Why I Write
Posted on October 21, 2020 | Posted by Mary Stoneback
Joyful is the person who finds wisdom, the one who gains understanding. ~Proverbs 3:13
We make our decisions, and then our decisions turn around and make us. ~Amish proverb
Whenever I work on a new book, I usually use two things to guide my characters’ fictional journeys. The first is a scripture verse from the Bible and the second is an Amish ‘proverb.’ Both of these things makes sense, given that I write a lot of inspirational books about the Amish. However, what I’ve often found surprising is the number of times these quotes have inspired me as well.
The verse and the saying above are ones I chose for Wendy’s Twenty Reasons, a novella that will be published next fall. The story is about a first year Amish schoolteacher and some of the trials she goes through. It was a pretty easy story for me to write since I used to teach school and vividly remember my first year as a ‘real’ teacher. In my story, the heroine not only has to gain understanding about the children she teaches but also about herself. Both the verse from Proverbs and the Amish saying reflect the heroine’s spiritual and emotional journeys.
But, as I was writing the book-and kept re-reading and praying about the verses I chose, I realized that they were fitting for me, too. For example, I could definitely apply both the scripture verse and the Amish saying to my professional life. When I decided to become a writer, it was a bit like jumping off a cliff into the unknown. Nothing more propelled me to try a writing other than a wish to write down a story I’d been thinking of-just to see if I could do it. Now, many years later, I’ve realized that one choice brought forth a whole new occupation. My joy has become my job.
Writing about characters who take faith journeys has helped me grow as a person. It’s certainly helped me in my own personal faith journey. If my struggling, confused characters can find a close relationship with God, than I can to, flaws and all!
I’m delighted to be a new member of the ALC online contributors team. I hope to share some of the experiences and wisdom I’ve learned from my Amish friends. After all, I’ve certainly learned a lot from the Amish-starting and ending with one of my Amish friend’s favorite sayings: In all things, give thanks to God.
To learn more about Shelley’s books, visit her website at https://shelleyshepardgray.com/