When I was young, I loved Nancy Drew books. I consumed them faster than a canister of Pringles potato chips. The plots were suspenseful and Nancy was an inspiration. I dreamed of being just like her. She was an assertive young woman, who clearly had great problem solving skills. Not to mention a dreamy boyfriend named Ned Nickerson, who, based on the author’s description, was THE perfect guy. As desperate as I was to be like Nancy, I realized pretty quickly I’d never make it as a female detective. First, I lived in Star Lake, NY which was a tiny town in the middle of nowhere. The only mystery in Star Lake was why they called a building ‘The Village Green,’ when it wasn’t green at all. Second, I was afraid of everything, which would have made it difficult to be a super sleuth like Nancy. I decided early on that if I couldn’t be a detective I’d write great literary works like the Nancy Drew series.
And then came fourth grade language arts…
My teacher had a reputation at the school for being tough and mean. One day, she called me up to her desk. Red pen in hand, she pointed out every mistake I had made in my essay. She was brutal. I felt the eyes of the entire class on me as I stood listening to her tirade. In that moment, I put to death my dream of writing the next best-selling Nancy Drew book.
It would be a long time before my dream of being a writer was reawakened.
After my husband and I were married, I began sending a yearly letter to our friends and family at Christmas time. The letters where full of the most eventful happenings of the year in the Ringeisen household. Surprisingly, people found them wildly entertaining and asked me if I was a writer. I laughed at the idea. It wasn’t until a friend said, “Betty, you have a gift. You should use it to encourage others” that I began to wonder if perhaps I had given up my writing career too easily. Maybe my fourth grade language arts teacher had been wrong.
I wasn’t sure what to do. (This was long before blogging, social media, and women’s online magazines became popular.) Finally, I settled for going back to college. After all, I had been out of school for many years. If I was going be a writer, I’d better refresh my memory on the technical aspects of writing. I enrolled in two classes. One was a Bible class, the other was English Literature.
The Bible class was awesome! I was an “A” student.
English lit. was going well, until the professor returned my first paper. In big red ink across the top, she had written, “65-call my office tomorrow at 1 o’clock.” Suddenly, I was in the fourth grade again. I called my best friend and told her I was dropping out. She laughed and then realized I was serious.
The next day, I reluctantly dialed my professor’s number. I knew she was going to encourage me to give up trying to be a writer and stick to housekeeping. To my surprise, she pointed out the positive aspects of my writing and then gave me suggestions to improve my content. Eventually, as my confidence grew, my writing improved, and I earned excellent grades on my papers. However, I still wasn’t sure how to transition from Christmas cards and college papers to publications.
The answer came, and continues to come, in pieces.
The first was given to me in Israel.
While in the Holy Land, our tour group spent two days at the Sea of Galilee. During our time there, we visited the beach where the resurrected Jesus had cooked breakfast for the disciples. After a short teaching, our leaders gave us time to reflect and talk to God. Shortly into my conversation, through the eyes of my heart, I saw God holding a book that was full of empty pages. He handed it to me with a pen and said, “Now write.” I assumed He was telling me to write a book. I came home and started writing down ideas for chapters. However, it didn’t seem to go any further.
The second piece came to me in my bathroom. Don’t laugh, it’s a great place to have privacy in a busy house. It was a cold February morning and I was huddled under a blanket in front of a heater when I heard God say, “I want you to start an online women’s magazine.”
I laughed at Him and responded, “I’d love to, but I have no idea how to start an online women’s magazine. Need I remind You that I went to school to be a buyer/designer for a large department store?”
His response, “Go to Nichole and Stacy, they’ll know how to do it.”
Weeks later, the three of us were dreaming BIG dreams and creating an online women’s magazine. After nine months, we launched The Kingdom Life Now. A year later, we have grown into a successful online publication where people share their stories, regardless of how well they performed in language arts.
I’ve worked with some amazing women (and a few men, too) this year. I’m constantly reading blogs looking for future contributors. Nichole and Stacy call it “trolling the internet.” It was while I was trolling, I came across Deb DeArmond’s website. After reading her stuff, I wanted to contact her and ask her to contribute to our publication, but I was intimidated to ask her to write for us because she’s a great writer. Fortunately, I overcame my fear of rejection and sent her an email. A few days later, I received a response from Deb confirming she’d write an article for us. Little did I know God was going to use her to reveal yet another step in my writing journey.
One of Deb’s passions is to coach other writers. Recently, she and her friend, Kathy Carlton Willis, started a writer’s group called WordGirls. The focus of the group is to help women who are serious about their writing and want to take it to the next level to achieve their goals.
A few months ago, they announced they were having a launch party. It sounded fun, and I had never been to an online party, so at the appointed time I jumped online. To my surprise, I won the grand prize, which was a half-price membership to the group for the first year. I’m not sure where this next step on my journey will take me, but I’m beginning to believe the empty pages of the book God handed me at the Sea of Galilee will one day be completely filled. Who knows, maybe I will write a best-selling Nancy Drew book.
Perhaps, you have a desire to write, but don’t know where to start. Check out WordGirls. It could be the first step in your journey to becoming a writer.