Monday, March 9, 2009

A Year in the Making

Almost a year ago, I sat in a dark theater watching a now-familiar movie. At the time, I struggled to write the first draft of my novel. I felt very alone with that conflict.

Toward the end of the movie, however, a realization dawned on me: I wasn't alone. Since I grew up in a very religious family, I believe in a loving God. Shouldn't God love me enough to care about my writing? The experience taught me it was appropriate to pray about my writing projects. I now do that frequently.

It's a pity it took me a year to take this to the next step.

I've known since childhood that I wanted to be a writer. In junior high, I decided that I wanted to write YA novels: I found myself with a somewhat limited reading selection, and I wanted to create books like the ones I loved so that later readers would not share my trouble. In college, however, I lost track of that goal. I was reminded over and over that you can't make a living as a YA author, that you have to have something to fall back on. I spent so much time focusing on the fallback that, until recently, I practically stopped writing and reading. Bringing writing back into my life should have brought that goal forward, but recently, I've still been paranoid about not having a fallback plan. Am I a good enough writer to make it in the real world?

This weekend at stake conference, a year-old realization finally hit me. The Lord knows who I am and who He wants me to be. If my goal of becoming a YA author is not part of His plan for me, He would let me know. I just needed to ask.

Ironically, I had a conversation about this with a coworker this morning. He has been struggling with the same question: should he pursue and MA or an MFA in writing? Should he train to teach literature that he does not love, or should he pursue his passion for personal essay? My circumstances are different--I want to be able to choose YA fantasy over technical editing--but I tried to offer what advice I could.

At first, I struggled with what to say. However, as I bore my testimony that God knows me and will guide me to the correct choice, I realized that I had my answer.

I'm not sure where YA publishing will take me. I should be terrified, but I'm not. I know that things will happen in the Lord's time. For now, I'm just happy to know that a prayer was answered...
Even if I really should have thought to ask earlier.

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