- Tabitha Caplinger
Did you know I took creative writing classes in college? Actually I was a creative writing major for the short time that I was at a secular college before Bible school. That may not seem like a big deal except for the fact that at no point prior to college did I ever think about pursuing any kind of career in writing. And at the time I was struggling with a call into full time ministry so when I left Sweet Briar to work on becoming a youth pastor I felt like that time had been wasteful. I didn’t understand the why. But God was maneuvering me all along.
It wasn’t too long down the road I got it stuck in my heart that I should write a book. Not should, I needed to write a book. Something that had never really been much of a notion was suddenly a hunger I felt as much as I felt called to student ministry.
It would take nearly ten years before I actually wrote that first book. Spoiler Alert: it wasn’t a best seller. It was more of an act of obedience. It showed me that I could actually sit down and write a whole book and it make sense.
I self published that book, Pulpits and Pink Lipstick, and maybe sold 100 copies but I was proud of it. I am proud of it because I know people who read it and it spoke something to them and that was enough. So I thought, I can do this writing thing. And I started on a second book. I was going to write a devotional piece based off of a sermon series my husband and I had done in our ministry. I got to chapter three. I liked it. I liked where it was going. I liked the feel of it. But I just couldn’t bring myself to sit down and work on it anymore.
Another story took hold of my mind. It started as a trivial little thing that swam around my brain and when I had time I would muse over it. But it wouldn’t go away. Musings turned into notes which turned into an outline which suddenly became a first chapter and then a second. I don’t even know how long it took me to get those first five chapters on paper. But when I did it felt right. This was what I was supposed to be doing. This wasn’t just a little fish wiggling around my mind for fun, this was a God thought, a God imagination that He was working for His purposes in and through me.
I struggled with it. I had this idea in my mind that as a pastor I had to write non fiction. I had to spend that gift and time on hard bound sermons. Fiction just seemed like it didn’t fit in this plan God had given me for my life.
But then I sat in an arena of women listening to a speaker and it all clicked together and 22 chapters later I knew this was all God orchestrating something in my life, in my calling, my family’s ministry. For the first time I saw how this fit. I saw how those two semesters at college taking mostly writing courses had been a set up. I saw how God could use this thing if I let Him.
And God is good at follow through.
That may seem like a no brainer but when you are sending query after query to agent and publisher and getting passed over you start to fidget in your seat a little to say the least. But God is working while you wait and wiggle and wince at each rejection.
And one day, when it’s the right time and the right place you open an email. You think it’s going to be like all the others and internally cringe only to shake with excitement that finally the waiting is going to turn into action.
I got that email last week. Full disclosure: I actually did a happy dance in my living room. I may have even squealed.
Ladies and gentlemen, (I am still happy dancing) I am getting published!!!! (You can dance with me if you want, I won’t judge.) My little story, The Chronicle of the Three, has been picked up by Booktrope’s christian imprint Vox Dei Publishing and I couldn’t be happier. I can’t wait for you to read it. I can’t wait for you to get to know my characters. I can’t wait to see where God takes it, and me, from here.