"Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by doing so some people have entertained angels without knowing it." - Hebrews 13:2

Monday, March 19, 2012

Many Moons Ago...

The Wabash River from I-65 at 70mph - Photo by Loree Huebner

Sorry this post is a bit late. Eric and I spent an wonderful weekend on a road trip. The weather was just awesome. Compared to the northern part of our state, spring was in full swing downstate—trees and bushes were blooming! The 80 degree weather made it perfect.

While driving home down I-65, I thought about the first time that I had decided to write a novel. Up to that point, I had tossed around the idea, dreamt of being an author, pictured myself with a series of my own books on the bookshelf, but this was the moment that I knew I was ready to sit down and start. I had stories in my head waiting to come out.

It was early December (this is some years ago) and I had just quit a very stressful job. I decided to do some stargazing out on the back deck. I just love the winter sky. The weather wasn’t too cold yet—a coat was comfortable enough. As I sat on a comfy chair, kicking my feet up on the railing, an enormous full moon rose on the eastern horizon. I was hypnotized by it. As I watched it slowly climb its way up in the eastern sky, I was overwhelmed with a feeling—a new beginning.

Just a few weeks before, I had come to a difficult decision (with the blessing of my husband) to quit my full time job. The job was extremely stressful—constantly piling more work upon the work we were already required to do—spreading us too thin. I was always mentally exhausted. I had stopped exercising and had gained weight. It wasn’t a healthy situation.

As I sat there gazing at this beautiful moon, I asked God, “Okay, what do I do now?”
A verse from the Bible came to my mind ~

For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven…
~Ecclesiastes 3:1 (ASV)

The Kankakee River from I-65 at 70 mph - Photo by Loree Huebner

Suddenly, I just knew—there was no booming voice, no flash of light, just a gentle tickling of my spirit. I went from weeping to a smile in less than 10 seconds. God was giving my answer. It was a time to write.

I went into the house and announced my decision. Eric thought it was about time. I started writing my first novel the very next day. Many moons later…I have 4 novels written, and have started my fifth. I’ve been back to work, full time, for several years now. I write when I’m not working. There’s time for exercise and fun. I’m much happier now. It all fit together…only with God’s help.

Where were you when you decided to sit down and write your first story, novel, or article, paint your first picture, or knit your first afghan? Whatever craft you do for a living or for fun ~ Do you remember what drew you in? Do you remember that defining moment of clarity? I would love to hear your stories.

Between you, me and the gatepost,



Jayne said...

Loved this, Loree. God bless those husbands. ;)

I'm still deciding. I'd better hurry up before my hubby changes his mind!

Julie Jarnagin said...

Such a cool story! I was in college studying writing. I thought I wanted to write nonfiction & magazine articles. My professor assigned us to write a short story. I was not excited about writing fiction at all. When I got my story back, there was a note from the professor that said, "Hang onto this story." When the opportunity to take a novel writing course came up, I decided if I didn't try writing a novel then, I never would. What do you know-I wrote the novel, and I've been writing them ever since!

Gwendolyn Gage said...

I do remember. :-) I was seventeen years old, and halfway through "The Pirate and His Lady" by Linda Chaikin. I put the book down and thought to myself, "I could write something like this!" So I went into the den, sat down at the computer and began with -- you're going to laugh -- a Jurassic Park like scene. LOL!

Victoria Lindstrom said...

I too, was in a very stressful job; I thought I should make a nice, smooth transition from dentistry into writing. I began taking a few writing classes at our local college. Ha! I sustained a career-ending injury and my writing plans got bumped up in a hurry. Thanks for the beautiful post, Loree. I can relate.

Lacie Nezbeth said...

I was 8 weeks pregnant with my first baby, puking my guts out every 30 minutes. Miserable! Reading was the only thing that distracted me. But one day, I ran out of books (this was obviously way before Kindle and maybe even Amazon. Crazy thought). And the thought came to me that I might as well just write my own. It was fun and exciting and very distracting! :)

Keli Gwyn said...

Thanks for sharing your story, Loree. I love how your hubby was so supportive of your writing from the start. What a blessing to have a guy who believes in you and wants to see you go after your dreams.

Loree Huebner said...

Jayne: I second that on the God bless those husbands! Jayne, you better hurry up!I'm looking forward to that novel!

Julie: I love your story! What a blessing that professor was to you. It just goes to show you that you never know who God will place in your path.

Gwen: How funny!-about the Jurassic Park-like scene. So awesome that you were only 17 at the time...

Victoria: Those stressful jobs take so much out of a person. I'm sorry about the career ending injury, but happy you are writing.

Lacie: Love this story. It just took a shortage of books to read to get you to write your own...awesome!

Keli: Eric is very supportive. We're a team like you and Gwynly!

Jayne, Julie, Gwendolyn, Victoria, Lacie, and Keli, thanks for stopping in! I loved your comments.

Sarah Forgrave said...

Awesome story, Loree. Thanks for sharing.

I definitely remember the moment God told me to write. It was as clear of a divine whisper as I've ever heard. And it came on the heels of a very dark time for me. I love when He gives us new beginnings.

Sandra Orchard said...

Oh, yes, mine was a hubby moment, too. I'd accumulated quite a collection of Love Inspired novels and he said "Why don't you start writing your own?" The rest--as they say--is history. ~grin~

troutbirder said...

Good for you Loree. No defining moment for me. Having a job (teaching) that I loved kept me pretty much on the same track. I did take up blogging (if that's considered real writing) after I retired....

Loree Huebner said...

Sarah: Thanks for sharing your story. I love those divine whispers after dark times. A perfect time for new beginnings.

Sandra: Love how your hubby suggested that you "write your own."

trout: As I understand it, you had quite a teaching career. God bless you for using your skills to teach. I admire teachers. When I was a child, I wanted to grow up and teach. Unfortunately, it never happened.

Sarah, Sandra and trout, thanks for popping in and leaving your wonderful comments.

Cynthia Chapman Willis said...

Such a sweet and lovely post. I purposely aimed (and attained) a job where I could write and work with children's books (editor of elementary Reading textbooks), while writing on my own, but even that could be too stressful at times. My heart is with the writing.

Julie Musil said...

Wow, isn't it amazing how we try to control everything, but He has his own plan for us? Sometimes I must force myself to sit still and LISTEN!

I remember the day I decided to take writing seriously. My kids were all in school, they were on a dads and kids only camping trip, and I was alone. I knew I needed to jump in with both feet!

Beth K. Vogt said...

So thankful I stopped by your blog--even if it's a day late. Loved reading your story. I found my way to the Dark Side of the writing road (from nonfiction to fiction) during a time of burnout. It amazes me what God can use to redirect our lives.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Loree -

I could write a book about the "inciting incident" that launched me into fiction. It's too long for here, but someday I'll share it.


Jessica Nelson said...

What a great story! I love hearing about how people start writing. I remember my moment of clarity. I always wrote things, but not for money.
My editor at the paper told me I should write a book, that I'd make more money, and a lightbulb went off. LOL

Stacy Henrie said...

What a cool story, Loree!

While traveling in England before I got married, I had an idea for a book, but I didn't start writing it until after my first child was born. Not sure the exact moment I decided to be a writer, but that fall I began writing my first book.

Loree Huebner said...

Cynthia: your story is fascinating! Editing and writing...my heart is with the writing too.

Julie: Sometimes we do try to control things...when we should be listening. I love that you were alone and just decided to do it. Sometimes we need that alone time, all to ourselves.

Beth: burnout or stagnant times are the best time to find that new direction. I agree, God is amazing in this department.

Susan: I look forward to hearing your story. A future post on your blog, perhaps?

Jessica: Got to love those light bulb moments! Congrats on your book! I look forward to reading it soon.

Stacy: I hear a lot of writers carried stories around with them for a long time before they start. Thanks for sharing that...

Cynthia, Julie, Beth, Susan, Jessica, and Stacy, thanks for dropping by and sharing your stories.

K.B. Owen said...

Hi, Loree! Just saw your tweet and had to head over.

I'd always wanted "someday" to write a novel, maybe a series. It always seemed remote and not something to do right now - small children, grad school, teaching, were all higher priorities.

Then my mother-in-law had an accident and was in a coma. Her care looked to be long-term, so my husband and his siblings had her transferred to a closer care facility. I quit my part-time teaching job, because I knew we were going to do shifts, and we still had small children and no reliable outside childcare options.

My mother-in-law didn't make it; she passed away a couple of months later. I had cleared a lot of time out of my schedule, and with some preschool hours to myself, I decided, why not? Go for it. Perhaps a reminder of our mortality was a prod, too. In going through some of her papers, I found a wonderful nostalgic treasure of her time at an all-women's college, and that's what gave me the idea of when and where to set my first novel. If it's ever published, I'm dedicating it to her.

Thanks for the chance to share, Loree!


Jeanette Levellie said...

Wonderful story, Loree. I love it when God directs our steps like this.

I first knew I was called to write when a Christian weekly reader bought an article I did on cats. That check for $125 convinced me!

Loree Huebner said...

Kathy: Thank you for sharing that heart warming story. I love how you found a treasure going through her papers...something, no doubt, you, and you only, were meant to find. I look forward to reading it someday.

Jeanette: Your "cat tale" made me smile! How fun!

Kathy and Jeanette: Thanks for popping in and sharing your stories!

Theresa Milstein said...

How lovely you get to be home and pursue your dream.

LyndseyLewellen said...

Love this Loree. I have a similar story. I just began discipling youth at my church and they were heavy on my mind. It was actually at a drive thru chicken joint that God gave me the desire to write a novel to show his love for teenagers.


Loree Huebner said...

Welcome here Theresa and Lyndsey!

Theresa: It was a blessing to be home at that time when I was writing my first novel. I had to learn the craft which took a long time.

Lyndsey: I loved your story! You just never know when God will give you that nudge. Thanks for sharing.

Theresa and Lyndsey, thanks for dropping in and sharing!

Marji Laine - Faith-Driven Fiction said...

My sweet hubby is my thermometer, too. Loved the idea of my writing as long as I didn't require him to read romances - not his speed. Loved hearing how you started! Thanks for sharing!

Loree Huebner said...

Marji: Love them hubbies! How wonderful that he loved the idea of you writing. Eric is not a big fan of romance novels either, but will read one if I ask him to.

Thanks for stopping in, Marji!

Carol Riggs said...

What a great story! It's cool you found writing, something that you can enjoy doing. Sometimes when I'm away from writing or my artwork for a while and come back to it, it's SO refreshing I wonder why I stopped doing it. Sounds corny, but it "completes" me. :) God gave us our talents, so it's great we can use them!

Loree Huebner said...

Carol: It's not corny - our work does complete us. I agree, God gave us our talents, so it's great we can use them.

Thanks for dropping in and sharing!