“Encouragement Makes a Difference”
By Maggie Winterton
I don’t know if my mom ever struggled with the idea that she wasn’t making a difference in my life, but I know I’ve certainly seen this a lot in pop culture.
I’m writing today because she did make a difference.
My mom always says that before…
I could even read or write, I liked to make up stories. I actually recall some of the detailed adventures/mundane daily events that my dolls would get into. There was a little bit of both. Some of my ideas were more exciting than others! Sometimes I just wanted my Barbie to have a relaxing day in her Dream Townhouse.
I always had that imagination. I was a daydreamer.
My parents did a really good job of reading to me from a very early age, too. As a result, I started actually reading earlier than most kids.
My mom was always a really big reader. She would tell me how she used to fall asleep on the couch reading. I thought she was crazy for that.
It wasn’t until later in elementary school when I really became a bookworm. I began enjoying reading more and more, and I thought I would even become a librarian when I was “grown up.” The reading I did also helped my ability to spell. After that, I started writing down some of the stories I had in my head.
My mom was really impressed with my writing. I remember showing her an essay I did for an 8th grade assignment.
I was really into theater and acting at the time. The assignment was to write descriptively about a memory, so I described standing backstage before I was about to go on stage in a recent play.
At that point in my life, I wished I could be in plays instead of in school. I tried to write passionately about how theatre made me feel.
As my mom read the essay, she started to cry. She told me that my essay was “beautifully written.”
I couldn’t believe she was so moved by the words I put on that page. I started realizing that some writing is better than others. I began to grasp that I was actually a good writer that it might actually be a talent of mine.
I was still kind of stuck on acting, but my mom encouraged me to join my high school paper.
It turned out that I loved journalism even more than acting.
Mom became my proofreader/editor/critic for my all my articles, and she loved seeing my picture and byline in the paper.
When I began thinking seriously about college and my future, she wanted to make sure that I would be using my writing skills in the future.
My life took a real turn when I got sick and missed a lot of school my senior year. I got really depressed and stopped writing. When I ended up in the mental health unit of our local hospital, she encouraged me to use the little journal they gave me. She told me to write it out.
I listened to her, and even though I was dealing with a lot of problems, writing did help me feel a little better. When I was diagnosed with fructose intolerance (that combined with my stomach ulcers was what made me so sick), I started a blog to try to help other people with the illness.
I thought I would go to college for nutrition to learn more about food intolerances and help with my crusade against fructose. I took some online classes, and somewhere along the line I started talking less about writing about fructose. The schooling, for me, became more about just getting a nutrition job.
I remember my mom saying to me, “But what about your writing?”
Now, I am so thankful for her encouragement and prodding. She knew all along that writing was my calling, and I finally know too.
I quit the nutrition thing. I started writing a novel, and went to my first writing conference last fall. There, I met author Renee Fisher, who at the time was the editor of DevotionalDiva.com. I was a guest poster in January 2014. In May, Renee announced that the blog would be ending.
I stepped out in faith and asked if she needed help running Devotional Diva, and Renee made me the new editor-in-chief.
Now, writing is my career. I’m so blessed to be able to do what I love and it’s because of my mom’s encouragement!
Maggie Winterton is the editor of Devotional Diva, author of MaggieWinterton.com, writer, military wife, and mom to two uncanny cats. She lives in San Diego with her husband, Brandon, although she is originally from Iowa (the one with corn and pigs, not potatoes). Since everyone is a child of God, Maggie believes that all women are princesses at heart.