© 2015 Vonda Skelton
My writing life began as a first grader the day a fully fleshed-out poem magically appeared in bold, drunken letters on my lined school paper. The accompanying illustration completed the masterpiece. I memorized the entire poem and can still recite it today. I know you’re dying to hear it, so go ahead a grab a tissue. You’re gonna need it.
I have a ball.
The ball rolled down the hall.
It bumped into the wall.
Powerful, huh? Brings tears, doesn’t it? Yeah, tears of laughter! But the point is, at that moment, reveling in the admiration and awe on the faces of my classmates, I knew I was a writer.
Fast forward nine years, and I received words of affirmation as a high school newspaper reporter and editor of the literary journal. Another thirteen years later, my affirmation came through the encouragement of my English professor. That was the day I announced I would write a book . . . one day.
Another twelve years passed. I was forty years old and had never written a word. My life was half over! So I sat down and wrote a book. Pulitzer Prize worthy, exactly as written. No edits needed. I immediately sent it out.
Fast forward another ten years, and my first book was finally published. And it only took 46 years and 63 rejections to move from declaring I was a writer to holding my first book!
That was 2003, and I’ve learned a few things along the way.
- To be a writer, you have to write. I’ve heard some writers talk incessantly about reading and studying books on writing, but they never mention doing any writing.
- To be a GOOD writer, you have to rewrite . . . a lot.
- You’re never too old to be a writer. A conferee once told me she was too old to start writing a book. “It’ll take me at least two years to write and edit it, another year to get an agent, another year to find a publisher, and another year to have a published book. That’s five years! I’d be 65 years old!” So I asked, “How old will you be in five years if you don’t write the book?” 🙂
- If you don’t write your words, nobody will read them. Brilliant, I know.
So what words do you have to encourage or entertain the young, old, lonely, sad, or broken? Those words can’t help until you write them down.
Vonda Skelton is a speaker and author of Seeing Through the Lies: Unmasking the Myths Women Believeand the Bitsy Burroughs Children’s Mystery series. She is founder of Christian Communicators Speaker’s Trainingand owner of The Christian Writer’s Den blog. An occasional actress in film, theater, and commercials, Vonda is currently working on a screenplay. Vonda and Gary have been married all their lives—and they’re still happy about it!