My agent couldn’t get me a book deal to save either of our lives. It didn’t matter that I’d been writing for years and had hundreds of pages of a beautiful manuscript. Or that he’d sold thousands of titles, and had been sending out my book proposal for nearly a year. Losing hope, the weight of swimming with my stories in a darkened sea while securing the pages from getting wet threatened to drown me.
If only I had the energy and know-how to self-publish. But I knew I didn’t have it in me. Desperate for my team, I was holding out for my people.
Our heater was on the blink again. At the borrowed desk of my trailer “office” in podunk northern New Mexico, head in hands and shivering in my down jacket, my sister called from Los Angeles.
“Oh, honey, you’ve got to be delirious by now. You’ve been through seven zombie apocalypses, crawled out of the grave, and put your intestines back in your body seventeen times. Your dream with your nine-month publishing goal was over six years ago, and you’re still up every night with freezing fingers. I’m so proud of you. I really believe you’re almost there.”
What would I do without my little sister? Lose my mind, that’s what. I’d been living on affirmations and feng shui-ing my abundance corners, but my vision wasn’t happening, and Jesse and I were getting run ragged from living so close to the bone.
Driving back to our isolated cabin, nearly asleep at the wheel and with tears rolling down my cheeks, I prayed aloud:
“God, please! I know this book was Your idea. You’re the one who gave me the dream. The people I’m meeting, the things I’m learning are the greatest gift. I would write all day long for free. But writers need readers, and I can’t reach them without a publisher. I don’t know what else to do. Am I wrong to believe I can earn a living doing the work I love most in all the world? If not, I need Your help!”
My hands gripped the wheel as my pickup thump, thump, thumped over the hardened dirt ridges on our irritatingly long road. Thomas One Wolf’s words rang out in my mind: “If you pay enough attention, all of nature will conspire to help you and show you the way. She brought you here, and She knows who you are. A mother takes care of her children, especially those who show her great kindness.”
In regular instances, Thomas’s logic here would make zero sense to me, with violence aimed at environmental activists worldwide top of mind. But not now. Faith was all I had. My singular focus was as urgent as a wildfire.
ALL OF NATURE!
I looked up at the peak of our mountain and felt an overpowering urge to pull over. I got out of my truck, left the door ajar with the engine running, and fell to my hands and knees, laying my forehead on the warm powdery clay as Thomas had shown me to do.
“Grandfather, Earth Mother, I come to You, Your humble daughter. Thank You for this good way and this good day. Please, I need Your help. I’m bone tired. I will do whatever it takes to hold on. But I need a sign. Pretend I’m a five-year-old and spell out Your answer so that I understand. Please, God, who will publish this book?”
I looked up, scanned the bright blue sky, and sighed. Anything? Please? Give me the slightest clue to go on—a bird, a dust devil, a cloud animal—I’ll figure out what it means when I see it.
Suddenly . . .
To continue reading about the single most magical thing that’s ever happened to me in over fifty years, the moment that came a mere two days before my first book deal and taught me a life-changing lesson about prayers for creatives, read the chapter “Nature Leaves Clues” in my writing memoir, Beautiful Writers: A Journey of Big Dreams & Messy Manuscripts—with Tricks of the Trade from Bestselling Authors. You know, the book you’ve meant to order or read as it collects dust on your nightstand. No dust! That s#it helps no one!
You’ve got beauty to create. My stories are mystical (and funny and brutal, too!), and so are those from beloved bestselling authors who weigh in with their magic moments in a MAP like none other. I can’t wait to hear what you think. Order your copy now.
Happy reading. Write on!
PS. Send my team an email at email@example.com if you want me to join you and your book or writing group for a live Zoom call. I’ve met recently with groups for informal Q&As with loads of writers and as few as five. We talk about my book and yours, and it’s a blast! Because friends don’t let friends read or write alone. xo