A Gift: a thing given willingly to someone without payment; a natural ability or talent.
A Calling: a strong urge toward a particular way of life or career; a vocation.
Writing has been called both a gift and a calling. I guess it could be either or it could be both.
For me I’d say writing is a gift. I’m not sure I’d go as far as to say I have a natural ability for writing but definitely my passion for words and story have been with me as long as I can remember. As a kid I had a hard time learning to read. It wasn’t until my own kids were effortlessly learning to read—when I suspected they were simply memorizing and repeating what they’d heard—that I realized that’s what I’d done. I’d inhale anything that was read to me and regurgitate it almost verbatim. I entrained myself making up words and stories. Some I wrote down, most I stowed safely in my mind, where no one could read them and laugh at my outrageous spelling.
The stories I concocted became my private entertainment, the characters my companions. Even when I trained as a nurse I memorized signs, symptoms and treatments by implanting them in stories.
It wasn’t until 1999 that I thought of trying to actually write one of my stories down. I had an idea built around the millennium and I thought if ever there was a time to see if I could write, this was it. I discovered I loved the process. I let a few friends read what I wrote and they were enchanted by the story and characters. They encouraged me to take the next step and seek a publisher.
“You should publish that."
So easy to say, isn’t it? So hard to do!
When I read that first story now I am appalled by its inconsistencies and awed by my friend’s love, that they would see past all the things I’d done wrong to my heart and my desire to entertain them. I’ve written many stories since then, published two books. I’ve have worked hard to improve my skills, to take the gift God gave me and do the best I can with it.
But has God called me to write?
Yes, I have a strong urge toward a particular way of life—the life of a writer. And although I don't feel called to write one particular thing vs another, I strive to glorify and honour God through my words and my life. Because this is what I believe all of God's children are called to do.
What about you?
I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences. How has God lead you?
Jayne E. Self lives in Canada and writes mysteries--mostly. Check her website for books, book reviews, writing tips, blog posts and more.