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!
Monday, July 13, 2009
By Nichole Giles