Once upon a time I was the Vice President of Human Resources for an international insurance company. The corporate rat race consumed all my energies. Writing for publication was a vague dream that belonged to another life – a life far removed from my reality.
Twenty years later, we left New York City and settled in South Florida. I finally had an opportunity to pursue my passion for teaching and writing.
When I did begin to write for publication, I approached it from a lonely perspective. Just me and my computer. Yes, I read books on writing. But it wasn’t until I connected with other writers that I realized my dream didn’t have to remain a dream. Activities such as attending writers’ conferences, participating in critique groups, and joining writers’ associations have helped me develop my technical and professional skills.
The result has been publication of three books, with additional contracts in the works. I say this with gratitude and humility, knowing I never would have reached this place without the help and encouragement of others in the writing community.My goal is to continue growing as a writer, but I also want to pay forward the assistance that was invested in me by more experienced writers. Part of paying it forward for me includes serving on the Board of the Christian Author Network (CAN) and teaching at various writers conferences.
Paying it forward is not limited to writers. It’s not limited to any one profession or personality. Every one of us has been helped by someone else along life’s journey. I think of the first two lines of John Donne’s poem, “No Man is an Island”:
No man is an island entire of itself;
every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main…
When I take full credit for my accomplishments, I’m being foolish at best and arrogant at worst. The Bible tells us God is the One who gives us the ability to be successful (Deuteronomy 8:18). Even then, He often works through our experiences and relationships to give us the skills, abilities, and encouragement to accomplish our goals.
Paying it forward is something I want to do in every area of my life. My writing life is just the beginning. I’m looking forward to seeing how God will use this desire to touch others…who hopefully will do the same. Then ripples will reach distant shores I, myself, may never walk.
How about you? Who has assisted you on your life’s journey?
What will you do to pay it forward?
Ava Pennington is a writer, Bible teacher, and speaker. Her newest book, Daily Reflections on the Names of God: A Devotional, is endorsed by Precepts Ministries founder Kay Arthur. Additionally, Ava is co-author of Faith Basics for Kids. The first two books in the series are Do You Love Me More? and Will I See You Today? She has also written numerous articles for magazines such as Clubhouse, Today’s Christian Woman, Power for Living, and Called.
In addition to her writing, Ava also teaches a weekly, Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) class. She is a passionate speaker and teacher, and delights in challenging audiences with the truth of God’s word in relevant, enjoyable presentations. For more information, visit her at www.AvaWrites.com