1976 – Our nation celebrated its bi-centennial anniversary. My town held a writing competition. Students from several area high schools wrote short essays called “Bi-centennial Minutes”. I participated because I had to…it was a required assignment in my English class. A few weeks later, a reporter and a photographer from the local newspaper walked into my school and interviewed me – because I had won the competition!
Another spring a year or two later, at my high school’s awards ceremony, my name was called as a “Laurel Leaf” winner. This was a writing award and no one was more surprised than me! You see, I could not spell or punctuate – at all! I punctuated written pieces like some people sprinkle salt and pepper on their food; I just sort of sprinkled some around in my written pieces…or so it appeared. I grew tired of all the red marks my papers collected so when college came – I majored in nursing!
Several years ago, someone I loved struggled severely and I struggled alongside her. I longed to be able to pray more effectively for this person. I began a personal study of prayer, journaling as I gained insights. After a few years, my friend was better and I had a manuscript written. I discovered I loved writing, now that computers are available…computers that can spell and punctuate for me.
Then one summer, I read a newspaper blurb about an upcoming writer’s conference in my area. I longed to attend but I was not a writer, at least not a published writer. I showed the article to my husband, sheepishly confessing my new silly dream of becoming a writer. He encouraged me to attend. I laughed as I made plans to attend. After all, I had written a manuscript. I decided I would simply declare myself a writer.
The conference was wonderful, the speakers were great, and I came back greatly encouraged. In one of the sessions I attended, I learned how to submit articles to magazines. I learned about writing query letters and tips for finding magazines in need of material. Participants were strongly encouraged to try our hands at article writing.
In the few months after the conference, I began writing, and submitting articles and devotionals. That was less than two years ago. Today I have a growing list of credits which include over 20 published pieces. The money I spent on the conference was earned back and turned a small profit in the first year. And guess what? I turned out to be a writer after all!
Harriet Michael’s work has appeared in the following publications: “The Lookout”, “Parent Life”, “Mature Living”, “The Christian Journal”, “Love is a Flame” (anthology), “The Women of Southern Seminary – a walk through the Psalms”, “The Upper Room”, “The Secret Place”, “Christiandevotions.us”, and an article tentatively slated to run in this summer in “Celebrate Life”. In addition, an unpublished manuscript she has written was named a finalist in the 2011 “Women of Faith” writing contest.
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