I wrote my first book in second grade. The story was a western, and every chapter ended with the hero riding off in the west. Are you surprised? The story filled a Big Chief writing pad, and all my little friends assured me it would be a success. I also wrote scads of poetry that I hid. Actually the older I became, the more I hid my stories and poetry.
Many years later, I still struggled with wanting to write a book, but I didn’t have the self-confidence (guts) to simply begin. I’d sensed a calling for years, and even realized that God wanted me to write fiction. The urging from God was strong, but I feared every aspect of the writing process. I did nothing except dream about writing and conjure up stories in my head and make the infamous claim of “someday I’m going to write a book.” How sad it is to hold onto a dream, know it is from God, and yet have too many fears and doubts to take a leap of faith.
One day, my husband said, “Stop telling me that someday you’re going to write a book. Just do it! Quit your job and see what you can do. I give you one year.” I’ve never been one who could turn my back on a challenge. My personality defies anyone who tells me I can’t do something. So I took him up on his dare and began gathering the tools needed to learn the art of writing. T his was my new full-time job. I began reading the books about the craft, underlining those things that I wanted to emulate and remember. I read novels by authors I admired and respected in the genre in which I wanted to write. I joined writing groups and participated in discussions and critiques, and I attended writing conferences. I learned about computers, and I wrote every day—whether I felt like it or not. I prayed for guidance, wisdom, and to overcome my fears. Note the number of “I’s” in this list. That’s because I had to be the one to do the work with an understanding that God would work through me. I had to be the one willing to pay the price, and I would be the one who, through the help of God, would reach publication. Do you understand that determination is a required characteristic?