When I posted the first article to this blog on September 1st. 2011, (Please see the From the Beginning page to the right) I admitted to being called to write and hinted that I might share that story someday. Well, with the signing of my first publishing contract, today is the day. This is NOT a story about me, but a story of obedience, and learning to look for, and listen for, God’s will in our lives.
First, you have to know a little about me. I love books, I love Star Trek. Twenty-five years ago I was immersed in TREK. I have my own uniform, went to the conventions, met with the stars of the show, belonged to the local chapter of Star Fleet, served on the national board, and I read EVERY Star Trek novel they published. That’s a substantial number. I have BOXES of books packed away in my closet for lack of shelf space.
One day, just one normal day out of the blue, I woke up with the idea that I wanted to write. I didn’t think this was strange. I’d been a reader all my life. I could do this. So with pen and paper, and later a Commodore 64 Computer-yes, I’m that old, I began my journey as a writer. I wrote TREK poems, short stories and articles for newsletters. I even had several items published in various Star Trek fanzines with letters from the editors asking for more. Encouraged by that small success, and with no clue about how the real world of writing functioned, I began my first novel. The Inheritance , a Star Trek novel by Sharon Srock. Yep, I wrote it. I still have it on my computer today, and a hard copy buried in my closet somewhere. People that read it liked it, praised it, and encouraged me to publish it. That’s when I ran into the brick wall of reality that is the publishing business. Let’s put this on hold for just a second.
One more thing you should know about me. I’m Pentecostal. I’ve worshipped at the same Pentecostal church for 40 years. For those of you unfamiliar with us Pentecostals, our services can get a little rowdy, in a wonderful way. One night, in the midst of my Trek writing, our church was in revival. Now, this evangelist didn’t know me from Eve, had no way of knowing what my hobbies were. During the alter service she singled me out of the congregation and called me to the front. She placed her hands on my head and spoke words over me that I’ll never forget. “I have placed a pen in your hand and a lamp by your side. Use them for me.”
Well, you know, that wasn’t what I wanted to hear. The writing part was all well and good, but how did you write for Jesus. The only Christian material I’d ever seen was Sunday school lessons and “Draw closer to God” books written by educated theologians. That wasn’t me.
Some things happened over the next few months that caused me to doubt the validity of this evangelist. Combine that with the brick wall I’d run into trying to get my novel read, much less published, and I packed my pen and paper away. I eventually grew away from the TREK stuff, life moved on, and I didn’t write anything for almost 10 years.
Fast forward, Spring 2009. I’m sitting at my desk at work and a new employee stops by to introduce herself. In the course of the small talk she mentioned that she was a writer.
“That used to be my dream,” said I. She looked me right in the eye and spoke 5 words to me that changed my life.
“You gave up too soon,” says she.
It was like a fountain opened up inside of me that day. I’ve been writing ever since.
The last three years has not been without it’s doubts and insecurities. I’ve spent hours in prayer, begging God to show me His will for my life, to give me some indication of the path He had for me. And all that time, I wrote.
With hopeful heart and stars in my eyes, I submitted my first story to an agent. He shot me down and introduced me to some more reality. Just because you’re called to do something doesn’t mean you can skip the education portion of the program. So I worked, and learned, and continued to beg God for direction. I doubted myself and my abilities even while I continued to write. After all, I made God wait for almost 25 years, should I complain if God made me wait now?
And now God has blessed me with the answer to my prayers and the fulfillment of my dream, but I never want it to be about me, or what I’ve done. This is His project and I’m just the funnel to the keyboard. Through all of this, especially over the last couple of weeks where things have just snowballed towards blessing, I keep asking myself one question. Where would I be now if I’d listened 25 years ago?
There are lessons to learn for my experience. Learn, Listen, Pray, and NEVER give up on your dreams. Why do you write?***This has been a little long, and I apologize. If you are missing the women, pop over to Karla's page to the right, there's a little teaser posted there. They'll be back next week.***