According to author Willa Cather, “Most of the basic material a writer works with is acquired before the age of fifteen.”
Her words hit home with me. I was six years old when I first became enamored with Jesus. Six years later, I asked Him into my heart when I understood that I needed a Savior. As a child, I’d pretend to be a missionary nurse and explain the Gospel to my dolls. When I was fifteen, I wrote a fiction story (which filled three spiral notebooks) based on a missionary nurse in Africa. Alas, I never became a nurse or a missionary. However, sharing the Gospel and talking about Jesus never waned. And that “material, acquired before the age of fifteen,” defines me as an author.
The theme of God’s love, grace, and faithfulness revealed in ordinary people’s lives is what I write about on my blog, devotions, first-person stories. If I wrote fiction, I’d incorporate the same theme. I’ve tried to think “outside my box” and daydream about writing the next great American novel. But I always return to the subject…nay, the object of my affection…Christ Jesus.
Granted, some days I question why I’m writing. Wonder if my words make a difference. I grumble that it’d be easier if I pursued a career as a concert pianist even though I don’t play the piano. But then I read the Bible. Or someone tells me about God’s transforming power in their lives—and I’m hooked. Heart ignites. Fingers start typing. Joy trickles along my spine.
Someone asked me, “Why don’t you write a secular novel which translates to the movie screen instead of writing for Christians magazines?” The person implied I’d never earn money or fame. Great point if those were the carrots that compelled me to write. That’s why I’m thankful for Inspire Christian Writers. “They exists to provide a network of support, encouragement, education, and spiritual growth for Christian writers.” I joined years ago and can attest I wouldn’t be the dedicated writer I am today without their positive, godly influence.
What defines you as a writer? Can you trace your subject or themes to your youth?