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An Accidental Writer by Emily Sather

I am an editor, and a writer. That may not sound surprising, but not so long ago I would never have expected either of those titles to apply to me.

This is a re-post from a couple of years ago, but the message bears repeating. The Lord truly will lead our children in the way they should go. Pray and trust.

If you’re anything like me, you can likely think of at least one thing that you’re absolutely, hopelessly, bad at – probably several things. There are a number of areas in which I’ve felt that way, and some where I still do. But, gradually, my perspective is changing. God seems to be taking great delight in proving to me that I have very silly ideas of what is or is not possible for me – and that His plans can’t be predicted or confined by what skills I think I do or do not have.

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“With man this is impossible,

but with God all things are possible.” (Matt. 19:26b)

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’” (1 Cor. 12:9a)

I am an editor, and a writer. That may not sound surprising, but not so long ago I would never have expected either of those titles to apply to me. My interests lay elsewhere, as did my talents. In fact, if I had known only a few years ago that this would be where my life was headed, I would probably have been horrified. But now that I’m here, I truly love my work.

I became an editor almost without realizing it.

Ever since I could remember, I had hated writing and everything to do with it. In all my years of school, I never completed a writing course. Oh, it wasn’t for lack of trying. I truly did put effort and thought into it. Since my family homeschooled, we had more freedom to try different methods of learning, to see what would work best. But even the highly-recommended writing courses we tried… I loathed. I was so very, very bad at it. I read voraciously, adored good literature, and could recognize good writing. But for myself? No. Writing was cruel and unusual punishment. When it was required I did it, but it was a slow and painful effort.

My poor mother, who had always loved writing and had dreamed of being an author from a young age, wondered what had gone wrong. How could a child of hers not love writing – never mind hate it? Had she failed as a teacher? Or was there, perhaps, something seriously wrong with me?

But then it started to sneak into my life through the back door. It began with my sister – she wanted me to look at her stories, and correct the mistakes in them before she showed them to anyone else. She also needed help working out plot problems, ideas for how to get from where she was to where she wanted to go.

Much to my surprise, I found I was good at it. I even liked it. I could look at stories and correct mistakes, but I could also see potential, ways to improve it. Eventually, other friends started asking for my help. Even my mother wanted me to read her articles before she submitted them.

[Tweet “The more I edited the more I enjoyed it, and the more I wanted to learn the rules and art of language so that I could improve.”] I sought out books, reading and learning more through experience, and asked advice from an acquaintance who had been a freelance editor. By the time I put a name to the work and began working professionally I had actually been working as an editor for some time.

At the time I had no idea where I was going, but in hindsight [Tweet “God’s direction has been almost laughably clear, gently turning me away from my own dreams, and replacing them with something even better.”]

Despite all of that, some things didn’t change. Writing…. now there was an area where I was truly beyond hope. I might like editing, but writing was still a different matter entirely. I would never be a writer. It surprised some people – writing and editing were supposed to go hand-in-hand, weren’t they? But I still hated it.

And then, completely by accident, I started writing a book.

It started out as simply a short article for an online writing community. As an editor I’ve had opportunities to see a lot of common mistakes that beginning writers tend to make, and I wanted to address a few of them in an easily accessible, lighthearted way. I started out with talking about the use (and misuse) of exclamation marks in fiction. It was actually quite fun, and I went on to write several more articles. People said they were helpful. Then they suggested I expand them into a book.

The first time I heard it, I was terrified at the prospect. I wasn’t a writer! I couldn’t write a book! But enough people said the same thing that I had to give it some consideration.

Now, here I am. I can hardly deny that I’m a writer anymore – not when I’ve had both fiction and nonfiction works published, and have one novel, two nonfiction books, and several articles and short stories sitting in progress on my desktop. I am an editor, and a writer. And I love it.

[Tweet “God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness, and I truly think He delights at times in giving us tasks we feel completely unfit for, so that through us His greatness can shine all the more.”]

In the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30), even the servant with only one little talent was expected to do something with it, and the Master was very displeased when he buried it instead. It’s all too easy to listen to the voices of doubt and insecurity: “I can’t do that. I’ve got no talent for this. This is impossible.” This talent may feel like a very little, weak, and useless one, but who knows?

I do know that [Tweet “I’ve got to be a whole lot more careful about what I decide I’m hopeless at, because I never know when it might wind up being in the center of God’s plans for me.”]

Where are you hopeless? Is there something that God’s been bringing into your path, but you’ve been hesitating because you don’t think you’re up for the task? When we are weak, He is strong: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)

It might not be easy, but if it’s something God wants for us we can do it. And you never know. You just might be surprised when God gives you “the desires of your heart,” (Psalm 37:4) and you find it’s something you once thought you hated.

Today’s post was written by my delightful daughter, Emily. She was delightful even before she was a writer, but now that she is we have been able to share many fun times together at something we both love.

This article is now available in Spanish!

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©Write the Vision

 Emily Sather is a writer and freelance editor with over ten years of professional experience in working with both fiction and nonfiction. She loves to help other authors make their work the best it can be while preserving their own unique style. You can find out more about her work at

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  • Dawnita
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 7:23 PM

    Isn’t it funny how that works. I’ve always felt like I had to write or I’d bust, but never ever saw myself as an author. God had to use others to show me His plan for me too. I love how He works sometimes!

    • Post Author
      Phyllis Sather
      Posted July 7, 2015 at 9:54 AM

      I do too Dawnita. Life certainly isn’t dull with the Lord, is it?

  • Carol
    Posted July 4, 2015 at 3:34 PM

    Hi Phyllis & Emily,
    I’m visiting from Friendship Friday. I enjoyed your story! When I wrote a novel, my daughter was my editor. I think that she would do well as a writer also, but currently she is raising 5 children . . .maybe when they are a little older. I will check out your Thursday link-up. Blessings.

    • Post Author
      Phyllis Sather
      Posted July 4, 2015 at 6:20 PM

      Hi Carol,
      It’s great having in house editing. Raising 5 children certainly takes prescience over writing. She has to train an editor first. I also have a graphic designer and a IT guy in my group. Isn’t the Lord great?

  • Post Author
    Phyllis Sather
    Posted July 3, 2015 at 9:05 AM

    Hi Trena,
    A lot of us could probably say that about our life.

    I’ll check out your series. Thanks for sharing…

    Even though everyone hated writing in school, I’ve ended up with two very prolific writers. PTL.

  • Trena
    Posted July 2, 2015 at 8:01 PM

    Thanks for hosting #aftermycoffee. Love this article about becoming a writer! Love the scripture references as well.
    ‘In fact, if I had known only a few years ago that this would be where my life was headed, I would probably have been horrified.”….. I think I could say that about my life as well 🙂

    Thought you may be interested in the series we have running on our blog this month 31-Days-to-Raising-Writers:

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