It Was a Dark and Stormy Night

Monday, March 1, 2010

It was a dark and stormy night. Or not.

I entered the world at a hospital in Southern Michigan, and I don't remember a single thing about it: especially not the weather. But, like Snoopy, I was born to write (hopefully with less cliched opening lines).

My first attempts to be a published writer came in high school. I submitted a murder mystery (so bad I shuddered when I read it years later) to Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine and a children's story (better) to Jack and Jill. Both magazines rejected my work. I also submitted several poems to a regional poetry magazine, which published them. Unfortunately, I can't remember either the poems or the name of the magazine.

Even with that success, I never thought about being a full-time writer. For most of my early years I wanted to be a teacher or a doctor or even both (following in the footsteps of my favorite teacher and her husband). Then came my junior year of high school and a re-evaluation: now I wanted to be Perry Mason.

I eventually realized my dream of being a lawyer, but I never became Perry Mason. It didn't take me long to discover that I couldn't think on my feet well enough to be a litigator. But that was okay, because lawyers who don't litigate still write, and I loved writing. I also loved being a lawyer. For the longest time, I couldn't picture myself in any other profession.

That changed in the summer of 2003 when Roland and I dropped our son off at camp as a prelude to our first childless vacation in twenty years. While standing in the registration line, I noticed a rack of books for sale. One was If You Want to Walk on Water, You've Got to Get Out of the Boat by John Ortberg. The title intrigued me, so I bought the book, took it on vacation, and consumed it. That's when I knew God was calling me to a new career.

Did I start immediately? No. I was enthusiastic enough, but Roland wasn't. And I believe that God was in the details, teaching me to be patient and trust in His timing. So I went home and started writing on the side.

In 2006, I added a writing day by becoming a part-time lawyer, although I still put in a four-day week at my salaried job. But I've finally stepped out of the boat. We paid off our mortgage in November, and I retired on December 31st with Roland's blessing.

I was a practicing lawyer for thirty years, and that's what I was meant to be at the time. On New Year's Day I finally became a full-time writer, and it just feels right. Now if I could only interest a publisher in my great American novel . . .

* * *

Are you doing what you want with your life? Or are you ready to step out of the boat? I'd love to read your answers.

1 comment:

Caroline said...

Kathryn, loved reading about your writing journey.

Mine? I've always loved writing. First thing I remember was writing a weeklong diary for class assignment in sixth grade, of a cave family's life. Remember sitting in classes, writing poems and stories (some of which I still have). And I got a rejection from some publisher in MI, but w/the encouraging words to re-submit when I got older. Being kind, I'm sure:)

But though I loved writing, I wasn't serious enough about it yet.

I was a teacher and Supervisor of an adult Learning Facility for several years until I was totally burned out. I went back to school to get an associate in computer softward, worked as a secretary for three years, but began feeling that it was time to devote my time to my first love: writing.

I have to believe that God's timing is perfect.

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