Please welcome this weeks guest Peggy Wirgau for The Journey. She answers the question: How have you seen God work in your writing journey?
Around the time I learned to read came my love for writing. If I had time to spare during a school day in first grade (and I usually did) I composed little rhymes and stories in my head, then wrote them on a large sheet of blue-lined paper from the stack near the window of my classroom. Writing was a joy; fun and freeing, and I couldn’t get enough of it. The Lord had planted a tiny seed.
As time went on, constant required book reports and essays took the place of writing stories and poetry. Then I went to college, majoring in English. I had to write constantly, but rarely on subjects I cared about. Instead, I had to compare the styles of dead authors and their dry novels I could never quite manage to finish. I wanted to be a writer of some sort, and everyone said I should switch my major to journalism. But I knew I didn’t want to be a reporter, and with no other guidance, I didn’t know what else to do. I graduated, worked, married, and didn’t write more than a recipe or a letter for years. A new interest in the medical field led me to study for a bachelor’s degree in nursing, and my writing consisted mostly of lengthy patient assessments and care plans.
Several years later, I had two children and a part-time job in a pediatrician’s office. God was a bigger part of my life than He had been for years, but I wasn’t thinking about my dormant desire to write. One day at home, I noticed a tiny ad in a magazine from the Institute For Children’s Literature. They were “looking for people to write children’s books.” I’d thought writing for publication was too hard, but they made it sound possible. Maybe I really could be a writer.
I sent for the writing test, and soon signed up for their online beginner’s course. Before long, I had a multi-published author for an instructor, a giant handbook plus supplemental reading, and ten fun assignments. My first sale came shortly afterward when I read about a need for articles related to circuses at Appleseeds magazine. I had just written a course assignment that fit perfectly, and when their Circuses edition came out six months later, there was my article on page 28. I was a published author!
A few more sales followed, along with plenty of rejections. I made friends with other children’s writers, entered contests and went to conferences. Then I decided to write a novel and joined American Christian Fiction Writers. Thrilled with the novel’s outcome and encouraged by my critique partners, I pitched it to a few agents at a conference. But it wasn’t ready. Truthfully, now that I’ve learned more and gained some experience, I know it still isn’t quite what it could be. Someday I’ll revise it, but I put it aside to write my second novel. This one has gained some good attention, and now I’m in the midst of waiting, waiting, waiting to hear a “Yes.”
Like the writing journeys of many hopeful writers, mine has been a slow crawl, mixed with a few highs and lows, detours and dead ends. I often ask God, “What’s the big deal? It’s just a book. Why the wait?” I don’t get an answer, but somehow I feel strongly led to persevere. Meanwhile, I’ll continue to grow as a writer and learn and network with other writers and readers. And in case you’re wondering, I’m still a nurse. It sure comes in handy when one of my characters gets frostbite or has a febrile seizure. But unlike a nurse, sometimes I have to let them suffer. After all, I’m a writer now, too.
Peggy Wirgau lives in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. She writes stories, articles, and novels for middle grade readers and young adults. Her work has been published in Appleseeds, Learning Through History, Insight, and other periodicals. She has written a yet-to-be-published contemporary novel for young adults, and a historical for middle grades. She is an active member of ACFW and SCBWI, and enjoys attending the national conferences as well as chapter conferences in Michigan. She is the mother of two adult children, and writes and edits material for a nonprofit organization and an investment banking firm. Peggy is also a Registered Nurse.
You can find Peggy on Facebook at Writer Peggy Wirgau and on Twitter. She also blogs at The Barn Door www.thebarndoor.net on the 14th of the month.