Friday, January 11, 2008

A Reluctant Writer Asks, Whadaya Think?

"Fair words gladden so many a heart."
Longfellow - Tales of a Wayside Inn.
The Musician's Tale.
Miss Sandy has been avoiding answering a question that has been frequently asked in comments and through private emails, sooooo, I'd like a little blog block honesty. It has been asked if I am published, suggested that I sell my stories, or that I should be a writer. It is one thing to share a story and quite another to pursue publishing. I am quite comfortable here as my anonymous self, BUT (there always is one, and usually it's a BIG one!) I know in my heart that this may be a part of the plan for my life. I have struggled with this issue for almost six years now, ever since my first article was published.

I have been a closet writer all my life, keeping my words secreted away from public view. I have diaries, those little lock and key kind, from when I was quite young. I loved every writing assignment that was ever given in school and and flourished in English and Journalism. I have always dabbled in poetry, made up stories, recorded real life incidences, and for the last twelve years kept an almost daily journal. These journals started as a prayer tool. Being new in my faith I found it difficult to sit still and pray. My mind pinged all over the place. I found writing kept me focused on the task at hand. Then I began to add how I saw God at work in my life. I have recorded poetry, family blessings, family devotionals, special devotionals and activities for holidays and celebrations, and life lessons and observations that I am learning or have been taught, along with prayers for family, friends, etc. These pages record the good in my life, the bad, and sometimes even the ugly. They are honest and they are my conversations with God.
In April of 2001 I awoke one night and just had these words floating in my mind and I could not shake them so I crawled out of bed at 3:00 a.m. and gave birth to what was to become my fist published piece. Oddly enough it was about my first born child. I didn't know why I was writing it and I had no intention of sharing it. I thought it would just be another piece of the legacy of faith I was recording for my children because that is all I thought those journals to be.
A month or so after this was written and tucked away I had a very strong urging to type this piece up and I tucked it into my Bible. I thought perhaps that I would meet someone who needed to hear those words and they might help or encourage them in some way. Wanting to be obedient to what I felt led to do I prayed and waited. Fast forward one week later on a sunny Sunday morning I am sitting in church with my family and our pastor opens up the service for a time of praise and sharing. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that THIS was the moment for which those words had been written. There was one slight hitch in this whole thing - I don't do public speaking, ever! I had the strongest urge to turn around and stick my tongue out at my mother for teaching me obedience!
I swallowed my fear, stuck my hand into my Bible withdrawing the folded pages, rose to my feet, took a deep breath, and I obediently began to read. A deafening hush fell over the church and I was sure my voice could not be heard over my rattling quaking bones. I sat back down to stunned silence, who knew quiet little Miss Sandy had that many words in her? After services I just wanted the quickest exit out of the building but was stopped by what seemed to be a billion people telling me that this needed to be published. I laughed. When I was finally within sight of the door a hand reached out, clasp my arm, and drew me aside. It was my pastor. I felt like I was being called in to the principals office. I was instructed to wait until he was through with his greeting duties.
When he finished he asked my husband and I to step into his office and proceeded to tell me that he firmly believed that I needed to pursue publication. I got a slight lecture on hiding my light under a bushel and was urged to think about it. I said I would and before we left he asked for a copy and my permission to make it available to anyone in our congregation who wanted a copy. I said this was fine and went home with a headache.
My pastor believed in me and the message of those words so strongly that he contacted an editor of a well-known Christian publication on my behalf. Now this particular magazine does not take unsolicited articles, much less articles from some unknown author. He must have been very persuasive because the editor agreed to read it if it was faxed to him immediately as he was headed out of town. Meanwhile I am struggling away, do it, don't do it, do it, don't do it and my phone rings. I answer and it is a representative of the magazine and they want to buy my article and publish it in the May 2002 Mother's Day issue. She spits out an amount they will pay, I gasp, she explains the terms, asks for my email address, gives me the name of the editor who will contact me, and the next thing I know the contract is in the mail!
When my church family found out there was much rejoicing and I was totally uncomfortable with my new status. Well, not everyone was happy, one person was downright mean about it and it caused so much hurt I thought about hurling my favorite writing pen into the sea! (That would have been a record breaking hurl as I live no where near the sea!) Insecurity, uncertainty, and doubt crept in to camp around me and I withdrew. I never pursued being published. I have one and only one published piece to my name (Oh, and get this, they spelled my name wrong on the by line, talk about being kept humble!). I put away any thought of this path until I was through home schooling my daughter. I wouldn't pursue this path because when I do something I do it wholeheartedly and I would have went into it with a divided heart and either writing or schooling would have suffered. I really wanted all the time I could spend with my daughter and I wanted no regrets. Well, she graduated this past May and hubby says my time is up, no more procrastination, WRITE! He believes in me so much that he built me a little writing cottage by our garden pond where I can retreat to a tranquil place with no interruptions.

One of the many reasons I started to blog was to get back into writing practice. I thought it would be a good way to get feedback and this feels like a safe way to share my writing. I've been quietly doing some homework, I joined a writing group, I attended a mini writing seminar via the internet the other night, and I am checking into building a writing web site through a group where editors and publishers access the sites looking for material to publish. So, back to the post title question, whadaya think? I'd really like some honest feedback - critique away - I have to learn to take it if I'm gonna make it!

Confession of a Reluctant Writer,

Miss Sandy


Pinkie Denise said...

Dear Miss Sandy,
I believe we are gifted with certain
gifts and must use them for his must use
is so beautiful and lovely not to share.......
I was visiting you to tell you that I
tagged your blog because I so enjoy
visiting please come visit to see what its all about Have a wonderful weekend Pinkie

The Feathered Nest said...

Dear Sandy,
Pinkie Denise is so right, you've been given a gift, as we all have, our unique gift from God. You must now go, do this thing you that you love, that you are so very wonderful at doing. In using your gift, you are honoring the Lord. In doing this you are saying, "Thank you, Lord for this amazing gift...I am using it to the fullest potential!" I love the sweet story you wrote about my parcel and the sweet bird. I've copied it to my computer. I would love to read the article that was published, can you put it on your blog or is that a OK?
I wish you all the best, Sandy ~
Write ~ follow your bliss....

Cindy Is Crafty said...

Woman you would be mad NOT to write professionally. I love reading your blog posts and would love if you still have it to read that piece.

Penny @ Lavender Hill Studio said...

Yes....Yes and YES! Please persue this. My father was an architect. He spent his years workings, helping my mom raise a family of 6 girls and one boy. When he retired, he followed his passion and begain writing at the age of 70. He had one story published in a magazine, but unfortunately never had either of his two wonderful novels published. Time was too short.

So, - your time is NOW...DO IT!

Charm & Grace said...

Dear Sandy,

I know just how you feel. As a Christian, it is hard to want to promote yourself... to put yourself out there, so to speak. But to be confident and comfortable in the abilities and gifts God has given you is a way to honor the Lord. When there is as much affirmation from others as you are receiving here... well, I think you have your answer. You have been clear that your goal is to do what He would have you do. I would strongly encourage you to pursue this, and if it is not what He wants for you then He will close the door.

I know for me, I want to be where He wants me and doing what He wants me to do. And like you, I have had encouragement to pursue my creativity from friends, family, and some wonderful internet friends. I, too, have put off doing those creative things while homeschooling for the past 11 years. And over this past year I have been really prompted to go back to doing those creative things that God has gifted me to do. I want to produce fruit this year from a heart overflowing with gratitude for what He has done for me. It is a wonderful feeling.

I didn't mean to ramble on (more on my journey at my blog if you're interested), but I guess what I am trying to say is that the time seems to be right for you to pursue this. I will pray for you as you do that the Lord would guide each step of the way. He holds you in His hands...


Charm & Grace Blog

Helen Read said...

Sandy, I loved reading about your journey - which is very similar to mine, even down to the homeschooling!
I want to encourage you to forge ahead :) I think you've been gifted and I also think that with our gifts we have a great purpose that the Lord has crafted for us! Seems to me like he is slowly revealing that next thing to you! :) Very exciting.

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

Aha! I knew it! And I am delighted!! Thrilled! (One isn't an English teacher for as many years as I was not to recognize things. ;>)

How wonderful that the Lord booted you a wee bit, that your darling hubby has created a writing cottage for you, and that you have the luxury of time. We already know that you have the talent! You go girl!! Anytime that you need a cheerleader, you have one in me. (You can point me in the direction of whoever was snotty, too. I'd happily give him or her a little boot in the butt.)

Sand Flat Farm said...

God has given you a talent for writing and encouragement, Sandy. Use it for Him and it will grow and glorify Him. He will give the increase. You are very talented. Just think how many folks even now are encouraged by reading your blogs. If you are published, the Lord can touch many MORE lives through your "quill". Blessings - Vickie

Becky K. said...

How fortunate you are to have a husband that supports your gifts and talents that much!!! It would seem that you are going to be used the lives of others through your gifting of words.

You are blessed and you have remained faithful to your callings, first to homeschool and then to write.

Go for it, Dear Blog Friend.

Best of wishes!

Becky K.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for praying for Erika you are so talented. Blessings Denise Hull,Mass.

Anonymous said...

Miss Sandy,

This is why I come to your blog to read your stories, they are so inspirational. Without even knowing it your are published I give everyone your blog site to read your a great author to me already!

Barbara Jacksier said...

The minute you started your blog, you became a published writer. If you have a specific idea for a magazine, send a query letter. Refer the editor to your blog to "check you out". If you want to write a book, write a few chapters, then send it to a few publishers.

Even if no one else publishes you, you ARE a writer. Of course, it's always nice to have devoted fans, and you DO!

If a bird sings in the forest and no one hears it, it's song is still a song. Write for yourself. Write because it gives you pleasure. Getting others to publish you is the icing on the cake -- and sometimes the money in the bank!

Miss Rhea said...

Sandy, I really only have two things to say. " We regret most those things in life that we didn't do " And secondly, What is God saying in His Word to you about this, and through His people? So in essence, I cant wait to buy your first book !! :)

ps, come enter my giveaway !!

Fete et Fleur said...

Sandy! Every time I come to your blog I am given a meal. I feel my heart quicken and my spirit revive and you bring me that much closer to our Father. He needs you to give what you have been given in order to bring more of His children closer to His Heart. Please know this is the truth and doubt no more.


P.S. Thank you so much for visiting and your kind comment on the shoes. I would love for you to visit tomorrow and be a part of my blog giveaway. :O)


Judy said...

Go for it! You obviously love to have a wonderful gift of inspiring others & what could be more fun than sitting in a cottage by the pond and playing with words? Your blog is a wonderful place to visit! Blessings, Judy

The Rose Cottage said...

I believe that God gives us choices in life, and he is giving you the choice to follow your passion or not follow your passion. I think you should follow your passion, you are a gifted writer and now is "your" time :) Live in joy, follow your bliss. If you feel joy when you are writing, then this is what you are meant to do. Go for it!


LAUREN at Faith Fuel- said...

Barabara J's words echo my feelings. You are published already by having a blog. But let me add one more thing, there is no "safe way" to share your writing. It's terribly unsafe, in a way, to open up your heart, your voice, to the world. But I think it's worth the risk.

P.S. I love your tea cups, and color scheme here. You have a beautiful heart, and you are sharing it with the world.

CrownLaidDown said...

I think I belong in your club! But the thing that I see from your story here is that the season had not been the time for sharing, yet. I hope that is now for you, Sister!

I can see that you bless many!
May the LORD guide you and guard your path and make it plain,

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