I #LiveChosen- Laurie
I gave some thought to the idea of vocation back in high school and college, but it never quite seemed to fit with my life. I was drawn to a few areas of study and had a knack for certain subjects, but nothing ever felt like a true calling. Eventually, I concluded that vocations were for people like doctors, nurses, clergy, and missionaries. Since none of those fields interested me, I just needed to find a career. A job.
I went on to law school and worked as an attorney for several years. I enjoyed my co-workers, and the analytical, wordsmithing nature of the work suited the way I think. But I never attached any real importance to it—my career was merely the means to a paycheck.
When my first son was born, I felt much more drawn to parenting than to my work, despite the time and expense I’d put toward my law degree. With my husband’s full support, I left my job to become a stay-at-home mom, and for a short time it felt as though I’d found my purpose.
Then I became restless. Caring for a baby was physically draining, but I needed more mental stimulation. One beautiful fall day, as I pondered what kind of project I might take on, the thought struck me. You could write a book. My first instinct was to dismiss it. I was a reader, not a writer. I did well with legal writing, but that was very different than writing a full-fledged book. Especially a work of fiction.
But the idea stuck with me. Soon I even recalled a story idea I’d come up with years before, complete with vivid scenes playing through my mind. So I gave it a try. I took out my computer, opened a blank Word document, and started typing. Certain I was crazy. Certain I would give it up within the week. That evening, in the midst of much hemming and hawing, I admitted to my husband that I’d started writing a fantasy / romance for teens. I waited anxiously for the laughter, but it never came. Instead, he shrugged and said something like, “That sounds great, good for you.” If he only knew what he was getting himself into… ☺
Instead of dwindling, my interest in writing increased exponentially over the following months. I wrote every spare moment, and ideas flooded my head whenever I couldn’t be at my computer. I’d never before encountered something that exerted such a pull on both my mind and heart, and I was hooked.
Fast-forward several years. My first manuscript had been rejected by numerous agents, and with a heavy heart, I chose to set it aside. I was just discovering the notion of Christian fantasy, and I decided to be more open about my faith as I launched into a new project. I joined American Christian Fiction Writers and found not only a wealth of resources, but also an amazing community of fellow writers and authors. It seemed as though I had found my niche.
My trip to the Realm Makers Conference for Christian writers of speculative fiction (fantasy, science fiction, dystopian, etc.) in July, 2016 confirmed it. It was an incredible experience to be surrounded by so many like-minded writers, and I had the opportunity to connect with Love2ReadLove2Write Publishing, which later became the publishing home for my debut young adult fantasy novel, Common, which will release in 2018.
In the midst of all this growth in my writing journey, I had another revelation. One of my critique partners was offered a contract with a small publisher and needed someone knowledgeable to review it. Without any publishing law expertise I wasn’t able to help, but it got me thinking. What if I developed that specialty? What if I could use my background in law to counsel fellow writers and supplement my earnings from book sales? My kids are too young to make that goal a reality just yet, but the prospect has me more excited about law than I’ve been in a long, long time.
That brings us to the present. After spending most of my life assuming I wasn’t called to do anything in particular, I’m starting to see glimmers of the purpose God may have in store for me beyond my roles as a wife and mother. My big imagination, love of reading, and skill with words have all drawn together to prepare me to be an author. Even my past discouragements and challenges are coming into play. Reflecting back on the insecurities I experienced as a teenager, I write fantasy adventures about ordinary teen girls who accomplish amazing things, not due to special skills or awe-inducing destinies, but because they care and are willing to try in spite of their shortcomings. Past heartaches caused by falling for the wrong guys and our society’s obsession with physical beauty inspire me to write swoon-worthy romances based on friendship and mutual respect in addition to physical attraction. And (hopefully) several years from now, I can take the law degree that I’d seemingly thrown away and use it to help fellow writers accomplish their dreams.
I know there will be many twists and turns along my journey that I can’t foresee, and many days the thought of being a published author terrifies me. But I have to believe that this is where God wants me to be, at least for the time being, and I’m amazed and humbled that He had a vocation in mind for me after all. Even though I never saw it coming.
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