Monday, June 28, 2010

When Did You Know?

I'm curious...

When did you know that you wanted to be a writer?

Have you always wanted to write? Or did it hit you later in life?

Is writing a vocation or a calling? How do you define the difference between the two?

Looking forward to your answers; please feel free to share liberally!

Happy Writing:)

Karen

39 comments :

  1. Knew from the time I was 6 when I wrote my first story! My writing life has been many stops and starts. It's not a vocation or a hobby. It's a way of life...an addiction that can't be filled!

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  2. It didn't really hit me until I was an adult.

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  3. Good Morning, Karen.
    I first knew I wanted to be a writer when I was a very small child. I took writing classes in high school and college. But I switched from creative writing to journalism when my college adviser told me that I wrote "2nd rate poetry" and never to plan to make a living as a poet. Unfortunately, I also turned off within me whatever it is that creates stories and now struggle to imagine myself in a fictional world. I do plan to find that place again, some day, though.
    A vocation is something that you do to earn money. I do earn money at writing and wish to make more. But since I feel in my heart that I'm doing what God wants me to do, and I also write to bring glory to Him, I feel that it's also a calling.
    Thanks for these questions. Now you have me thinking :)
    Have a blessed week,
    Carol

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  4. Donna,
    I am sure many writers would agree with you! We just have to write, don't we? I'd love to read some of your early stories:)

    Alex,
    Me too, although I always enjoyed writing (growing up) and was told I was good at it. For some reason it didn't really tug at me until I grew up!

    Carol,
    I am sure there is a fiction writer in there somewhere who will shine someday! Good point about the vocation vs. calling. It is nice when we our calling overlaps with vocation to some extent.

    Thanks and blessings to each of you,
    Karen

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  5. I had a hunger for stories from an early age, but didn't really become addicted to writing until age 12. I always had a manuscript going all through junior high and high school. In college I got switched on to poetry and pursued getting poems and short fiction published, but I wasn't as "on fire" about these forms to the degree I had been about the novel form. I didn't write at all for about four years in my early 30s--and it was a very dry time. A good friend challenged me to get back into writing b/c she saw how miserable I was NOT writing.

    The term vocation in latin means calling. Perhaps you're asking is it "just a job" or a calling? For some, the better question is whether writing is something innate to your nature, or a fun add-on (aka an avocation or hobby). Are you capable of being happy and fulfilled if you were to quit?

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  6. Great questions!

    Even though I loved grammar in grade school, it would never do for a young Amish girl to fancy herself a writer someday -- it just isn't acceptable. I had to leave the community, go through counseling and many years out of the community to get to the emotional state where I can write my story, and then more years to develop my writing style. I became a writer because I wanted to tell my story. In this way, I would say my writing is a calling, but I am also hoping for it to become a vocation (living), as opposed to an avocation (hobby). But then, aren't we all?

    Now that my first book is getting published, I have several more in me... not just a continuation of my own story but that of the Amish culture in general. There is a need for objective cultural research from a woman's perspective, and from someone who has actually experienced that life -- there are certain insights that cannot be gained from the outside looking in. I will consider it my life's work if I can accomplish this.

    Thank you for your questions and giving us all a chance to ponder them.

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  7. Hi Karen...Happy Monday morning! I think I was just a teenager when I knew I wanted to be a writer. In junior high (now called middle school), I started keeping a daily diary which I continued for many, many decades of my life.

    A nun in high school encouraged me to write and said I had a gift. That meant a LOT to me.

    I've written hundreds and hundreds of stories, columns, personal opinion pieces, etc. during my years as a newspaper reporter.

    I wish I could revive freelancing for payment, to help pay the bills. The Internet markets, however, are new terrain for me. But I'm not giving up.

    I honestly don't know the difference between a vocation and a calling. All I know is that I have to write daily, whether I get paid for it or not. Susan

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  8. Had never thought of it until God whispered for me to write a friend's story in 2005.

    What an awesome, unpredictable, amazing God!

    Patti

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  9. I always blew my mom off, as a kid and through school, when she'd say I should be a writer. It wasn't until I'd gotten married, started a family and had time to think about the future than I knew it needed writing in it.

    Awesome question to pose, Karen.

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  10. I guess I always was a storyteller. All my life, I could relate to others what was happening to me and around me, and they would laugh. Or cry.

    It was my husband who told me over and over, "You should be a writer." And I would say, "If God would put the next great American novel in my head, I would get it out for Him. It's still not there."

    Honestly, it looked like Mount Nebo to me. How many thousands of people work for years to get published and never do? That's what I would say. The 'how' and 'when' and 'what' and 'where' were just overwhelming, so I would just shove it out of my mind. Then one day he was being interviewed by a local correspondent and made an offhand remark about me and writing and - all at once, God opened a door and I walked through with much fear and trembling. Now, every Monday, a column appears in the local newspaper with my byline. It's still totally unreal to me.

    I do get paid a little bit, barely enough to cover the coffee expenses that the writing incurs (grinning), but I've seen over and over what a ministry it is for others. So while I hope it becomes a full-blown vocation sometime, for now I'm thrilled and grateful to be a "minister through ink."

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  11. I knew I was a writer since age 10 when I started my first novel. I fully expected to be published by age 25, then age 30, now that I realize how hard it is I'll be thrilled if I EVER get published. But I'll never stop writing, regardless. So for me, it's a calling. Not a vocation. I am mystified by those people who just kind of stumble on writing and decide to make a vocation out of it. I try to have a good spirit toward them, but I admit it's tempting to look at them as temporary writers instead of TRUE writers.

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  12. Laurel,
    I am glad you are no longer miserable and are writing again. I was not aware of the Latin meaning of vocation; that is really interesting. And yes, I was thinking in terms of just a job vs. something every fiber of one's being knows they are to do. Good food for thought!

    Saloma,
    Thank you! Congrats again on getting your book published; that is exciting. It is interesting how our writing adventures come about, isn't it? I think you are right; there is a need for your perspective. Can't wait to read your books!

    Susan,
    Happy Monday to you too! Everyone's story is a little different, and it is interesting to hear part of yours. Encouragement is so important too, and I am glad yours was a catalyst.

    Thanks and blessings to each of you,
    Karen

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  13. Patti,
    Once again, I find it very interesting to hear how each person's writing adventure comes about. I'd have guessed you'd been writing since you could hold a pencil!

    Janna,
    Thank you! You know, my Mom always told me I was a good writer, and I wish I had taken the time to write more when I was younger. I did some, but not in great volume. Mom is usually right, isn't she? :)

    Rhonda,
    Funny how we can view writing from the other side, isn't it? Some of us think it means writing the Great American Novel, and to others a newsletter or column. Glad to know you followed that divinely ordered path!

    Margo,
    I'm rooting for you to have that novel published yet! Hadn't thought about writers from the angle you mentioned, but I see your point. I guess it could be measured in a question - must you write? If the answer is yes, then perhaps they are true writers. :)

    Thanks and blessings to each of you,
    Karen

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  14. Hi Karen -

    I started writing around 10 years old. My love of reading jumpstarted the whole desire to write.

    It wasn't until I was an adult that I began to write as a ministry (skits, Bible Studies, devotionals, poetry). There were no lightening flashes, only a steady recognition of the gift.

    The fiction did arise out of a strong experience that I tried to fit into my usual non-fiction niche. I found it would only work in a fiction format, so I worked at learning the craft.

    Blessings,
    Susan :)

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  15. It hit me last year (23 yrs old) and then I realized I always had a love of imagination so it was just a time until I let it happen!

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  16. I wanted to be a writer since I was a child, but I didn't try until a little over a year ago when I realized I had a story in me that needed to come out.

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  17. Susan R.,
    I didn't know you were a young writer:) Bet some of those stories would have some interesting ideas for today! I agree, learning the craft is very important.

    Jen,
    Why fight it? I say go with it and enjoy the writing journey!

    Lydia,
    Glad that you decided to go ahead and follow your story!

    Thanks and blessings to each of you,
    Karen

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  18. I knew I wanted to be a writer when I was about twenty-eight. At the time, Christian fiction wasn't around, for the most part, at least not as widely as it is today. So, I guess I can't say my wanting to be a writer was a calling, however, once I discovered Christian fiction, I knew I wanted to write it. So, I suppose you could say that was my calling. I guess it's a vocation, too. Because, it takes a lot of work, time and effort to write a whole book and I'd like to get paid for my labor!

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  19. Is this box big enough?? LOL I wrote short stories from about fifth grade on--some in the highschool newspaper and then only wrote in my journals until I owned a Christian bookstore and figured I could try this. When a friend died five years ago, I sent a story in about her and it was published. That's when I knew for sure.

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  20. Karen,

    That's a great question and something to ponder. I suppose if given the choice, I'd say writing is my calling. It's in my genes, something I was born to do:) Seriously, I've never fet so driven before and excited at the same time as when I'm putting thoughts in writing...encouraging, voicing opinion, complaining, educating and creating a voice for the underdog!

    Cara.

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  21. Sorry about the missing Ls, main computer keyboard glitch:(

    Clara

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  22. I've always loved to write, and made little "books" with cardboard covers stapled together. Wish I had one of those now!

    I wrote as a hobby for magazines and devotionals since I was 24 or so, then about two years ago I attended a writers conference where a fire was started in my soul to make this my life's vocation. I told the Lord, "This is what I want to do with my life." His answer? "You can't get there alone."

    He was right.

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  23. Cecelia,
    Getting paid to do something you love is definitely a plus! I'm blessed to see your success with your books.

    Terri,
    Is Blogger acting up again? It's been a little temperamental of late! I forgot you owned a bookstore; what a great catalyst to get you going.

    Clara,
    It is exciting, isn't it, to be driven to write yet find satisfaction too. Always enjoy hearing how other writers feel about this topic.

    Jen,
    Maybe those little books are being sold on ebay. You should check! :) Well, hey, you never know, you are famous. No, we can't get there alone. Good point!

    Thanks and blessings to each of you,
    Karen

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  24. I've always known but I didn't accept that I could do it until a couple of years ago. :)

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  25. I've been writing since I was a child. On again. Off again. Then seriously about 25 years ago with some success. And now again for about a year. Forever. I tell the full story in my intro to my writing blog. It's too long for your comment box. :D

    http://thewritepursuit.blogspot.com/2010/01/in-pursuit-introduction.html

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  26. Shannon,
    Glad you've accepted it! Looking forward to seeing more of your writing.

    Sandra,
    Aha! Your story is a good one:) Glad that you are writing too:)

    Thanks and blessings to each of you,
    Karen

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  27. Hi Karen,

    I am a writer based in India. I loved to write since my early years. I used to read a lot, and the words just seemed to flow when I wrote, without an effort. That put me in a tough spot in school though - :) I remember the teachers used to always expect stories from me for the school mag, expect me to write even the minutes of meetings!:)

    I am a management graduate, but when it was time to get that first job, it was my writing that impressed my bosses, and I was immediately put on the marketing collateral team. That started me off on a wonderful journey, writing to earn my living. It is a gift, it's a blessing and it's the only way I know how to earn my bread.

    Thank you for asking these questions. In the midst of my hectic schedules, it's made me stop for a moment and dwell on all these good thoughts!

    Sharon

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  28. I became interested in writing when I was 9 or 10 and have maintained interest to varying degrees throughout my life. It has been a calling in the sense I am compelled to write or think about writing, but I'd like it to turn into a vocation--a means by which I pay my bills. My biggest problem is drive to write what I need to be writing in order to start submitting.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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  29. Writing is definitely a calling for me. I didn't know I wanted to write until a little over two years ago. Didn't really even know I had it in me. It has changed my life and redirected my focus in big ways.

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  30. It hit me later in life after I became a stay-at-home mom and had increased my reading.

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  31. When I was younger, writing was almost a chore - if I wrote in my diary I felt the compulsion to write out every tiny detail of an event or the feelings I was having. These days, writing is just something within me that must come out. I love it. When I up to my elbows in the keyboard there is a really satisfying struggle to get it all out, followed by a deep satisfaction... :-) I still tend to get held up in the details, but I have learned to go back and edit some of the cluttery stuff out. I repeat, I love it!

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  32. Sharon,
    Nice to meet you! I appreciate you coming by and commenting. It was nice to learn a bit about you, and I am glad we helped you reflect on good things.

    Lee,
    I think many of us have written in varying degrees, and to me, that's one good reason to encourage kids to write. You never know what will come out of it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    Heather,
    It does do that to your focus, doesn't it? I think it can help sharpen things. A good thing, really. Can't wait to read your WIP!

    Jennifer,
    So many of us seem to have had that happen. I always enjoyed writing but didn't consider pursuing it till my kids had come along. Another good thing, I think!

    Becky,
    I'm with you on this! I like that - being up to your elbows in the keyboard. I'll have to remember that:) There's just something so satisfying about writing!

    Thanks and blessings to each of you,
    Karen

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  33. I'm still wondering if it's my calling. I do love reading, and achieve excellent marks in my writing assignments. It's just really hard! I wrote many short stories when I was very young, then began writing a novel at 12 years old. The characters in that novel live with me everyday and my goal is to write their story in the next 12 months, God willing!

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  34. Karen:
    I liked to write when I was a young adult. I wrote out announcements for our church womens group to put in the paper. I started playing around with devotionals in my early 30's but got side tracked. Did some advertisement for a Diabetes Skate-a-thon in my early 40's. I got serious in my early 50's. For me, it's a calling, I consider anyone who writes as one who has received a gift from God.

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  35. Lynn,
    Well perhaps it's a mixture with your photography too. You are an artist in some way, shape, or form!

    Cecelia,
    It is a gift, I believe, for not everyone feels the same way about writing that we do.

    Thanks and blessings to each of you!
    Karen

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  36. I had an inkling that I loved writing in 3rd grade when I wrote a story about a Black Top Hat that danced. Then in sixth grade, I had a teacher who encouraged me to pursue writing, and I decided that I wanted to be a writer. However, it wasn't until I was nearly 30 that I realized that writing could be a vocation, and seeing it as a calling has changed my life.
    Interestingly enough, I recently perused my sixth grade writing, and just laughed, and laughed, and laughed. I am surprised that my teacher thought I had talent. My favorite story from that year, "The Pencil's Adventure" is so, so, so bad. And yet, I still like it.

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  37. Tyrean,
    I think I had similar stories about that time too. I suspect the teacher may have wanted to encourage any spark she saw. Glad you followed through with it!
    Blessings,
    Karen

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  38. I love to write! That is one intrest that will never go away! I think it is a God thing. I've been writig little silly stories since First Grade. I write to bring God glory. Writing is a blessing, never a chore. If I touch one life with my writing, it has been all worth it! Thank God for writing!
    God bless,
    Victoria

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  39. Victoria,
    I have to agree. it is a God thing. Thanks for coming by:)
    Blessings,
    Karen

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Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your input. Have a blessed day!