by Rachael Phillips
Are you one of those people who knew, the moment you picked up a pencil in first grade and wrote your first ABC’s, that you would become a writer?
I’m not.I wanted to be a singer. And a missionary. And a ballerina wearing a poofy tutu.
In second grade, I did like writing poems and constructed little books of my poetry out of construction paper. For a few years, I produced a flurry of poems, plays and stories.But I never envisioned being a writer. Perhaps because, in my mind, real books were written by exalted human beings only a notch or two below godhood. And because writing was too much fun. At the ripe age of nine, I already had applied flawless evangelical logic to the possibility, namely: if you really liked doing something, God didn’t want you to do it.
So writing and wearing a poofy tutu went out the window. Singing could be rated as far more spiritual, so I figured God was okay with that—even if it was fun.Fast forward several decades. At that time, I was serving as a worship coordinator at a church with typical pastoral staff and administrative board—and a secretary who comprised the real power behind the outfit. She lined up all of us and decreed we each would produce an article for the new church newsletter by the tenth of each month.
Or else.No one wanted to spend his eternity locked in the deep, dark furnace room with Satan’s creepy-crawlies, so they complied. Me? I loved writing. The people in my congregation seemed to know I loved it. They passed my articles on to family and friends, patted me on the back, and told me I should write a book.
Right.A writing workshop flyer from a local college, a hometown editor in desperate need of articles so he wouldn’t have to write them, and encouraging friends all played a part in jump-starting my writing career, as well as the church secretary with a .45 in her desk drawer.
As I devoted increasing time and effort to writing, a few friends regarded it as a sort of mysterious disease I’d contracted. Before long, I’d feel better, get over it, and carry on life as usual.Fortunately, my husband didn’t see it that way. “God has given you a gift,” he said. “He’s made you a writer.”
He called me a writer.I couldn’t—even after I’d published four biographies. Somehow the word caught in my throat like a double negative.
Maybe because writing was too much fun, and if I actually called myself that, God might notice.He did. And He clapped for me.
He’s also offered plenty of constructive criticism. And plenty of life experience—much of it not so pleasant—that translated into writing fodder.But He has walked beside me every step of this writing journey.
How about you? How did your writing journey begin?