Thanks to Breathe Writer’s Conference for publishing this story–my story about discovering I was a writer! Are you wondering if you might be a writer, too? Why not look into coming to Breathe with me on October 7-8, where I will lead a lunch forum, titled, “Self-Promotion: Greedy or Godly?” I’d love to see you there!
As a child, I never wrote essays, saying I wanted to be an author when I grew up. I never dreamed about seeing my name in print. I didn’t even choose writing as my major in college.
I chose to be a teacher, partly because I loved telling stories. Teachers have captive audiences, and can tell stories all day if they want to, and I wanted to. My stories were eating a hole in me, and I had to let them out. So my fourth graders came in handy. (They didn’t want to turn to page 162 in their History books, anyway.)
I didn’t realize that my stories were clues that God had planted a writer in me.
Two Clues During College
At the time I didn’t think much of it, but my college experience provided two additional clues. The first was a class I took and loved, called “Literature of the Bible”. We studied all of the literary aspects of God’s Word and I wrote a paper about Naomi. There was no assignment I loved more.
My second clue came from the way I made extra money. I would type other college students’ papers for $1/page. This was back when not everyone had a computer or printer, and I had both. I began noticing that my clients all seemed to be international students. One young man said to me with a big smile, “Shannon!” (Emphasis on the second syllable.) “I get better grade when you type paper. You type next week for me, yes?”
Yes I would, thank-you-very-much. And I would fix his grammar too, for no extra charge. It was unthinkable to do otherwise. My inner writer wouldn’t let me.
A Stirring to Write
God first began stirring my heart to write in my mid-thirties. I was teaching Sunday School at the time, and our church didn’t have curriculum. So I would spend hours and hours, studying and preparing. Then on Sunday morning, I would release another batch of my bottled up stories and analogies to the fourth and fifth graders at our church. I absolutely loved it.
But equally as much, I loved what I did afterward, on Sunday afternoon. After I got my own kids down for their naps, I would sit at the computer and write out what I had just said. I would work for hours, typing and rearranging my thoughts. My husband would come down the office and say, “Remind me what you’re doing, again?” He didn’t understand why I would want to write what I had already taught. And I didn’t totally understand it either. It was a little weird. Yet it felt so good to get the words and stories and threaded ideas folded into one tidy package. Then, and only then, it felt finished. I could rest.
I still have those lessons in files on my computer, today.
But did I ever use them? Did I become a writer? Well, dear reader, that is what you will discover next time! To be continued…