Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Dream Come True! - One Writer's Journey

“If God can bring an awesome dream to pass for this nobody-in-particular from nowhere special, He can do the same for you.” This is what I tell people at my speaking engagements. In fact, I autograph my debut novel, Reluctant Burglar, with the following words: Let your dreams soar! Mark 10:27.

That scripture promises that nothing is impossible with God. Many times my dream to become a published novelist looked unattainable, and I gave up on it. But the dream kept resurrecting, and then one fine day I got that first contract!

Obviously, the journey wasn’t without struggle, nor did it happen overnight. Far from it. My dream was born when I was eleven years old, but my first book wasn’t published until I was 46. That’s quite a time lag. But the Lord used those years to hone me as a person and build my skills as a writer. As I also tell my audience at speaking engagements, I completed my first mystery novel in the 6th grade, but not a shred of the manuscript yet exists . . . and the world is grateful.

In high school, I had my own column in the school newspaper, and I even placed in a poetry contest. However, those few pieces I sent out to publications in the wider world came back rejected.

My parents encouraged and believed in me, especially my dad, so off I went to college, seeking a degree in literature and creative writing. Then my dad passed away suddenly in my freshman year, and with him, a hefty chunk of my support base.

Even so, I wrote for the college newspaper and managed to get a few pieces published in local periodicals. You’d think I’d be flying high, but instead I continually compared myself with other writers who I felt were more gifted and skilled than I. Perhaps they were, or maybe they were just farther along on the writing road.

I received my degree then decided to take some time to look for what I could do with my training that would bring in a regular paycheck. Freelancing or novel-writing just didn’t seem possible. During that period, I met and married my husband. We soon had four children, and there was no time to write.

I’m so thankful for my husband and children. Those years were often hard, but something great was happening inside as I drew closer to the Lord through my constant need for wisdom to raise and care for my family. My confidence in what He could do through me was growing. I was no longer my own source. How foolish we can be that way when we’re young!

At last, around the turn of the century, the children were becoming more independent of me, and the embers of my dream to write books whooshed to life as if the Holy Spirit Himself had blown upon them. (I think He did.) I churned out one manuscript then another and another. Then in 2005, the contract came. Dream fulfilled! An ending, but also a beginning of a new phase of my life.

When Reluctant Burglar released, this is the dedication I wrote for the flyleaf: To my dad, who always thought I could make it as a writer. He is no longer on earth to see this day, but I trust he knows in heaven. (My sister says she started to cry when she read that dedication.)

Now I’m about to become eleven books into my career as a novelist. Frame Up releases in January from Love Inspired Romantic Suspense. I had great fun writing this story about a millionaire framed for murder and a single mom about to meet a similar fate. Is the same killer behind both frames? 

Enough about my novel-writing dream. I know the Lord has planted dreams in all of you, and He wants to bring those dreams to pass. For a chance to win a signed copy of my upcoming release, I invite you to share with us a dream of yours--either one that has come to pass or one yet to be fulfilled. 

My prayer is for you always to look up and never to give up. The best is yet to come!

BIO:

Award-winning author and writing teacher, Jill Elizabeth Nelson, writes what she likes to read—tales of adventure seasoned with romance, humor, and faith. Jill is a popular speaker for conferences, writers groups, library associations, and civic and church groups. She delights to bring the “Ahah! Moment” to her students as they make new skills their own. Her handbook for writers, Rivet Your Readers with Deep Point of View, is now available at http://amzn.to/IvQTkj.

Visit Jill on the web at: www.jillelizabethnelson.com or look her up on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/JillElizabethNelson.Author or Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/JillElizNelson. Her next release is Frame Up, coming in January 2014 from Love Inspired Suspense.


36 comments:

  1. Loved getting an insight into how you became a writer. With God's help we can be all we can be. Your new book looks really intriguing. Would love to read it. Thank you for the opportunity to win. Have a great day. Keep on writing.
    Blessings
    Katrina
    eppersonkatrina@yahoo.com

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    1. Hi, Katrina. I'm so glad the message resonated with you! Thanks for the well-wishes.

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  2. I'm assuming I'm supposed to write my dream here. I too have always wanted to write and I've had a couple of tiny successes with a few words here or there. Although I have always considered myself a Christian I never wrote like He was helping me. I, like you stopped for awhile but now I'm trying again. MY DREAM, my big dream is to afford and find a house that I've always thought about. A house to live in and have family over to stay over if they want with enough land around it to attract a little bit of wildlife. This dream used to be a cabin in the woods but I'm 60 now, I'm not so sure that would work for me. I hope to read more of your books and thanks for asking about my dream!

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    1. Hi, Shirley. Congrats on the writing successes. Even "tiny" ones are important. The home you describe would also suit my dreams to a tee! May we both experience the fulfillment of our dream homes.

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  3. Hi Jill,
    You don't have to enter my name since I won Betrayal on the Border. just wanted to say how much I am looking forward to Frame Up. Thanks for sharing your writing journey with us.
    Brittany McEuen

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    1. Hi, Brittany. So glad you enjoyed Betrayal. I hope you enjoy the unfolding of David Greene's story.

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  4. Hi, Kill!

    Really enjoyed your post, & the amazing story of your dream being fulfilled. SO glad you continued the path towards your dream, so that we could enjoy your wonderful books! God's timing is always right, isn't it? We let our immaturity get in the way, at times.

    My dream is to tour the Holy Land - finances, & mobility problems make that dream look doubtful, but if God wills it - it will happen, just as your dream did.

    Thanks for the giveaway opportunity!

    bonnieroof60(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. I'm a suspense writer, so "Kill" is actually appropriate. ;-) Thanks!

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    2. God has a way of fulfilling the dreams in our hearts in creative ways. Thanks for chiming in on the conversation.

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    3. Hi, Bonnie:

      Your are the winner of a signed copy of Frame Up! Congratulations and thanks for following the blog.

      Jill

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  5. Jill I enjoyed reading about your long journey to writing. It is a great reminder that God will do as He say's in that he knows the plans He has for us. I don't know if I really have a dream still but I would like to own my own home someday i'm still waiting to see if that is God's plan for me. Blessings
    mcnuttjem0(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Hi, Jackie. Glad my journey could inspire you. I share your dream of property and a home. We're renting right now, though I'm not complaining. :-)

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  6. My dream is to be active until God takes me home! Love reading!
    Joan A.

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    1. Cool, Joan! I'll agree with you in prayer for that worthy dream.

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  7. to travel around the world

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

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    1. Great dream! I travel pretty regularly to Asia on mission trips, but I'd love to see other places too.

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  8. Jill, I enjoyed reading about your dream and its fulfillment. I have added you to my wish list. My dream is to be able to have my own place to live. I am on disability and have been living in my brother's home for 4 years. Thankful for him but would really love to be on my own again.

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    1. Hi, Wilani. I'll agree with you in prayer for your own place. God is well able! Blessings!

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  9. Jill, I love your story about how your dream came true! I laugh at myself, because when I was in college (back in the 1960's) my dream was to get married to the guy I was dating and live in a cute little house with a white picket fence--LOL! As silly as it sounds now, my dream did come true--well, except for the white picket fence. There have been many dreams since then--some came true and some didn't, but my first dream was the best one and I'm thankful to God that it came true!
    may_dayzee(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Cool testimony, Kay. Thanks for sharing!

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  10. Owning my own bookstore/coffee shop has always been a dream of mine. I like coffee, and I enjoy reading.

    jump5er[at]hotmail[dot]com

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    1. That's a cool dream, Sarah. May it come to pass for you even better than you've hoped!

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  11. Would love to read your story. Hope my name is drawn, I so love books. Retired now so wow, get a lot of reading in.

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  12. Would love to read this story. I entered one a second ago and left off my email address. So sorry. Hope my name is drawn, love reading books. Retired now at 74 and have a lot of time to read. juanitawickey@gmail.com

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    1. Hi, Juanita. Glad you remembered to come back and leave your contact info. :-)

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  13. Just read you story above. I have wanted to write, was told I should. I had written a short story for a SS paper and it was published. Wrote letters to the editor, but then raising three children alone I just kept a journal. But after reading so many Love Inspired stories, and books by Bonnie Leon, Beverly Lewis, and many others and am amazed at all the many books these authors write, I thought Lord I am 74 and can't see me coming up with even one book, let alone so many different stories. It is a gift for sure, and I am enjoying reading your books. juanitawickey@gmail.com

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    1. :-) Thanks again, Juanita! I figure we're eternal beings, so "too late" or "too old" doesn't figure into the picture.

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  14. My dream as a kid was to get locked in the library overnight because I just never had enough time there. My dream came true, in a way, when I worked in a small bookstore. When I was the closer, after the store closed and the doors were locked, it was just me and the books in that store! It was my dream come true! I loved that job! It just was not very profitable for me as I spent most of my paycheck, it seems, on books. But it was like Christmas every day!

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    1. Cool story, Elaine! Glad you're dream came true. Sounds like my kind of dream job too! Well, next to writing the stories. LOL

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  15. Dreams do come true. Love the Love Inspired book line.

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    1. Hi, Michelle. So glad you enjoy the Love Inspired books. I enjoy writing for the line. I've already turned in the manuscript for the next book after Frame Up.

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  16. Hi Jill. Loved reading about your life. Glad your dream finally came true. I really don't remember wanting something when I was young except to marry and become a Mother. That for sure came true. I married at 16 and have 4 wonderful children. I also have 12 grands and many great-grandchildren. I am blessed. Nothing great except Salvation and Loving GOD. I am happy with my life now that I've gotten old and don't wish for a lot of changes, but would love to visit Amish country. And, would be really nice to know more about my Ansestors. My daughter-in-law is finally finding a little about my mother's family. Not a lot so far, but more than I knew. Didn't think of this kind of thing until those who might have been able to help me were all gone. I would love to win your book. Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

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  17. I have a very big duo-dream
    To let my life shine for my Lord, And for all of my children to be serious about my Lord, and enjoy Family times
    I would love to win the book It sounds neat
    God bless you
    granvilleATfrontiernetDOTnet

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  18. I am encouraged by your post because I long to be a published writer. I'm getting ready to start a novella with my critique group and that would make manuscript number five for me. I've learned so much since the first one was completed. My prayer is that publication is just around the corner for me. Thanks for sharing your journey.

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