So you want to be a writer?

I sat there at a conference listening to Sheila Walsh speak.

She shared a story about a woman who had come up to her and said she wished she could be a writer like Sheila was.

When I heard that, my heart stirred.

Because I wanted to be a writer, too.

When I was a kid, I use to enter my poems in poetry contests.

I wrote stories that got published in a little anthology my school district printed.

And in high school, my favorite classes were English Literature and Writing.

So how was it that years later, sitting at that conference, I found myself so far away from what I loved?

After going to college, getting my MBA, working at HP for several years, and then making the decision to stay be a stay-at-home mom, I felt a new tug on my heart.

The distance from the corporate world, and the time I was able to spend reading children’s books to my daughter had reawakened my long-quieted passion for writing.

I dreamed of writing a book, but having been away from writing for so long, my dream seemed far off.

As Sheila talked about that woman who dreamed the same thing, I sat on the edge of my seat.

And when she shared what she told her, it really hit me.

Just startshe said. Whether it’s five minutes a day, or ten. Just start writing. And then you are a writer.

It was one of the most freeing things I’d ever heard.

I didn’t have to long to be a writer. Or dream of it. I didn’t have to imagine what it would be like, or worry that I’d already missed my chance.

All I had to do was start.

And so I did.

Between diapers and potty training and play dates,

between preschool and doctor appointments and swim lessons,

I researched

and read

and started to write.

Sometimes I wrote ten minutes a day because that’s all I had.

Sometimes, on days when the kids took long naps, I wrote more.

It wasn’t easy.

But nothing worthwhile is.

And years later, after many rejections, and on the heels of my first book contracts, I’m more thankful than ever for Sheila’s words at that Women of Faith conference

just start.

So if you’re in the same place I was, wishing you could be a writer (or wishing something else)…

just start.

And then you will be.  :)

p.s. If you’re interested in checking out some writing resources and links, click on Resources on my nav bar above. I’ve got a bunch listed there. :)


  1. Genny,Your story is so similar to mine! That's one reason I love blogging. Even if I never get my dream book published, at least my blog gives me the accountability to "just write!" There is such satisfaction in it!Have a great weekend, Genny!

  2. Thank you for this post!My dad has always said to me, you should write. I guess that's part of the reason I started blogging. I like to journal and love to write updates about our family, so blogging was a natural next step.At the moment, I don't have aspirations to ever be published. I just don't think I'm that good enough. But if I can make one person laugh with my writing, then to me – I am a success!PS – LOVE Sheila Walsh too!!~ Jennifer

  3. Love this! Thanks for the inspiration! I need to finish my memoir I've been neglecting since starting my blogs …but just a little at a time is fine too!

  4. Oh Genny, you are so good to encourage!! And what wonderful advice!!Blessings!Amanda

  5. Today you can be a writer and have a following on a blog, or on a story site. You can be an artist as well. I think a lot of people think to be a writer or an artist you need to make a living doing it, but the fact is you just have to love to do it and then just do it.

  6. What an inspiriting story. Your dreams certainly resemble mine. For years I have longed to become a writer, but never started. Thanks for the words of advice :)

  7. Great point, Sean! "You have to love what you do, then do it." I think that is so important.

  8. I have a son who wants to be a writer. I am constantly looking for ways to encourage and support him.

  9. Hey Genny! Saw you stopping by my blog so I wanted to stop by yours! Great article on writing!

  10. So very true! Thats me too. I was writing a book before I became pregnant…now I can't even think about writing. I keep coming up with excuses. I should just start! Thanks for stopping by

  11. Hi Genny! Thanks for stopping by! And yes…I follow you already too! Have been for awhile :)Hope you have a great weekend!~Shelley

  12. thank you for the Tag ;)I went to tag you back, n saw that I had already been a follower, lol

  13. Very true!I always thought that I needed to be really hard on myself in dedicating at least 5-10 minutes a day to writing in order to be a writer, but generally that's not how I work. Or, it is how I work. I am always writing (emails, comments on student papers, etc.); though, I may not be always writing fiction.And that's okay. Because when I do get that idea–that spark, as it were–I am ready to go (I don't have kids, yet!), and I am excited to learn what new things I have to say!And then most of those new things get scrapped in rewrites, but it's still fun in the moment. ;) –Sarah Joy Freese–

  14. I love Sheila's advice. You are a wonderful writer, so I am glad that you followed it! I would like to write a children's book…someday…just not right now. Maybe I am still to busy gathering material!

  15. So true…I had always wanted to write a book (it was on my bucket list) but just kept putting it off. Years slipped away, and I thought that I would never really do it.At the most unlikely time of my life, I just started.One page became two, and three; before I know it, I had chapters that added up to a novel. That accomplishment was a breakthrough for me. It meant that I could finish long projects (something I've always had trouble with).Whenever I feel that I can't do something, I just think about that book I finished!

  16. Thanks for your words! I'm just a month away from publishing my first book, and I appreciate your story!

  17. Love this post, Genny! It really encouraged me! God's teaching me to let go of the "writing thing" and just do it. He'll take care of the rest.

  18. Encouraging post. Even just a page a day adds up to a good book a year. Congratulations on the progress on your current book. wb

  19. Anilda Cook

    So glad I found your page. And very glad I found this post about becoming a writer. I have npbeen thinking about writing for years. I’ve just started actually looking into it and started a blog. I’ve only posted a few times. Thank you for the motivation to just “start”. It’s that simple. Thank you.

    Anilda Cook

  20. Pingback: So you want to write a children’s book? :: Genny Heikka

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