I am a writer. I always have been. Oddly enough, This is a hard declaration for me to make.
As a child, I loved books. I taught myself to read when I was 4 but I didn’t tell my mom because I didn’t want her to stop reading to me. I’d stay up after she went to bed and continue reading books. It wasn’t uncommon for my mom to find me asleep with my head laying on the book I was reading. My favorite place in the whole world was the library and even today, I still love the library.
I went to school and learned the alphabet in kindergarten, I knew the sounds the letters made but not the names of the letters so it wasn’t hard to fit in. It wasn’t until first grade that I started to stand out. My teacher noticed immediately that I was different. She tried to tell my parents I was advanced in reading but let’s just say they weren’t very involved with my education. Instead of the “Dick and Jane” books the other kids were reading, my teacher gave me other things to read. My parents never really noticed that what I was reading was ahead of the other kids. While the other kids read the silly phonics readers, I was reading Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume. I loved the Ramona books! My 1st grade teacher gave me a copy of SuperFudge for Christmas.
In second grade I continued reading everything I could get my hands on. Then my teacher gave me the greatest assignment of my life. We were going to compete in a young authors’ competition! I would write a book. In my little 7-year-old mind, I was so excited! Me? Write a book? It was a dream come true.
My little book was about a family of snowflakes that fell to the ground and became snowmen. There was a mother, father, and a little boy snowman. The problem was that the parents and little boy fell in different places and had to find one another. The story led the little boy on an adventure to the lawn of the town library, where his parents happily waited for him! That’s not bad for a seven-year-old!
I won. My book was chosen by all the teachers in the school as first place from 2nd grade up through 6th grade. I was the first 2nd grader to ever win. At the time, I didn’t really understand what sort of honor this was. I thought everybody could write like me.
My teacher called my parents and asked that they come in for a chat about my book. The school wanted to enter the book in the regional second grade competition but needed parental permission. My father came in on his day off. He was the type of man that really didn’t like to be bothered but went. I wasn’t present for the meeting but I’m not certain it went well. I do remember my teacher telling me that one day I’d be a great writer and to not forget that.
I asked my dad if he liked my book. He simply told me it was okay. I asked him if my teacher had given it to him but he told my teacher wanted to keep it because she wanted to show other students. Then I happily told him that my teacher told me I’d make a great writer one day. I still remember the jest of his response.
Unless you’re very, very, good or very, very, lucky, writers don’t make any money. You’ll end up poor. You’ll have nothing. You don’t want to be poor, do you? Doctors make good money, you should be a doctor.
I knew from an early age not to argue with my father. If he said something, he was right. I can remember sulking into the backseat, defeated before I could even try. I guess it’s not hard to crush a child’s dreams. Needless to say, my book didn’t go to the regional competition.
So here I am, 38-years-young. I went into healthcare to please my father and absolutely hated it. It’s not what I’m made for. I’ve always written, I can’t help myself. I’ve randomly submitted some articles for publications and have been published and paid a few times. I guess that’s a lot to say because so many writers have never been published, much less paid. I’ve won a contest here and there. However, I’ve never really taken writing as a career seriously. I’ve thought about it, dreamt about it, but never wanted to disappoint my father.
So now, after prayer and fasting, I’ve decided to pursue writing as a career path. I’m going against my earthly father’s wishes and following the calling my heavenly Father has built me specifically for. For everything, there has to be a beginning and I guess this is as good a place as any.
If I never make a single dollar, then at least I know I am doing what God created me to do.
Finally, If my dad is disappointed, then that’s his problem and not mine.