I am often asked, “Did you always want to be a writer and speaker?”
The answer is not a simple one. I believe I always felt the pull of God’s Spirit to communicate with everyone around me. Just ask my teachers! Did I dream about writing and speaking professionally? Did I ever think I’d be writing books and speaking across the nation in ministry at this time in my life? No!
I had always loved reading and lived for the Friday evenings my mom and I spent at the library. Words became important to me very early in my life. And I did love to talk. My older brother used to roll his eyes when I’d strike up a conversation with yet another bank teller or grocery checker, asking, “Mom, can’t you shut her up?”
But when I had to choose between spoken and written words for a high school assignment, I chose the 50-page essay over the 15-minute oral report. I lacked the confidence to stand before a room full of 17 year olds, silently picking me apart in their heads. Candidly, I wouldn’t want to do that even today!
Eventually, I got beyond the fear of standing to speak in front of a room. I’ve spent nearly 30 years as an executive coach, trainer, and speaker. I’ve worked for small companies and corporate giants across the country and around the world, most of those years as the owner of my own consulting company.
But that was business, not ministry. Writing books never crossed my mind, although it crossed the mind of some who knew me.
For at least 20 years, three people in my life routinely asked, “When are you going to write your book?” I hadn’t a clue what they meant. When my husband asked, I recalI thinking, maybe he figures if I write down my thoughts, it might be quieter in the house. No such luck.
My brother was a journalist, a real writer, and he, too, said to me over the years, “You should be writing.” It was puzzling. The only things he’d ever read of mine were the letters we’d exchanged over the last 15 years or so of his life.
And then there was my friend, Eve. I responded to yet another inquiry as to when I was going to start writing with frustration: “Eve! I’m perfectly happy with my career.”
She nodded, “Yes. But those are gifts God’s given you. He’s let you cut your teeth on the business world. But one day, dear friend, He will call those in for His kingdom.”
“But writing is not what I do.”
She smiled and said simply, “It’s not what you do—or it’s not what you’ve done? There’s a difference, you know.”
Lightning bolt. One I could no longer ignore.
But write books? What would I write about? And who on earth would want to read them?
Yet three years later I’ve sold three books to Christian publishing companies and written for numerous publications in print and online. In 2015 I will write a monthly column for a highly respected, internationally published Christian magazine.
How did that happen? What changed? God asked me to do it.
It wasn’t overnight, but I began to sense God’s nudge to write. And when I obeyed, I experienced His sweet Spirit in a way I never had. Time at the keyboard became time with Him. When I prayed for direction, He gave it. “Write what you know,” is advice often given to those with the desire. Turns out, it was His advice, too.
So I wrote about relationships and communication and conflict resolution. Eve was right. The topics and skills familiar to me for many years in the boardroom became those the Lord asked me to address in ministry. But the focus was new: no longer business, but family, marriage, parenting, grandparenting. Suddenly it all made sense.
I’m grateful for the new awareness of God’s call on my life, and overwhelmed by the hand He extended as I stepped into what I can only think of as my destiny. Occasionally, people ask if I’m sad that I was past mid-life before I began to write. Not at all. The areas that God directed me to required all those years of living and walking with Jesus through challenges in my role as wife, mother, sister, and friend.
One of the sweet unexpected joys of this experience is the chance to help others who might be feeling that same nudge.
Coaching others, first in the business world, and more recently as a personal/relationship coach, has become a passion. I love the different aspects of what I do. Helping people through life’s challenges or coaching them through new opportunities is rewarding.
At a recent writer’s conference, I found myself skipping workshops to sit with other writers who were looking not only for encouragement, but also for real assistance. My experience as a coach, coupled with the accelerated publishing industry education I’ve gathered in the last three years, kicked right in.
Writing is a solitary activity and it can be isolating. It’s a tough industry, and can be very discouraging working on your own, figuring it out as you go. Many who feel called, give up before they really get started and their wonderful stories are lost.
I was blessed to have a wonderful mentor who became a friend, and now a business partner in an exciting writing venture called WordGirls.
We realized writers are looking for new ways to get their feet in the door with publishers. The old ways aren’t as effective. Reaching publishing goals is getting more difficult. There are plenty of solutions available, but many of them are merely cookie-cutter remedies.
That’s why my partner, Kathy Carlton Willis, and I started WordGirls. WordGirls is a members-only group of Christian women writers meeting virtually each month for practical and inspirational training sessions. We founded WordGirls to provide training and products to equip writers for publication—whether they are newbies or writing veterans. WordGirls is designed for highly motivated writers looking to take their writing to the next level, regardless of where they are today.
We’ll be covering the craft, the business, and the industry of writing. We will discuss the call of writing (are you commissioned or curious?), as well as the discipline, ministry, and fellowship of writing. In addition to the monthly training sessions, we will have a private online social media page where fellowship, prayer, and brainstorming partners can be found.
WordGirl Weekend Getaways are another great feature. Kathy and I will offer two Texas-based workshops annually, customized for that specific group’s goals and needs, with each attendee receiving an hour of personal coaching time in addition to all the great workshops and training. But if a WordGirl member invites us to her neck of the woods, we’ll travel – and the hosting member not only attends free, she gets her next year of membership free, as well! And you don’t need to be a member to attend a getaway. If you are interested in learning more about WG membership, you can contact us at YourWordGirls@gmail.com. We’d love to send you more information.
For those gals who felt the nudge just now, don’t ignore it. You may be stunned at what God has in mind for you.
Romans 11:29 has become my reminder: “God’s gifts and God’s call are under full warranty—never canceled, never rescinded,” (MSG). The love of words He placed in me as a child was on purpose, for His purpose, now. Perhaps, that’s you, too.
Remember, God never gives up on what He’s called you to do. It’s never too late to finish and it’s always too early to quit!