by Sue A. Fairchild

As freelancers, we almost all experience the Feast or Famine scenario at one time or another. For me, it’s usually around the Christmas/New Year holiday, but this past season, it lasted quite a bit longer than normal and it began to worry me.

I tried all sorts of things to fill the time. Writing. Reaching out to old clients. Ramping up my social media postings. I consulted other freelancers. And I made plans for when things would finally break. But still the famine persisted.

I started to pray about the famine, telling God my fears. I wanted Him to show me how to move forward. I began listening to Christian podcasts that dealt with subjects like God’s rest and His hope for our lives. I began to wonder if this famine period was simply God’s way of giving me rest or trying to show me something new.

I kept praying. I tried to listen to God and sought to make the most of my time, but in His way. What was it He wanted me to do? What did He want me to learn? Time went by and still there came no answer.

Around this time Dori Harrell wrote this post for the PEN tips blog. It encouraged me to start considering new ways to find clients during this famine period. I started by reaching out to Dori for advice. Then I reached out to other editors about what they’d done exactly to keep that work flow flowing.

It’s weird. I’d never considered simply asking other editors their advice and opinions. I guess I thought it was taboo to ask others where they had gotten their jobs. But I had nothing to lose and I had to do something. If I let my fears hold me back and didn’t reach out for help, how would I ever learn?

Then, in the Christian Pen email group, someone posted that a well-known publisher was seeking proofreaders. I could no longer let my fears and perceived inexperience hold me back. Perhaps this was what God was trying to tell me: step out in faith.

I applied.

A few days later, I connected with another publisher through that same email group. I saw her post about working for publishers and I emailed her. I threw caution to the wind and boldly told her I wanted to work with her company. She asked for my resume.

I applied to other places too. It seemed like now that I’d broken out of that insecure mindset, fear no longer held me back. Or was it simply God leading the way now that I had stepped out in faith?

I was hired by two of the publishers and the work came immediately. Then I was offered more work by freelance clients. And my job as a newspaper correspondent started to pick up again. I even got to interview Steven Curtis Chapman! (Check it out!) Suddenly, I had broken free of the famine period and all because I had listened to God’s persistent whisperings in my ear to step out in faith, despite my insecurities.

My time of famine passed. God knew I needed rest and time to listen to His voice—not my own. I needed that time to understand I had been spinning my wheels by doing things my own way, unsure if I was good enough to work for a real-life publisher. I hadn’t trusted that God had a plan. I needed that famine time to break out of my cycle of unbelief.

If you’re in that famine time, let me reassure you: God is there and He has a good work to do within you. First, stop listening to your own inner voice and listen for His voice instead. Then, seek His direction. Finally, be willing to step out in faith with what you hear from Him. What is He trying to tell you during your time of famine?

Sue A. Fairchild is a freelance editor who specializes in full-length novel edits and Christian writing. Her clients include a USA Today Bestselling author, a suspense/thriller series, and a fantasy series. In addition, Sue has been published in Christian devotion magazines, two Chicken Soup for the Soul books, and has self-published two novels currently available on Amazon (“What You Think You Know” and “Summer’s Refrain”). Find out more about her by following her on Twitter and Instagram or signing up for her newsletter.