I’ve always wanted to be a writer. A Real. Published. Writer. See my name in print. Anywhere. But I couldn’t just wiggle my nose and think my name will miraculously appear on the cover of a best-selling novel.
As a special education teacher, I’m programmed to think in terms of goals. What do I want my students to achieve with a given period? I think that way even in my personal life. To say, “I want to be a writer”, is so vague. I can’t do anything with that! So my first goal was to determine not what I wanted to write, but WHY I wanted to write. That was easy: be a good steward of what God has given me. This desire to write had to come from somewhere, right? So while trolling a Barnes & Noble, I picked up The Idiot’s Guide to Writing Christian Fiction (appropriate for a newbie, right?) and from there, decided to enroll in the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild (CWG). Best thing I could have done to start learning the craft of writing while maintaining my goal.
After that, I wanted to publish something I’d written. The beauty of the CWG is that many completed assignments are actually publishable. And that’s what happened. In 2010, I published an inspirational piece titled “The Light of the World” in The Lutheran Witness. I had achieved my goal.
Now I wanted to write a novel. Done. Took about two years. It’s sitting on my laptop right now.
With a couple of writer conferences under my belt, I know my next goal should be publication. But that’s a whole ‘nother animal. It’s scary. Rejection is a constant companion, no matter how many other people say my work is good. I doubt myself all the time and when rejection comes knocking, I comfort myself by saying, “Well, you did publish something. That’s what you wanted, remember?”
But that was never my PRIMARY goal. It was being a good steward of my writing talent. Being a Christian writer. That means asking God to help me set goals and quitting when He tells me, not the other way around. My writing may reach a wide audience or just the tiny sphere of my critique group. As long as I never lose sight of why I write, then hey, I’m good.