"Writers are not just people who sit down and write. They hazard themselves. Every time you compose a book your composition of yourself is at stake."
"What we are is God's gift to us. What we become is our gift to God."
"This writing that you do, that so thrills you, that so rocks and exhilarates you, as if you were dancing next to the band, is barely audible to anyone else."
~Annie Dillard, THE WRITING LIFE
A student was sent to talk to my dad a while back. She had said she wanted to be a writer, so the high school counselor told her to talk to Pop. After all, since I had written a book surely he could tell her all she needed to know about how I had done it.
She asked him how I became a writer, in answer to which I'm pretty sure he laughed. He told her that I had been writing and telling stories since I was little (I can still remember taking from the time I came home until dinner was finished one night just to try to tell my family all about the amazing book my 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Gray, had just finished reading to us). He told her that I write because I can't not write, and that although I had written a book I definitely wasn't living on what I made from it.
I don't know how she reacted to that information. She probably wasn't looking to hear that--it would have been much more comforting to an aspiring writer if she had heard that I was now supporting myself with my writing. That's the dream, isn't it? To be able to just jump right into doing what you love without any bumps in the road before you get there.
I hope, whatever she thought, that she chases after her dream.
Because, really, that's all I'm doing.
It took me a long time to get up the nerve to do it, and even now that I'm putting books out there it still terrifies me to think about other people--you--reading what I write.
My words are unsure at times, and almost never exactly what I want to say.
I see a picture unfold in my head, but I can't get the description just right.
When asked about my writing, I freeze up--completely.
When I first started writing the story I just published, I was scared out of my mind. It was fiction, a fantasy, and a part of me thought I shouldn't be writing something like that. I should stick to matters of faith, use my writing to glorify God and to help others see Him.
I kept my story a secret from everyone besides my husband, and though he encouraged me to keep writing I was still scared. When I got stuck with that first book, for a while I figured that was a sign that I shouldn't write such a meaningless story. I put my writing away, content to focus on "more important" things.
Then this Healer named Syndria showed up in my mind, and I started writing her story. I still didn't tell other people--writing was just for me, something to get out of my system. But something happened then.
I wondered if maybe, just maybe, somebody else might like reading the story I was working on.
I ventured out into the blogging world with it, and to my surprise somebody did like it. She read every post and responded enthusiastically that she couldn't wait to buy and read the whole thing.
I started thinking that it might be possible that I could write, that I could tell a story and somebody else would get lost in it.
I still struggled, though. I still thought writing fantasy was something for other people to do, not me.
It took me a long time to come to the realization that God made me--every part of me--and He was the One who gave me the desire to write. No, my story wasn't blatantly Christian. It had magic and wizards and kings and battles.
And it was about the ultimate struggle, good versus evil. It was about people trying to come to terms with themselves, trying to figure out who they were in the grand scheme of things, trying to fight evil in any way possible.
So, I write.
I blog here about faith and belief and write blatantly about God, because I know that is the most important use for my writing.
But I also write stories. I get lost in worlds of heroes and magic and hope that through my stories I can let other people get lost, too.
Because the strange thing is, sometimes when you get lost you find your way.
My newest story, HINDSIGHT, is available for free today through Saturday, June 7th. I would love for you to have a copy and to hear what you think! You can also check out all of my books on the "my books" page here on the blog.