Tuesday, June 14, 2011

How Did I Get My Start Writing?

How did I get my start writing?
Several factors wove together to bring me to the point where I am now an author. First of all, I started storytelling as a means of crowd control! I had three younger very active brothers, all of whom loved a good story. I began telling stories when I had enough brothers for an audience! The love of stories has been there from the very beginning. In the one room school I attended until grade 8, you could read any book the teacher brought from the county library—if your work was done! Weekly she made the trip to the “big” library until she caught on and began to bring Greek mythology and classics, works that were far beyond my grade level!
I so enjoyed reading and helping others learn to read that I wanted to be a teacher; always knew I would be a teacher. Naturally, after high school I went to university. Universities have a way of requiring lots of writing. You would think they wanted you to acquire a working knowledge of the English language! Certain subjects require more than others—anthropology is one of those! One of the ways I earned my way through college was doing secretarial work. I put the high school office practice class to good use.  Without any calculated conscious effort on my part, God was building into me the skill set that I would need to be His author!
The second factor was our children. I always read to them, putting in all the voices for the different characters, so they too loved stories. A key turning point was when they came to me all bright eyed one day asking, “Mom, will you tell us about the “old days,” when you were a kid? Did Grandpa ever discipline you like you sometimes discipline us?” My response to their question put my mind in gear. Later that night I had to get out of bed to write the story, Grandpa’s “Helping” Hand, (yet to be published) so that I could stop laughing and go to sleep! I wrote several stories for our children and a bit of poetry. At this same time I had a mentor who kept asking, “What do you want to do? What do you want to do? What do you want to do?” Finally, I blurted out, “I want to write!” At the time, it felt an unattainable goal.
A third factor was that for a time I was the Educational Director for Elijah House Ministries. At a staff luncheon John Sandford, the founder, rather wistfully said that he hoped that various ones of us would pick up one or more of his core teaching and take it further—deeper and wider than he had. I rather tentatively raised my hand and volunteered to take the teachings on Burden Bearing. After that life kept happening and I never had the time to write those books. That is until 1996.
The fourth and final factor leading me to put the skills, the syntactical know how, and the innate penchant for storytelling to work writing was a severe attack of multiple sclerosis at the end of 1995. When I woke up after 5 months of sleeping 14-16 hours a day, I needed something to do to keep my sanity. I was well enough to do something, but not well enough to do anything! It seemed like a good time to learn to knit! Then, I remembered telling Rev. Sandford that I would write that book. Every time a story or concept floated up into my consciousness, I would toddle over to the computer to capture a picture, an event, or a concept with words. I accumulated a very large pile of disconnected pieces and more or less coherent thoughts. At one point I felt the Lord said it was time to turn that pile into a book. I turned to a friend who had worked with me when I was Education Director—Debra helped me dig the MS out of the manuscript!
We edited that manuscript until I didn’t want to look at it any more. Finally Debra told me she did not want to see it again until she could take it off a bookshelf. So began my search for a publisher—which will be another blog!

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