I’m joining in with the online discussion group that Kate Motaung is hosting on her blog Heading Home, based on the book Being a Writer: 12 Simple Habits for a Writing Life that Lasts, by Ann Krocker & Charity Singleton Craig. The first chapter’s topic is Identify.
My writing began during an English class I had in college, where for the first fifteen minutes of class the instructor had us write – on whatever came to mind. His idea was that we learn to write by writing. Then when I became a believer in Christ a little while after this, I started keeping journals. This was habit forming – I now have many boxes of journals I have filled with reflections on my walk with God. Writing became a part of my daily life, yet writing professionally hadn’t even entered my mind. I never would have called myself a writer. Then about fifteen years ago, people started telling me I should write a book about my experiences as the mother of a special needs son. The idea began to take root, but the idea of writing a book was over-whelming. So I decided to start with writing an article and submitting it to a national magazine for the parents of special needs children. I had a friend who was a professional editor, and she helped me cut down my article to a length most magazines want, and I submitted it to Exceptional Parent Magazine. To my surprise, they decided to publish it.
This was a huge encouragement, but my real desire was to write for Christian publications. So I wrote several articles, had them edited and then submitted them (one at a time) for publication. Before long, I received my first rejection letter, actually a very kind one that said they had recently published an article on the same subject as my article and wouldn’t be able to use it. They encouraged me to continue writing and submitting other articles, and I did. But each new article brought another rejection letter, until fear of rejection caused me to give up writing for publication.
For the next several years, my hours were filled with care giving for my special son and my mother-in-law who suffered with Alzheimer’s, and I simply didn’t have time to write. Last year, Mom received her heavenly reward and suddenly I had time once again to write. But it was still a stretch to call myself a writer. I started studying books about writing, and even began a blog, but writing was simply a side bar on my busy life.
A few months ago, I sensed God asking me when I was going to get serious about writing. I actually set up a schedule that allowed me some time three days a week to work on writing, and I started using writing prompts from Tuesday at Ten and writing a blog post weekly. My dream is bigger than a blog, but this is a step in the right direction. Writing is only one part of my life – first and foremost, I am a Christian – but writing is now a part of my weekly life.
This brings a story from the Bible to mind. As Joshua was going through the wilderness and preparing to cross the Jordan, the river looked like a huge obstacle. But Joshua had already learned the importance of listening for God’s directions and obeying them. So this was just another time to listen and obey. And when he did, the first priest put his foot in the Jordan river and the waters parted. This was the first step for Israel as they moved forward to take their Promised Land. Writing to glorify God is my dream, my promised land, and I have now put my toes back in the river and am waiting for the waters to part, as they did for Joshua.
While I’ve used “readywriter” as an identifying name for me online for many years, I’ve never really come to the place of calling myself a writer. As my husband says, it’s about time, and I agree with him. I AM A WRITER.