Please welcome this weeks guest Patty Smith Hall for The Journey. She answers the question: How have you seen God work in your writing journey?
My writing journey has been one long and winding road(a nod to the Beatles there) full of twists and turns, stopping and starting on a moment’s whims depending on what daughter needed me at the time. But 2004 was a pivotal year for me, the year I was awarded a scholarship to the ACFW National Conference in Denver. At that time, I had been writing for almost five years with little to nothing to show for my efforts. I had one novel that I had written over and over again, trying to get it right. While I crawled back into my writing cave to ‘perfect’ my book, my friends were signing multi-book contracts and showing up in the CBD catalog.
I was being left behind.
So as I sat in a conference room, waiting for the very last class of that 2004 ACFW conference to begin, I couldn’t help but wonder why I’d even bothered to come. True, I had won a scholarship, but even before I arrived in Denver, I had wondered if maybe it would have been better to give it to someone who was writing every day, who was producing stories and putting them in the editor’s hands. Because at that moment, that person sure wasn’t me. Once again, I asked myself the question that had been haunting me since I stepped off the plane.
Lord, why am I here?
But there was no answer as the speaker stepped up to the microphone. Her subject has interested me–Eight Minutes=One Dream. I thought she was going to talk on how just writing eight minutes a day could get that book down on paper and finally out the door.
I was in for a huge surprise. The minute she began talking about how eight minutes in the Bible every day could focus us on the ministry God had given us, an unbearable weight settled over me, each word piercing my heart, cutting through my emotions like the sharpest knife. Those years of frustration have been because I’d focused on myself, what I would get out of being a published writer. God had called me to write for HIM–I was a literary missionary meant to share the Good News. And no matter whether one word I’ve ever written got published, He wanted me to write to His glory!
The teacher must have seen my agony because at the end of class, she handed me a copy of Marlene Bagnell’s Bible study for writers, Write His Answer. The verses and words of Ms Bagnell’s lessons changed me over the next few months–my attitude about my writing evolved and I discovered a peace that replaced my frustration.
That’s not to say I didn’t have those moments of envy when a friend would land yet another contract, but they didn’t last long. I learned to trust God with my writing. If and when I ever got published was up to Him. I simply needed to write because that’s what God has called me to do. Be a literary missionary.
Patty Smith Hall has been making up stories to keep herself occupied since she was knee-high to a grasshopper. Now she’s thrilled to share her love of history and storytelling with everyone, including her husband of thirty years, Danny; her beautiful and talented daughters, Jennifer and Carly, and her future son-in-law, Dan.
Back Cover Blurb for Hearts Rekindled:
“I’m Here to See My Daughter.”
She never thought she’d see John Davenport again. Merrilee Daniels Davenport’s former husband has returned to their small Georgia town after fighting in the Pacific. And now the soldier is bearing a letter from the little girl he didn’t know he had. Merrilee wishes that she and her daughter could lean on John’s able shoulders, but her new assignment as a homeland informant won’t allow it.
Twelve years have only made Merrilee more beautiful in John’s eyes. Back then, he was the proud fool who walked away. Now all he wants is to prove he can be the husband she deserves, and the daddy his daughter needs.
Kristena Tunstall says
Patty, thank you for sharing your journey with us. I loved reading it and feel blessed as a result. 😀
Jean Ann Williams says
I like what you’ve shared, Patty. I too toiled and slaved, not even thinking to pray over my work. No more. I see too that I’m called as a literary missionary. Thank you!