Becoming a writer was never on my radar. I have friends who’ve shared about writing stories since they could hold a pencil. Or crayon. Not me. I wanted to be a singer. My journey into writerdom was wrought with nags and nudges. And looking back, I realize many of those nudges came from God.
I majored in music, taught piano, and sang at every local festival and event I could. The one thing that kept me from heading off to Nashville was the realization that most music stars launched their careers in bars. So, I set aside my dream, got a job, and eventually started a family. Life was good.
The career path I chose included a nine-year stint in the Marine Corps. I’m proud to have served my country, but I’m not proud of the many bad choices I made during those years. Choices that led me away from God, my family, and the church.
After trudging through the wreckage my choices created, God welcomed me home, just like the Prodigal Son. I wrote a song about it titled, “The Prodigal Daughter,” and performed it at many events. People often asked about the song. Was it true? How did I reconcile with my family? Did I think their (child, parent, sibling, fill in the blank) could also come home? They longed for the hope I was singing about.
That’s when God nudged me. He had actually given me the song. I woke up one morning humming the tune with the lyrics already forming in my mind. As the song sparked more and more interest from those who heard it, my mother started nagging me. She told me I had a responsibility to share my story in a way that could reach more people. She told me I should write a book.
Writing wasn’t exactly foreign to me by that point in my life, because I was working as a copyeditor at our small-town weekly newspaper. I also wrote news articles as needed, covered some high school sports, and even had a few features published in statewide and national magazines. Pecking out a few hundred words, even on a tight deadline, wasn’t a big deal. But a book?
One of my friends was a writer. A novelist. I talked to her about the whole I-need-to-write-a-book thing and she invited me to visit her in Kansas City. A new group called ACRW (American Christian Romance Writers) was about to hold its first national conference there. Fiction writing didn’t interest me (yet), but I figured attending a writers’ conference couldn’t hurt.
Through the grace of God, a lot more nudging and nagging, and the help of more people than I can name, I did finish that book. The Prodigal Daughter: Hope for Runaway Christians and Those Who Await Their Return was first published in 2003. Last year, my ninth book was published. (So much for not becoming a writer.)
And the little writers’ group, ACRW? I had joined that organization back when there were about 100 members. After a couple of years, the name was changed to ACFW – American Christian Fiction Writers, because fiction has many genres besides straight romance. Today the group has a few thousand members.
I bragged for years that I was the longest standing member of ACFW unpublished in fiction. First of all, I didn’t consider myself a “real” writer for a long time. Then, if someone insisted I really was a writer, I would allow the title “blogger” or even “nonfiction” writer because most of my published work is nonfiction and I used to blog regularly. But in 2016, my first mystery novel, Dead Broke, was published. I just finished the rough draft of my third novel, a romantic suspense, last month.
Writing. It’s a fun, frustrating, fascinating career. I’m grateful God pushed me on this path. It’s where I’m supposed to be. And I’d never trade the friendships I’ve developed throughout the years due to this crazy little thing called writing.
What has God nudged you to write? If you’re scared, don’t worry. You’re in good company. Remember, Moses gave God a long string of excuses before he finally pleaded, “Just send somebody else!” I didn’t want to become a writer. In many ways, I didn’t really choose to become a writer. But I am one. And I can’t think of anything I’d rather be.
About Linda Fulkerson
Linda Fulkerson became interested in writing while working as a copy-editor and typesetter at a small-town weekly newspaper. She has since been published in several magazines and newspapers, including a two-year stint as a sports writer. Linda is the author of two novels and seven nonfiction books, four of which are coloring books for writers.
Her first book, The Prodigal Daughter (Petit Jean Press), was published in 2003. At that time, Linda was introduced to the world of book marketing and blogging. She soon became a blog coach and marketing consultant, launching the popular instructional blog, On Blogging Well.
While living in Texas, Linda was the online editor of the Killeen Daily Herald and director of digital services for the largest media group in Central Texas. Soon after returning to her home state of Arkansas in 2013, she started her own digital services company, which focuses on helping authors, speakers, and small business owners develop an effective online presence. She is the webmaster and technical consultant for Mantle Rock Publishing.
She and her husband, Don, live on a ten-acre plot in central Arkansas. They have four adult children and eight grandchildren. When she’s not writing, Linda enjoys photography, travel, and spoiling her two dachshunds.
Linda speaks to writers’ groups on a variety of marketing-related topics, such as blogging, social media management, and website development. In March, she will be presenting a class titled, “15 Must-Haves for Author Websites” to the Mid-South Christian Writers Conference in Memphis, and in June, she will teach a workshop on Creating Compelling Characters at the KenTen Writers’ Retreat.
To learn more about Linda or to inquire about her presenting to your writers’ group, visit her website at LindaFulkerson.com.