Sometimes in life, we discover we stand at a crossroads. We see a future we want, but believe we are unqualified. It’s daunting to leave the known and safe, and venture instead onto a path we’ve never trod.
Satan plants insidious doubts.
I don’t have what it takes.
We either listen to that voice or we don’t. We can turn away, refusing God’s plan and subsequent blessings, taking an alternate—safer—route, or draw a deep breath and take that first step into the unknown. I am at one of those crossroads. I know I have a story to tell. I know I enjoy writing. But how to proceed? I’m learning that as I go.
This is not the first time I’ve been in this position. In 2000, I was emergency-certified as a high school math teacher. I entered my first classroom with no preparation. No teaching degree. No opportunity to student teach under a master’s tutelage. What made me think I could do that?
God laid out a path before me. My role? Follow it. A demanding job, it challenged me. I left in tears more days than not in the first six weeks. But God put me there for a reason, and I trust Him. So I hunkered down, asked questions, read books, attended conferences, and finally, I became a talented teacher.
I had a lot of help. And support. I’m positive I would have failed without people encouraging me, pushing me along.
My current crossroads? I stared down an author road full of unknowns. I didn’t even know what questions to ask. But God laid the path before me. I had a story to tell. So, I started writing my first novel six years ago. When I finally typed the words The End, euphoria filled my soul. Little did I know, that was not the end. Just the opposite.
Enter the world of editing.
Authors are supportive. People who strive to create something perfect, who battle the demons, who ignore the “imposter syndrome”—these people recognize the struggle in others. And they reach out. I stumbled across a hashtag on Twitter—#writingcommunity—and pulled back the curtain on a new world. Pitch parties, critique groups, writing prompts, contests… so many resources awaited a mouse click away.
A year later, I had my novel pared from 145K words to 89K. I rid my story of filter words, excessive dialogue tags, distracting head-hopping. New friends taught me how to bring my readers into my book instead of simply telling it to them. I rediscovered comma splices and dangling participles. Grammar rules from high school English emerged from the murky depths of my memory.
I wouldn’t have done it on my own. Generous with their knowledge, my friends carried me along.
I’m learning more about myself and my walk with God. If nothing happens on the publishing end, this will be the gift I receive… deepening my relationship with Him. One thing is certain—you cannot write Christian fiction if you aren’t in the Word every day. God gives stories to tell, but we won’t hear His voice if we don’t actively listen for it. I can capture almost every scenario I notice in my life—funny situations, annoying people, kind gestures—and tie them to something God wants to teach. It’s a matter of the lens through which I view the world. Look at your life with God’s eyes and you’ll see God’s lessons.
So, I have hunkered down, joined critique groups, read books, attended conferences, asked questions, asked questions, and asked questions. I’ve received a ton of help. And an unprecedented load of support.
Will I be a talented author? I believe so. I hope so. It has taken the better part of a year for me to feel authentic when I tell someone I’m an author. I’ve published only two things. I’ve earned a mere $250 for my work. Shouldn’t I feel like a pretender, a poser, as my high school students used to say?
No. God equips us for the work He brings us. I’m an author because I write. Period. Elk Lake Publishing, Inc. purchased my debut novel, Protected. You will meet it in March, 2022.
And if a new crossroads appears, I won’t hesitate for a second to dive into the unknown, to take that first step.
I know I won’t walk that road alone. Join me. We’ll face the unknown together.