*This was originally posted in September of 2009*
Maybe God Doesn't Want Me to be a Writer
I have a passion for writing. A deep, sincere calling. I always have. I have written many stories the others will never read, simply for my enjoyment. In the past year, since I have truly started to consider the option of becoming a published author, I have prayed...often. I am believer in Christ and a believer in prayer. I am also a believer that sometimes, God likes to toy with us.
At the end of the last school year, I was finishing up what I consider to be my best work to date. The characters and plot ricocheted around my head like a song you can't stop thinking about. I HAD to get it on paper... or at least on the computer screen.
During the spring, I am blessed with some free time at work. I was using every minute of it ( shh~ don't tell!) to get this story finished. The problem? Every time I would get "in the zone" so to speak. Some thing would happen to remind me I was a teacher.
At first I thought it was coincidence. I start writing and my classroom phone rings to inform me a parent is there to pick a recommendation for a former student. This particular parent, whom I love dearly, took the time to tell me what a talent educator she felt I was and what a positive impact I had on her son's life. That is a great feeling.
Then it happened again, I started writing and a former student, home from college for a weekend visit popped in. And it happened again! Another student from TWO YEARS before stopped in to say hello , let me know he had joined the military and would be leaving for Iraq soon.
I love these people. I truly, truly do love them. They have impacted my life every bit as much as I impacted theirs. I began to question if God was trying to show me that education is where I belong... where I should stay.
I wrote often this summer. But not as much as I could have... After all, I do still have two children who need attention and taxiing to various activities. I started a new manuscript ( I am trying to get in the habit of calling them that... Story seems too trivial). Parts of it are really good, but parts of it still need much revision and I am no where near the end yet. As of yesterday, it had not been backed up anywhere. The only copy was on my laptop.
You think I would have learned my lesson when I lost the first 25 pages of a new manuscript during a hard drive crash. But I didn't. The 45 pages of my latest were here on this computer. Completely vulnerable. A chance I was willing to take.... until my youngest spilled an entire 32 ounce cup of water on to the computer.
At first, everything seemed fine. I dried it all. The computer booted up and all was well. Until I started viewing some pictures.Then, after a quiet buzzing noise, the screen went blank and the computer would not reboot.
I spent the next two hours cleaning the house. Moving from room to room, putting away clutter, toys and laundry... praying I had not once again lost everything on my laptop. Allowing the doubt to creep in... Maybe God really does not want me to be a writer.
I wrestled with this thought the whole time. I even had a flashback to story I wrote when I was in the sixth grade. I was proud of this story. So proud, I took it every where with me for the week after I wrote it. I am not sure why, but I know it must have made since to my 11 year old self. I was riding in the back of my mom's Beretta, my dad was driving. For some reason, I had put the story in the back window. He rolled down the passenger window and the wind grabbed it.
It was gone. I still remember screaming and looking out the back window as the papers scattered over the highway. Then I cried.
That was before computers. The story was handwritten on spiral notebook paper. There was no back up. I never rewrote that story. I can barely remember the plot now. But I remember the devastation I felt. I got a fresh taste of it yesterday while staring at a blank computer screen.
Today my computer is fine. My latest manuscript is still here and now has been copied to a back up DVD.
I am still leery though. Maybe God doesn't want me to be a writer... or maybe he just wanted me to get off my butt and clean my house.
So, what you you? What has led you toward writing? What had led you away from it?
I think God wants us to do the best we can while being the best we can...and be happy. And to me, I am happiest when I am trying to do the next right thing, whatever that seems to be at the time. Sometimes, taking the time to write seems selfish, because I don't really think that anything I write will change the future of the human race in any positive way.
So I get where you are coming from. Should I be doing this?
On the other hand, God wants us to be happy; and using our brains, those things that seem make humans so special, in a creative way, sure seems like a God thing to me...to tell stories about the life lessons we are learning...even if we are only telling them to ourselves, seems like a pretty good use of time!
Well, this is appropriate. I wrote a long comment, went to fix a misspelled word and lost everything I wrote. I need a back-up for blogger. Sigh.
I had a similiar experience, not the one that just happened. A week before I was supposed to send off a manuscript, I found an embedded watermark. No one could remove and it would disqualify me from the contest.
I took an unedited hardcopy and rewrote the ms. Over 93K words.
What I learned from lack of sleep, pain, tears, and anxiety, was perseverance. Keep going. Never stop.
I didn't win the contest. But something wonderful for me did happen besides the satifaction of obedience. Hopefully, soon, I can share it. :)
As far as teaching, I think that's exactly what we do when we write. We teach about the Lord, love, hope, and life in unique ways.
Whether or not you stay in the classroom, you are a teacher. Your words matter. And yes, you should clean your house! :) So should I.
Writing is a gift from God.
I agree with Jessica - "we teach about the Lord, love, hope, and life in unique ways." I teach through my story writing. Yes, I've had to really learn the craft, revise, and revise, and edit, and revise again...but it was with God's gentle hand guiding me. It sometimes seems He doesn't want us to write, but really, He just wants it perfect.
I think it's important to remember that stories are God's teaching method. Whenever the disciples didn't understand something, Jesus told a story. Moses compiled his people's stories in the Torah.
I also teach, and love my students dearly, but I write so I can serve them better. When I'm teaching something that's difficult to understand or runs the risk of being boring the grade schoolers, I start the lesson with a story. Sucks them in like a bird into a Shop Vac.
Whenever I tell myself it's hopeless and I'm going to quit, I feel this core of steel flare in my chest, telling me to keep going. I don't think that means God is going to make me a success. Whether my manuscripts are commercially viable or not, writing calms my anxiety, and in turn, calms my fibromyalgia. I can't teach when I'm in pain.
I think God gives us the need to write and tell stories for a reason, His reason, even if we can't see it.
I believe that in most matters in life, God leaves it up to us to choose what we want to do. I choose to write because I want to write and because I seem to have a talent (developed the talent) for it. If things keep popping up to distract me...well, like you, sometimes I have attributed it to God. But I don't anymore. It's just life. And how we respond is the important thing. For one thing, I need to work on "patience." That is a biggie for me!
Ann Best, Memoir Author
Wow! I was away from the computer today and came back to such great encouragement. Thank you, ladies!
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