The date was May 31st, 2013. I had just graduated from high school. Kingdom Pen had opened up a new associate editor position, and after following the magazine for about six months, I wanted to apply. I had only tried to get published once before with Kingdom Pen as part of a short story contest (which I didn’t place in), but I had built experience in blogging and thought I had a shot at the position.

I clearly remember the night I submitted that application. At that time, KP was just a small PDF e-magazine with about 500 readers. But as I submitted my application, I distinctly remember feeling that this position had the potential to change my writing life if I got it, even if I had no idea how or what that would look like.

Four years and nine months later, I can certainly say my experience at Kingdom Pen dramatically changed the course of my writing life.

My Time at Kingdom Pen

I’m not sure where to begin. For the first three and a half years, I worked as associate editor and then editor where I reviewed submissions and wrote content for the site, and I learned a ton. Then, these past eighteen months as editor-in-chief, I added marketing, web development, team management, product creation, and several other skills to my repertoire, and I’ve grown even more.

Simply put, I’m not the same writer I was five years ago. And a lot of my growth as a writer has been thanks to my time at Kingdom Pen. I’ve formed extremely valuable friendships, made a number of connections in the publishing industry, and deeply treasured the time I’ve been able to serve you here in my role as editor-in-chief.

And so it’s with a heavy heart that I announce my departure.

It’s hard for me to put into words how meaningful my time has been thanks to all of you. Whether it’s engaging with you on the forum and seeing your writing blossom, working with several of you on your novels in the Theme Mastery course and coaching program, or snarking back and forth with you on the KP cinema videos, Kingdom Pen has made up a large portion of my life these past two years. And you all made it worth it.

I will look back with fond memories on my eighteen months as editor-in-chief. And I will miss being able to equip you as writers in the same ways I did here.

KP’s Next Steps

What’s Kingdom Pen going to look like moving forward? Sierra Ret, who joined our writing team a year and a half ago and was our previous writing team captain, will be taking over the editor-in-chief position. The Kingdom Pen team is currently re-arranging duties, so she will only be in charge of reviewing submissions and not the various other tasks I did, but let me be the first to tell you how fantastic I believe she’ll be in that role.

Sierra blew me away with the first article she submitted to Kingdom Pen—which is still one of my favorite articles on the site—and has continued to impress me ever since. She has a great grip on what strong writing looks like, is able to clearly communicate how to grow writing skills, and will be an amazing author whenever she gets her first book published.

I am looking forward to seeing the articles she reviews and continues to produce at Kingdom Pen.

My Next Steps

As for myself? My departure from Kingdom Pen is opening up time to explore new initiatives. I am currently working with several KP staff members to launch a new site called Story Embers that will help Christian writers and artists of all ages to take the base premise (ember) of a story and fan it into flame. The site will open on April 3rd, and you can sign up for the wait list to be the first to know about its release.

I have also been given the opportunity to help Brett Harris with the work he does with Jaquelle Crowe & the rest of the team at The Young Writer. I loved partnering with his team while I was working for KP, and am excited to join their team. They have big plans for what they want to accomplish in 2018, and I look forward to working with them as they continue to grow.

Finally, I’m working on a separate brand to host my self-paced courses in the future and am also in the book pitching stage for my fantasy novel Empyrean Vengeance. For those of you interested in following either of these pursuits, the best way to do so is to sign up for my mailing list to get updates. I promise you won’t receive any spam—only my signature dose of sarcasm and self-deprecation. You know. The important things in life.

I’ll also continue to hang around the KP forum so you won’t be able to get rid of me that easily.

Accepting Change

I’m not going to lie. Change is tough. It’s not easy to move on from a place you’ve poured yourself into. It’s not easy to begin building new projects. It’s not easy to lessen your role in a community. It’s not easy to say goodbye to fellow staffers you’ve deeply enjoyed collaborating with. It’s not easy to embrace change.

And yet change is also an inevitable fact of life we need to either accept or flee from.

All of us are in different places in our journeys as writers. Some of us have a set routine we’re pursuing that we know will bring us to our final destination. Others have to change routines in order to pursue that final destination. But wherever we find ourselves, we all have the same goal.

We all strive to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

That’s the final destination.

And wherever our lives are going in the short term, whether planned or unplanned, our obligation is to trust our Father’s providence to bring us to that final resting place.

Currently I have to trust in God during a process of change that’s both frightening and exciting. Someday you’ll find yourself in the same place in your writing life. Perhaps you’re there now. Whenever you find yourself in this position, let us all fix our eyes on Christ, rely on Him, and know He will bring us where we need to go with our writing and calling.

I have no doubt that there will be several great Christian authors springing up from the Kingdom Pen community. My prayer while serving here has been that God would use me to assist you in that pursuit. Now, it’s time for a new group of writers to step up and do the same at Kingdom Pen.

I’ll miss all of you. Keep in touch. Don’t be shy. I look forward to seeing where God takes all of us.

Soli deo Gloria,

Josiah DeGraaf
Editor-in-Chief Emeritus