An Unpublished Novel Writer’s Journey

by Cassandra Wessel

wessel-HR-8After answering a call to write a blog post, I wondered what I, an unpublished novel writer could share. A friend responded, “No one else had your experience. Theirs may be similar, but it’s not yours.”

Gulp. Here goes.

My writing journey began before retirement and included many published devotionals, followed by a few articles in our denominational magazine. After retirement, more devotionals were shared, and I joined a couple of online writers’ groups. An editor from one online group called for submissions and published a few pieces. Three anthologies later, I submitted another devotional to a different acquisitions editor. At this point, four books held my contributions.

Encouraged, I wondered, could I write a novel? I thought, “How hard can it be?” I’d written several term papers, some of them 35 pages long. I’d written, preached, and filed away some seven hundred sermons. I could do this, but I needed to learn more.

I devoured writing books and went to local writer’s conferences. I submitted several pieces to contests and won a couple ribbons. Next, I attended the ACFW Conferences held in Indiana and St. Louis. Both encouraged me. An agent asked for a full manuscript, and then . . . life and death happened. As the kids say, “bummer.”

What’s the take away?

  • Persist. Work at our craft and learn as much as we can. Keep on keeping on.
  • Get a second pair of eyes. Find a critique partner who can give us an objective opinion. Note the operative word, objective. We don’t want a pat on the back when our work stinks.
  • Network online, and join writers’ groups.

These days, my devotionals continue to be published, and my critique partner slashes what my eyeballs overlook…and that’s my take on being an unpublished novel writer, and published devotional author.

Cass Wessel is a member of ACFW and ACFW Pennsylvania State Chapter who spends her time reading, writing and critiquing stories to win the heart. A multi-published devotional author, she lives in Tionesta, PA. She’s a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.