Monday Musings, Scripture verses, Writing life

Shifting Gears

I’ve been writing fiction (or rather, learning how to write fiction) for about 5 years now. It’s an ever changing, always challenging part of life, which I love. And, for me at least, part of that “ever changing” has meant I’ve dabbled in genres from young adult to suspense to contemporary women’s fiction to historical romance. I really thought I’d landed with historical romance for good when God pointed me in that direction almost 3 years ago.

And then He changed the plan.

When I first started writing fiction, I began working on a story about a middle school girl named Paige. I joined an online critique group, learned a lot from those wonderful folks, and entered the Genesis, a contest for unpublished novelists through American Christian Fiction Writers. Much to my surprise (and glee!) my entry was one of the finalists in the young adult category. Now was it really “young adult,” with Paige being in middle school? No, but the Genesis didn’t have a category for younger readers so I went with what they had.

My entry went to the next level of judging, where a published author and an editor from one of the biggest Christian publishers read my measly pages. The author gave me some great suggestions but also heaped on the encouragement. The editor was much more succinct in her comments. So to-the-point that I nearly cried. That I said things about her opinions that I probably shouldn’t have. That I decided I had no business writing for kids.

So, once I recovered from that critique and started writing again a few months later, I ran in the opposite direction. I wrote the beginnings of all sorts of stories for all sorts of genres but never finished any of them. I learned a lot, so I don’t think of all those pages as wasted words. I was finally hunkering down with a story I thought I would see through until the end, and that’s when God let me know He had something different in mind.

Early this spring, I started feeling nudges toward writing for kids again. The nudges grew and things that made me think about it seemed to be everywhere I turned. I started praying about it and the feeling just got stronger. I got brave and pulled out that very first manuscript to see if what I’d written might be salvageable. I asked God for some very specific things if He wanted me to shift my focus to kids. He gave them to me in ways I wouldn’t have imagined. Now I’m following Him and writing for kids. And, yes, I’m loving it. 🙂

All this is to say — we never know when God is going to steer us in a new direction, no matter how good the path we’re on might look from our point of view. “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand” (Proverbs 19:21). And I must say, although this plan to write for kids isn’t what I had in mind at the moment, it’s been a lot of fun.

Three things I’ve learned along the way: 1) Sometimes where we start is where God wants us to be in the end. 2) Writing for middle grade kids is more fun than I remembered. 3) When those little nudges and inklings seem to start coming from nowhere, I’m wise to pay attention and pray over them.

What about you? What are some things God has been teaching you lately? Let’s make this a week when we’re open to those nudges and learn whatever He’s trying to teach.

2 thoughts on “Shifting Gears”

  1. God morning Leigh
    I am a Christian writer from Chatham Ontario Canada. I found your site when I was doing research on tear bottles. I am starting my third novel tonight at midnight. I will be writing for Na No Wri Mo. I am self published.
    Good luck at the conference. I went to a Christian Writers Conference, about five years ago.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Ethel — I’m glad you found me! I thought the info on tear bottles was very interesting. Mine is still on the shelf above my computer and is a reminder of a wonderful day.

      I hope NaNo is going well for you!

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