Please welcome this weeks guest Kathy Harris for The Journey. She answers the question: How have you seen God work in your writing journey?
I’ve often wondered how we can know at a young age what we want to pursue in life. No doubt God places the desire within our heart as a calling to be fulfilled at the time and place He ordains, the path remaining uncertain.
By the time I was seven or eight, I knew I wanted to be a writer, and I followed that dream through high school and college. However, after college graduation, my plans took a sharp turn. No writing-related job awaited me. Instead, I was given the chance to move to Nashville and work in the music industry. It was an exciting possibility, so I put my writing dreams on hold and moved to Tennessee.
For a year or so, I supplemented my income by writing music bios and magazine articles. But my full-time job eventually became an all-consuming career, one that has been fun, challenging, and fulfilling. As I look back over the past three decades, I can’t imagine my life without the unexpected path I took.
The spark of my earlier writing passion flickered occasionally, and I made a few false starts on a book. But I was never inspired to stay with a project. My heart just wasn’t in it.
About ten years ago, I sensed the need for a new direction in my life, and I knew if I was going to make a significant commitment of my time, I wanted it to be for the glory of God. During the next two years I began—and completed—my first novel. I was fortunate in that, because of my music business connections, I could get the proposal into the hands of a well-known agent in New York. (As I look back now, I realize what an incredible opportunity that was.) After only a few weeks, he returned his response. Simply put, it read, “I don’t represent this kind of thing.”
That agent’s words only drove me further down the path of Christian fiction, and thanks to God’s timing the American Christian Fiction Writers conference was scheduled for Nashville in 2005. I registered and was convinced it would represent my path to publication. I was right, it did. Seven years later.
In the meantime, I had much to learn. That first conference experience was all but overwhelming, and I found out quickly that I had no real grasp of the process or the even the vernacular of the publishing business. If it hadn’t been for the fellowship and the worship sessions, I might have become discouraged.
But, with the help of the new friends I made that week, members of a local writer’s group (which is now known as Middle Tennessee Christian Writers) and ACFW, I set out to study the craft of fiction and to write a second novel. That manuscript, The Road to Mercy, would ultimately become my first published book (Abingdon Press, September 2012).
There are many times in a beginning writer’s journey—at least there have been in mine—when you come upon a roadblock, whether it’s vital information you can’t find through research or a lack of self-confidence. I struggled with both while I was writing The Road to Mercy. But those were also the times when I felt God’s presence the most.
For me, fulfilling my “calling” as a writer became a journey of decades with many detours. Often my goal wasn’t even within sight. Still, I can now see that God was leading my every step.