Blog Journal & Devotionals Lawless

My Journey to LAWLESS

HOW DID I GET HERE?

I could feel it. Burnout was creeping up on me, lingering in the back of my mind. The second half of 2023 had me reeling from exhaustion. I was a grad student, speech therapist, wife, and a writer just fighting for the time to write.

Then one day, the cool cover of LAWLESS graced my social media feed.  “Wow, what is this?” I thought. The striking illustration flushed away thoughts of my academic requirements. The man on the cover was clad in western clothes and a mask worthy of the steampunk genre.

After finding out that The Company and The Pearl were holding applications for the LAWLESS anthology, the next thought in my head was, “YEAH. SIGN ME UP PLEASE!”

Suddenly, the idea of burnout turned into a smaller thing. If I had a compelling story to birth before 2023 ended, then maybe all the effort of the year could lead to something new and surprising—like getting published in 2024.

I sent them my sample short story. Hoped for the best outcome. Continued working on my studies…

Did I think about how busy I was going to be that semester? Yes.

Was I certain that I could juggle my time if I did get in?  Actually, I wasn’t sure, so I prayed, “If this is Your best will for me, I hope I can make it. But if it will be too difficult for me, You can close the door on this opportunity.”

THERE WERE HIGHS & LOWS

In the end, I got accepted.

But I was right about my upcoming tight schedule. I was suddenly strapped to a rollercoaster with a steep climb to excitement and then a sudden descent into doubt. I wondered if I could truly finish writing a new story for Lawless on time.

When I received the acceptance email, I was ecstatic.  But when I received info on the  character I was going to write about, I scratched my head. “Well, this is going to be harder than I thought,” I admitted.  This particular character from the Book of Judges had VERY questionable choices. I’ve never written a character like this before.

On top of that, my first draft was due on October 25, 2023. I also had a major research paper for grad school that was due on October 26. Two major deadlines—one for my passion; one for my ministry and livelihood. How do I train my brain to switch between art and scientific papers?

WHEN GOD CALLS YOU TO A TASK, HE WILL ENABLE YOU TO FINISH IT WELL

Despite my worry, there were always pockets of time to finish my assignments. I woke up earlier before sunrise to write. I slept later than usual to write. Every time the sky was dark outside, it felt as if time graciously paused.

Miraculous incidents also happened.  A class was canceled and work hours were shortened for some days. “Thanks, God!” I breathed, fingers tapping over the laptop with the clock beside me.

Whenever I faced writer’s block, I’d pray, “What do I do?” And in those little desperate moments, ideas came to mind. Plot twists formed. Characters came alive in my head, their dialogue crisp.

I bounced ideas with a friend. I prayed with my husband.

And in my smallness and in my worries, He remained faithful, proving how incredibly personal He was in the little things…

My roller coaster turned into a steady drive into a valley, where light still dared to create stories in darkness.

I FINISHED THE STORY!

Honestly, I’d call it a miracle. I finished my research paper ahead of time (I had a great grade!) And I submitted my short story to Alli Prince, the editor,  5 minutes before the deadline (I was living on the edge. Haha.)

Sure, I had many revisions in the editing process, but it was worth it. I grew. I was stretched. I learned new lessons. I finished a story worth reading.  The project was not easy, but I loved being a part of it for many reasons.

A BETTER STORY

I wrote about a squad of bounty hunters in a dangerous wasteland. There’s found family, action, morally gray choices, and of course, a plot twist!

If you ever get the chance to read the anthology, I’m super thankful! 

But if there’s one thing you could remember from my journey to LAWLESS, it’s this little reminder: there’s a God who doesn’t mind stepping into your “smallest” challenges.  His love is wide enough to accommodate even the little things in our lives.

Whatever task it is, commit it to Him (Proverbs 16:3), and you’ll be surprised by the grace waiting to surround you all along. 

LAWLESS will be released on January 18, 2024!

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