I have been a story teller most of my life. I'm still not sure if I was born with this inside me, or if it came from the hours I got lost in books, but I am sure of this. Once the stories started and the words began to flow, I couldn't stop them.
I came home from my first critique workshop in tears and realized then that I had two choices. Either suck it up, get tough, and apply what I was learning, or, stop writing. So I stopped writing. But the characters were already alive to me and the story continued in my head and in my dreams whether I wanted it to or not, so I pushed on.
That was when I decided that if I was going to do it, I wanted to do it right. So, for the next few years, I used all my vacation time going to writing conferences, workshops, and seminars. I immersed myself into the world of writers. I listened for hours as best-selling authors and editors talked about narration, point of view, conflict, drama, passive language, dialog and finding your own voice. I came home energized and excited. I found a local writers group and we met once a week. Five years into it, I had finished my novel.
Encouraged to send it out, and then discouraged by the numerous rejections, my creativity was squelched. When the words stopped flowing, I took another hiatus. But this time, I prayed about this passion I had.
I wasn't sure this was something I could give up, but I also knew that I couldn't continue it if it wasn't God's will for my life. If God wasn't in it, I knew it wouldn't be worth the pursuit, so I waited.
When the inspiration for a new book finally came, there were days that I couldn't get the words out fast enough. This new novel had the, "psychological thriller," aspect that I loved to write, but it was also full of the character of God. It was a story I could be proud of, and I believed that in the end, it would bring God glory. I began to research the Christian fiction market and found that it was bigger than I thought and I found a place I thought my novel would fit.
When the book was almost finished, I took the first two chapters to a workshop in San Diego and came home really encouraged. I felt like I was almost there. I then went to my first Christian writers conference with some women from my church and again, felt like I was on the right track. I was almost ready.
The largest Christian writers conference in the nation was just a few months away in LA, so I decided to set my sights on that. I lined up a job to pay for it, then got on the website. There was a mentoring clinic for advanced fiction being held right before the conference itself, so I applied. I had to submit some chapters from my book, and I wasn't even sure I'd get in, but I knew I wanted to participate in it if I could, and then, I waited.
Over the next few days I sent out an e-mail to my closest friends and family and asked them to pray about it for me. I knew that I wanted to go, and felt like I was ready, but as excited as I was at the prospect, I also knew that it would be a waste of my time and my money if it wasn't God's timing. I asked everyone to let me know if they got a strong feeling about it one way or another.
Within ten minutes of sending out the e-mail, one of friends replied saying that she didn't think it was the right thing for me now, and that I shouldn't go. What?...this was not the response I expected...and it was so fast...had she really had enough time to know that?
I waited a few more weeks before I confronted God with what I knew in my heart he was saying to me. After no one else responded to my e-mail, I could no longer deny what I knew. God was asking me to give up writing fiction. So for the next 3 days I wrestled with Him about it. I climbed into the ring full of tears and questions. I wanted to fight it out, so he let me. He was gentle, but He won the match. He always does. But in the end, I had peace.
So now what, you may ask?
Until God opens another door...I blog...