By Lorraine Beatty
As long as I can remember, I’ve collected stuff. I’m not talking about collecting Depression glass, or snuff boxes or hand carved walking canes. I’m talking about collecting odd bits of information. Useless facts, tidbits of knowledge that no one else would keep in their brains for more than a nano second.
Example: Did you know that dogs don’t hesitate to go out in the rain because it’s wet, but because the rain amplifies their hearing and it’s uncomfortable for them?
I was around twelve years old when I realized I was storing these odd facts away in the back of my mind. At the time, all it did was confirm that I was different from most of my friends. I can remember blurting out information about our current celebrity crushes. Things like- Did you know he wanted to be a minister before he started singing? Or – His wife is five years older than he is. I can still recall the puzzled looks on my friend’s faces clearly questioning my sanity.
It was a few years later that I realized I was also collecting information about people. I would notice how my friends interacted with their parents, and compare it to my own. I’d ponder over situations where each of my friends reacted differently to a similar situation. Some would joke, some would cry others behaved as if they were unaffected. I wanted to understand why, what made them react so differently? (I think I’m a frustrated psychologist at heart.)
For the first thirty years of my life I accepted my odd collecting habit as a quirk. At one point I realized all that information came in handy when my husband and I would play Trivial Pursuit. With his knowledge of sports and science, and mine for entertainment and literature, we were unbeatable. After a while, it became difficult to find people to play with us.
And then I started to write and I began to see a purpose for all those accumulated factoids and observations. After a nearly twenty books, three novellas and countless unfinished manuscripts I delight in all the bits and pieces I’ve amassed. All those years of observing people’s behavior had provided me with a deep well of character traits and inspiration for my books. I’ve been blessed to live overseas and in several different States. Now I have countless scenes from the places I’ve been to add to the stories, and many of the odd facts have given birth to plot ideas or plot twists.
Writers are observers and wonderers. We collect information and we wonder “What if?” I see now that the Lord was preparing me to write books long before I thought about it. What I once saw as a quirk has become the foundation for my writing career.
So don’t grow discouraged. The delay of that first sale, the doubt about whether you should write or what you should write is all part of the journey. He’s filling your gift, fueling your talent for whatever task he has prepared for you. It won’t be long before you’ll sit back and marvel at how all that stuff you collected or experienced was exactly what you needed to succeed.
ECPA bestselling author Lorraine Beatty has written over eighteen inspirational novels and novellas. Her most recent is “The Advocate” which is part of The Secret Admirer Romance Collection, releasing this month from Barbour. Born and raised in Columbus, Ohio She now calls Mississippi home. She’s the proud grandmother of five and loves to spend time with them when not writing. She and husband Joe love to travel.