I’m new to the More Than Writers blog, so I thought I would take the opportunity to tell a little of my writing story – which is very much part of my wider story.
I’ve always been drawn to words. When I was small, I wrote short stories on scrappy bits of paper I found lying round the house. At eight, I wrote a whole book in a notebook about a girl who defeated a terrifying group of goblins who lived, for some inexplicable reason, under the River Dove. I showed it to my teacher and she told me that one day I would be an author.
It took me a long time to come close to realising that goal, which has long been a desire in me, but lay dormant for many years. I stopped writing when I started a career in teaching, and when a chronic lung condition degenerated rapidly I stopped ‘doing’ much at all. For a long time, I struggled with my identity, which was so very bound up in stuff I did. God worked in me in such grace and I came to understand that my identity was firm in God, not in what I could offer or how I could be of use. As my condition worsened, my life became narrower.
The writing bug never left, and a few years ago it seized hold of me anew, filling me with passion and far too many late-night ideas. I scribbled them down and began writing a Young Adult trilogy which lies somewhere between The Hunger Games and Nothing to Envy. That one is still a work in progress – I sent the first book to a few agents, had some encouraging replies and requests for full manuscripts, but nothing further. I tried not to let the rejections get me down too much (let’s face it, rejections really do suck) and carried on.
That’s when I felt God was calling me to write a book for the Christian market. God spoke to me clearly (that doesn’t usually happen!) about putting the other stuff aside for a time and concentrating on this book. I wanted to write about contentment, because people told me I couldn’t possibly be contented in a life like mine, where some days I am confined to bed, weeping in pain. I’d read the apostle Paul’s statement that he’d learned the secret of being content in all circumstances, and wondered what that could mean, knowing he wrote this from a prison cell. I looked around and saw so many of us struggling in our lives – with pain, with fear, with anxiety, with grief. I longed to explore what it meant to ‘be content in Christ’ in the realities we live in. So the idea for Catching Contentment was born. It will be published later this year by IVP. My prayer is that it will encourage people who are living in the ambiguity of present suffering while knowing Jesus has come to bring life in all its fullness.
One of the best parts of my journey has been joining the Association of Christian Writers, as I have met people in this group who have been incredibly supportive, and discovered some wonderful reading material written by other writers here.
That’s a little of my writing story so far – I look forward to sharing more about writing, faith and life in general, and finding out more about you!