I’ve always been a reader. Family lore says that I learned to read before I was three years old and I’ve had a book in my hand ever since. I consider the Kindle the greatest invention ever – way better than the wheel, because the only reason you really need a car is to drive to the store to buy more books. To me, being a writer has been on a pedestal that I imagine being a Priest would be to a devout Catholic family at the turn of the century. Not just a job, not just a calling, but a sacred mission. Being a writer is a million times better than being a lottery winner, or President, or whatever other people think would be the best job in the world. And oddly enough, it wasn’t something I really thought I could be until after I became a Mommy, which is also the best job in the world. I guess they are similar vocations when you think about it, though, so maybe that makes sense. I don’t think I’m alone in this. There’s a pretty high percentage of people who, when they hear that I’ve written several novels, confide that they too want to write a book. Not nearly as high a percentage actually are writing one, but that’s a different topic.
Initially, my problem was that I was able to write well, and mastered grammar pretty easily but was never able to think of a story. Part of the issue was that I did read so very, very much, that I felt like all the stories had already been told. The other part is that I have literary heroes whom I want to emulate, but they fall in radically different genres. How can one be Dean Koontz, Stephen King, Randy Alcorn AND C.S. Lewis? If you know these authors, you will see the problem! Can one be honoring to one’s faith and value system and still tell a rip-roaring good story?
After I got some life experience under my belt, it changed. More often now, I feel like I have these amazing stories to tell, but not the skill to tell them. In this, I can relate to my three-year-old, whose mental acuity far outstrips her vocabulary (and especially her pronunciation. It took us weeks to figure out a ‘menno’ was a tomato). I’ve written a lot about faith and fear, and finding one’s place in life. I guess what it comes down to is, do I want this enough to keep doing it even if it never pays the bills? The coach in me wants to reframe the question…how else can I pay the bills using my writing skills even if I don’t publish any of my novels? Now this is interesting. Would I still want to write novels if it was just a hobby? Actually, yes. I enjoy the challenge, and I have some stories that I think will be great when they’re finished. So I will keep trudging this happy road, having as much fun along the way as I can. Oh, and I won’t give up on getting my books published, either.