One of the first times I became self-conscious of my desire to write was in high school. My 11th grade English teacher asked if anyone wanted to write a book one day. I was about to raise my hand but quickly scanned the classroom first. All the other students stared blankly at my teacher, so I did too. I was surprised that no one else wanted to. It wasn’t until college that I considered being a writer for a living. But even then people asked me what I really wanted to do with my English major. You want to be a teacher, right? The last year of college I picked up a minor in education because I sort of freaked out. I had guessed the critics were right. That was the only path for me. I took a couple tests to be a teacher and was even an elementary school TA for a quarter but it just wasn’t for me. My heart wasn’t in it.

In the beginning of the year, while tapping away on Instagram hashtags and scrolling through pictures, I found myself on a blog that mentioned an online writing course with Ann Swindell, a writer whose articles I had read on various sites I follow. Here was a woman who was writing for all the publications I would one day like to write for. There shouldn’t have been any questions. But before I signed up, I did have my doubts. Would this course be helpful? What if I didn’t have the time for all the classes? What if I didn’t finish? What if, what if, what if… That’s when I had to ask myself how much I really wanted to write. For years I had pushed writing aside because I felt like God would open up the doors when it was the right timing. I pushed it aside because no one else was raising their hands. I pushed it aside because I was scared, tired,  busy,  critical,  lazy, prideful,  distracted, unfocused and/or overwhelmed at different points of my life.

Here are some takeaways and things I’ve been reflecting on after taking the online course (not in order of importance):

  1. Writing is a gift. God has allowed me to have this desire and gift to write. To not write would be a waste.  I often thought that I wasn’t doing meaningful work with my writing when I wasn’t doing anything creative with it, but now I see that all the things that I had done in ministry while using my editing/writing skills were still being used for His purposes. I need to steward my gifts well, whether it be writing or something else.
  2. I am more than one talent. I thought there was only one thing I should seek from God regarding my career path or talents/strengths but I’ve realized I’ve been thinking too small. God has given me so much and each of those things can be used to serve others.
  3. Living in reality. The reality is that I will get rejected by magazines, publishers, websites. Writing is hard work, but most things in life that are worth it take hard work. Writing should be a priority. Sitting down to type on my computer or write in my journal is not only good for my soul, but it’s the only way I will actually accomplish something. I’ve always admired artists and creative people who get paid to do what they do. I may not be one of those people, but that’s okay. And that leads me to my next point.
  4. I am a Christian. My identity is not in my writing. It’s because I am God’s child that I can write with confidence. This is why I can rejoice with others when they are advancing in their careers or publishing articles. My first calling is to God, not in what I do.
  5. Creative community. No one will truly know how passionate you are about your passion, unless you’re with others who love the same thing. I felt very alone in the Christian writing world because I had never met others who had shared the same heart to use writing as a ministry. The past several weeks I listened to Ann and (cyber) met others with the same passion. It was both incredible and humbling.

Today I’m raising my hand.