by Cindy Thomson
One day when I was five I told my three-year-old buddies that the rocks we were playing with in the alley had come down from the moon. “Look at them. They are full of craters, just like the moon!”
(It was one of those clear days when the moon was up during the day and you could see it.)
“There are aliens up there on the moon,” I told them. “And they are throwing down the rocks and trying to hit us! Better watch out!”
The next morning my mother began getting phone calls. “Cindy told my Johnny some story about aliens on the moon and he had nightmares about it all night!”
When my mother told me this I remember thinking, “Gee whiz. Didn’t they know it was just a story?”
Just a story? Not if you tell it right, and that’s been my goal ever since—to lead readers into a world that they believe could be real. (And of course to inspire them and entertain them while they’re there.) I bet that is your goal too, isn’t it? Or is your goal to get a book published? Nothing wrong with that, but I’ve learned to never lose sight of that first goal. Ever.
I began my publishing journey thirteen years ago. My first two books were published seven years ago. I’ve had a couple of non-fiction titles since, the last released in 2009. Two years ago I actually pleaded with God to take away my desire to write, even as I knew he would not. It’s just so hard sometimes. I was in a valley, a desert even, but God was not going to keep me there, and my first novel with Tyndale is releasing this summer.
But that’s not the end. Writing is hard work, and I’m still working hard, harder actually than I ever have. And the doubts keep coming and I keep pushing them away.
If you’re just embarking on a writing career, you might not realize that you are headed down a path with lots of twists and turns, valleys and peaks. If you’ve been writing for a while, you no doubt do know this, but what I’ve been learning is that with each challenge comes growth and change, and, after much prayer and sometimes agony, progress. Even if what happens a long the way is not expected or even welcomed, I’m growing and discovering things.
I used to teach pre-school. (Don’t worry, I changed my storytelling tactics!) If you’ve ever seen a three-year-old’s art project, you probably wondered what it was supposed to be. I used to tell parents to remember that it’s the process that is important, not the product. And it’s true. The child had a ball creating it, and then walked away, usually not caring if he took his finger painting home or not.
If you think about it, there are parallels you can draw between the writing life and the faith journey. It’s that journey where I am learning things about myself, about God, and about God’s plan for me, that is most important.
In this life we will never reach the prize, but it’s the process that is key. You might think when you’re a writer that publication is the prize, or publishing with a particular publisher is the prize—and certainly that’s a wonderful accomplishment. But there’s always something else you’ll be striving for: awards, sales numbers, recognition, bestseller lists, even the next contract—and you might not reach them all. But you certainly will learn a lot along the way.
Of course you want to create quality books, but that’s not the real prize in publishing. The real prize is when you realize that you can tell stories that move people and then you do it. And you do it again. And again. And you’re never finished. And you love it.
Meet the Author:
Cindy Thomson is a writer and an avid genealogy enthusiast. Her love of history and her Scots-Irish heritage have inspired much of her writing, including her new Ellis Island series. Cindy is also the author of Brigid of Ireland and Celtic Wisdom: Treasures from Ireland. She combined her love of history and baseball to co-author the biography Three Finger: The Mordecai Brown Story, which was a finalist for the Society for American Baseball Research’s Larry Ritter Book Award. In addition to books, Cindy has written on a regular basis for numerous online and print publications and is a mentor for the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild. She is also a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and the Historical Novel Society. Cindy and her husband have three grown sons and live in central Ohio. Visit her online at www.cindyswriting.com.
Grace McCaffery hopes that the bustling streets of New York hold all the promise that the lush hills of Ireland did not. As her efforts to earn enough money to bring her mother to America fail, she wonders if her new Brownie camera could be the answer. But a casual stroll through a beautiful New York City park turns into a hostile run-in with local gangsters, who are convinced her camera holds the first and only photos of their elusive leader. A policeman with a personal commitment to help those less fortunate finds Grace attractive and longs to help her, but Grace believes such men cannot be trusted. Spread thin between her quest to rescue her mother, do well in a new nanny job, and avoid the gang intent on intimidating her, Grace must put her faith in unlikely sources to learn the true meaning of courage and forgiveness.