Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Day I Decided to Play Writer

So, I had my first baby in June and decided it was a good time to write a novel.

Perhaps it wa
s the smell of downy blankets, touch of tender skin, or sound of infant mewing that initiated the sentiment. Or perhaps it was my foggy, sleep deprived brain that conquered all rational thought. Whatever the reason, I found myself staring into my precious son’s eyes somewhere between dusk and dawn, realizing the family stories wouldn’t write themselves.

I had to write them.

That Christmas, My six month old and I sat down with dad, and I asked him to tell me the stories I’d heard as a girl in pig tails. The ones I’d listened to countless times while ripping off flatbread and sco
oping up curry—our family name change, his faith journey and immigration to a new country.

My son cooed on his Nana's (Grandpa’s) knee, and I laughed picturing dad’s bewilderment at having to pay for his own cup after his North American friend asked him to “go for coffee”. I cringed at the thought of him arriving on new soil with nothing but five dollars and a hope of a better life. And that afternoon, with my ears full of tales, I walked away with a new resolve.

I would write stories to leave a legacy for my kids, encourage others, and worship God with the gift He's given me, though I knew nothing about the craft of writing.

Two ye
ars and another baby later, I typed “the end” on my first manuscript. I made the mistakes of first time novelists: plotted by the seat of my pants, utilized clichés like crazy, faced a sagging middle, and overused the semi-colon. And in just twenty four months, I faced the incredible highs and lows of the writer life. But, by God’s grace {and the help of faithful critique partners and writing friends}, I finished the novel.

I believe something happened the day I decided to play writer. God birthed a new desire within me--to leave a legacy with words. I’m not sure what this baby means. Publication? Maybe. Maybe not. Accolades? Probably not. Satisfaction knowing I’m leaving stories for my sons and using my gift for God? Most definitely. I don't know what the road holds, but it's going to be an incredible ride.

So, I’ll keep writing the stories God’s puts on my heart, keeping the reason I began at the forefron
t of my mind, and I’ll leave the results—the timing—up to God.

How about you? What propelled you into the writing life? What’s keeps you writing even on days where the cursor blinks hard and doubts assail?

Melanie N. Brasher is a full time mama of two boys and wife to an incredible husband who understands her bicultural background. She moonlights as a fiction and freelance writer, crafting stories and articles toward justice and change, and contemplates faith, family, and writing at her personal blog. Though she’s an aspiring author, she’ll never quit her day job.


  1. Welome Joy! This is your first post. Really enjoyed reading this. This was a a great snap shot "my life as a writer."

  2. What a nice first post for you on Hoosier Ink. Thanks for the contribution. I laughed when I learned that you'd used clichés like crazy. (I advise writers not to touch clichés with a 10-foot-pole, and personally I try to avoid them like the plague. ;)

    Please record all the funny and thought-provoking things your kids say and do. I guarantee they will provide fuel for future articles!

  3. Great post! Writing with children is not an easy endeavor, so just finishing that novel is celebration-worthy! :)

  4. Great post, Joy. Thank you. You're young but have already learned one of the most valuable lessons in your writing journey: give it over to Him - your words, your stories, and then leave the timing of publication in His more than capable hands. Everyone's path is unique. And you've finished a novel. That's more than a lot of wannabe writers ever do. I put my writing aside for a decade to raise my three children (and be a pastor's wife and go back to work part-time, etc.), but the Lord used that time in my life to learn valuable life lessons that can't be taught through books or any other way. Embrace each one, hug your family and keep writing for His glory. He won't steer you wrong. Blessings!

  5. YEP, you're a writer, for sure, Joy! And HEY, great idea to use a bio bit and photo at the end -- so professional! I'm going to follow suit (oops -- is that a cliche?? :-)

  6. Thanks for your encouragement, everyone! It's great to be here. :)