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…
Shannon! This made me laugh with emotion I can’t even name… Is it bad I recognize myself in your descriptions?! Not the same, but not so different… You finally helped me understand why an introvert could love drama so much…it’s all about telling stories! So grateful for your story and your willingness not only to share it, but invite others into it, too.
Thanks, Pearl! I’m glad you enjoyed these peaks into my writing history. It’s always nice to find a friend who “gets you”. Especially when you have a husband who doesn’t! 🙂