Last month Jenny Young attended “My Story for His Glory,” a Christian writer workshop and retreat in South Africa. Led by fiction author and MAI trainer Joan Campbell and author Mandy Hackland, the week-end retreat was attended by 13 writers. They chose between two tracks: fiction and devotional writing. Jenny, who works in a secondary school science lab, questioned signing up for the workshop after years of doubting a call to write. Here are excerpts from her blog post, “Waking the Dragon,” following the retreat:
I thought writing was my dream. I was wrong. After spending about 5 years writing two novels and a children’s book, sending emails to hundreds of agents and publishers, giving the books to friends to read, even I had to realize that I was not a writer. At least not a fiction writer.
It was like I had a tiny dragon in my hand who could breathe the fire of a message. He had wings that could take the written word far and wide but after years of trying hard and repeated failure, his puff just got weaker and weaker. Finally his fire was no more than green smoke rings and then died out altogether. Eventually he just gave up, folded his wings and went to sleep. I put him in my pocket and forgot about him.
Why did I sign up for a workshop and retreat called “My Story for His Glory”? I am not quite sure but it became increasingly obvious that my God wanted me there.
After lunch we split into two groups, devotional writing and fiction. Because I felt such a failure at fiction, I attended that stream. We had to write a voice journal, where you just give your character a voice, as if he/she is speaking, perhaps being interviewed. At one stage I was in tears because of my character’s passion. I thought to myself, “Maybe I can do this!”
In our worship service…I realized that writing wasn’t my dream. It was my ministry. God called me to write. I was anointed with everybody else to write for the Lord.
So, in a way, the weekend woke my dragon and rekindled his fire—only, it isn’t my dragon. It belongs to God. The gift is His and He will send it where He wants to use it.
What next? I don’t know. Do I rewrite my fiction novels? Write and publish more children’s books? Write a blog? Write devotions?
Only God can lead me and that will be one baby step at a time. Writing this post is one little step. I will get a notebook. I will write 5 lines a week. The rest is up to the Dragon Master.
Jenny just launched a blog. Her book, The Saddest Little Sugar Bowl in the World, teaches children—particularly those who are ‘different’—the value of their individuality. She finally self-published it, making it available as a free download.
Workshop participant, Val Michelsen (84), has been inspired to carry on writing her autobiography. Read her account of the workshop.
Join us in praying for Jenny, Val and other South African writers as they follow God’s call. Pray also for trainers Joan and Mandy as they seek to encourage these writers.
“Thank you to MAI for nurturing and equipping writers in Africa,” Joan wrote us. Read “Courageous Voices,” Joan’s account of coordinating and leading this workshop.