I have spent years of my life trying to answer that question. I started being aware that there had to be a reason for my existence in my late teens. I became a Christian at the age of 12, a very awkward age and a little early to know just who I was becoming. The one thing I did know at that time was that I needed to have God in my life by accepting Jesus Christ as my Savior.
Along the road on my search for purpose, I realized that my love of writing was a gift from God. My love of writing started early...
I wrote sing-songy poems as a young child. In 5th grade I took well-known nursery rhymes and made them into plays; then recruited my friends to perform them with me for the kindergarten and 1st grade classes at Lyndon Hill Elementary School in Maryland. In North Carolina, when I was 12, I developed a huge crush on my mother's best friend's brother. I wrote him a poem and asked him to wait for me to grow up and then marry me (he was in his late 30's at the time!).
At Kubasaki High School, in Okinawa (a prefecture of Japan), I joined the journalism class and became the Features Editor for the school paper, The Typhoon. I enjoyed that so much that my senior year I became the paper's Editor-on-Chief. At the age of 17 I had the opportunity to attend a press conference for Billy Graham and his entourage. I got to interview him during the press conference and my interview was the cover story of the next issue of the school paper, pictures and all!
About this time, I started seriously trying to define myself as a person. As is common, I ran into many road blocks, including being required to write an editorial for the school paper on the topic of the Equal Rights Amendment that was coming up before the US Congress that year. I was so very intimidated by my journalism advisor and her anti-male attitudes that I wrote that editorial with a slant toward militant feminism, even though I had no interest in being a feminist or being militant.I finished high school and enrolled in my first college writing course. The very first assignment I turned in brought an "F" for the grade. I was devastated. I had never had a grade like that on anything I wrote where I took time to thoughtfully put the paper together. (Never mind that Brit Lit research paper in 12th grade---no, you can't do well starting the night before the paper is due!)I later found out that the instructor didn't like my writing style. I worked at improving but was never able to pull better than a "C" grade on anything and I finished the course with a "C". I was discouraged and decided that my talent was childish and I didn't pursue writing again for almost 10 years.
I always had stories in my head that I wanted to put on paper, but that instructor's opinion outweighed the encouragement I got from friends and family. I assume I felt that because she was a college instructor, her opinion was more valid. The lesson in this is to be very aware of the people influencing your children's self-image, even at the college level.After I wrote my first devotion to be included in a church devotional for Easter in 2000, the writer's block was somewhat lifted. I became interested in creating web sites and did that for a while, including one for the Salvation Army Olympic Ministry during the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. I didn't write on a regular basis again until 2005, when I started writing a column for my church newsletter.
In the fall of 2005, I was moaning about not having enough time to do all the things I am interested in when my husband suggested that I focus on what I'm good at doing - writing. As always, God's timing is perfect. And this time I listened to the encouragement of family and friends and began writing again in earnest.In May of 2006, my husband made it possible for me to start an apprentice writer's program with the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild. The lessons are challenging, pushing me beyond the ways I limit myself. I have deadlines each month that I find especially challenging as I try to take care of my family. I resigned my job as secretary for our church in January 2007 in order to narrow my focus.
And as God leads me, I am looking to Christian writers for guidance to eventually write full-time. Right now I listening for the still, small voice that leads my hands as I write to glorify God - because He is the Author of all good works!