March 07, 2015

Growing into a Writer – by Ramona Heikel

For years as an adult, I had in the back of my mind that, when I had time—when I was in my eighties—I would be a writer.  Then one day when I was in my forties, I thought to myself, “I can hardly wait until I’m old and get to write!  But…I guess it couldn’t hurt to get started right now, could it?”  From that time on, I endeavored to be a skilled writer.  And the more I look back, the more it makes sense.

During my childhood and pre-teen years I wrote several stories.  I have in my scrapbook a science fiction thriller, poems, a cat adventure, and even a four-page newspaper I wrote for my chameleon.  My mom encouraged me to submit my poems to a children’s magazine, and at the age of eleven I received my first rejection slip:  “Stories and poems written by children are not purchased.  Keep reading Child Life and Children’s Playmate…” 

As a teen I wrote in diaries, loved school writing assignments, and wrote pages and pages of letters to friends out of town.  I was placed in the advanced English classes in high school, and wrote a column in my college newspaper.  Yet the only thing I remember wanting to “be” as I was growing up was a secretary or a teacher; I figured writing could only be a hobby.  I wasn’t aware that one could actually study English or Writing in college until I was majoring in math, and a friend announced that she was majoring in journalism.  I was envious!

I realize now how much my parents both influenced me to write.  My dad was very articulate, and always teaching me new vocabulary.  When I was living out of town he wrote me beautiful, long letters.  He took a creative writing course while he was in the Air Force, and I still have some of his well-written assignments.  I also learned that his mother and grandmother both wrote poetry, and my great-grandmother had some of hers published.

My mom took the Famous Writers Course by correspondence.  I remember the brown and white binders sitting on her art-deco desk, and her fat yellow envelopes full of assignments ready to mail.  She had two articles published in magazines and, inspired by God’s leading, she wrote the manuscript of a book about how the ideals of feminism contrast with God’s design for men and women.  I remember her often sitting in her office, looking out the window, deep in thought.  She has become understandably discouraged that many Christian publishers no longer accept unsolicited manuscripts, but would still love to perfect and publish her manuscript.

So, I wouldn’t say that I started by sensing God’s call to write; I just loved to write.  Now, although I have not “arrived”, I believe writing is a talent given to me, and as I’ve looked back at how naturally writing came to me, and all the writing talent in my background, and I do now sense his call to write.

I’m so glad that Mom and Dad implanted in my psyche the ideas that sitting and staring out the window to put words together is a perfectly valid way to spend time, taking writing courses is a good investment of money, and writing a book manuscript is a worthy goal.  I have done all three since I moved my “retirement dream” forward!

Posted by Ramona


Picture credit:  Mary Pickford writing -  


  1. Thank you for this lovely remembrance piece. I can relate in so many ways - writing in journals, numerous pen pals, having a grandmother who liked to write... It just goes to show it is never too early - or too late! Thanks for sharing

  2. Anonymous8:56 pm GMT-7

    Wonderful how your parents encouraged you to write and glad that first rejection slip did not discourage you!

  3. What your parents instilled in you is beautiful--what a blessing and encouragement they have been to you to pursue your dream as a writer. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I think it's wonderful that your family brought you this good literary background. My parents were workers, so sometimes I felt guilty reading. In your house, reading and writing would be considered a more legitimate activity, although Mom faithfully wrote letters to her sisters in Saskatchewan. When my parents retired, they both became avid readers. I especially like your paragraph that begins, "I'm so glad that Mom and Dad implanted in my psyche the idea that sitting and staring out a window. . ." What a beautiful heritage your folks gave you.
    Thanks for sharing.

  5. Thanks, and I'm enjoying reading about many of our bloggers' journeys. Such a great prompt idea--thanks admin ladies!!


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