I briefly pause my new series on Hebrews to share today’s post for writers. This post first appeared on Seriously Write.
It’s great fun to write this post today for Seriously Write. The timing is perfect! This is my usual time to write, the first Friday of the month, and yet this particular first Friday is my sixtieth birthday!
The BIG 6-0! That’s right! You read that correctly!
Seriously Write is a site specifically planned and executed for writers like us who take our writing seriously. This special birthday provides a perfect opportunity to address the fact that writers are created by God, woven together in each one of our mother’s wombs with the particular bent that produces a writer. We’re designed for this task, and that’s pretty significant.
My mother taught me to read when I was three, and then, horrified at what she’d done (what would I do in first grade, she wondered), she backed away and gave no further lessons. I loved books. I memorized poems. I drew stories before I could write them. One of my granddaughters started doing this at the same age, and inwardly I smiled, happy to see the writer gene passed down. I’m sure that many of you can relate to all of this.
As the oldest grandchild in a storytelling family surrounded by great-grandparents, grandparents, parents, and the accompanying aunts, uncles, and cousins, I listened to the cadence of a story, enjoyed the roar of laughter that followed the punchline, and carefully noted all the stories told and retold within earshot. Many of these appear in my historical fiction.
I didn’t become a writer. I am a writer. This is how I’m made.
Like you, I don’t know what I think about a matter until I’ve dissected it in writing. Like you, I grow in my desire to write well, and the older I become, the more wisdom I bring to my writing. Aging sits well on writers. It gives us richer experiences and opens doors to the soul previously unexamined.
Some of us were able to jump right into our writing, perhaps majoring in journalism or literature and then embarking on a professional career as a writer. Others took different paths and journaled our way through life before turning to fiction writing when our experiences granted us the space to do so. This was my path. I always knew I would write fiction, but first, I had youngsters to instill with knowledge and to prep for life.
Then there was all the fun of learning to write fiction well, of using Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King until I’d pretty much worn off the cover as I worked point by point through the book. There was the practice of reading all dialogue out loud to hear the unique voice of each character, of learning how to elegantly describe scenes, and of weaving in sights, sounds, and smells. This included tearing apart manuscripts until the writing sang as each lesson was applied.
There were conferences. There was critiquing. There were beta readers.
We all had different ways we approached our careers as writers. We started for unique reasons, just as we write unique stories. There’s only one writer like each of us, and we are it. So, humor me. On my 60th birthday, I’m interested in learning how you knew that you were a writer and what you did about it. Choose one question or more, and weigh in.
How did you get your beginning?
When did you know you were a writer? How did that look in your life?
How did you hone your craft?
How have you pursued this high calling of putting God’s stories into written form?