The rainy season was in full force in Florida that July. I managed to sit on the beach for approximately two hours before the wall of rain chased me away from my chair. For the next seven days, it poured. I had planned this solo writing retreat for months and couldn’t wait for some solitude and sunshine to stir the creative juices. I was following the call to write, but still thought it was all on my shoulders. My ability would make or break my career. I quickly learned that with God within me, the story unfolded differently.
The day after I arrived, I came down with a cold. My perfect writing retreat ended up being a raw lesson in what God’s plan is for me, not mine. I did manage to get some thoughts on paper, but as I was writing my brain fog made me doubt my abilities.
It was then that I had a strong admonishment from God. These were not my words, but His that He was writing through me. He has stories to tell through my experiences and I am merely the vessel to convey these words. Talk about humbling. I won’t do any of this writing on my strength but His. He is within me, I will not fall. (Psalm 46:5)
It was during that trip that I could not deny God was calling me to write. I felt extremely underqualified and unsure about how to start a blog, let alone write a book, but I knew that if God was calling me to do something, He would see me through it.
I had always loved to write and now to shift from homeschooling my kids to a part time writing career, seemed like the next right step. So I did my due diligence and learned how to start a blog and build websites. I signed up for classes, webinars, and read books. I invested in my future and studied the craft. Connecting with other authors was an integral part of learning and connecting to this community.
And I learned something extremely valuable.
Don’t let others lead you away from what God is calling you to do. I let others opinions about my abilities take root. I doubted and that was exactly what the enemy wanted. I struggled hard. I allowed the wrong people to speak into my aspiring dream. A dream that almost flatlined because of it.
I persevered and shut out those other voices. I focused on the constant whisper of God’s calling. He was still there. Still calling me to tell His stories in a way only I could. I surrounded myself with people that supported me and that has made all the difference. The communities of writers I connected with demonstrated to me that my experiences prior were not healthy and not what the majority of writers are like.
Sure, there are women out there who view this profession as competition and do not support each other. They can be aloof, do not cheer you on or celebrate your successes, and in few instances are toxic. I would venture to say, those are the minority. Unfortunately for me, I encountered some of those women early on in my writing and I wrongly assumed this is what the majority of women in this profession was like.
I just had not found my people yet. I believe I am discovering that now. And it’s so sweet to lift each other up and cheer each other on. I’m so glad I have persevered and was brave enough to go where God is calling.
I’ve read the books, taken the classes, paid the memberships, and attended conferences. I enjoy having these books as references on my shelf or as motivation when I hit a slump. If you are a writer, you might recognize some of these. These books have been transformative in my writing career. Not pictured here, I also have enjoyed The Elements of Style by Strunk and White and On Writing Well by William Zinsser. (All links are affiliate links. Thank you for shopping through these links!)
- Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh
2. You are a Writer by Jeff Goins
3. Walking on Water by Madeleine L’Engle
4. Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
5. The Memoir Project by Marion Roach Smith
6. On Writing by Stephen King
7. Your First 1000 Copies by Tim Grahl