By Nikki Wilson
For the past few months, I've been rethinking my decision to be a writer. I have four kids (three of them teenagers in Jr. high and high school sports and other activites), work 6 hrs a day, and have so many responsibilities I sometimes think that maybe this just isn't my time to be writer. I went to the temple a couple weekends ago with my husband and while I was there, I let my Heavenly Father know that I wanted to do whatever He wanted me to do. If that was to quit writing and focus more on my family and other responsibilities, I was ok with that. I understand that everything has a time and a purpose. I left the temple feeling good, but still not knowing if I should quit writing.
Last weekend I went to the ANWA Writer's Conference in Mesa, AZ. It is truly an amazing conference that I love to attend. I was able to attend a class by Chris Schoebinger, editor at Shadow Mountain Publishing (a division of Deseret Publishing). His class about "The 5 Things You Should Know Before Submitting to a Publisher" was amazing. But the part that touched me the most was at the end when he said that he felt impressed to say something he hadn't said in his previous class. He talked about how as people of faith we have a responsibility to write. We were given this talent of writing for a reason. Because our faith is a part of who we are, whatever we write, truth and light will shine through. The people of the world need this truth and light and we can be the instrument to bring it to them. Tears streamed down my face as he spoke and I knew this was my answer. I still didn't feel equal to the task. After all, there are so many better writers out there. (Yes, I was being self deprecating) After Chris' class it was lunch time and time for the BOB (Beginning of Book) Contest awards. This year I actually took my own advice and got brave enough to enter the contest. (I prefer to put them on and judge them instead!) I entered the first 500 words of my non-fiction inspirational book "If I am a Temple, Why Do I Feel Like a Condemned Building?'" and my Young Adult fantasy book "The Knight of Dreams". I wasn't really expecting to win anything to be honest. But when my non-fiction won second place in that category I was ecstatic and very grateful! I was feeling truly blessed at that moment, I didn't think it was possible to feel any better. Then after they announced all the winners in each category they announced the grand prize winner. This is for the entry that received the most points out of all the entries. I was in complete shock when they called, "Nikki Wilson for 'The Knight of Dreams'!" I truly couldn't believe it. I had convinced myself that I wasn't good enough to win contests or even get published. But here again was another message from my Father in Heaven that I matter. My words matter. With His help (and a really awesome critique group) I truly can write words that will shine with truth and light. I feel humbled by these experiences and the knowledge (I get repeatedly) that God loves me and wants to make me into the best person I can be.
(To read my winning entries go to my blog.)