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Sunday, November 27, 2016

Worry and the Journey to Publication

By Lindsay Harrel

Last week I was cleaning out my home office—which had slowly become the junk room in our house. I’ve been putting it off for awhile now, but with the upcoming arrival of a new baby, it had to be done. When sorting through items I’d long forgotten about, I came upon a journal from five years ago.

As I read, I discovered entries from the very beginning of my writing journey. There were some entries where I was excited to finally be pursuing this dream, one I’d held in my heart since childhood. Other entries expounded upon all the knowledge I’d been gaining through craft books, conferences, and other sources.

But then there were the entries filled with something I’ve struggled with most of my life: worry. Pages and pages full of questions and doubts. Would I ever be able to make this a reality? Would I give up after a year of trying? Would I find out I really didn’t have what it takes to be a published author?

There was one journal entry dated about six months into my journey that really stood out to me. In it, I went back and forth on whether to submit my first novel to an editor who had requested it. I agonized over that decision, fearing that if it wasn’t ready (which it wasn’t!!), I’d ruin any future chances I had in the industry—but also worrying that if I didn’t take that chance, I’d always regret it.

You guys—if I’ve learned anything, it’s that one single action can’t destroy someone’s chances at publication forever (of course, I’m not talking about something that burns bridges or is egregious, rude, or ill-mannered). Either you believe God is in this or you don’t. He has the perfect timing, the perfect path for YOU.

I saw a meme going around the Internet this month that said, “If it doesn’t open, it’s not your door.” Over the last five years, I’ve stood at many doors and knocked incessantly, begging them to open—to no avail. Then I worried about why they didn’t open. Was I not worthy? Had God forgotten about me? Did I unknowingly upset someone important?

Now I look back and I shake my head. The worry did me absolutely no good. The doubt didn’t help me blossom into a better writer. It only weighed me down and choked the life and energy out of me. It wasn’t until I was able to “let go and let God” have control that I was at peace in my writing journey. I put my head down and kept writing. One book. Another. Another. And another.

And then, seemingly out of the blue (though it wasn’t out of the blue for God), I received my first contract in March of this year. My debut novel, One More Song to Sing, is set to release later this week, on December 1.

I was talking about this with a friend of mine recently. She grinned and said, “Remember all that worrying you did? Guess it wasn’t necessary after all.” She was totally right. Let me tell you, I didn’t add a single moment to my life by worrying (Matthew 6:27).

Learn from my mistakes. Don’t let worry take over your journey. Fight back. Replace those ugly lies Satan is feeding you with healthy doses of the Truth.

God has the right door for you. It may not look the way you thought it would. It may take a lot longer to reach it than you wanted. But every step along this journey is one that leads you closer to your goal.

Keep fighting—and keep writing.


Lindsay Harrel is a lifelong book nerd who lives in Arizona with her young family, and two golden retrievers in serious need of training. Besides writing, singing, and hanging out with family and friends, Lindsay enjoys making a fool of herself at Zumba, curling up with anything by Jane Austen, and savoring sour candy one piece at a time. Her debut novel, One More Song to Sing, releases December 2016. Connect with her at

Book Blurb:

More than two decades ago, Olivia Lovett left her old life behind in the red dirt of Oklahoma and forged a career in Nashville as a country music star. Now her voice is failing, forcing her to find a new dream just as the secrets of her past come knocking at the door. Long-time friend Andrew Grant agrees to partner in a new business venture—but would he stick around if he knew her whole story?

After the tragic loss of her father, twenty-one-year-old Ellie Evans headed to Nashville seeking more than just fame. For two years, she’s waitressed, strummed, and sung her way to what may finally be her big break when Olivia offers to sign her to the budding record label. More than anything, Ellie just wants to be seen: by her future fans, by Nick Perry—a fellow musician with a killer smile and kind eyes—and above all else, by the mother who abandoned her. If the spotlight never shines on her, will Ellie ever feel whole?

One More Song to Sing is a romantic drama about the power of forgiveness, second chances, and a God who never fails to see us.


  1. Lindsay, my journey took nearly 12 years! Why, I don't know. God has His reasons. But I've learned His timing is always right. I always tell new writers to enjoy the journey!


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