Thursday, October 6, 2016

On Timing ...

By David Rawlings

I’m an efficiency nut; always have been, always will be. I’ve spent my career in public relations and the media where timing is everything. I’m not impatient; I haven’t got time for that.

One issue I’ve always struggled with in my walk is the issue of God’s timing. The whole “be still and know that I am God” goes against my grain and is probably my biggest faith challenge. I’m a person of action who is driven by deadlines, so I’m uncomfortable when I’m not at least aware of what’s happening two steps further down the process. In my career that’s been a necessity; now I’ve moved into fiction and the hope of publishing and I’ve been learning lessons about timing ever since.

The timing of development

I entered ACFW’s Genesis competition in 2015, hopeful with the novel with which I was happy. I’d spent years in crafting it and put my heart and soul into it.

I didn’t get anywhere. I was devastated. I thought the novel was ready. It wasn’t.

So I took the feedback and tightened the novel completely. I deepened characters, percolated conflict between them and condensed their dialogue. God used that time to boil my story down, simmer it and concentrate it. Twelve months later, I entered Genesis again and was a finalist.

Bear in mind, in 2015 I was devastated. I didn’t want to know anything about working on it any more. According to my timeframe, it was done. But God’s hand was in that rejection process. The ultimate creator knows the creation process – go figure – and without the extra time, the book wouldn’t have the characteristics it now has. Now it’s being considered for publication. Which leads me to the next waiting period …

The timing of publication

In an ideal world, you write, you edit, you type “The End” polish up your acknowledgements page and then you start printing your novel.

But, as we know, that’s not how it happens.

This is where I am at the moment. I’ve pitched the book to two publishers and I’m waiting to hear back from a couple of agents as well.

And I wait. Uncomfortably … impatiently …wondering why there is no movement and fluctuating between hope and rejection because, in my timeframe, the book is ready to go now.

But now, with the experience of the 12 months’ waiting in writing the book, I’m learning (slowly) to trust Him in the whole publishing process as well. It will happen in His timing.

I was chatting about this waiting process with Ian Acheson (author of Angelguard), and one comment stuck with me. “But the Lord's got it in His big capable hands. Waiting helps us lean on Him more, I reckon.”

Amen, brother. Another lesson.

I’ve had a number of conversations with other writers about this process and found that the endless wait and the investment of time and I’m not alone.

Is this an issue for you?

About David Rawlings

Based in Adelaide, South Australia, I am a sports-mad, married father-of-three with my own copywriting/communication business who reads everything within an arm’s reach. I can see a typo from across the room and always – always – make sure my text messages are grammatically correct. Oh, and I love cooking, comedy and surfing. Over 25 years, I’ve made writing my career and paid the bills with words. It’s not a big leap from the six-year-old writing short stories instead of doing homework.


  1. Yes!!! Why can't it all happen in a flash?!! Seriously though, I've come to recognise the value of creating something that will last. Anyone can write a story, take no time to properly edit it, slap a hodgepodge cover on it, and throw it up on Amazon (that last verb choice was deliberate 😂) That's not what I want to do. I think of cathedrals and all the work that goes into them. And I'd rather build a cathedral than a lemonade stand. Looking forward to hearing how your story is progressing! Be patient! It's gonna happen!

  2. Great post, David. I learnt this week that "faith", "trust" and "believe" are the same word in Greek which says a lot. The writer's world (except journalism) is such a different one especially when you're starting out. I've come to rely on Isaiah 40:31 a lot over recent times: "Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; when they run they shall not grow weary; when they walk they shall not faint." Some tremendous reassurance in that verse.

    But when you sign that contract, David, there will be plenty of deadlines, and you'll be back thriving once again.

    BTW, so love Jeb's analogy of the cathedral vs lemonade stand.

  3. Thanks for this inspiring post, David. Yes, writing and editing takes a long time and there's a lot to learn, but we want the end result to be the best we can do, something we're proud to present as an offering to God. And good things take time.

  4. Very encouraging and so excited to see Aussies in the finals. Yes, lots of waiting. Even if you're accepted by a traditional publisher it's usually 15 months (at least) until publication.