Laurie has become such a great friend. She is a fellow Alley Cat on the Writer's Alley. I had chatted with her lots of times on line, and was thrilled to finally met her in person at the ACFW conference in September. What a lovely lady. :) At the Gala this year, Laurie won the Genesis award for her book in the Romance category. I'm so happy for her! She is bound to be published soon. So let's hop on board, get to know her, and be able to say, we knew her when! I asked Laurie to share with us how God has led her on her writing journey. This is what she said:
In A Dusty Corner, Out of Site
My journey begins like many other writers' journeys did: devouring paperbacks by flashlight and filling spiral-bound notebooks with characters and stream-of-consciousness stories. I knew I wanted to be an author when I grew up. Nothing else made sense. But somewhere along the way, the Realists got to me. Dreams were replaced with "But what are you going to do to make a living?" and "Do you know how many books are actually published?" So I combed my mind for career possibilities I might enjoy. Teaching about books? Writing in some kind of editorial capacity?
Nothing fit. Not really. I settled on book publicity and loved doing it along with a few professional writing and copyediting jobs on the side.
But then three things happened that changed everything for the hard and while sometimes broken, always good.
My husband and I welcomed our first child in 2011. I'd rock my daughter in the dim hours of the morning and wonder how I could possibly tell her to go after her dreams if I'd left the story of my heart in some dusty corner out of sight. That nudging plus the need to maintain some semblance of myself in the long days of writing press releases with one hand and changing diapers with the other led me to spend one night a week at a coffee shop working on what I was now willing to call a novel. (Thank you, husband!)
We started attending a new church, and as we got to know more people, everyone kept telling me I needed to meet Kathleen Y'Barbo Turner, a published novelist. "So, you're a writer?" she asked me after the pleasantries were exchanged. And I kind of twiddled my thumbs about the whole thing. "Um, well, I just finished my first novel."
"Then you're a writer."
On that day, I stopped hiding my computer screen whenever someone walked by at the coffee shop. I stopped being ridiculously vague when people asked what I write. I let Kathleen talk me into joining ACFW and entering the Genesis contest (especially with a second push from my now-critique partner, Kara Isaac). And it happened in perfect timing because soon thereafter, I got laid off from my full-time job. Even though it was hard, it happened when my head and heart were in the best possible place. I started a freelance business so I could focus on my writing, won a contest, signed with my agent, and have learned a lot in the process.
• When you see a door God has opened for you, don't turn the other way. While I believe I was always taken care of and don't like "what-ifs", I wonder how many opportunities I passed up because I wasn't ready or brave enough to go for them. When I won the Genesis with my first book, I told my critique partners I felt like God had opened a door for me and, when I dawdled at the entryway, He dropkicked me through it :) I'm okay with this.
• That said, there are lots of things standing in the way between you and your dreams, but sometimes those things are of your own invention. Time? Money? Energy? There will always be an excuse or a naysayer trying to drill reality into your skull. They're right. In my case, it wasn't practical to quit my job or make rash ultimatums with myself. But I learned it's important to just go for it anyway and make it work when Something That Keeps You Up At Night is at stake.
• An extra hour a morning a few days a week really adds up over time. When it's God whispering this dream in your ear, you won't be able to ignore it. And He has this weird way of changing the currency of hours and the productivity that fits into them so things just happen.
Speaking of time, everything takes a lot of it, ESPECIALLY in publishing. Dreams may not happen the way you expect them to, and that's okay. Just be patient, work hard, enjoy doing what you love doing, and don't let over thinking steal one ounce of joy from the journey. I know it could be a long time before I get "the call", but I'm going to try to enjoy the art of writing along what's been one of the hardest, most enriching journeys of my life!
Laurie Tomlinson is a wife and mom from Tulsa, Oklahoma, who enjoys stories of grace in the beautiful mess. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and received the Genesis Award in 2013 (Contemporary) and 2014 (Romance). Her work is represented by Rachel Kent of Books & Such Literary.
You can connect with Laurie here:
Facebook - AuthorLaurieTomlinson
Twitter - @LaurieTomlinson
Web - www.LaurieTomlinson.com
Thank you, Laurie, for Joining us This Weekend!
Reader, I still turn my computer screen when someone walks near in a coffee shop. I need to take some of Laurie's advice and get bold. How about you, are you timid or shy about trying something, something God is calling you to do?
If you don't have an answer, that's okay, just say write an encouragement for Laurie or a howdy-do in the comment section. I love chatting with you.
Thanks for stopping by!
Someday Laurie will be back--with a published book.
When she returns, we'll do a book give away.
Don't forget to comment!