Monday, August 4, 2014

The Gift of Knowing Your Calling by Annette M. Irby

Feathered Quill*

Hey everyone, Annette here. This weekend I heard two songs in a row that reminded me of a much less certain time in my life. The songs had the theme of finding one’s purpose and knowing God’s blessing on that pursuit.

More than two decades ago, I couldn’t have told you what my calling was.

As I listened to the songs, I thanked God because somewhere along the way, He both showed me and equipped me (and He still does). I’m guessing He’s done the same for you, dear writer, am I right?

How it All Started

Now I know my calling is writing, but I didn’t always know that. The draw began much further back—all the way to my youth when I read The Outsiders and watched the movie. For the first time, I saw the tie between a book I truly enjoyed and an engaging movie where the story came to life. A spark kindled and though I couldn’t see this far ahead, I began typing stories on my neighbor’s typewriter. You know, just for fun.

Then, as a young married woman I started frequenting the library in my new hometown. Such a challenge finding wholesome novels twenty-something years ago, am I right? You could, but you might have only a few authors to choose from. So, I’d search the shelves and hope for the best. Now I know which publishers I can trust, but then I had no idea. These days, there is a huge market for Christian readers as well as a teeming marketplace of Christian authors. Over twenty years ago, that wasn’t true.

God Both Gives the Desire and Fulfills It

It wasn’t until I began to pursue God with all of my heart that a distinct desire arose to participate in offering wholesome entertainment to Christians. I’d graduated to a desktop computer by that point, and I developed a couple trilogies.

And I clung to this verse: Psalm 37:4. You know the one:

Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart. (NKJV)

That’s when the equipping began. Writers’ conferences and writerly connections. Making friends. Finding tools. Attending workshops, buying software, and gathering books, lots and lots of books—both fiction and non. Going on retreats. Fellowshiping with fellow authors. Critiquing. Growing and writing and learning and writing. And writing, and writing, and writing.

Still writing.

Over and over God has shown me His provision, His faithfulness. And He’s planted new dreams in my heart, new hopes for the future.

Looking back, I can see how God put all of those pieces together. I’m guessing that if you took a few minutes, you could list some pivotal moments when your calling became clear. I’m guessing you could also cite how God has equipped you both through experiences and resources, yes?

It’s encouraging when we see God at work in our lives. And pursuing one’s calling is in itself refreshing.

So, your turn. When did you first know you were called to write? What dreams has God placed in your heart? Have you seen any come true yet?

Write on, friends!


Annette M. Irby has two published books and runs her own editing business, AMI Editing. She is also an acquisitions editor for Pelican Book Group. See her page here on Seriously Write for more information.

* Photo Credit: Feathered Quill by Simon Howden at


  1. hi Annette, thanks for sharing your wonderful journey with us! I knew I was meant to be a writer the first time I read Little Women when I was eight years old. It's still my gold standard, as is Alcott's Jack and Jill. Ah, what simpler, beautiful times! Whenever I need an emotional kick-start for a story, I re-read the chapter when the kids' friend Ned Devlin dies...wrenches my heart every time. May God continue to bless your writing!

    1. Hi Tanya! Thanks for reading. That kick-start method is a great tool! I have favorites I've read over and over for inspiration too. Happy writing.

  2. I wrote my first poem when I was 6 and my first novel at 12 -- the subject of both were deer. LOL!

    I guess my first yearning to write came when I was in my thirties. (I'm a late-comer to the business.) Along the way He's equipped me and encouraged me through many godly women and men -- you, included.

    Thankful for you, dear friend!

    1. Aw, Angie. I love your heart! Given the way deer inspired you, I'm guessing you grew up in the country...? I am impressed by that first novel at age 12. Go, girl! Very grateful for you too, my friend!

  3. I think that my first "published work" was titled The Wonderful World of Dogs...I wrote AND illustrated the story, of course! More recently, I've written and published Hitched in a Hurry, a how-to guide for brides planning weddings in six months or fewer. It's an easy-breezy read on the surface, but also encourages women to invest more time, energy, and emotion into their future marriage than the wedding day itself. Seeing this book come to life has definitely been a dream come true, and I pray that God is glorified as the journey continues!

    1. What fun, Karley! Sounds like a great project, and a helpful guide for brides. I love how when we achieve one dream, there's always another to dream. Endless possibilities. All HIs best to you on your journey!

  4. I agree, Annette! It was such a struggle to find wholesome books and that's one of the pushes I felt to jump back into writing. I remember standing saying, "but God, there's nothing good to read" and he replied, "then write it!" That day was another step into my calling:)

    1. Thanks, Susan. I read a lot for review, so I get to be surrounded by great Christian fiction. How fun that we get edified and inspired by all the great work out there. We get to be a part of it. What a gift! Write on!

  5. In third grade, I wanted to be a cartoonist (sort of a writer), but when a friend said she wanted to be a novelist, I thought "Yeah, me too!" It took a while to accomplish. :)


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