I never thought of writing as a career choice. I'm kind of sad about that. Sad because, even though I've always enjoyed writing and have lugged around the idea of penning a book for a very long time, I never interpreted that desire as possibly having the potential to be my life's work--my life's calling. And now that I have published a book and am hanging out with other authors who confidently identify themselves as such, I realize how much this writing thing means to me. I realize that my kindred spirits are wordsmiths and storytellers and grammar gals. I just want to sit around the writing table and talk shop.
Oh, how I wish I had invested more in learning and perfecting the craft when I was younger.
Sometimes it is futile to ask why, and sometimes it is helpful. Even though I cannot go back and change the course I followed, I still have a course ahead of me, and it is possible to encourage someone else to choose wisely--to heed the call--whether it be to write or to pursue another desire of the heart.
I honestly believe that God places a burning passion to do something--to be something--in all of us. Yes, I've known people who seem to be happy just existing, but that does not mean that they are happy or that they, somewhere along the way, did not abandon and accept for lost their hopes and dreams.
I got to thinking about what kept me from starting my writing "career" sooner, and I kind of think a lot of folks can relate to my roadblocks. And maybe a few of you would be interested in slaying a few of those dragons with me. By the way, they could all fall under the heading of FEAR.
EXPECTATIONS - If it won't impact many or yield a certain return, then we might as well not waste our time.
For years, I was told by many, many people that I should write a book because I could make a fortune. Well, that was the biggest deterrent to my writing career for sure. I was so afraid of not making a fortune--because that is what I came to believe defined success--and disappointing my friends and family that I never wrote the first word. How silly is that in light of God's definition of success.
When I finally answered the call to write that book with no expectations, leaving the results to God, I felt such a sense of relief. And even today, I continue to bask in the reality that I actually obeyed God. Of course, I'd love to sell a million books, but only if it is God's will for me to do so.
"Christian authors need to be obedient to the call, not driven by the expectations of other of the desire to be known."
COMPARISON - Someone else has already done it or has done it better than I could do it.
It most certainly has been done before or said before and maybe even better than I could do it or say it. There really is nothing new under the sun. That reminds me of a Bible verse:
Agree with your adversary quickly . . . (Matt. 5:25)
I have found it best to not argue with the enemy of my soul when I don't have to. I just acknowledge that he may have a point and decide that it is not going to stop me from being obedient. I try to let truth cloaked in negativity fuel my determination instead of allowing it to discourage or paralyze me.
Honestly, if people had stopped writing because they would never be as eloquent as Shakespeare or as profound as C. S. Lewis, we would never have books like The Cat in the Hat and Anne of Green Gables. Right? We are called at a certain time in history and at a certain place with a message for a specific audience.
Our circle of influence will never ever mimic another's perfectly. We must concentrate on our people, our tribe, no matter the size, and not worry about who or how God will provide for the other gazillion tribes out there.
As I've said before, I had no idea when I started where my writing would take me. I still don't. I just know that I am going to continue to write and not be hindered by the success of others. I will choose to be encouraged by the success of others.
"Another's success is not your failure."
ABILITY - I am terrible at grammar and can't spell worth a lick.
Well, I have some good news for you. It is possible to be called to be a writer and not be called to be a proofreader or editor. That may come as a shock to you. Some of the best writers I know start their sentences with the word ME. Please, don't ever do that, okay?
And every professional writer I know has hired people to fix stuff like that. The challenge is to learn to write freely without the constraints of perfectionism. I give you permission to do that! Hey, I give myself permission to do that! If you move on into publishing, you can deal with proofing and editing then.
My specific passion is to encourage people to write from a place of memories in order to preserve their family stories. I think it is a great starting point, even for the aspiring novelist. There is so much to learn about ourselves as writers, the process, and the discipline of writing, but we won't learn any of it if we never even start.
I have created a four-week course for those that have been called to write.