Taking the First Step means what? Let’s take a moment to answer that.
The First Step
You know someone like my wife or myself that are authors. And the thought has occurred to you that “I would like to do that.”
But you don’t.
Then you read a book, smile, and think, I’d like to write a book like that.
But you don’t.
Life continues on and one day you think, I wish I’d written a book.
But you didn’t.
What’s wrong with the above. It’s simple. You didn’t take the first step.
What is the First Step?
My wife, Tess Riddle, has recently written two books. One is a nonfiction titled Chatting with Tess: Walking with God and has been published. It is now available at Amazon.com and our site T&R Independent Bookstore. The other book is a novel and titled, Keys to Murder. It is in the process of getting published.
But Tess hasn’t always been an author. These are her first.
Tess Riddle went to college not to be a writer, but to seek skills she could use on the job. But the Entrance Exam showed she had writing skills. Plus, her English professors encouraged her to write. But I can truthfully say that I don’t recall her ever saying she wanted to be a writer until 2014 when we founded T&R Independent Books.
The desire had been there since her college days, but she had never taken that first step.
Again, What is the First Step?
Essentially the first step is making a commitment. Thinking about writing a book doesn’t get a book written, but if you commit yourself to something there is a better chance of it happening.
Think of a baby. They aren’t born walking. They have no commitment of themselves to walk. In their case, the mother and father want to see them walk, so they make a commitment. Then they encourage the baby to walk, assist the baby to practice and learn, and put them in positions where that first step will take place.
The baby doesn’t start off thinking I want to walk. Somewhere along the way the parents’ dream becomes their dream and purpose.
Writing is similar.
My wife was told she had the tools to write, but she didn’t really believe. The burdens of life got in the way. But she still had the tools and as time went on the concept of a story.
One day I learned of her secret desire to write. And I encouraged her. Did I know how well she could write? No. As her husband I loved her and believed in her, so I encouraged her.
But it wasn’t until she purposed in her heart to write the book that she really took that first step
More on the other side of this break.
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Now back to the article.
My Story was Different
That first step is critical, but there are other steps to take.
As a teenager and later as a young man, I knew I wanted to be a writer. And I was committed to becoming an author. But I didn’t know how to take my imagination and put it in an understandable story on paper.
Though I thought I was committed, I wasn’t really.
I signed up for a writing course and was progressing. But then one day I got laid off from job and I had to drop out. Later, I returned to work but never got back into the writing course.
It is More than saying I Will Do It
Tess (aka Teresa) had to do more than think about writing. She had to do more than come up with a plot. She had to do more than say, I’m going to write.
The truth is that all of us have things we want to do. But we don’t take that first step. She could have given up when we moved down here to sunny Florida to take care of her mother. Yes, she was delayed, but the secret burned within her.
She could have given up when I suffered a heart attack shortly after she declared her desire to write. Even though I encouraged her, she could see difficulties at least for the short term. She had a husband to care for. But the dream still burned within.
Over the years, she’s struggled to get that first book on paper. But life kept getting in the way. But finally one day, she committed herself to writing a book. She made a commitment to herself and to God that she would write. Making a commitment to God is very difficult to do, but also very motivating.
Commitment is the Key
On the other hand, my first step didn’t occur until I was 60 years old. And it came about through my Bible devotions when God showed me that there were stories I could write based on the Bible. That discovery changed my life and I committed myself to do it.
Commitment to do something takes you only so far. Part of commitment is to actually start writing. As for Tess, with life constantly demanding her attention, it was difficult and frustrating. Add to that the advice coming at her from me and others.
But the day came when she started writing. Not to please me nor others. And I don’t believe it was to please herself. The day came when she believed that God wanted her to write. That was a major step.
We both believed that God wanted us to write and we believed Him. That is part of the first step, but it wasn’t it yet.
Then What is the First Step
I’ve already mentioned the obstacles she faced. But here is where she finally made the first step. She sought God’s will, kept writing, and overcame the obstacles. In retrospect, the fact that she wrote a first draft of the book was the first step.
It is relatively easy to write the first few chapters but persevering and finishing the book takes a lot of faith, grit, and pushing on. She faced a constant battle that threatened to stop her, but she continued on and finally was able to deliver to me the first draft. Not only the first draft of a nonfiction book, but also the first draft of her novel. This put her miles ahead of my first step which resulted in a single book being published.
In my case, I had to overcome the roadblocks that had stopped me so many times in the past. It wasn’t until I did that and continued to the end that I truly committed myself.
That was when we took our first steps. I took my first step of commitment in 2003, but Tess took her first step in 2022.
What I’m trying to say, is that when that baby took his or her first step it wasn’t really the first step. But when that baby began walking ever so wobbly, falling, and getting back up that was the first step. And then the baby starts adding things like running.
As a writer you will face obstacles. If you stop because of them, you haven’t really taken that first step. But when you persevere and complete that first rough draft, you’ve proven to yourself you can do it.
Sure, there is a lot of work before the first draft becomes a published work. But now your confidence starts growing and you can take the second, third, fourth, and more steps! Now she was ready to get the help she needed to become a published author. And that is when I could really help her through. Now we are both authors and have learned the value of commitment. Writing is something we need to do on a regular basis. There are many steps an author has to take, but the first one is commitment. A commitment to yourself, but more importantly a commitment to God.
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T&R Independent Bookstore is a division of T&R Independent Books founded in 2014 by R. Frederick and Tess Riddle. TR Ministry, aka Ministry Services, is both a charge and an exciting outreach to the Christian Community.