"Wow," I thought, "I can make up stuff, and people will pay me for it?" So, as more hobby than anything else, two or three times a year I would craft a devotional, an article, or a short story and send it to a publisher. Some got rejected. Others yielded checks, spurring me to write more often and to study the craft seriously.
When I discovered writers' market guides, the boundaries of my publishing universe expanded. I pored over them seeking markets that might fit my style and skill. I highlighted travel magazines ("I love to travel. I could write travel pieces.") In the same sitting I’d also highlight children's magazines ("I used to be a kid; surely I can create stories for children."), sci-fi journals ("Hey, I grew up watching the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise. I'll boldly write where I've never written before!"), and a host of diverse markets. I found such a vast array of markets that I felt I was wasting time. I needed to get busier submitting to more and more of them.
Later, when I began attending writers conferences, I rubbed shoulders with fellow authors of all stripes. Some had published daily devotionals. Others received contracts for novels, or non-fiction books, or were syndicating columns...
Somewhere along the journey, what began as a hobby, then developed into a Christian ministry, took the shape of an enormous, invisible steamroller bearing down behind me if I didn't maintain a hectic pace of researching, writing, and submitting. This impression wasn't logical (my days of watching Mr. Spock should have taught as much), but the more I learned about other authors' successes, the more pushed I felt to get out there and compete, to be a one-size-fits-all writer. The role was exhausting.
Beware that invisible steamroller. Nobody can write for all markets. And the fact that the writer beside you at a conference just signed a 50-book contract and optioned all movie rights shouldn't flatten you. In the military there are roles for all ranks, from privates up to generals. Likewise, in the ranks of writers for the Lord, there is room for a wide range of writing skills. Every level of skill has its niche.
Now, I’m wondering: am I alone, or have others experienced that invisible steamroller? Ever felt that you had to catch up to colleagues, or else get squished?