Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Writing, Computers, God, and Me

I have enjoyed writing ever since second grade when my teacher liked one of my stories so much she had it published in the school newspaper. I have stacks of notebooks and scraps of paper with stories or ideas for stories scribbled on them.

I have lists of names of people and places I like or have found intriguing with the intent to use the names one day in my writing. For example, we have a veterinarian in Cincinnati named Steele Mattingly. What a great name. Or how about the road in Columbus named Needmore Road? I can just imagine some farmer standing there saying, “We need more road.”

I have stories I wrote for my classroom, teen novels I drafted to entertain my three daughters, and short stories based on the oral history my grandmother shared with me as a child.
I have written numerous professional papers (including a master’s thesis and a doctoral dissertation). I published educational articles and submitted proposals and reports to the state as part of my job at Cincinnati Christian University (CCU).

I Wanted to Write a Novel
I always wanted to write a novel. I had ideas. I could weave together a decent story line. I wasn’t lacking time or motivation. It just never seemed to be the right season.

I recently looked back on some notes I took at a one day writing seminar in the early 1980’s. Publishers were begging for Christian fiction.

I thought I could do that, but God always seemed to have something else in mind at the time. I thought His plan was for me to experience more in life. Grow spiritually. Or perhaps, God intended for me to focus on raising my daughters, teaching my students, and bringing the teacher education program to CCU. Maybe. Maybe not.

As most of you know, I am in the process of editing and revising my first novel. I feel blessed to have been given a contract for it. I am excited about the publication. I am learning more and more about ways to strengthen my own writing as well as the ins and outs of the publishing business. All of that is good, but I think I am finally understanding why God waited to give me this opportunity at this time in my life.

Why God Had Me Wait
He was waiting for computer technology to be refined to meet my writing needs.

No, I do not think I am the center of the universe. God did not put this sort of technology into someone’s brain just for me. But He knows me.

He knows, for instance that if I had to rely on writing everything out longhand, I would create wonderful stories nobody could read. I sometimes can’t decode my own script ten minutes after I jot something down with a pen or pencil. And if you don’t believe me, just ask one of my former college students about my handwriting.

He also knows I abhor typewriters. If I accidently hit the wrong letter on a typewriter I would sit for hours thinking of a new word that would fit in my sentence rather than use correction tape or whiteout. And because my handwriting is so illegible, I could never have anyone else type for me.

Dictate you say? No. God knows me there, too. He knows I think best when I see the words on the page. I ramble when left to “tell” the story. Again, my students can confirm this. Okay, okay….my husband would agree to the rambling part, too.

Nope. God gave me the desire to write and He gave me lots of opportunities to practice over the years. But to take on a novel? He waited until I had the computer technology to draft, save, check spelling, revise, cut and paste, find and replace, move, change the font, revise some more, add text in the middle of a page, cut text from the middle of the page, save again, email my editor, print only selected portions, write some more and revise some more. Hit send.

Thank you, God. Your timing is always best.


  1. The start of your story sounds exactly like mine. In second grade, I too wrote a story my teacher liked so much, she had me read it on front of the other grade two class(es).

    And I too prefer the computer. But when I wrote my first novel, which began as the NaNoWriMo challenge, I did this from work and since I wasnt allowed to use my work computer, I did everything twice. Wrote everything by hand in a notebook, and typed everything when I got home. That novel was over 50,000 words! To think that in the days of old, that's what they did! WOW...

    It's funny how we love and want to do things but must wait until ... after college, after the kids are grown, after we retire, after... after...

    Yes God knows best! It's in His timing that He opens the door.

    Thanks for a great post.


  2. Renee-Ann, I always appreciate your comments. First, it helps to know someone out there is really reading what I write but also, I appreciate connecting with other authors. How is your newest book shaping up?


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