Thursday, July 7, 2016

My writing life - a brief history

Twice in this past week I’ve been asked “How did you get into this?” in reference to my second book coming out.  Because of the question, I wanted to go back a bit and share my writing history.

It started early, actually. Shortly after I learned how to write, I began writing stories.  I do not have a lot of memories from the first grade, but I do remember writing a story about Halloween on orange construction paper cut into the shape of a pumpkin.  My teacher laminated the story and it was placed in a section of student stories in our school library.  I distinctly remember seeing it on the shelf there in the library, and feeling proud.  I knew then that I wanted to be a writer.

My first business card, made by me at around the age of 10. I had a short-lived desire to help animals, also.

I wrote short stories and journaled quite a bit.  I have a box full of old journals in my closet now (I cringe at some of the entries . . . I made some questionable choices in my youth).  I also have held on to a couple of stories from when I was a girl. 

"Goody Goody Gumdrops" - written by the 4th grade version of me.  I tell a variation of this story to my kids now.

In high school, I became interested in journalism.  I wrote for our school paper – the Haltom Image –  and my senior year was the editor-in-chief.  I loved it.  All of it. News writing, feature writing, editorial writing, column writing .  .  . it was fun to me.

I have a scrapbook with every article I wrote for the school paper.  These are the very first, from my freshman year.

Last column written for the school paper, just before graduation.

At one time I believed I would major in journalism in college, but my life didn’t go in that direction.  I joined the Navy at 19 and told my recruiter I wanted to be a JO while I served – but that rate was unavailable when I joined.  I ended up as a yeoman and never tried to write for the Navy again.  I was happy with what I was doing.  My five years in the Navy were amazing. Really.  I can’t say enough how transformative those years were for me.  I joined the church, met my husband, made the best friends, and grew up during that time. I wrote, a little.  At one point I did start what I thought would be my first book (it wasn’t).  I allowed one friend that I trusted to read the three chapters I had written.  She laughed, out loud, at a part that I had intended to be funny.  It gave me hope!  I remember thinking, wow, maybe I can really do this. Maybe I’m not a terrible writer! (Other writers know – struggling with self-doubt in a constant)  But, despite that little glimmer of confidence, I let that project go.  I didn’t make it a priority.  The Navy, and my friends, took precedence during that time. And that is okay with me.  I have the most wonderful memories of that time.  I’m so grateful.

Flash forward to 2010 – Now a married, stay-at-home mother to a toddler and newly pregnant with a second baby, I decide that it is time to get on my writing again (because, all the free time, right?? HA).  I just knew that I wanted to write a book. Badly.  My husband was working evenings at the time, my daughter was sleeping, and I remember clearly a night I sat in my living room with the laptop open and a blank word document staring me in the face.  I said a prayer.  I asked God to give me a story, something for His will.  And the story of “Absolved” came to me then.

Funny thing is, it wasn’t until 10 months after I started writing Absolved that I became involved with the pro-life movement (Absolved has a major pro-life theme), but more on that another day. 

“Absolved” was written mostly at night, after my kids were sleeping.  After I finished it I began submitting the manuscript for consideration.  I waited, and hoped, for someone to say yes to the book.  At times I wasn’t sure it would ever really happen. 

The day I found out I was going to be published, I was pregnant with my fifth child.  My husband was home.  The way I was crying, he thought I had just received news of someone’s death.  But they were happy tears.  Ecstatic tears.  Wow-my-dream-is-coming-true tears.  I just couldn’t believe that I was going to have a book that I had written in print.  I am so incredibly blessed by my publisher – eLectio Publishing.  I am filled with gratitude for them.

Having one book in print gave me the confidence to move forward and write book number two.  I began writing that one in late 2013, finally finished earlier this year, and was accepted by eLectio for publication yet again.  It will be released in late November of this year.

Now I am writing book 3.  I am on chapter two.  I am mostly still working on character development, and am conducting interviews to help with this process.  I have no doubt, this will be my best work yet.  I’m excited about it.  And I’m excited to see what will come even after that.

My writing life started when I was young . . . but if I’m being honest, this feels like just the beginning.  I want to have several books in print.  I plan to work hard to make that happen.

It isn’t easy, of course.  Most of you reading this know that I have six kids under the age of 8.  No nanny, no daycare.  No part-time maid.  Obviously that makes this difficult to do.  This blog post, even.  I started it yesterday morning.  I had two goals yesterday before I took my girls to their dentist appointments.  1. Finish writing blog post  2. Do dishes   -  NEITHER WERE COMPLETED.  And that is just my life.  So.  I scribbled a few paragraphs on my notebook yesterday.  Finished scribbling it down today.  It has taken about 8 different time periods to get this thing done.  Because I get interrupted.  Baby needs me, toddler needs me, big kid wants my attention, etc.  Quiet time doesn’t exist here.  As I type now my 7 year old is showing me some new clothes her Grandma bought her.  And that is just how it is.  It’s hard to write, and I can’t do it in peace.  But I do it anyway.  Because I want to.  That is my simple truth, I write because I want to.

I guess we’ll see where it continues to take me.

Until next time…


  1. You're amazing. All those kids and still, you find the will to carve out time to write. To me, you're superwoman.

    1. Irene, if you saw the state my house is currently in, you would not see me as superwoman. :) But your comment is so kind and I appreciate it. Blessed to know you!