Staying Steady on the Publishing Rollercoaster

I often have conversations with my clients about the ups and downs of the writer’s journey. It can be a rollercoaster, even for those with the strongest character. It’s important not to underestimate the power of the psychological and emotional aspects.

People will tell you not to take things personally, but you know it IS personal. Your writing is important, and when things aren’t going the way you want, it doesn’t feel good.

There are so many moments in the publishing journey that can really make you feel bruised, and others that make you feel terrific:

  • When you’re having trouble finding an agent vs. when you finally get an agent.
  • When your agent is having trouble finding you a publisher, vs. when a publisher makes an offer on your book.
  • When you’re struggling through finishing your manuscript, vs. when it’s finally complete and you’re happy with it.
  • When you first receive your edits and they’re overwhelming, vs. when you’ve completed your edits and your know your book is the better for it.
  • When your book receives negative reviews or even criticism, vs. when you get great reviews.
  • When your book doesn’t sell as well as you’d hoped, vs. when your book sells better than anybody expected.

Of course, the list could go on and on. This journey is bound to whip you around emotionally.

But my point is not just to tell you to be ready for this. It’s deeper than that. In order to truly be ready for it, you’ve got to prepare. You’ve got to have something to hold on to—something that will keep you steady in the ups and downs. Something that will keep you off the proverbial ledge.

What will keep you steady? What can you reach for in the up and down moments—to keep you grounded, to keep you from getting too low? Some ideas:

1. An agent.

A business partner who understands this business, gets the rollercoaster nature of it, and can help you keep it in perspective.

2. A strong sense of yourself.

It’s important to know where your worth comes from. If you’re letting your self-worth rise and fall with the whims of the publishing journey, you’re probably going to be in trouble. You want to be firm in your conviction of who you are and what makes you worthy.

3. A strong sense of purpose.

If you know why you’re on this journey, and the reasons behind your goals are meaningful to you, it can go a long way towards keeping you steady. It will help you press on when things get rough. It will keep your ego from going out of control when things are going well.

4. A friend who’s also on the journey.

Another writer can be helpful in ways an agent can’t be. They can be a steadying factor when things are tough, and someone to celebrate with when things are going great.

Where do you get your self-worth? What are some ways you stay steady on the rollercoaster?


Rachelle Gardner

Literary agent at Gardner Literary. Coffee & wine enthusiast (not at the same time) and dark chocolate connoisseur. I've worked in publishing since 1995 and I love talking about books!


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  2. heatherdaygilbert on June 23, 2012 at 10:06 PM

    Oh my word! Just read this and it’s so apt at this point. In a low on the “rolly-coaster,” and I thank the good Lord for an agent and a husband who believe in my writing, sometimes more than I do. As writers, we’re often tempted to “chuck it” and let go of our tenacity. And it requires a LOT of tenacity to get published. And I can’t even mention how helpful my family and friends and blog-followers are. Every time I hit the next ULTIMATE LOW, they’re there, rooting for me. All in all, it’s a great ride.

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  6. Jennifer on June 19, 2012 at 5:03 PM

    I am grateful for those who are on the journey/roller coaster with me.

  7. Danita Clark Able on June 19, 2012 at 1:42 PM

    I have every thing in your list of items to keep me steady except an agent. How do I get past the agent barrier wall?


  8. Anthony Renfro on June 19, 2012 at 6:49 AM

    What helps?

    My faith, my wife and family, my talent and wonderful people like you. Thanks for the great post.

  9. Jill U. on June 19, 2012 at 12:00 AM

    Great timing, Rachelle! I had a writer’s “high” last week, followed by a “low” today. Your post reminds me to keep it all in perspective.

    What helps? My faith, and knowing that God has a plan for this writing journey of mine. And, I have a wonderful, supportive family and friends who validate me as a person, as well as a writer.

  10. Kathryn Elliott on June 18, 2012 at 7:18 PM

    I rely ont the 3 F’s – family, friends & faith.

  11. Kathleen Bosman on June 18, 2012 at 5:47 PM

    I’ve just received my first publishing contract and I must admit, I don’t feel the same as I expected. Don’t get me wrong, I’m really excited, but it’s not that euphoria that I expected. Instead, there’s trepidation. Will readers like it? Will I be able to write another good book? And I’ve realised so much through this that only Jesus satisfies. It’s great to get the goal you’ve been working towards for so long, but it doesn’t satisfy as much as doing His will. It truly has been a rollercoaster ride for me – I’ve written more than ten books and had many rejection letters. I don’t regret a single one now because I’ve come a long way in my writing. Each one was a step towards where I am today. I wouldn’t have been ready if the first book I wrote was published.

  12. Robert Powers on June 18, 2012 at 5:43 PM

    I suppose, before I write this post I should give glimpse on why writers are writers. I have a strong belief that characters choose the writer. It is the character that “tells” the story to us. And we, in turn, write it down so their voices are heard by readers… It is this strong commitment – responsibility – to those characters that have enough faith in me to share their lives that drive my fervor in the craft. Now that I have outlined the foundation of my aberration, and perhaps discovered why I am still seeking an agent, I’ll get to the actual post.

    Self-worth and steadfastness. I could go and take the religious route. But, to do so would be mirroring what has been said. More directly to the point, my self-worth wanes with good writing sessions vs. not-so-good writing sessions. There are days when the whirling whispers of my characters fill my mind with their vivid apologue. After these sessions I find myself mentally and emotionally exhausted with a novel that has grown by 5,500 words. A sense of purpose – worth – washes over me and I sleep well that night. Then, there are the days where the leaching dry sands of creative drought threaten to swallow me up like one of those unfortunate ants in a sand pit only to be devoured by what is lurking beneath. These days, the drought days, I struggle to produce 2,000 chased-after words. I push on and write every day. In tune with these days like the tides are to the moon, my self-worth wanes in rhythmic dance to those whispers.

    Steadfastness, for me is wrapped up in those sweet whispers. Like driving down the highway and seeing a small yellow flower, alone in a sea of green drabness, and knowing that isolated splash of color has a story that is begging for someone to tell. Or, sitting at a business meeting where individuality is devoured by group-think. Upon seeing a drop, one silver cool drop of water, careening down the side of a pitcher of ice water, I am beholden to its whisper. Its unremarkable fate is to be absorbed by the white table cloth – overlooked and forgotten. As long as I have those whispers, I know characters, in whatever form, still have faith in me.

    Without those whispers, we writers are like a person who sits in an old white rocker on the front porch for the remainder of our days waiting, hoping, praying for a lover that never returns.

  13. Jana Dean on June 18, 2012 at 4:11 PM

    The day I submitted my query, I also bought dancing shoes.

    Whichever way the query goes, I have a happy memory.

  14. Stasia on June 18, 2012 at 3:30 PM

    Great post. What keeps me steady is a group of four other writer friends with whom I correspond (via email) almost daily. Between us we’ve pretty much experienced every scenario you’ve noted above and are able to admit the good and the bad to each other with honesty (and occasionally tears). It is so great to know you are not alone on this incredibly bumpy road. Without them I probably would have given up already.

  15. Julia Denton on June 18, 2012 at 2:59 PM

    I remind myself of a favorite quote on writing from Marge Piercy: “Work is its own reward. You have to like it better than being loved.”

    • Kathy Sheldon Davis on June 18, 2012 at 4:41 PM

      I love that quote, Julia Denton! “Work is its own reward…” If I didn’t love writing I wouldn’t make sacrifices in other areas in order to support it. I’m happy with my reward!

  16. Amber Dane on June 18, 2012 at 1:59 PM

    Great post and comments!

  17. Cherry Odelberg on June 18, 2012 at 1:55 PM

    Staying steady on the roller coaster involves constantly repeating, “Why am I doing this God, why am I doing this,” on the uphill battles and squealing with glee and abandon and joy on the trip down and the unexpected curves.
    My self-worth is found only in God and knowing I am exactly in the center of where I am created to be. Someday I hope this is a daily, unceasing state.
    To maintain self-credibility, I write as the neighborhood faces and places examiner for Though this takes time and focus away from my chosen creative writing, it also gives me a mile marker to return to. I tell myself, “See, there is your picture and your bio online. Looks pretty professional, huh? They have not rejected you yet and usually you receive highest marks for your writing.” Besides, it calms the anxiety of concerned family. Those who want you to quit following your dream and get a real job are somewhat assuaged by the fact that you are paid for writing (yep, $11.35 last month).

    Though I want to thrive, and that usually entails some sort of financial security, perhaps I am inherently a roller coaster rider. As a musician, I love the final push toward a performance, the joy of performance, and, well, not so much the melancholy after….

    Thanks Rachelle, for being as close as I can come to having an agent at present and for sharing so abundantly with this online community.

    Thanks Jennifer and P.J. and other commenters on this blog who have become that necessary like minded community. I am fortunate to have other local and online writing friends as well.

    I am forever moving forward into my sense of self and sense of purpose.

    • Jennifer Major on June 18, 2012 at 3:09 PM

      Just so you know Cherry,I look up to you and look forward to your comments. You’re a very smart woman. And what’s cool, is I write outside the novel box too. Although I make freakishly more than you. That’s right, kick in the envy. In the last two months, I’ve made close to…90$.

      Muahahaha! That’s enough to take over the Tri-State Area!!

      • Cherry Odelberg on June 18, 2012 at 4:17 PM

        Gaaaa! I am so covetous of your riches:)

        • Jennifer Major on June 18, 2012 at 7:32 PM

          I know, it’s like the lottery, isn’t it? WHAT will I do with all the loot?? I might retire and settle down and live off the interest.

  18. Jessica Nelson on June 18, 2012 at 1:09 PM

    I’m so thankful for my writing friends! They make a huge difference in this journey.

  19. Charise on June 18, 2012 at 1:08 PM

    I like roller coasters. I think the difference is- on a ride I bought a ticket for- I know it will end and I can then go see the pretty horses on the carousel and get a caramel apple.

    I love some of the comments here. I find the serenity prayer to be a good one. So the serenity to accept what I can not change is a great reminder to only ride my roller coasters- not others.

  20. Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts on June 18, 2012 at 1:03 PM

    Thank you, Rachelle, for another insightful post.

    As I was responding to Gdub, I thought about what would happen if you sat down on the tracks of a moving roller coaster. Hmm, probably not a good idea. That’s when I remembered a story about my parents. This is a true story.

    My parents grew up in Brooklyn, N.Y. They went to Coney Island for a date and my dad convinced my mom to go on the roller coaster with him. She wasn’t keen on the idea, but she liked him, so she went. This was her first roller coaster ride (and her last). It terrified her. Somewhere towards the top of an arch, she panicked, threw up the bar and STOOD UP, telling my dad, “Get me off this thing NOW!” He always told the story in a way that sounded like he talked her into sitting down again, but I imagine that in reality, he also had to grab her to keep her from falling. They finished the ride. She never went on another roller coaster, but at least, thanks to my dad (and God), she didn’t fall and crash in the middle of that one.

    That’s what each of us need: someone to settle us when we panic and someone to stop us from going over the edge when we feel we can’t endure this roller coaster a moment longer.

  21. Michelle Lim on June 18, 2012 at 12:55 PM

    Perfectly timed post for where I’m at right now, Rachelle!

    When I am discouraged or feel the roller coaster ride will never end, I grab a buddy, a good book, and chocolate. Then I write down my goals for where I want to go next.

    Keep working toward the future instead of wallowing in the present. Look for stories of people who faced rejection before success.

    Writer’s have to work constantly on seeing the big picture. It’s like pointalism in art work. As long as you are focusing on that one point you can’t see anything else or its beauty. Backing up to see what all of the dots make together, that is when you see the beauty of the picture. We must live our lives outside of the dots, trusting that each point is an important part of a beautiful picture God is making of our journey.

    Thank you for reminding me of this today, Rachelle. I really needed it.

  22. Darlene Lund on June 18, 2012 at 12:39 PM

    Great post today!
    I have lived the roller coaster ride, already.
    Now, I know how not-to-allow the “jerk” from the “ride.”

    1.I am cemented in Him.
    2.I know my Life purpose.
    3.He has gifted me and pre-packaged me with the gifts.
    4.I write because it is a calling to teach.
    5.I go forward knowing,I always have an audience of one.
    6.He is enough,whether ten publishers reject or one.
    7.I am His.
    8.There is great joy in doing what we were created to do. I write. I teach. I coach.
    This might sound simple, but, it was learned over a long haul of a ride.
    Great question and post…

  23. Douglas Thompson on June 18, 2012 at 12:34 PM

    I can hear the click-click ratcheting sound as I climb the big hill even now. I can not wait until I crest the top and plummet down the rails and my stomach drops into my socks. That’s what I entered this a-muse-ment park. That’s why we write and why we read. The endless thrill of the adventure.

  24. Trudy Metzger on June 18, 2012 at 12:28 PM

    Thank you Rachelle! This is so good! You don’t get far in the writing world before you bump into this stuff. Love your advice for ‘knowing who you are’ and where self-worth comes from.

  25. Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts on June 18, 2012 at 12:22 PM

    I know it’s already been said by others, but it is my anwer: God. Staying centered in God is the only way that I survive the roller coaster that is life.

  26. Jill on June 18, 2012 at 12:14 PM

    If my self esteem were based on my publishing journey, I wouldn’t have much. I’ve been at this for about 20 yrs now w/ little success and piles of rejections. I’m simply tenacious. I refuse to give up. Although my family and friends are supportive, that tenacious spirit is integral to me. It has to be. I can’t expect it to come from someone else. Wine helps, too. 🙂

  27. Tonia Marie Harris on June 18, 2012 at 12:12 PM

    Someone mentioned earlier that it’s about being a story-teller. I agree. If we keep our focus on telling the best story possible, and giving said story the time and respect it deserves,we’ve won. Even if it’s only the satisfaction of doing something we love the best way possible.

    I’m also here, writing, for my children. I want to teach them to follow their dreams and persevere. I decided the best way to do that is by example.

  28. Lanny on June 18, 2012 at 12:04 PM

    The great, recently-deceased Ray Bradbury writes in “Zen and the Art of Writing” that he typed 3 million words of fiction over 8 years before he sold his first short story. Obviously, you must have a purpose and steely determination to subject yourself to that kind of regimen.

  29. tcavey on June 18, 2012 at 11:49 AM

    While all those you listed are important and will help. My worth comes from what Christ did for me on the cross.

    No worldly event will change my status as a child of God.

  30. Give Me A Sign « Descent Into Slushland on June 18, 2012 at 11:43 AM

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  31. Patricia Zick on June 18, 2012 at 11:27 AM

    I always have a new project at the ready. Doesn’t always work, but it’s a start. I’m coming down on the tracks of the roller coaster today after a stupendous one Free day on Kindle Friday. Made it to #6 and #38 overall in contemporary fiction with more than 7,000 downloads. But today I struggle with how to keep the momentum going. Solution? Write about the canary in the coal mine – literally! I’m writing about Deepwater Horizon oil spill and Upper Big Branch explosion and the dangers in bringing us all the energy we can consume and damn the consequences.

  32. Lisa on June 18, 2012 at 11:17 AM

    Thank you Rachelle, I really needed these words today.

    Thank for all the wonderful comments. I find thew writing world to be so gracious and full of encouragement for one another. It is very refreshing!

  33. Nichole Hall on June 18, 2012 at 11:07 AM

    I find my self worth in the Lord.

    I stay steady through the ups and down by talking through my concerns and frustrations with my critique group. They’ve all been there and know exactly how I’m feeling. They are a great encouragement and help keep me on track when I start to waiver.

  34. Jennifer Major on June 18, 2012 at 10:56 AM

    I am reminded daily that *this* is not my whole. This is not the sum of all things Jennifer. Nor is publication the altar upon which I will sacrifce my self, my family or my worth. My faith keeps me steady. My husband is my biggest cheerleader. My kids make sure that I don’t forget to take care of them.

    (No, you are NOT starving, I have seen starving. Starving people don’t have iPod touches and airsoft guns. An absence of pie does not equal starving!)

    My friends cheer me along and keep me focused, because most of them are parents as well. They care about my writing, but none of them will be my date to the Awesomest Writer in the History of Written Language Awards.

    Everyone has something special about them, but each person has their own rollercoaster. One son’s academic medals will be next to the other’s athletic awards. They are not the same, but they are equally important.

    When I put myself first, I am quickly found all alone. When I put others first, I can see how God works in the lives of everyone around me and I learn so much more.

    Which gives way to great story ideas, and then…

    • P. J. Casselman on June 18, 2012 at 12:35 PM

      You’re doing great at being an encourager, Jennifer!

      Funny, I can’t afford an iPod Touch, but my kids both have one. It’s funny how that works.

      • sally apokedak on June 19, 2012 at 12:55 AM

        Every phone I’ve gotten has been a hand-me-down from my son. 🙂

    • Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts on June 18, 2012 at 12:44 PM

      “Publication [is not] the altar upon which I will sacrifice myself, my family or my worth.” Excellent words of wisdom,, Jennifer. Thank you.

  35. Jarm Del Boccio on June 18, 2012 at 10:51 AM

    God has affirmed my gift of writing in so many ways. This fact lifts my spirits, even when the going gets tough.

  36. Katie Ganshert on June 18, 2012 at 10:48 AM

    By keeping my eyes on the ultimate prize – Jesus Christ, baby!

  37. Jeanne on June 18, 2012 at 10:38 AM

    I’ve learned my true worth comes from my Father. He’s the one who made me and places value on me. This is the primary place where I get my self worth. He’s the one who gave me stories to write.

    I’m fortunate to have an incredibly supportive husband, and two kids who are excited to walk this journey with me (most of the time, anyway).

    I stay steady on this roller coaster by spending time reading and meditating on the Bible, as well as listening to the “right voices.” Also, talking with other writers has helped me keep my feet on the path when I’ve seriosly considered jumping off.

    Great post today, Rachelle.

    • P. J. Casselman on June 18, 2012 at 12:31 PM

      That’s great Jeanne! You’ve several avenues of support. He uses all of them.

  38. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser on June 18, 2012 at 10:35 AM

    My wife and I run a rescue for unwanted dogs (mainly abused Pits). We also work with veterans, and will be trying to match Marines to dogs.

    My self-image is nothing in comparison to the amount of hurt in the world – for animals, and for people. You look in the eyes of a dog who’s just been thrown from a moving car – or in the eyes of a Marine who can never come home from Iraq – and you realize that you’ve got to back down, count your blessings, and for God’s sake, HELP!

    I guess I got my sense of identity when I realized – it’s not about me. None of it.

  39. Lynn Rush on June 18, 2012 at 10:32 AM

    Great post! It IS a crazy fun, up and down journey to publication and during publication. I couldn’t do it without my close writer friends. Especially those who are pubbed and have experienced the ups and downs. In the end, we can try and plan our life, but God determines the steps. Just got to go with it… 🙂

  40. Julie Sunne on June 18, 2012 at 10:31 AM

    We all need this encouragement to stay focused on the entire journey,Rachelle, not just each hill (or valley) along the way. Motivation for me comes from “seeing” the desperate eyes of parents unable to handle the pressure of raising children with disabilities: helping them find hope again pushes me on. Also, reminding myself God’s timing is perfect. He knows when (and if) I should have a book out and how best to get my message across. Thanks!

  41. K. Carmitchel on June 18, 2012 at 10:30 AM

    I haven’t met any of those obstacles as yet — the one I’m working on now is finding the time to BE a writer and get started on the journey. Even that one is sometimes hard to tackle in a busy life as a mom and teacher. I’m not even close to having something ready to publish — or even critique. Because it’s such a slow process for me, I sometimes wonder why I’m bothering. But I know there are valuable things inside me that other people can read and enjoy, and when I doubt my abilities, I remember those small surprising moments when that has been true. And, like the other commenters, I know that my worth is not in being a writer, a mom, a good employee, a good wife, or a good friend. It’s in being the daughter of the Lord. That’s it. All the rest is a pleasant bonus.

  42. Gdub on June 18, 2012 at 10:25 AM

    I’m all in. That’s the deal. So it makes no difference what the assistant to the intern’s assistant at the big agent house says. Plus they’re incredibly busy and they may not have read my ms, it just got put in the reject stack and “clear the decks, guys,or we’re goin’ down.” And I continue to get published in the lit pubs so how bad can I be? (But it’s still hard to get those form rejects–sure is) ;O]

    • Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts on June 18, 2012 at 12:40 PM

      Getting rejected is never easy, and not knowing why, I think, makes it even harder. All we can do is keeping trying, keeping moving forward. What’s the alternative? Giving up and sitting down? Not acceptable.

  43. Donna Pyle on June 18, 2012 at 10:23 AM

    What wonderful, sage advice you share today, my Friend. Keeping grounded is so very important to avoid being derailed on the emotional writing roller coaster. Three things keep me grounded: (1) close friends who keep it real; (2) the confidence that I’m writing what I know in my bones God’s called me to write; and (3) Philippians 3:8. Those three things equal grounded personified.

  44. Turney on June 18, 2012 at 10:23 AM

    Great post – on some levels I was/am prepared for all of those lows. The one I wasn’t prepared for might have been the hardest so far. Maybe it’s just me, but typing THE END sent me into a week long mini depression. I was sad, lonely and lost without my story. Starting to write the next idea I thought was going to be easy, it was already in my head. Not so much…

  45. Wendy Paine Miller on June 18, 2012 at 10:12 AM

    Love this post. I keep bumping up against its message along my own journey. I think the publishing industry invites a lot of that—reflection, introspection, the “why the heck am I in this” thoughts that come so readily.

    I feel called to it. Some days I love that. Some days I’d like to clobber the word calling.

    I’m grateful & blessed to have 1-4. My faith trumps all even on those days when I’m fighting lies or discouragement. The key for me is to keep fighting. To press on.
    ~ Wendy

  46. Adam Porter (@AtlasProWriter) on June 18, 2012 at 9:59 AM

    For me, I realized that writing is not something I do. It is someone I am. I’m a storyteller. Once I had this realization – it all came out in one 5-minute “epiphany” I’d been trying to have for years…in poem form, no less (which is weird for me) – self worth was no longer an issue.

    I write because I’m a storyteller. My biggest problem is which story to finish first. I think an agent and a writer friends would both help with that.

    • Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts on June 18, 2012 at 12:36 PM

      I resonate with what you’re saying, Adam. I am a storyteller as well and I write because I need to share the stories with others.

      It’s great that your cathartic poem helped resolve any self-image issues.


  47. ed cyzewski on June 18, 2012 at 9:27 AM

    Reader feedback is so important to me. In fact, I’ve learned from my own experience and the experiences of others that you can always find a new milestone you haven’t hit. So it’s really important to learn to value the impact you make the lives of readers. That’s really the most fulfilling part of writing and publishing.

  48. Marielena on June 18, 2012 at 9:24 AM

    Self-worth is a journey, ironically, given the roller coaster analogy. Some days we feel “up” and others “down” but I bought my ticket (writing) a long time ago, and I’m taking the ride.

    Throughout that journey, the rejections, probably moreso than the joys, have helped me learn who I really am. Have made me stronger. Have tempered me, helped me see that when I am weak, he is strong, shining forth. Thankfully, I also have some wondering writing companions on this roller coaster ride that have helped me laugh — and scream and cry — along the way.

  49. Stephen H. King on June 18, 2012 at 8:47 AM

    Well said. Even we Indie-pubbed folks, living our radically rebellious yet grammatically imperfect lives as many believe we do, have our ups and downs.

    I’d suggest that #4 is crucial. I mean, I believe you when you say that an agent helps quite a bit, but not all of us have them. Numbers 2 and 3 are internal; you either have a strong sense of self-worth or you don’t, and I’m not sure what can be done about that. A writers group, though, is what helps keep me hanging on–more than one, in my case.

  50. Timothy Fish on June 18, 2012 at 8:28 AM

    I do wonder who came up with the idea that business should be separate from what is personal. It certainly isn’t biblical. You don’t have to read much of the Bible to realize that God wants us to treat people well in business as in all aspects of life.

    • P. J. Casselman on June 18, 2012 at 12:27 PM

      Very true, Timothy. I often wonder what the God of Amos thinks about the tithes of a ruthless business person.

      I hate, I despise your religious festivals; your assemblies are a stench to me. Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them. Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream! (Amos 5:21-24)
      Hmm, it seems He’s got an issue when business is not transformed by faith.

      (By the way, you mentioned a modernization of Hosea. Ever consider a modernization of Amos?)

      • Timothy Fish on June 18, 2012 at 2:15 PM

        I won’t say it isn’t possible, but the Amos has a very different style to it than Hosea. The first three chapters of Hosea take the form of a story about a guy whose wife leaves him for other men and falls into prostitution, but he keeps taking care of her and he buys her back when she falls into slavery. Amos is written more in the form of “here’s what I’m going to do if you don’t repent.” Hosea is much or of a high concept story than Amos is.

  51. Terri DeGezelle on June 18, 2012 at 8:23 AM

    For me I try to remember God is in control. When I do a book signing or a author visit, would I like more people to show up … yes, but then I remember, the people whom God wants to be there are there, and I am well in His hands.

  52. carol brill on June 18, 2012 at 7:29 AM

    When writing times get tough, I remember I already have what is most important in life–my husband’s unwavering support, our marriage and family.
    More spiritual than religious,my “go to” prayer is the serenity prayer, about the wisdom ( & gratitude) to accept and have courage.

    • Rachelle Gardner on June 18, 2012 at 9:01 AM

      Carol, I think the unwavering support of that one important person in our lives makes all the difference! I’m glad your husband is that person for you.

  53. […] Staying steady on the publishing rollercoaster – Rachelle Gardner […]

  54. marion on June 18, 2012 at 4:28 AM

    My times are in your hand.–Psalm 31:15

    This verse keeps me afloat in choppy seas.

    Things happen when the time is just right, not before, not after.

    Our timetables are a useful tool, helping us to organize our life and get things done. But our timetables don’t determine or schedule the outcome. God does.

  55. P. J. Casselman on June 18, 2012 at 3:30 AM

    Wow, this is a great post Rachelle and some inspiring comments. Rather than distract from their fine words, I’ll just share some scriptures that help me along the way.
    For FATIGUE– He says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light..” Matthew 11:28-30
    For FRUSTRATION– He says, “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:58
    For FAILURE, or feelings of failure, we know that He is the God of second chances. (Jonah 3:1, Mark 16:7) He promises us that He will lift us up if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9)
    For FEAR, He says, “Fear not, be not afraid, do not let your hearts be troubled.” There are 366 such remarks made by God in the scriptures, one for every day, including the extra day every leap year. (e.g. Isaiah 41:10—“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Philippians 4:5-7—“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
    The Hebrew word for spirit is “ruach” and the Greek work is “pneuma.” Both words mean “wind.” Eagles don’t flap like ducks, they soar on wind currents. Every time I get spazzed, I stop and remember that I’m an eagle and not a duck.
    I’ll end with Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” In other words, God’s got it covered, so stop trying to be Superman or Superwoman and soar on the Spirit.

    • Jennifer Major on June 18, 2012 at 7:29 AM

      You ballparked it. Again! Well said PJ!

    • Jackie Layton on June 18, 2012 at 7:33 AM

      I didn’t realize there were 366 scriptures dealing with fear.
      How appropriate that God would give us one for every day. He’s amazing!

    • Jeanne on June 18, 2012 at 10:32 AM

      Great verses, PJ. Thanks!

    • Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts on June 18, 2012 at 12:28 PM

      I love your eagle analogy, PJ. Right at the moment, I’m feeling like a duck, so thank you for the inspiration.


  56. Andrea Nell on June 18, 2012 at 3:23 AM

    Faith, family, and friends. Ultimately our lives, careers, successes and failures are all in God’s hands. When He closes a door, He has a reason. But even though I want to always wholeheartedly embrace that, it doesn’t eliminate disappointment. That’s where family and friends – especially writer friends, and sometimes chocolate come in.

  57. M on June 18, 2012 at 3:12 AM

    Speaking as someone who is not religious, I find a lot of steady support in my family and my work. I’ve been through all of the bumps Rachelle lists, whether on the good or the bad end of things, and in the end, it’s my belief in my work that really gives me the motivation to keep at it. If I didn’t believe in the stories I’m writing, then I would have been out a long time ago.

    But I do believe in what I do, and I refuse to give up. Even when the bad hits, I enjoy a challenge.

    • Rachelle Gardner on June 18, 2012 at 8:59 AM

      Thanks for responding… I agree, belief in your work is a powerful motivator! If you don’t have that, you’d find it hard to keep going.

    • Jeanne on June 18, 2012 at 10:25 AM

      Your determination to not give up is encouraging, and a good reminder to those who haven’t experienced both sides of the ups and downs yet. 🙂

    • Beth K. Vogt on June 18, 2012 at 10:49 AM

      Agreed, M.
      We have to believe in what we’re doing — or else why are we doing all this and staying on this roller coaster?

  58. terri patrick on June 18, 2012 at 3:00 AM

    Thanks, I needed this post. Your compassionate words are so much better than a smack upside the head, but the effect is the same and no one had to bruise their hand against my thick skull.

  59. Mira on June 18, 2012 at 2:50 AM

    Another wonderful post! Thank you, Rachelle!

  60. claudine on June 18, 2012 at 2:26 AM

    I needed this desperately tonight. Thanks for the perfect post.

  61. Meghan Carver on June 18, 2012 at 2:26 AM

    Definitely regular time in the Word — especially Psalm 139 that reassures me that I am (and we all are) fearfully and wonderfully made. But also a husband and children who love me no matter whether I ever get published but are willing to do whatever they can to help out in the journey. Thanks, Rachelle, for making me think through this on a Monday. We can all use reminders of our self-worth sometimes!

  62. Krista Phillips on June 18, 2012 at 2:12 AM

    I know rollercoasters well.

    Too well. Both writing wise and in life in general wise.

    I echo the answers of others, God is my seatmate on my coaster, holding me tight through the dips and turns, cheering with me at the exhilaration parts and shielding me with his arms tight around me during the scary stuff.

    I DO think that God uses his creation to help us along in the journey as well… such as good agents and supportive husbands and cheering extended family, as well as giving us moments of quiet when we need to calm ourselves and things to “get our mind” off the craziness.

    • P. J. Casselman on June 18, 2012 at 2:27 AM

      Hooray for the cheering section! I love it when Christians see that we’re meet to encourage one another and all the more as we see the day approaching! (Heb. 10:25)

  63. Gabrielle Meyer on June 18, 2012 at 1:57 AM

    My self worth comes from knowing who God has told me I am through His Word. I am fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of the Creator. I know God has good plans for my life and He’ll work them out according to His purpose. I agree with Beth Vogt, I have to be careful to listen to the correct Voice of Authority in my life and not allow all the other voices to give me a sense of self-worth. It’s not easy, but it’s my aim.

    I stay steady on the rollercoaster by taking things one day at a time and staying grounded in the Word. I’m confident God’s timing is perfect.

    • P. J. Casselman on June 18, 2012 at 2:24 AM

      I love that you’ve connected your sense of worth to being created in the image of God. When I was a teenager, a teacher said that I was valuable because Christ died for me. That was wrong. We’re valuable because we’re made in God’s image and He demonstrated His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Rom. 5:8) You’ve got a great perspective!

  64. Cheryl Barker on June 18, 2012 at 1:36 AM

    My self-worth and steadying influence comes from God, too. I am ever looking to him, the author and perfector of my faith…

  65. Lindsay Harrel on June 18, 2012 at 1:23 AM

    This may be a cliche answer, but it’s the only one I’ve got.

    The only thing in this life that doesn’t change is God. If I put my sense of worth in Him–knowing Him, and belonging to Him–then it will not be shaken, no matter how long it takes me to find an agent or get published.

    As I said in answer to one of your questions last week, I am trying to remember my self-worth is not in what I do or achieve–because that will always fluctuate–but in being a daughter of the King.

    • P. J. Casselman on June 18, 2012 at 2:56 AM

      Anyone who thinks that’s cliche doesn’t know your Father. 🙂

    • Jackie Layton on June 18, 2012 at 7:30 AM


      I agree totally. God is where my worth comes from.
      I love to write and feel God’s leading me to write. Sometimes I’m not sure why I’m on this journey. But I love it, and I hope to one day be published. Until then I’ll keep writing. I’ll continue to pray for others and encourage other writers because I know there are ups and downs.

      • Jeanne on June 18, 2012 at 10:22 AM

        Eyes on others (prayers, encouragements) helps the roller coaster ride ups and downs seem a little less jarring.

    • Peter DeHaan on June 18, 2012 at 6:54 PM

      It’s God who gives me perspective — and the enemy who seeks to take it away.

    • Marney McNall on June 20, 2012 at 10:27 AM

      Well put, Lindsay. Not what we do or achieve, but being a daughter of the Most High God. I find strength in His word and in the blessings He’s given me through my family as well as my friends.

  66. Beth K. Vogt on June 18, 2012 at 12:56 AM

    Let me just say up front: I’m not one of those people who loves, loves, loves roller coasters.
    That said, I am a writer — and I’m on the ride for the duration.
    My sense of self worth was formed by a lot of different sources, but now it is anchored to my faith. I work diligently to make sure I’m listening to the correct voices of authority rather than the voices from my past that want to derail me.
    How do I stay steady on the writing roller coaster?
    1. Utilize resource #1 that you mention — my agent.
    2. Rely on my “safety net” of writing friends who know me and talk me off the ledge when I want to jump.
    3. Rely on my husband — for the same reason.
    4. Go for long walks to work it when I’m battling all the “should ofs” and “could ofs” and “whys” and “why nots.” I talk to myself. I talk to God. And sometimes I just walk in silence.

    • P. J. Casselman on June 18, 2012 at 2:21 AM

      It sounds like you’ve got a good grasp on things, Beth. I get the feeling we’ll be seeing a lot of books from you in the future. Just keep walking, right? 🙂

      • Beth K. Vogt on June 18, 2012 at 10:04 AM

        Just keep walking, just keep walking, walking, walking, walking …
        (Yes, I sound like Dory in the movie “Nemo.”)

        • Jeanne on June 18, 2012 at 10:20 AM

          Yep, I hear Dori. And the wisdom in your words. 🙂

    • Lisa on June 18, 2012 at 11:15 AM

      Great encouragement. Thank you.

    • Deborah Allen on June 21, 2012 at 12:56 AM

      You wrote my philosophy, Beth. I’m completely on the same page with you. Trusting God with the tomorrows and believing he is at work even when the roller coaster is spiraling down. Walking is also my therapy…early mornings when town is quiet and I have the streets to myself, lots of time to think, pray and listen.