Last week I shared how Oprah impacted my future as a novelist (or perhaps God was using Oprah to get my attention?). While I’d dreamed of writing as a career, I’d never taken steps toward making that dream a reality. After listening to story after story about women following their hearts, I knew it was time, but I had no clue how. Okay, God. If this is what you want me to do, point me in the right direction. And if you could add some flashing arrows, that would help. (I’m not the most discerning person on the planet.)
I knew exactly one person who was a published author. I invited her to coffee and came out of the closet, so to speak. I’d told so few people about my dream of writing that it was a little scary just saying it out loud! If I actually spoke the words, I’d have to follow through.
She was wonderfully encouraging as she shared her journey, and invited me to a local writers group – Midwest Fiction Writers (a MN chapter of RWA, Romance Writers of America). When she picked me up the morning of the meeting, I was excited, nervous, scared, uncertain, curious, and a wee bit terrified. Okay, a lot terrified. But I took that step out of a sense of obedience (truly feeling God’s call to be serious about writing) and an itching desire to see what was on the other side of the curtain.
What did writerly people act like? What did they do at writer meetings? Did I have what it takes to become a writerly person? What did writerly people look like, anyway – Ernest Hemingway? Uh oh. Danielle Steel? Ooo, yes, please!
Guess what? They look like me! Well, some were older, some younger, some dressed up (not quite Danielle Steel-style), some in jeans. And I had even more in common with them–none of them really knew what they were doing either! Many were published, more were not. But every one of them was putting pen to paper (fingers to keys) to write the very best they could. And ALL dreamed they could write the next great American novel.
From my wonderful years with the fabulous MFW crowd (monthly meetings, conferences, parties), I learned about ACFW (how exciting to discover there was a secret writerly code) – American Christian Fiction Writers. I’d found my people!!
I’d gleaned some writer tips, learned the rules of writing a novel, and wrote like crazy – on the bus to and from work, every free minute at home, late into the night, early in the morning. I was ready for my great American novel to hit the shelves of my favorite bookstores. There I stood on the dock, waiting for my writing ship to come in.
See you next week for the story of the shipwreck that sent me scrambling off the dock.