Monday, March 09, 2009

The Gift To Create

by Ali Cross

I am so grateful to be here, and to have the opportunity to share the stage, even for just a little while, with the awesome writers who make this Blogck their own. Thank you!

I didn’t grow up always wanting to write the Great American Novel. For one thing, I’m Canadian. ;)

Having never written novellas, or even short stories, I did write poetry—but what preteen and teen hasn’t, right? After all, it’s the medium of choice for teenage angst. Well, that is until You Tube.

But while attending university, I started playing Dungeons and Dragons with some misfits with whom I fit very well. That was the first time the idea for writing a book started to tickle the back of my mind.

Some fifteen years later while on a drive to a vacation spot with my family we were filling up the long hours with talk about our dreams. I mentioned my dream of some day writing a book about a character I had created during my D&D days. My husband said he too, had a story idea running around his head, and so we played the “What if … ?” game for the first time.

By the time we reached our destination, we each had full-blown stories worked out. We stopped and bought index cards, notepads and pens before checking into our hotel and proceeded to write our books over the next week. It was an amazing and cathartic experience.

When we returned home, I started poking around the internet to find information on writing. A wonderful woman reached out to me and told me about the LDStorymakers conference. She was very encouraging about my writing and convinced me to not only attend the conference, but to enter in the first chapter contest.

I went to the conference and two remarkable things happened:

Tristi Pinkston taught a class in which she bore her testimony about our gift to create. She said, and she provided scripture and doctrine to support her statement, that we had the opportunity to develop our talents in the preexistence and that we brought those talents with us to earth.

And then she said, “If you feel a desire to write a book, then that is a prompting from God, and you should do it. It is your talent. You are a writer.”

The other remarkable thing that happened was my first chapter placed second in the sci fi/fantasy category. I wasn’t even there to receive my award because I didn’t believe in my abilities as a writer and certainly hadn’t expected to win any sort of recognition. Up until that weekend, I just wrote. Afterwards, I was a writer.

Recently the Blogck shared a short video that is further proof of what I learned at that LDStorymaker conference two years ago--we are creative beings, it is in our nature to create. Whatever your outlet may be, let it be.

I can testify, that the desire to write is a gift from God and if you pursue it, you will be blessed.

I write because it is in me to do so. I write because I feel I must. I am a writer.

7 comments:

Annette Lyon said...

My favorite part: "Up until that weekend, I just wrote. Afterwards, I was a writer."

Love that. So glad you're a writer.

Scarlet Knight said...

Ali, I was really touched by your post today.

Just what I needed to hear! I'm excited to see you on the LDS Writers Blogck. Hope to see you at the conference this year. =)

ali said...

Thanks Annette. There really is a huge difference between those two states of mind, isn't there?

Thanks for the comment and for your kind words.

ali said...

I'm glad Scarlet! And I'd love to meet you!

The first year, I kept my head down and didn't meet ANYONE, lol.

Last year (second year) I was a bit more friendly--made some new friends and met up with some online writer buddies.

I plan to make this year an improvement even on last year--which will be tough because, well, last year was pretty awesome.

Now I have another reason to be excited! Thanks Scarlet :)

Stephanie Humphreys said...

Reading your story is kind of like reading my own. My first LDStorymakers conference was the same one you went to. I also attended Tristi's class and found it to be life changing, and I also entered the 1st chapters contest and won 2nd in the romance category. (and I'm Canadian) :)

Isn't it amazing to find those creative sparks within ourselves and know they were put there for a reason. Our potential is so great. Thanks for the reminder.

Tristi Pinkston said...

This is proof! Canadians love me! Not just one, but two! :)

Seriously, I'm glad I was able to say something that resonated with you. And you *are* a writer. Don't forget, I've read some of your stuff.

Jenn said...

That class of Tristi's was pretty awesome, wasn't it? We all love you Tristi, even us Plain Jane Americans. :)

Ali, I wrote a lot of poetry as a teen, too. I also write poetry as an adult, when I'm feeling particularly angst-y. :)