Writing is one thing. Becoming published? Well, that’s a whole different deal, and my heart’s desire has never varied—to be published by a traditional publishing house in Christian fiction. It’s frustrated me at times, but the dream has never died. It just bounced back on sweet little cat’s feet and never let go. Finally, I realized if I didn’t at least pursue the dream, I would always regret it.

My grown children knew about my dream. After all, I had talked about it the whole time they were growing up. Once, I even had 150 pages of a manuscript written. But I hated it—not the idea, but the way I wrote it. How sobering to realize that my writing skill didn’t match the fabulous story in my head about sea turtles.

But my son gave me a sea turtle necklace. He said the publishing world was like a big ocean and I was just a tiny little turtle crawling from the beach to the water. “But you’re going to make it,” he said.

His words of encouragement and the beautiful necklace kept me going.

Years passed. I gained better writing skills through practice and the ongoing advice and help from an online critique group. My daughter, who is not a huge fan of contemporary romance,  said the first two chapters of a new story were super fun to read.

Bolstered by her words, I pitched to an agent at the recent ACFW conference. She told me to send a book proposal once revisions were complete. The agent also said to remind her that I was the lady who wore the pretty turtle necklace.

My dreams would have died had I not received encouragement. Find your tribe. Your dreams depend on it.

Guest post by author Mary Pat Johns
Faith-filled Stories of Hope and Redemption

To leave a comment, please click on the words FINDING ENCOURAGEMENT and scroll down.  Thank you!


  1. I’m really impressed with your writing skills as well as with the layout on your blog.
    Is this a paid theme or did you modify it yourself? Anyway keep up the excellent quality writing, it’s rare to
    see a nice blog like this one nowadays.

  2. Without encouragement from a critique group and one of my sisters, I’d have given up on my writing dream. Your post is a reminder to encourage others. Wishing you success.

  3. Beautiful. We all need others to encourage us and our dreams, and to believe in what we’re doing. It helps us push through the discipline of getting better and trying and failing and continuing. Thank you for this!

  4. Hi Mary Pat! Thank you for sharing your writing journey with us. I am glad to hear there are others out there walking a long journey.

    Thank you for the words of encouragement. Praying for lots of writing success!

  5. I love this story! How incredibly sweet of your son. I’m sure you wear that necklace all the time. 🙂 Congratulations on getting an agent’s interest in your story. That’s encouraging too!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *