by Diana Derringer
I loved books before I could read and scribbled thoughts before I could write. Throughout my childhood, crayons, pens, and pencils provided some of my favorite entertainment.
My senior year in high school, the local newspaper published a Christmas story I wrote as a class assignment. I thought little more about publication until after college graduation. One of my professors suggested I send writing samples to a church bulletin service. Lifeway published those articles, but my attention soon shifted to work, family, and church obligations. Although I wrote for each of those, I published nothing else until 2005.
Once again I wrote for church bulletins. In addition, I tweaked and submitted monologues and poems I had shared in church services, backyard Bible clubs, and mission trips. Those appeared in several program books. Online resources, books on writing, bookstores, and the work of other writers became my go-to for training. Although my publications list grew, writing remained nothing more than a hobby.
One day I ran across an advertisement for the 2008 Kentucky Christian Writers Conference (KCWC). I walked into that conference with fear and trepidation. I knew I didn’t belong with real writers. However, I decided to listen and learn. What a game changer. Along with encouragement, information, and lasting friendships, I discovered the definition of a writer: A writer is a person who writes. That’s it, plain and simple.
I was a writer.
That conference also taught me to expect rejections – lots of rejections. However, as I honed my craft, I could also expect a growing number of acceptance letters. The more I wrote, the more I loved to write. Some people stick with one genre. I remain all over the board. From children’s work to senior adults, drama to devotions, magazine and newspaper articles to planning guides, Bible studies, and poetry, I love it all. I do prefer nonfiction over fiction.
My scribbling has been accepted more than 750 times by 40+ publications. I write mostly for the Christian market, such as The Upper Room, The Secret Place, Missions Mosaic, Clubhouse, Seek, Devozine, The Christian Communicator, and The Lookout. Secular publications include Country, Kentucky Monthly, and Kentucky Living online. I also write radio drama for Christ to the World Ministries and am a contributing author to several anthologies. My poetry has received first prize awards twice from the Kentucky State Poetry Society.
The first time an editor initiated contact to request my services, I did a happy dance. When a publisher offered a book contract on dramas I originally submitted for a multi-author compilation, I happy-danced again. Although I’m working on a few book proposals, I loved becoming an accidental author with Beyond Bethlehem and Calvary: 12 Dramas for Christmas, Easter, and More!
An international student’s request for a new slang expression and its definition every day led to my blog, Words, Wit, and Wisdom: Life Lessons from English Expressions. It helps people with a non-English background understand the meaning of unusual English expressions. It also offers a brief respite for people who share my love for word play. Everyone who subscribes to my blog receives a free copy of my “Words of Hope for Days that Hurt.” Many of those “Words of Hope” grew out of our family’s “Days that Hurt” in recent years.
I can’t imagine life without writing, and I thank God for this incredible privilege, Will you join me as I pray for God’s guidance in every printed word?
“Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life” (Psalm 142:8 NIV).
Bio: Diana Derringer’s adventures as a social worker, adjunct professor, youth Sunday school teacher, and friendship family for international university students supply a constant flow of writing ideas. She enjoys traveling with her husband, singing in the church choir, and taking long walks in the country. Visit her website at https://dianaderringer.com/. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.