I once said that If I were to write my literary memoir, I would title it, Writer Interrupted, because much of my writing life has wound through my experiences sporadically like a meandering brook, now appearing, now hidden under mossy grass.
My writing success began early when I entered a contest in a Christian youth magazine—and won! Interestingly, this event didn’t birth a dream to be a writer. That came later.
After graduating from university, I was invited to teach in a mission school in Colombia, South America. This was my first overseas experience, and I had so many interesting life experiences to journal and write to my family and friends.
During this time, the first trickles of my writing dream began to appear. As I read books by Catherine Marshall to nourish my faith, I also absorbed her own story of becoming a writer after her husband passed. I was inspired to write faith stories just as she had done.
However, when I came home from Colombia, I became engrossed in a new job as Teacher Librarian, and my writing stopped.
Several years later, I discovered the devotional booklet, The Upper Room, and began submitting devotionals. Each of my earliest attempts was accepted. My first entry was even anthologized and I was invited to write a seven-part series for their Upper Room Disciplines. In addition, after I queried The Quiet Hour, (David C Cook’s devotional companion to their Sunday School lessons), the editor phoned me—yes, phoned me—early one morning inviting me to write a series of devotionals. The genre of devotional writing seemed natural to me.
Shortly afterwards I
bought my first house, and my writing again flagged
. Only occasionally
did I write and submit an article. But over the years I was part of a local writers’
group that published our church newspaper, and I wrote an occasional article
for our teachers’ professional journal.
Fast forward to the 1990s when I began teaching ESL. The cultural theme was a perfect fit for me. I had so many immigrant/refugee experiences to relate and so many cultural anecdotes my students told me. My writing momentum began again as I journalled and wrote initial drafts of articles.
It was here I began developing my craft and vision, studying writing, taking writing courses and gradually planning different projects. Some ideas were workable, while others needed to be left in the back reaches of a closet.
Several years ago I came to a crisis point, and prayed, “Is developing my writing part of Your plan for me, or is it just my idea?” Gradually God showed me that, Yes, His open doors of opportunity meant that He was guiding my writing. Then He gave me a special verse: Haggai 2:19: “Is there still seed in the barn? From this day I will bless you.”
Sometime after I joined InScribe, I was invited to be lead writer for this blog; I also began developing monthly themes. Doing so has stretched my faith and writing, from my first tentative posts, to a variety of writing strategies. Comments from other bloggers affirmed and encouraged me.
As I review my writing life, a number of themes emerged which I hadn’t noticed before. He gave me early success to begin my pathway. He provided major turning points, from the birth of a dream, to encouragement to grow in developing my gifts. Stopping when I had other demands in my life showed me that He was building my life with a breadth of experience and faith that I can bring to my writing.
Which brings me to today. I recognize how much the dreams He’s given us and our life stories are a vital part of the Lord's gospel narrative for the world. Sharing what the Lord has given me may be the key that unlocks the door to someone's needs.
Though I haven't finished much of what I've dreamed of writing, the Lord often reminds me to keep faithful in creation and at the right time, He will open the way to greater publication. “Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will do it (1 Thess 5:24).