The call to write is both a blessing and a burden. Not many understand the labor and longsuffering it requires. The perseverance takes dedication and the rejection from publishers can be overwhelming. Years ago, just when I was about to give up, encouragement came from a wise old oak tree.  

 Bruce climbed down the ladder and surveyed the branches he’d cut down. “Sure hope next year’s weather is better. This last ice storm was horrible.”

“At least it’s good for your business,” I said.

“Can’t complain about that,” Bruce said wiping his brow. “By the way, how’s your book coming along?”

“Umm…good. I’m close to being finished,” I said.  

If only I could define close.

“It gets embarrassing,” I said hanging my head.

Bruce’s forehead wrinkled in confusion as he shoved several dead branches onto the bed of his work truck.

“You know, telling people that I’m still writing my book. Ahemfive years later.”

Bruce leaned on his black Ford Ranger while I raked some dead leaves out of the flowerbed.

“It’s been that long, huh?” Bruce flashed a playful grin. “What’s the holdup, little sister? Is that why you’re getting those gray hairs?”

“Funny!” I waved the rake in the air like a baseball bat and lunged forward in jest.

“Defensive about that blonde hair, aren’t we,” Bruce joked.

“Said the guy with the mullet!”

We both chuckled and I leaned on the truck with Bruce. “I wish it was easier, but writing is not just about writing.”

“What d’ya mean?”

“A good writer has to develop a platform.”

“A platform. What’s that?”

“A tribe of people that will buy my book. And growing my platform is taking way longer than I thought.”

“Well, Chrissie,” Bruce said as he packed up his chainsaw. “It takes time to grow a tree too.”

He picked up an acorn off the ground. “When you started writing, you didn’t look any more like a writer than this acorn resembled an oak tree.”

“Gee, thanks, Bruce.”

“But you had a dream, right?”

I nodded.

“Your dream was like this acorn. After a while, planted in the right place, it sprouted and a sapling grew.

“You calling me a sapling?” I said as I tossed some small branches into a pile.

“Think about it,” Bruce said. “An oak tree takes years to grow shade and splendor but given the right environment, eventually, what was once a small sprout grows into a huge oak tree.”

I sighed in agreement.

Bruce hauled his ladder to the truck. “Keep praying and believing, Chrissie Pie.” He winked and slammed the tailgate shut. “Keep helping all those ladies you help. Before you know it, little sister…you’ll be that mighty oak tree.” 

My brother knew nothing about writing, but his words of wisdom gave me the strength to persevere until I got my first contract.

Friend, writing is blood, sweat and tears. If you struggle with the frustration that comes with a call to write, let me encourage you. If God has put a message or a book in your heart, He will bring it to pass. You job is to keep the dream alive and to protect it from the discouragement of comparison and the venom of rejection.  

Write your vision down and make it a matter of prayer.

Don’t compare yourself to others. Some books and platforms take longer to mature.

When your manuscript gets rejected, don’t lose heart. Every no takes you one step closer to that yes. Like my brother said to me, it only takes one acorn to grow an oak tree…

and it only takes one yes to publish your book!

And they shall be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor (Isaiah 61:4).

Christy Johnson is a soul health life coach, popular conference speaker and author of Love Junkies, 7 Steps for Breaking the Toxic Relationship Cycle. She’s appeared on numerous radio and TV programs including Trinity Broadcasting Network and her inspirational stories have been featured in several anthologies including Chicken Soup for the Soul. Christy holds an MBA from Central State University. She has three grown children and lives in Edmond with her husband and several ceramic dogs.