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Writers, Dreams, Voices in My Head

Writers are a dime a dozen. That is the statement that has remained in my psyche most all of my life. As a child I started writing at a very young age. I wrote poems and stories. I wrote funny things and things that made people cry. Almost all was fiction.

I had a great imagination back then and I just let it flow. I wrote humorous animal stories and poems for my younger siblings (but my mom enjoyed them too). I wrote love stories that usually ended in tragedy (based on many of the sad songs in the 1960’s that ended with a girlfriend or boyfriend who died in a car accident). I wrote love stories and sold them to my girlfriends. I did not excel in math or science but I was a top-notch speller and I could dissect a sentence like a pro. I earned mostly all A’s on every essay I wrote in high school and college. I dreamed of a life as a writer. I was sure I had novels inside my head waiting to be written. I longed to be able to live where I wanted, to do what I wanted, which at the top of that list was to WRITE.

But, as much as my mother loved the things I wrote, she was the one who made that statement. Writers are a dime a dozen. Better be prepared with a real job. Isn’t it funny how someone who is very significant in your life can say some little thing and it never leaves you? It stays in your mind and reminds you constantly of what you cannot do. Supposedly cannot do. It is so very difficult to wipe that out of your conscience.

Now, I was very close to my mother. And I have never questioned her love for me and how she always wanted what was best for me in life. She was the most understanding and caring mom anyone could have. It didn’t matter what I was worried about or what I had done that I was ashamed of or embarrassed about – she always was easy to talk to and full of grace.

So, I know in my heart that my mother never intended on discouraging me from fulfilling my hearts desire when she said that little line. I know she had my best interest in mind. But I have to confess when I start thinking about writing and perhaps actually doing something professionally with it, I hear that sentence and I feel like I’m bumping against an invisible wall. (I often wonder what I’ve said to my children that has stymied them in some way.)

Truth is, I write for a living all the time. I write a sermon every single week, after much study and reflection. I write newsletter articles for the church newsletter. And no one has ever said “You need to stop writing because it’s pretty bad!” Writing and editing everything that is published in our church is a major part of my job.

And I worked for a Christian publishing organization – The Upper Room Ministries – where I wrote and published two documents – a small, informative book and a handbook – about the program I was the director of.

I am a writer. I am a writer. I AM a writer. I write. I have written. I write now. And I will write more. In six months, I will be retired from serving full time as a pastor of a congregation. I plan to finally devote much of my time writing – writing for pleasure – writing as a copywriter for clients (I am learning already about how to do this). And I will finish that novel that I have started.

Writers might be a dime a dozen, Mama … but I am one of them!

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© 2020 by Dr. Sharlyn DeHaven Gates