Duc in Altum: Working Hard, Catching Nothing, and Going Back Out Anyway


Catholic? Writer? Cast out for a big catch with the Lord in your boat, and come to the Catholic Writers Conference LIVE!3Jun2017 ETA: The Catholic Writers Guild is ALWAYS planning their next conference. Don’t miss your opportunity to draw in a big catch.  Sign up today!



We all know the story, right?  Luke, Chapter 5?  That’s the one where Jesus finds Peter along the shore and tells Pete to “put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.”  I love Peter’s response at verse 5.  It’s basically a complaint followed by, “Suuuuure, I’ll do what you ask.  Watch what doesn’t happen!”

And then Pete gets to watch what what does happen.  So does the crowd.

I’ve been there.  I had a novel out, but navigating through the preschool years and then into the school years with a set of twins and their (relatively minor but still consuming) special needs, and then a few health issues of my own, and then financial issues… well, let’s put it this way.  The novel wasn’t doing well.  Hardly any of my short pieces were finding homes at magazines.  Writing sure wasn’t bringing in the extra money our family needed to survive.  I had to take a series of desk jobs.  I’ll never forget the day I told the twins, then three, that Mommy was going to work at a desk at a local fitness center.

“But Mommy,” the younger one said, “I thought you were a writer!”

I don’t remember my response, but I do remember being glad that I was driving at the time, because they weren’t able to see me cry.

Fast forward three years later.  Second Shift of Kid came along, and just in time, God provided financially (foremost, He helped us pay off the minivan, which was a HUGE relief).  I didn’t need to work outside the home anymore, which was good, because with an infant again and two starting kindergarten, I really couldn’t.  I still had the itch to write but was doing precious little to scratch it:  a NaNoWriMo here, a press release for a sister in St. Dominic there.  But I was in the car a lot, toting my kids back and forth, so to make the most of that time I listened to a lot of Catholic radio.

This is where Jesus found me, along the shore, cleaning my net and calling it a day, thinking about dropping this whole fishing thing and picking up something normal, like quilting or scrapbooking, instead.  (Now picture St. Peter at a Creative Memories party.  Hilarious, right?)

That summer, I heard advertised the Catholic Marketing Network Trade Show, which was being held less than an hour from my house.  I figured if my husband could take one day off to watch the kids so I could go, then that would be God’s way of saying He had something for me there.  He could, and so I guessed He did, so I went to a training day for booksellers, not because I’m a bookseller but just to find out what the booksellers knew.

They knew that there was a Catholic Writers Guild.

Less than two months later, we scrambled to make it possible for me to attend the Catholic Writers Retreat in Lansing, MI.  One stroke of the oar led to another, and to make a long story short, I met my publisher through CWG, which I would not have done had I not networked at the October 2012 retreat, which I would not have done had I not gone to the CMN show, which I would not have done had I not simply listened to Catholic radio.

This year, unless something amazing happens very quickly, I am unable to attend the retreat. This makes me very sad.  However, maybe it’s so you, dear reader, can go.  Do you still have that itch that won’t go away?  This retreat may be just the balm for that itch.
Are you by the shore, ready to hang up your net?   Listen.  Quietly now.  Do you hear the voice, calling out of the crowd, asking you–yes, you–to put out into the deep?


  1. First of all, thank you for the mental image of St. Peter at a scrapbooking party.
    Second–the retreat is a wish for me, but there’s absolutely no way to make it happen. I was blessed this summer to have the opportunity for a “retreat” in the form of the CWG meeting! (And guess what–Hubs says we’re going to try really hard to work it out so I can go next year!)

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