I had always wanted to be a writer, practically from the first time I learned that one could take those letters we were being taught and shape them into words, which could be gathered together into sentences with which to create stories someone would want to read.
So I wrote and I wrote and I wrote. And I read and I read and I studied how those who wrote the things I liked to read wrote. Why does this sentence work? Why was this detail revealed here and not elsewhere? Besides teachers and profs, my instructors were L'Amour and Lewis, Christie and Faulkner, Hillerman and Tolstoy, Dostoevsky and Tolkien, and hundreds more.
And I prayed.
I prayed for over 40 years that God would use my writings for his glory and the support of my family. And God said, "No."
With my last work, "The Last Valley" trilogy, I prayed and researched and wrote my best work, each sentence carefully chosen to advance the story and convey the message that I thought God had given me. I worked to pour layer after layer of heart and metaphor into the tale in hopes that I had finally written what the best thing I had ever written.
God said, "No."
I put out fleece and the answer God gave me was, "No."
There was a time when--one month of March and one month only--I sold over 200 copies of my books. I prayed that was the start I had been praying for, but it was a sales height never reached again, apparently a fluke. Two years later, after constant prayer that I would be the writer that I was supposed to be and that my books would "take off", I was selling 3-5 books a month. I advertised, I used social media, I even tried eschewing those things and "leaving it in God's hands".
So I put out fleece. I prayed from the beginning of the year that during March I would sell 100 books. If I didn't, I would accept that God did not want me to be a writer.
Boy, did God say, "No!"
In March, I sold 4 books. Not 100. Not 10. 4.
I am no longer a writer. Maybe I never was. Not a good one, anyway. I wanted to be a writer, a novelist. Maybe I was good but …
But God said, "No."