I’ve been making up stories my whole life. (Just ask my mom, who caught me in plenty of “fabrications,” bless her heart.) But it never occurred to me that this could be a good thing! (On the contrary, it usually got me in trouble.)
When I was sixteen, I became a born-again Christian without having the foggiest clue what that really entailed, or what it would mean for my life. Through many dangers, toils, and snares, I grew into Christian adulthood. (Well, I became an adult, anyway. My faith is still maturing, but I don’t think that ever stops … at least it shouldn’t.)
In 1988, a friend of mine told me she was putting together a Christian Writers Conference at Biola University and needed some administrative help (stuffing envelopes and such). So I helped her out. I was so much help, she asked if I’d like to attend the conference, free of charge. I didn’t have anything better to do, so I said, “Sure, why not?”
I could tell you all kinds of stories about the conference, but suffice it to say that I loved it! It opened up a whole new world to me. I learned that the names on the covers of the books I loved to read represented real people, normal folks who weren’t all that different from me. They sat on the grass and ate hot dogs and potato chips, just like the rest of us!
After the conference, I wrote an article and mailed it out, and it got accepted by the first publisher I sent it to (little realizing at the time how unusual that was). I then sent out some play scripts I’d written for a drama team at church, and they got accepted too. I wrote more, got more acceptances (along with plenty of rejections as well, of course). I was on a roll!
In 1991, I took a correspondence course in transcribing court reports. I really enjoyed it and did well at it. So well, in fact, that when I graduated, I was offered a job as an instructor. The work could be done almost exclusively at home, so I grabbed the opportunity. It was a real kick for me. I graded students’ papers for format and accuracy as well as punctuation, spelling, usage, and consistency. That really helped me develop a keen eye for the written word. And I learned a lot of things I’d never known before (like when words like “awhile” and “setup” and “anymore” should be spelled as two words instead of one). At the time, I had no idea how well that would prepare me for a career in writing and editing. When the school went out of business here in California I had to get a “real” job. I worked as an Administrative Assistant and Sales Administrator. Then I got a job as a computer graphic designer creating menus for restaurants.
During this time, I was writing magazine articles, play scripts, devotionals, short stories, and Sunday school curriculum in my “spare time” (before work, during lunch, after work, and occasional weekends) and actually getting them published. Although Biola stopped hosting a writers conference in 1990, I attended others: ACW in Fullerton, Mount Hermon in northern California, and a couple in San Diego. I also did some critiquing for a friend’s manuscript critique service, which I really enjoyed.
When I got tendonitis in both thumbs and both wrists, I was told I had to find a job that didn’t require using a computer keyboard or any other type of repetitive motion. Not an easy task! I got a professional-edition voice-recognition software program. But I couldn’t find an office job that would allow me to sit around and talk to my computer all day.
After a few months of wandering and wondering what God had in mind for me, my husband asked me what I loved doing more than anything in the world. I answered without a moment’s hesitation. “Writing! But I can’t make a living at it … not yet, anyway.” He asked what I loved doing next best. I told him I enjoyed editing for the critique service because I liked helping other people improve their writing. He encouraged me to see if I could build that into a full-time career.
Well, I did. I now work at home, editing and critiquing manuscripts, and I have never been happier! I’ve expanded from that first critique service and now take on editing clients from all kinds of places. The great thing is, I can earn a good living and still have time to work on my own manuscripts. Writing is my passion, and helping others improve their writing is my delight!