Me? A Columnist?

Thinking perhaps novel writing is not my forte, I contacted the local paper here and asked if they needed writers.  The editor returned my call and asked if I had any experience.  I said,”Nope. I write novels but would be interested in trying something new.” So he asked for a sample.

And he loved it!

I asked my husband what he thought about it.  He reluctantly agreed.  Since it’s a small town and we don’t exactly have a last name like “Smith” or “Johnson”, he was hesitant.  “I guess as long as you don’t get too personal,” he said.

When I first found out, I was excited.  Maybe this is it instead of novels.  I enjoy novels but they are time-consuming.  And apparently I suck at writing them.  Ya know, the whole plotting, character development, the works.

Me: I can’t decide.  I’m with him on some parts.  You all know how I write.  It’s not exactly fluff.  It’s deep, meaningful, and at times vulnerable.

Yet if I’m ever going to have a writing career, I gotta take a risk some time.  After all, readers have to be able to identify with you and if they can’t feel what you’re feeling, then you’ve failed as a writer.  And name recognition goes a long way into getting a novel published.  Look at all the celebrities who get their works published just because of who they are.

So, I thought I’d ask you all your opinions since you all “know” me about as well as anyone.  What do you think?  Should I write for a newspaper or not?

40 thoughts on “Me? A Columnist?

  1. Silly question, AtoZMom! Of course you should take the job. It’s the stepping stone towards a full-fledged writing career. Don’t totally dismiss the idea of writing a novel. You will know when the time is right but at this time the Lord has provided you with this method to use your creative and God-given talent. Success!

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  2. Yes, Yes, Yes! Exactly what you should do. It gets you more involved in local stuff. It gives you something worthwhile to do to help you get integrated into the community. Who knows, perhaps you will find you actually like the people and the place way better than you think you will. GO FOR IT!

    I agree with Margaret that you should not dismiss your novel. Just because some major publishing house doesn’t pick it up doesn’t mean it isn’t good. I’ve read lots of stories about best-selling authors whose works were turned down over and over again but when someone finally took a chance on them, they became best sellers. I’m not saying your works will be best sellers since that doesn’t happen that many times; there are only so many spots in that top 10! But, at some point you may get yourself published with a novel and make a decent living with it. I know a man who has done well and recently had his 9th novel published and he has won some big prizes but he still works full time at a day job which has allowed his wife to stay home with the kids and I’m assuming he is stashing cash for the future. So, don’t be defeated.

    Go girl!

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  3. I think you should do this. Although I don’t know anything about writing, here is my rationale.

    Pros: It will give you a refreshing change from worrying about your novel and may even free up your creativity by taking a break from it. It will give you an opportunity to get acquainted with many local people and open doors that you would not otherwise have. It’s the kind of job that shouldn’t interfere with your family life.

    Cons: It’s a different style of writing and may not allow as much freedom of expression (e.g., criticism, negativity).

    It seems like a wonderful opportunity for professional growth and would also look good on your resume.

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  4. Here is your chance to bring “BSF” truths to a new place…using your daily, thoughtful revelations and applications from your life experiences….

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  5. A wonderful idea! I hope you see this as a new path for your writing aspirations. See, God does have a plan as pointed out everyday in BSF. Write as a Mom. No matter how small your new town, there will be many who can relate. You could always use a pseudonym.

    Good Luck and God Bless!
    Mary in Texas

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  6. Please do! I’m sure any newpaper could use your family oriented background.Readers may have forgotten what a “real” family-life should be.

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  7. i think the Lord just gave you an opportunity to not only write but to help you get adjusted to this community He has placed you in.

    GO FOR IT!

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  8. Go for it! You have a lot to add to that community….and life in a small town is not all that bad! You may end up loving it!

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  9. I think you would be wonderful with doing something like that….don’t second guess yourself…go for it. You can always change your mind if you find it isn’t for you……bbbbbbbut what if you don’t try and might have loved it?

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  10. Does anyone, really know, where God is leading them or what He wants them to do? This just might be where He wants you and what He wants you to do. You will have a voice now and sooner or later the community will come to know you…then maybe a BSF class in your home, who knows? Go for the crowns.

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  11. People would buy the paper just to read your column. Guarantee! We all love the way you write or we would not be signing on everyday to see what you have to say.

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  12. Dear Atoz…

    I’m sick in bed, at the point in the cycle where you think, “Please just shoot me,” but I have to sit up and sip some tea so I checked my mail and had to respond to this.

    Um…ok, what first comes to mind, I try not to be prideful but end up being it anyway, is… if you go waaayy back to a post I wrote, I said this might happen in one of your posts about moving to a small town. Writing for the paper. OK, my pride thing has passed. I’ve moved on. I never write anything that has any value unless God gave it to me. So much for me being so smart.

    Atoz, essentially a blog is a column. So the format? You’ve got that down. The editor liked it. What’s to question?

    The question is can you be you?

    One of the weirdest things we do as human beings is worry about being ourselves. I mean, when you think of it, isn’t it insulting our creator? That being said, yes, we do have to temper and grow under his hand so that we grow in being like Christ, but our gifts are from God.

    One of the things I’ve learned about being vulnerable, which is definitely the hardest thing for all of us to do, is find out that it is what opens doors to people’s hearts. It’s what touches other people…truth…emotional truth, spiritual truth, doesn’t matter. God has given us the ability to recognize truth and feel depth and intimacy and yearn for it, because it’s a character trait of God’s.

    But God also likes to see us laughing and enjoying his creations too. God is serious and God is fun. He made us in his image like that as well.

    As far as I can tell, Atoz, as long as you are under God’s hand/direction…even if you “screw up” sometimes…which you will…and give yourself permission to learn and move on…you can’t go wrong.

    Ever hear of the pastor that pitches his whole sermon because he feels so strongly that he should talk about something different, only to find out there was a reason. There was one person there who needed to hear from God…and the pastor allowed God to work through him.

    You may have conflicts with the editor (I don’t know the piece you submitted)…as he may have ideas about what you should write about. His goal is different than yours. He’s trying to sell papers. You may come across attitudes you struggle with.

    As long as you keep God’s goal as primary…i.e. drawing people to him…especially if you identify yourself as a Christian in your column…people will be watching who you are. And that doesn’t mean that you write everything like the bluebirds are singing every morning at your house, or you don’t confront what is wrong, but you do it in love…and with respect.

    I was listening to the radio yesterday and I guess at a public middle school the kids were subjected to an assembly where two teachers were “coming out” about being homosexuals and I didn’t catch why. I’m sure it had to do with discussing diversity…or something along those lines. I missed the beginning of the piece. Christian parents were upset they weren’t informed this would be happening.

    So there was an expert on that writes in a paper (where I didn’t catch that either) but parents were calling in on how to address this and told to call principals, school board presidents etc, requesting RESPECTFULLY that they be notified when the school would be discussing homosexuality so that they could opt to keep their child home that day. Of course, homeschooling was brought up and then a single mom called in and said…Hey, that’s not an option for everyone.

    OK, so after over and over…the woman (who writes the column) tells everyone to handle this with respect…she tells the single woman…”Well, if you can’t get anywhere, let me know and I’ll write a column. Schools don’t like bad press.”

    And it made me wince the way she said it…the tone in her voice. That’s what’s hard. Keeping…”how would God want me to handle this” as the primary purpose. Perhaps God wants her to get angry, I can’t judge, but her tone made me feel otherwise, like it was personal.

    I’m reading this book that I’m loving called Amish Peace. Non-Fiction. We think of “the Amish”, as kind of simple farmers who ride in buggies. They get requests from people wanting to know how you can become “Amish” because people long for that kind of running barefoot through the grass simplicity and get out of the rat race “The English” have chosen as their lives.

    As I read more and more about families and topics in the book, I realize the real choice the Amish make is to put God first in everything they do. The question is, Does this bring us or someone else closer to God? They eliminate so many choice simply because they’ve determined it doesn’t matter to God so it’s not worth their time either. Like clothing. They know everyday of their life, what clothes they are going to wear. How they are going to wear their hair. No makeup. Because to them spending time on those considerations is time wasted because it isn’t for God.

    I guess this big long probably rambling mess of a reply is make God proud. He gave you the talent to write. Don’t second guess that he wants you to use it where you are planted. I can’t tell you about the novel…but you seem to be struggling with it…but that doesn’t mean it should be pitched either. I don’t know.

    Just write your column and pray hard for direction on what to write about. God will tell you what column…and when. Just stay close to God, he will guide your path.

    This took me forever to write Atoz, between being sick, and I’m not going to go back and re-read it so I hope it isn’t too awful.

    Much love
    Nancy (from Chicago)

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    1. Thank you for taking the time, Nancy. You could have waited, ya know!

      I hope you feel better. Making tea for you right now!

      And, yes, now that you jog my memory, I remember you saying that. You, my dear, will take all the credit.

      Much love back.

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  13. Hi,
    First off, I have been following your writing since December and have always enjoyed it. At times the “drama” got a bit much, but I truly enjoy your writing style. Personally I think it would be wonderful for you yet I do have a concern that you may take some feedback too personal. There will ALWAYS be people with opinions and when you are a columnist there is typically a love-hate relationship with people. Being it is a small town, would you be ok with that? Could you take the criticism and brush it off without letting it effect you and/or your family? I truly don’t want to discourage you as I think you are a wonderful writer…..but sometimes it seems you lack confidence (which surprises me as I see you so talented…???)
    I will certainly pray for over this as it does sound like a wonderful opportunity.
    God be with you,
    Sheila in Michigan

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  14. My dear, you have plenty of experience with writing this blog! All the thought you’ve put into your BSF lessons.. and you’ve already written some book manuscrpts; I think you should go for it! I’ve written for three local parenting magazines for the past six years. My advice to you is when you write an article, get in and out quickly. Don’t drag or be long winded. Be extremely focused on the topic or theme of your article. You could make a note of a couple of points that you want the reader to grasp– the take away. It doesn’t hurt to write in bullet points, or something like “Five things everyone should know about…” My editor loves stuff like that, because its fast and easy to read. Always start with a creative hook– the first paragraph– give the reader a reason to read your article– and get their attention. Keep your articles short and to the point. Remember the reader wants to know “what’s in it for me?” You can talk about yourself, but always bring the point back to the reader.

    All the best to you! Thx Nicky

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  15. God opened this door….better walk thru. Look what happened to all those Israelites over &over again. This seems like quite an opportunity to feel more at home In this new community. It will open up friendships, networking opportunities, opportunities for your family thru your contacts. Use a pseudo name if you are more comfortable. Who knows what God has in mind for you & your family!!! This could be really exciting. Your writing style is very appealing. I enjoy your ‘realness’ and vulnerability. Walk thru that door….who know what lies behind it!

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  16. Yes! Give it a try and see how it works out. It is a big step outside your comfort zone, but God put it in your path for a reason. It could be a real opportunity for you.

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  17. MOST DEFINITELY!!!! GO FOR IT!!! God has placed it there for you. You asked for your purpose, It’s there for you. You may be a great asset to mothers in town who may be having problems with their children’s school, teachers,etc. You certainly have experience in confronting those issues (Smiles). This is your opportunity to help someone, to encourage, and to uplift them with your gift of writing. We are praying for you and wish you much success and happiness in this
    new venture. Give thanks for unexpected developments. Each one brings greater awareness of divine order in all our lives and in all we experience. This is a moment of power and action. You are ready! Make the most of this present moment in gratitude and prayer.

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  18. I say go for it…what is there to loose?! Besides that, this may be your opening to get to know the town and people a little bit better. This may be your opportunity to make a home here even if it is a small place and isolated. God made all these places as well as the highly populated cities. Remember when one door closes another door opens.

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  19. Yes, you should go for it. Who knows what doors will open for you and remember that God has a plan for you and this could be a good way to express yourself and your thoughts.

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  20. i already posted earlier with “most definitely” but I’m LOVING the idea of using your maiden or “writers” name! If God doesn’t want you to do so he will close the doors upon it!

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  21. Its your God given gift to write. If it was not for your spiritual insight with the BSF lessons, I would have quit because it can be a struggle at times for me to understand the Word of God. Thank You and may God continue to Bless you and your Ohana (family).

    Debra Whitten

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  22. Yes Ma’am, you should definitely go for it. You have a gift of writing that is interesting and engaging, I found your blog just as BSF was ending this year and was immediately hooked on what you had to say. And now I’m interested in keeping up with you. You have a God given talent…..use it!

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  23. Dear Atozmom,

    Make the most of any opportunity that God presents, to reflect all their is about Him, because it is through your witness, that your readers will see Him. It does not become a pulpit for you to pound upon, and exploit personal achievement, but an avenue for them to see His love and concern through you, to be able to share your personal experiences and how God saw you through everything that happens in your life. God’s blessings upon you.

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  24. Dear Newspaper Columnist (I’ve already claimed the job for you),
    Isn’t God just wonderful? You are barely unpacked and He has already put you to work to take your mind off all the reasons you do not want to be in your new home. Take the job and watch Him work miracles through you.

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    1. Thank you all who responded and not one “No”!

      The encouragement you all offered is beyond words.

      I meet with the editor today and will update you all as soon as possible.

      Have a Happy 4th of July!

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