When a friend recently asked me how long I’ve been interested in writing, I would have loved to have said that I wanted to be a writer since I was a child. So many of the writers I admire can claim that; however, that wasn’t the case with me. In school, I received good grades in writing, and I had done some journaling over the years, but it wasn’t until my thirties that I was bitten by the writing bug.
In 1983, I was a stay at home mom with two boys under four when I saw an article in Redbook Magazine by Judith Viorst inviting reader’s to enter the magazine’s Great Embarrassing Moments Contest. It caught my eye because I enjoyed reading books and articles by Viorst, but I had never entered a contest in my life, so why would I give it a second thought now? The contest promotion rules stated the story had to be 500 words or less; the first prize winner would get five hundred dollars and the possibility of having it printed in a future issue of Redbook. Normally, I’d have only grinned and moved on, but an excruciatingly embarrassing event that occurred to me ten years earlier popped into my mind.
Hmmm. That episode was one of those times when you wish the floor would open beneath you and swallow you up. Yet, as embarrassing as the occasion was, I remembered laughing at myself only an hour later when I retold it to my parents. Could I write about it? I decided to give it a go.
I did not win that contest, but by entering it, I enjoyed the process of writing about the event, and the seed to write more was planted. It would be another two years and a move before I would get my first job writing a regular column in a local paper which led to other opportunities. During that same time, a story began to form in my mind, one in which I could share my faith. I sought the Lord’s guidance when I contemplated taking my writing efforts in a completely new direction. I made a covenant with Him regarding the time I would devote to the task relative to my primary jobs of being a wife and mother. In the course of writing that story, I learned a lot about myself, gained knowledge of the craft, and developed the discipline required in pursuing my goal. I also found joy and fulfillment in the journey.