Well friends, I did a thing.
Back in January, Story Embers opened applications for a staff writer internship — AKA killing brain cells and writing articles on a monthly basis. I saw the announcement email, thought, “hey, that’s cool!” and promptly forgot about it.
An hour later, one of my friends on the writing team messaged me. “You should apply,” she said. “You should at least try it,” she said. “You have decent thoughts sometimes,” she said.
I allowed myself to seriously consider this for exactly four minutes before laughing in her face. I am not an article writer. I write books, I write outlandish blog posts, and sometimes, if I’m especially lucky, I write threatening letters to library patrons who have six overdue DVDs. But articles? That entails a level of mental organization I just don’t possess.
I told her as much, along with the semi-important detail that I’d never written an article in my life.
She did the virtual equivalent of an unbothered shrug. “So? Just fake it.”
I allowed myself to seriously consider this for another four minutes while I fished through my deleted emails for the application form. I opened it, read the first three questions, and promptly deleted it again.
“Please attach 3-5 examples of your work.”
As I already mentioned, I’ve never written an article in my life.
I returned to my daily life, but the conversation wriggled around in the back of my mind. I’ve been following Story Embers since before it even existed – I made friends with several of the staff on the Kingdom Pen forum many years ago, and at one point even found myself holed up in a cabin in the woods with a herd of them.
Story Embers and the surrounding community have been a pillar of my life since I was fifteen and remain the single greatest contributor to my growth as a writer. I can truthfully say I would never have learned the difference between a character arc and and a piece of cardboard if it weren’t for their influence in my life. (I also probably wouldn’t have read Shakespeare.) They taught me the true purpose and impact of Christian fiction, and because of them, I learned how to plunge headlong into the intoxicating fire of of my pursuit.
So yes, I’ll admit, I sometimes thought about writing for them. They impacted me so much when I was a teenager, and now that I’m older, I wanted to pass it on. To be part of the action somehow, and put feet to my passion.
I even included this lofty aspiration in the list of 5-year goals I mapped out last year – keyword being LAST YEAR. I had another four years to go. I couldn’t apply now, certainly. I’m too young. I don’t know how to write articles. I wasn’t ready. I might… *shudder* get rejected.
“You’ll never feel ready,” my mom said in an unsolicited burst of tough love. “How will you know if you are ready if you never actually try?”
“But what if I submit some garbage article and ruin my reputation as a writer?!”
“At least you won’t have the reputation of a coward.”
I spent the next two weeks teaching myself how to write nonfiction and grinding out sample articles. My desk earned a permanent dent where I bashed my head against it too hard.
“At the very least,” I told myself, “this will be a good learning experience!”
(Learning how to suppress the urge to cringe in agony and fling my laptop through the nearest window.)
The night before the deadline, I sent off my application with trembling hands and expunged the entire sordid business from my mind. (Which definitely worked, except whenever I was trying to sleep, when every potential typo I may or may not have missed came back to haunt me.)
But, you know.
Two weeks (and a significant amount of hair loss) later, I found myself signing this:
I write for Story Embers now.
It’s pretty great.
My first article went up today, and needless to say, I feel like I’ve strayed into a fever dream. The child version of myself would be flipping out right now. The adult version of myself is flipping out too, but with significantly less composure. If you want to see my face officially plastered on their “about” page, here’s a shiny link for your convenience. And if you’re really brave, you can find my first article at the link below:
It’s not as snarky as my usual writing because it’s an article and therefore must be Serious,™ but you can still find a few Sarah-typical remarks lurking around the edges. Please give it a read when you have the chance. Drop a comment. You guys have no idea how much your support and kind words have meant to me these past couple months; when I was in the midst of my brain-dead article-writing haze, I reread a bunch of your comments on various blog posts and they single-handedly reinfused me with the will to survive another day. Y’all are a fabulous bunch of humans and I love you dearly.
That’s all for now, folks! Another stage in my world domination plan has been achieved! I’ll be out of town for the week so we’re going to pretend today is Thursday. See you next week!