I’m not one of those writers who feels comfortable promoting herself—of course, I haven’t had much to promote, so maybe that’s the reason. Due to the nature of what I do, I know a lot of writers, and although I don’t like to generalize, the majority of them are introverts. As a rule, we (introverts) aren’t comfortable being in the public eye. And there’s the conundrum—without some public attention, we find it difficult to ascertain if what we do has merit. It would be easy if we were writing for our own satisfaction, and I’m sure there are a few secure writers out there who do. But the reality is, if others don’t find what we write compelling, then our words have a very short lifespan.
I’ve dreamed of being a writer since the first time I read a chapter book—which, by the way, I did to win a contest. I may not like to promote myself, but the competitive side of me can usually be motivated by a contest. A weird dichotomy, I suppose, but there it is. Writing as a career is a very slow process—one from which the words, “Don’t give up your day job,” was coined. However, God blessed me with a husband who not only supports this crazy passion of mine, but believes in me more than I believe in myself. So, I did give up my day job, and I’ve spent the last six or more years learning this crazy business and getting a few kudos here and there.
My ultimate career prayer, however, isn’t that I get a book contract, although that would be pretty cool. My prayer is that I’m in God’s will. Who knows, I may be so involved in my fictional characters I miss it when God steers me down a different path. So, I check in with Him on a regular basis. As long as He brings me scripture and words of confirmation, I know I’m good to continue. But our God is bigger than that. He blesses me with a few wins every now and then to keep me motivated—like a carrot dangling in front of a donkey. Hmm, maybe that’s not the best analogy.
A few months ago, I received notification that my short story, A God Colored Lens, was accepted for publication in the newest Chicken Soup Book—Chicken Soup for the Soul: Recovering from Traumatic Brain Injury, which came out in June. It’s a story about my daughter, Nicole, and how God brought hope and redemption in the midst of a dark season of her life. I wouldn’t have even known about this book if a good writer friend of mine hadn’t sent me the link. A coincidence? I think not.
Then I received a phone call from an ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) representative to let me know my submission to their Genesis Contest made it to the finals. More confirmation from God that I’m on the right (or write) path. Does this mean I’ll get a book contract? Of course not. But whatever God does with me and the words He gives me, it’ll be amazing—from His perspective. The world sees success as publishing contracts and best seller lists. God has another agenda, and I don’t want to assume I know what that is. For now, I’ll just ride the path He’s given me and thank him for the blessings along the way.
Jennifer Sienes has a bachelor’s in psychology and a master’s in education. She was a 2013 Genesis Semi-Finalist and is a 2014 Genesis Finalist. She has three short stories published in the Inspire Faith and another short story A God-Colored Lens in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Recovering from Traumatic Brain Injury released last month. She is represented by Karen Ball of the Steve Laube Literary Agency. Connect with her at www.jennifersienes.com.