Shannon here: Debbi Migit shares how her writing journey began. Comment or answer the question at the end of the post for a signed copy of her latest Romantic Suspense, September Shadows and a pdf of Child of Promise. Deadline: April 17th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Debbi:
“It’s called ‘Angels.’” Muting the television, I nonchalantly handed the manuscript to my husband, Phil. “It’s the true account of when Grandpa Campbell thought I was an intruder and he almost shot me.”
Phil gave one longing glance toward the television but gamely reached for the papers. As he read, I busied myself folding clothes from the basket of laundry sitting beside me. I occasionally stole glances at Phil, but his face was impassive, and my nerves began to stretch; this was the first time I’d ever shared my writing with him.
“I like it.” Phil returned the manuscript and hugged me. “Good work.” He reached for the television remote, but I gripped it tighter.
“Um, there’s more.”
He watched me warily.
“I want to send it to a publisher.”
He looked relieved and reached for the remote again. “Sounds good to me. It doesn’t cost anything to do that, right?”
I shook my head and then announced, “I think God is calling me to be a writer.”
Phil looked confused for a moment, and then understanding dawned. “You mean as opposed to being employed?” He won the brief struggle for the remote, and suddenly the crew of the Starship Enterprise filled the television screen. “I thought we agreed you were going to work full-time to help save for the house and the adoption. Are you changing the plan now?” He clipped the words.
“No. I don’t know.” I stood, settling the laundry basket at my waist. “I’m not planning to quit my job anytime soon, of course, but I can’t shake this feeling that my writing is part of the adoption process. Maybe God wants to use the income to help pay for the adoption. Can we pray about what this might mean?”
“No.” Phil’s face was impassive. “I know what happens when we ‘pray about’ something you want.”
I resisted the urge to point out that God is the one who answers prayer, not me.
He continued. “I’ll need some proof. Here’s the deal. For now, you’ll keep your job, and you can write in your spare time. If at the end of six months you’ve made six hundred dollars with your writing, then we can pray about it.” He turned up the television volume, listening as Mr. Spock tried to explain logic to Captain Kirk. The irony didn’t escape me.
Logic. It seemed most of our disagreements centered around that subject lately. I’d often said our marriage announcement should have read, “Pollyanna marries Mr. Spock.” In many ways, Phil and I were polar opposites, with Phil taking what he called the rational approach while I tended to follow my discernment and what I sensed God might be saying. That didn’t mean he couldn’t hear God too, but I knew that on this particular subject, his mind was made up.
Six hundred dollars in six months? So far, I’d received a whopping seven dollars for my writing, and that was in junior high school. I’d read enough writers’ magazines to know it could take years to find a publisher for even the smallest article or story. While I recognized Phil’s approach was logical and reasonable, I was disappointed that when I tried to explain my heart for a ministry, he had immediately focused on the money. Once again, Mr. Spock and Pollyanna were at odds.
Gathering up the pages of my story, I settled at the kitchen table to look over the Writer’s Market Guide I’d brought home from the library. I quickly realized earning six hundred dollars in six months would be a significant undertaking.
An hour later, I’d chosen three publishers to send my story and prepared my manuscript according to their specifications. As I headed to the post office, I glanced at the calendar on the kitchen wall. It was January 21, 1986. I had six months.
“That’s beautiful, Debbi. Is it new?” My friend Judy smoothed the soft fabric of my green skirt.
“Oh, I’ve had it for a few weeks. Phil insisted I use my first writing check just on myself, so I bought it with some of the money.” I smiled as I watched Phil on the stage warming up with the worship team. He’d been almost as excited as I when the first publisher I contacted sent me a check for seventy-five dollars for “Angels”. But he continued to remind me I still had several hundred dollars to earn, and time was running out.
Three more short stories and articles had sold in the past few months, but the payments were small, and I was beginning to wonder if I could meet the challenge. God seemed to be blessing my writing even beyond my expectations. I even sensed Him saying this was just the beginning. I reassured myself that I was satisfied with my success, even if I didn’t make the deadline. But it would be good to have the validation that I had really heard from God.
A few days later, when Phil asked me how much money I’d made so far, I had to confess I was still two hundred dollars short of the goal. Several more stories had gone out to publishers, but I knew it would take a miracle and several large sales to make that much money in the next two weeks.
I spent the morning with my housework and occupied my mind with my next writing project. As I was sitting down to lunch, the kitchen phone rang.
“Is this Debbi Migit?” I didn’t recognize the voice, and the accent had a decidedly New York inflection.
“Yes, may I help you?” I automatically prepared my “we do not purchase from phone solicitors” speech.
“My name is Deirdre Lang from Reader’s Digest. I wanted to speak with you about the story you recently submitted to us. We want to publish it in our magazine in our “Life in These United States” column.”
I clutched the phone tighter and tried to sound professional. “That is wonderful.”
My mother had told me the amusing story, and when I submitted it to Reader’s Digest, I’d insisted I’d split any payment with her. As Ms. Lang continued to discuss the publishing process, I quickly added up the total. Reader’s Digest paid three hundred dollars for those stories, so my half would be one hundred fifty dollars.
I was so close to the goal. Ms. Lang explained I’d receive a check and a copy of the magazine the following week.
Thanking Ms. Lang, I hung up the phone. Fifty dollars. That was the amount I now needed to meet the goal Phil had set for me. I quickly found my writing notebook and began the new project I’d been thinking of that morning.
Two days later, I submitted that story and went to work on the next, but as the days wore on, I began to realize that I would most likely not reach the goal. Phil had recently abandoned his hard line on the subject and even surprised me with a new electric typewriter. He was solidly behind my writing now, but I still heard the challenge ringing in my ears.
And for some reason, I sensed God heard it too. It seemed there was more at stake than if I earned a certain amount of money. I believed God was in the process of proving to Phil and me that He would supply our needs if we remained obedient.
It seemed fitting that the check from Reader’s Digest arrived on the exact day the six-month deadline expired. I tore open the envelope and saw a note attached to the check. It was from Ms. Lang, once again congratulating me on my sale. The last sentence caught my attention.
“I am also pleased to inform you that starting with this issue, our magazine will be paying four hundred dollars for personal stories such as yours.”
I looked down at the check. Four hundred dollars. Even after sharing half with my mother, I’d still met the challenge—to the penny and the day. A deep sense of purpose settled over me, and I realized no matter how many publisher’s rejections I might receive as I pursued my calling, I would always remember this moment. God created me to be a writer – and He always has the last word.
About Debbi: Award-winning author and speaker, Debbi Migit, lives in central Illinois, surrounded by pumpkin patches and corn fields. Her first book, Child of Promise, is the true love story of a family formed through adoption. After ten years of infertility, Debbi and her husband, Phil, were just months from adopting when God said, “Not this way.” Child of Promise is the story of audacious faith resulting in multiple miracles; it encourages readers to remember their own promises and believe again.
She has won multiple awards and contests, writing stories that are filled with faith and hope. She loves to share personal anecdotes about God’s faithfulness, infusing her talks with authenticity and humor.
Debbi and Phil are the adoptive parents of Alex (32), Ethan (21), and Kate (20). The God-ordained spacing of their children offered the unique opportunity to parent a teen and two toddlers-at the same time. This is the season Debbi fondly calls the TNT years!
Debbi’s hobbies include reading, writing, and avoiding arithmetic. Her favorite color is turquoise, and she collects Trixie Belden books and typewriters. If playing Candy Crush was a paying gig, she would be rich.
Debbi’s new romance/suspense series begins with September Shadows, and is set in Montana. After the mysterious death of their parents, three young sisters are determined to stay together and make a new life for themselves. This new life includes faith-testing danger, adventure, and romance. September Shadows is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Books-a-Million. Learn more & connect:
About the book – September Shadows (Justice, Montana Series – Book One):
After the sudden death of their parents, Jess Thomas and her sisters, Sly and Maggie, start creating a new life for themselves. But when Sly is accused of a crime she didn’t commit, the young sisters are threatened with separation through foster care. Jess is determined to prove Sly’s innocence, even at the cost of her own life.
Cole McBride has been Jess’s best friend since they were children. Now his feelings are deepening, just as Jess takes risks to protect her family. Can Cole convince Jess to trust him−and God−to help her?
About the book – Child of Promise:
Child of Promise is the true story of a young woman’s adventure in hearing and trusting God. It’s also the love story of a family formed through adoption. Every chapter carries a miracle that will encourage readers to remember their own promises and believe again.
Reviews: “As riveting as a fiction novel!” “Permeated with…hope” “This book was one of the best books on infertility and adoption that I have read. I love the style of her writing and hope she continues to use her God given gift.”