hope He likes how I live and what I write – because in the end, it’s for Him.

  3. Terrance Leon Austin says:

    Thanks Mrs. Gardner.

    My favorite, (Pursue your God-given Talent with unwavering Faith.) This is such a truth I try an live by in every aspect of life. But many times, I get under the notion that “I’m called to write by God”, yet I spend less time writing and more time doing everything else thats not of everyday priority (watching t.v. 8 solid hours). But lately since Nanowrimo, I have a determination and a renewed restoration of the passion to write I never had before. Learning the business, connecting with other like-minded individuals, and staying informed about my genre and authors is part of me pursuing my God Given talent to write and inspire for JESUS. I never feared the thought of being rejected, just I ability to be open to being told I need to work harder etc. Knowing who I’m querying also eliminates the uncertainty of whether or not a particular agent is looking for my sort of manuscript.

    Thanks Again,
    And GOD bless you and everyone at Books & Such

  4. I believe in “the fullness of time” and “for such a time as this”. I want to follow Saul’s example: “What would you have me do, Lord?” The hard part for me actually doing it!

  5. Anne Love says:

    A very encouraging, well-stated post Rachelle. Thanks. “God is not in the business of tricking, or squandering…” I love this line. Passion is given for a reason.

    I’m trusting in God’s timing, and His will.

  6. I believe faith is a writer’s super power.

  7. Jeanne T says:

    Beautiful exhortation, Rachelle. I believe that God gave me the stories He did for a purpose. It’s my calling to write them to the best of my ability, get help to make them better, and let Him do with them what He knows is best.

    I believe that when He gives us something to do, He equips us to fulfill it. With this being said, I’m believing for His hand to guide me and the stories He gives to the places He wants them to be. I’m hoping for a published book, in His perfect time. More than one would be nice. 🙂

  8. Rick Barry says:

    Your post reminds me of an uplifting quotation from William Carey, who translated the Bible in India: “Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God.” If we’re in His will, we press forward with our eyes on the prize, not on ourselves. Thanks for this!

  9. This is the sweetest post I’ve ever read, Rachelle. And I’m not too proud to say you brought me to tears. Thank you. I needed the encouragement. I never thought of myself as a writer … but I took a step out in faith, and I have been amazed at the doors God has opened. Me? I’m not qualified. The first time I shared with my mom that I had written a book on surviving hardships, I felt so embarrassed … like why would “I” do that? Who am I to write? And she said the sweetest thing … she said, “Shelli, everyone has a story to share, but not everyone will pen it. You have penned it.” Tears again!

    And there may be competition in this writing world, but I have been blown away by the support from other writers I have received. I think because they understand.

    What am I believing God for today? My book came out in August … over the weekend, I said, “Lord, is that as far as it is to go? Have you reached the people you wanted to reach with it?” I finally got the nerve to tell our local hardware store owner about the book, and he is putting it in his store to sell and advertising it on facebook (he is also a local pastor). Tears. It will reach people in my small, local community more now. I got in the car to leave to the song, “Our God is greater; our God is stronger; God you are higher than any other.”

    Thank you.

  10. Rachelle, thanks so much for this! I’ve been fighting discouragement lately–and I don’t think I was winning.

    What’s been the most encouraging for me was stumbling last week onto a CF novel that dealt with our culture’s reality today. It was a great comp for my own book, and I was so encouraged to see that this publisher was willing to go beyond the light-hearted read. So I’m believing that some publishers aren’t as risk averse as others and that they’re listening to the cry for authentic fiction.

    • Sally, I deal with discouragement a lot too. What’s helped me, at least sometimes, is a quote that I believe is attributed to Winston Churchill –

      “When in despair, work on in despair.”

      He also said, “Never give up. Never, never give up. Never, never, never give up.”

      The last one carried me through winning back the love of the wife I’d wrongly divorced.

      Sometime those moto quotes really do work!

    • I always remember how many times Max Lucado was rejected! I had the privilege of going to church with his best friend from high school when we lived in San Angelo, Texas. His friend would always tell me the disappointments Max had faced … but just look where he is today. Because he persevered and God had a plan!

    • Jeanne T says:

      Sally, how sweet that God brought you just what you needed in that moment, a reason to press on. I look forward to holding one of your books in my hands and reading your words.

  11. Awesome post, Rachelle! I’ve been amazed lately at how much bigger God’s dreams are for us than the ones we have for ourselves.

    At the 2012 ACFW conference, just before my first-ever pitch, God led me to this verse…which I’ve since embraced as my life verse: “There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.” (Philippians 1:6)

    He WILL finish what He started in me, even if it doesn’t look exactly as I imagined. It’ll be better.

  12. Thanks for the encouragement, Rachelle. I believe that everything will happen in God’s time, not my own. Perhaps this is God’s way of teaching me patience.

  13. Like so many others, this post was just what I needed, Rachelle. Thank you for your time here, and thanks to everyone for the wonderful and encouraging comments. “Be overwhelmed with thankfulness that millions of people love to read, and you love to write.” Amen, sister!

  14. Great post, Rachelle!

    It is easy to look up from our work wonder if anyone is remotely interested. If anyone cares. If anyone thinks we can do it.
    Yes, we have to rise to the level of those around us. We have to take this calling seriously. We cannot turn out poorly written work and expect accolades.
    I did not choose my stories, God did. He dropped them in my imagination and said “Speak the truth. Stoke the fire of compassion. Give them a voice.”

    If *I* was going to choose my topic, it certainly would have been an easier road! I certainly didn’t expect to become so passionate about someone else’s history. And I did not expect that I’d have to become an amateur historian!

    Belief in a mission is what it takes to succeed. I would not be doing what I’m doing and having people push back and wonder why I get so emotional about it if I didn’t believe in my heart of hearts that I can and will make a difference.

  15. Ron Estrada says:

    I believe it’s the only thing I’m good at. Seriously, after 20 years as an engineer and making a good living, I’ve come to realize that my calling and my profession can be two different things. In a world where millions of people would love to have the slightest hint of artistic talent, it would be a tragedy for any of us to ignore our gifts because it’s just too much work. I also believe that God gives us this talent for a reason. He may want our writing to reach one person or a million. Not my choice. But if I’m part of His plan, what more could I want out of this life than to fulfill my duty? Some men die in the name of duty. All I have to do is miss some bad television every night and sit at a keyboard.

  16. “Do not be frightened or discouraged by the changes in traditional publishing. This business is a dinosaur that is in need of change, and it’s all for the good.”

    Love this, Rachelle!

    It reminds me of when I was a teen, learning to play the guitar. My older brother gave me lessons, and while I struggled to learn bar chords on my 12-string (think of pressing down twice as many strings), he told me, “Just think–you learn to play these on this guitar, you’ll be able to do it on ANY guitar you pick up.” Now I think, “If I can get published in this climate–when everyone thinks it’s impossible–I’ve truly accomplished something.”

    It CAN be done.

  17. Thanks to Rachelle and everyone who commented for the encouragement. Now that’s a great gift for the season.

  18. Sue Harrison says:

    Beautiful, Rachelle. Wow. Thank you.

  19. I recognize that my aspirations for my writing career might just be as fanciful and imaginative as the fantasy series I’m writing, but I enjoy dreaming about my own future as much as I enjoy planning out the future for my characters. And like any good story, I’m interested to see if it turns out the way I’m hoping.

  20. Thank you, thank you, Rachelle! What a timely, encouraging post. Truth is sure that flashlight in the scary dark. I’m believing that the rejection I got yesterday isn’t the end of the story.

  21. Mart Ramirez says:

    This was beautifully said, Rachelle!!!! Absolutely BEAUTIFUL! Believe is one of my favorite words. You are so right about the gratitude part. Always find something to be grateful even if it isn’t your desired outcome. I’m constantly making a point to do this. There is so much to be grateful for!
    WOW I just LOVE your list! This article is definitely a keeper. And so are you!  You are so amazing. Thank you for all that you do for all of us!

  22. Great post and great comments. Sometimes in the depths of discouragement it is hard to remember “If God is with us, who can be against us.”
    You are so right in talking about the grace and timing of the gift-giver. If the Lord has given us a story to tell we need to be prepared to tell it to the best of our ability and trust Him with the results. Onward…as McNair said at the 2013 Mount Hermon conf…”the sky is NOT the limit! “

  23. Mart Ramirez says:

    I believe. Thank you for believing in me. :-)Your article gave me the warm and fuzzies and put a big smile on my face. Thank you.

  24. And to your wisdom, I would add:

    Praise and bless the invisible, the yet to be seen, that which to all but our Heavenly Father is impossible, and it will come.

    It is a truth most of us never learn. Thank you so much, Rachelle for this wonderful post.

  25. Lora Young says:

    Thank you, Rachelle. “God is not in the business of tricking people, or of squandering anything—not talent, not passion, not time.” A perfect encouragement for where I am in the process right now.

  26. I’m believing that an agent will read my full for THE PARCHMAN REDEEMER—-Martha, Mary Magdalene, John the Baptist, Satan, and Jesus are key figures in this 1950s good-versus-evil mystery allegory of Christ’s three-year ministry. I believe with all my heart that it will be you, Rachelle. When we met at the ACFW in Indianapolis, you gave me wisdom about novellas being a hard sell to publishers. I promised that I’d be back in a few months with a 75,000 completed manuscript–edited and ready to go. I believe with all my heart that you, too, will take this first book in the Solo Ladies Bible Study series, to heart.

  27. Lisa says:

    Needful encouragement. Thank you.

  28. Cathy West says:

    Yes, yes, yes. And, thank you. Needed this today. 🙂

  29. Susan Mason says:

    So beautiful! Thank you for such wonderful encouragement, Rachelle!

  30. Yes ma’am. I will!!! Thanks for the encouragement!

  31. Reba says:

    Thank you for you words of encouragement.
    Certainly needed.

  32. In the time of the reformation the printing press became a tool for the people, making the Bible and other books available to those beyond the elite. Literacy became a world issue and now the masses get their information through the Internet. It’s messing with the publishing industry, but I truly believe it is our printing press of the modern era, a place for us to share the Good News we are gifted to write. Yes. I long for forward movement in my career with traditional publishing, but I know that I know that I know that the opportunity for my words to reach out and produce fruit is right at my fingertips . . . and that our opportunities are “expanding” as you said, Rachelle, not diminishing. Thank you for this encouragement. I needed it. We all do.