Monday, July 13, 2009

My Writing Story

By Nichole Giles

I got a phone message the other day. My neighbor’s sister heard I write books and wanted to ask me some questions. Though I haven’t talked to her yet, I definitely plan to call her back. It’s easy for me to remember the day when I consciously decided to start writing—for real.

I’ve always been a big reader, and had recently read several books in which a main or supporting character was a writer. (Yeah, goes back to us writing what we know.) Believe it or not, reading those books was the first time it occurred to me that people could actually write as a career. I mean, you know, there are authors, and they do it, but they’re like actors and supermodels. At the time, in my mind, I might as well go apply for a job at Nasa and ask to be an astronaut. But the idea was planted, and no matter how I avoided starting, it grew until I decided to write anyway. Not for fame and fortune, but because I needed to do it. Because it was something for me. I’d supported my husband in his career, my children in school and sports and babyhood, and this was something I wanted, and that I could do for me.

The catalyst, though, came one day when I was reading a parenting magazine and came across an advertisement for a writing class. It seemed too good to be true that I could take this college accredited course (I’d had zero college) through the mail—and they promised to help me produce at least one publishable article by the end. What I didn’t realize was that they didn’t guarantee my article would be accepted anywhere—just that it would be good. That class was the first interaction I ever had with another author, and it was absolutely liberating for me. I learned a lot.

As I communicated with my instructor, she encouraged me to find and attend some writing conferences. But I had no idea where to even look (this was before the days of Google and having information available at the click of a mouse—or at least that I knew of). Then one day, I was in the library checking out, and came across a flier for a writer’s conference by a group called the LDStorymakers—and it happened to be the very next weekend. I took the flier, and hung onto it for two or three days before I got brave and called the number to talk to a lady named Tristi Pinkston. She told me they had room and that I could pay at the door.

I had no idea what to expect when I went, but let me just tell you, I never, ever in my wildest dreams expected what I got. That weekend I learned a lot—but what’s more, I made some amazing, incredible friends. Also, I joined my very first writer’s group, where I’ve had more encouragement than I could ever had imagined. These people have taught me more than any college or class ever could, and I’ll forever be in their debt.

See, even as I was searching for that special thing for myself, I was fighting incredible amounts of guilt. I was the wife and mother—and it should be enough for any woman, right? Why should I need something for myself? But I did, and somehow, I knew that if I didn’t do this, I would lose myself entirely.

It’s been several years since I started this journey. This year, I’ll have two books published—something that I never could have dreamed was in my life path before I started it.

But the very most amazing thing is the comfort and support I’ve received since I started. Heavenly Father has shown me over and over again how important it is that I magnify my talent, and use it to better myself and those around me. I almost didn’t do it—but I am infinitely grateful that I did.

Just in case my story isn’t enough inspiration to help give you a boost, watch this video. I promise, there will be no more doubt and no more guilt—but you may shed a few tears.

See you in two weeks!


Christine Thackeray said...

Wow, Great video. It is fascinating how we all began this process. Thanks for sharing.

Nichole Giles said...

Christine, I think it's important for us to realize that everyone starts out somewhere.

I love this video, too.


Rebecca Talley said...

Love this video, especially the line, "Don't let critics paralyze you." Powerful message.

Anne Bradshaw said...

Loved reading your story. Hope we meet some day.

Btw, if you want the video to fit the column, just go into the html and change the width measurement. Something like 400 W and 300 H usually works. Need to change it in both places where these measurements apply. Have fun :-)

Tristi Pinkston said...

So glad you called me that day, Nichole!!

JoAnn Arnold said...

Great message from you and from Elder Uchtdorf. Thank you.

Nichole Giles said...

Thanks for the comments everyone! And Ann, sorry the video doesn't fit exactly right. Changing it cut off one end, and I didn't want that.

I hope it's inspiring enough to make up for being over sized. =)