Leanna Ellis

I’m like a teenager fanning my face with my fingertips. I just met one of the writers I admire–Leanna Ellis. She was the guest speaker at our ACFW East Texas Chapter meeting this morning. And her novel, Elvis Takes a Backseat, was the subject of my first book review for this blog. I’m too old to be swooning over a celebrity, so I kept my cool. But I’m still young enough to be an autograph hound. Yep, I bought Lookin’ Back, Texas, just so she could sign it for me. Okay, I didn’t buy it entirely for her signature. I know for a fact I’ll enjoy it. Three months before Leanna Wilson married and became Leanna Ellis in what she calls her “Cinderella year,” she sold her first book. She continued to write under the Wilson name for Silhouette and Harlequin (these books are still listed on Amazon.com). But when she wanted to get out of the Romance genre, out of the secular market, she trekked through a publication desert. She suffered the dry sands for so long, she wondered if God wanted her to continue writing at all. And from what she learned during that period, she developed her words of wisdom for us. I wish I could recall the entire speech Leanna gave–I wish I’d thought to take notes! But her advice stuck in my mind, and I mulled it over on the drive home. I can’t quote her (because I didn’t have the sense to take notes), but here’s the gist of how to handle what I’ve dubbed “Writer’s Doubt.” Ask God if you should even be writing. Is it what He wants for you? Or does He have other plans? Assuming the answer is “Yes, of course He wants you to write,” put Him in the driver’s seat (or, at the keyboard). Remember that “Many are called, but few are chosen.” She used David as her example for Number Three. Before David confronted Goliath he was a shepherd in the rocky hills near Bethlehem. He was responsible for protecting the sheep against coyotes, wolves, cougars, and bears–any threat to his flock. He gained experience with his slingshot simply by doing his job. By the time God chose David to reign over Israel, by the time Samuel called him from his sheep to be annointed, by the time he actually faced Goliath, he was a pro at killing the enemy. Years of work as a shepherd had prepared him. So, the point is this: If the answer to Number One above is “Yes,” and you practice Number Two–staying in the Word, praying before you write, dedicating your work to Him, giving Him the glory–then you have to go through the prep work, whatever it is, however long it takes. As much as you’d like to see your first book in print right this minute, God does things in His time. If you get frustrated and quit, forsaking your calling, then how will you ever know if you would’ve been chosen? I’m so glad Leanna didn’t quit–her third Christian novel, Ruby’s Slippers, is due out in April 2009. Lucky me, it can be ordered in advance at Amazon.com.

About Linda W. Yezak

Author/Freelance Editor/Speaker (writing and editing topics).
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