Women of Faith Talk Back-The gift of telling stories
I believe that we are all blessed with gifts. Some have steady hands for delicate surgery, some have an eye for creating things of beauty, and others, like me, have the gift of putting things into words.
I have always been a writer. From the moment I picked up a pencil, I was creating tales of cats flushing dogs down toilets or some other random calamity. My teachers often entered my work into contests and I would get a certificate or trophy, but that didn’t really matter to me. It was more embarrassing than exciting to have the spot light put on me. To a true writer, writing is like breathing. You have to do it or you’ll die. It’s that simple. What you can get because of it is only a secondary benefit.
When I was a little girl, I wanted to grow up and be just like my mommy. I made the same faces she made, I wanted to work at the phone company, and I wanted desperately to read Stephen King books. She’d read them all, and they were stored in a box in her closet. When I was 5, I learned that if I snuck into that closet and cracked the door open just a sliver then let my eyes adjust, I could see enough to read and no one would know where I was. That was where I spent many months reading ‘The Stand’. I didn’t understand most of it, I struggled through it, but by golly, I finished that book! It wasn’t until one summer morning that I got caught because I didn’t realize it was Saturday and my mom was still in bed.
There were two dreams in my life: 1. to become an astronaut, and 2. to take Stephen King’s place as the queen of horror. I could write a tale that would leave you questioning sounds in the dark. I studied him, his writing, his style, and realized that I saw the world much like he did. In an interview once he said that if most people see a rock in the road, they think, ‘how am I going to get around that rock?’ King sees the same rock and thinks, ‘what’s behind that rock that’s going to get me?’
In my early 20’s I published my first book, ‘No Time to Scream’. It was an eBook before anyone really knew what an eBook was. There were no Kindles or phones with eBook readers, so of course it flopped. My reviews were great, but I made the mistake of giving it away for free to ALL of my friends, family, and ‘fans’, so without a marketing plan worth a darn, it fizzled and died. Then, a man bought up a bunch of publishing companies including the one that published me, ran off with the royalties, and kept the rights to all of the works. If it wasn’t dead before, it surely was now.
Shortly after ‘No Time to Scream’ was published, I had a very large publisher interested in my next novel, and then 2 planes crashed into the twin towers in New York City, 1 into the Pentagon, and 1 into a field on its way its intended destination. The publisher who was interested in my book said that it wasn’t likely they would pick up anyone new due to the crash of the economy.
I didn’t pick up a pencil for ten years after that. It seemed that Stephen King would remain the king of horror after all.
When I started writing again, I was challenged by my creative writing professor to write non-fiction. I hated non-fiction. Not only did I hate it, but half way through a paper I would write in an explosion or unleash a werewolf and that would be the end of non-fiction for me. I continued to muddle through writing, worked on a couple of books, and even recently had a publisher interested in one of them. Again, it didn’t pan out and I was sort of disappointed. I began freelance writing non-fiction for Examiner and Today.com. After gaining a reputation for my work and getting invited to a few events, I really began to love it. Then, companies started sending me products to review, and I realized that maybe being the queen of horror wasn’t what I was supposed to be.
I became a Christian on May 19th, 2008 when I emerged from the baptismal water clean and new, and I started to wonder if I was squandering my gift. When I wrote responses to group emails or my story for the newsletter people made a point to tell me how much my writing moved them.
On a limb, I ended an article about a missing local boy with a prayer that was met with tons of resistance. People-my own readers who read every word I wrote faithfully-left the meanest comments behind as if my article was about them personally rather than a missing child. My church family saw me floundering and braced themselves behind me with love and encouragement, and I decided to add scripture into a few articles. There were still haters out there, but they didn’t bother me nearly as much as the first because I knew that my faith was stronger than the hole in their hearts.
At the same time, my best friend and I were hatching a brain child for a novel that embraced the latest craze of forbidden love. We needed something marketable that would appeal to the masses in order to get a publisher to look at us. One publisher was interested in the story line and requested a sample, but it never went farther than sending the first 100 pages.
Then it dawned on me and the story changed. I prayed on it and asked God what direction I needed to take it, and He made it very clear that as long as He wasn’t in it, every attempt to get a deal would fail.
Since then I have also started to write devotional articles based on biblical principals and life experiences. I may not be the queen of horror, but I feel fulfilled in my soul and I know that my words can touch that place in your heart that whispers, “Yes, He is really here, and you can have His love too.”
So I did it. I jumped off the ledge and started writing devotional articles. The response has been great, and right now I’m just in the baby stages and getting all of my readers to read Instant Mommy as well as Portland Parenting Examiner articles. I’ve also planted the seed of Christianity in my novel, and although I had to take a lot out and add a lot in, I’m happier with it and I feel completely confident that it will touch many lives.
As a result of giving my writing to God, I have also decided that my ministry will be focused on marriage, family, and parenting, and I plan on including the works of my sister-in-law who is the Inspirational Editor for 24/7 Moms, the Gig Harbor Stay at Home Moms Examiner, Soccer Mom in Giggle Town, and has a wonderful ministry for women. Together we can make a difference in the lives of families and women everywhere.
This girl is no longer wondering what’s behind that rock in the road that’s going to get me. I know that God put it there for a reason to teach me something, and it’s my job to embrace it.